The King Of Community Television – Yianni Zinonos

August 9th, 2010

He’s a smart, cultured and hilarious man, with real ethics and kindness that makes him one of my great friends.

Yianni Zinonos is one of the funniest guys I know. He is random and witty, and constantly makes me laugh – that is the basis of any great friendship.

He’s generous, kind to everybody and gives everyone the time of day. His TV show “Yianni’s City Life” is one highly rating TV show aired nationally on Mondays 8pm, Wednesdays at 8:30am and Fridays at midday on TVS, channel 44.

He works hard, and plays just as hard! But he has halved his work load of late, for reasons I’d like him to explain to you…

Projects you are currently working on?

I’m completing series 9 of my national TV show Yianni’s City Life. We film for a couple of months at many different events such as Fashion week, Vivid, Biennale, Italian festival,  Sydney Film Festival, etc. This current series is events based. I have was also featured on the highly successful ABC1 series “The Making of Modern Australia”. Its a 4 part documentary series about the lives of different Aussies since the end of the second World War.

I have also been out there promoting my TV show in the media, with several write ups in the press. I also work in fashion as a freelance designer and pattern maker for several emerging fashion labels, such as Fernando Frisoni. Recently I have started writing a blog – How to start a fashion label. Its all about setting up small business in the ragtrade. I have worked in fashion for almost 30 years.

My favourite piece of clothing is…

The humble t-shirt. I am a summer person, that’s when I’m in my element.

The feature I love the most about my home is…

My cute tiny green garden, which is grassed, and surrounded by overgrown trees and bushes. Its my little piece of paradise.

The foods and drinks that most excite me are..

Sushi, I love it, its healthy, lite, the one food you can enjoy that won’t make me fat!

I also love my “Soy Decaf Flat Whites”. Yes you wouldn’t want to be serving me in a cafe! In summer I make my own flavoured mineral waters with fresh fruit crushed into them. I am famous for my gluten free buckwheat pancakes, with home made chocolate sauce.

My  greatest extravagance is…

Working part-time. I have worked fulltime for 27 years, and now the time has come to take life a bit easy, I finally figured out its more important to just have the time to just simply live, rather than work as hard as I used to. I am happy to have less material things, its more important to be calm and relaxed than constantly stressed out.

The greatest lesson I learned is…

The importance of self esteem. I work in media, and entertainment, and nothing happens if you aren’t confident, or believe in yourself. Success is more about who you are as a person rather than what we do.

If we have a great energy everything else will naturally follow.

My advice for someone who wants to get into fashion?

It’s alot of hard work, its an industry that can chew up so many resources both financial plus efforts. Go into fashion because you want to develop your craft as a designer and business person not because you want to be rich and famous. Get your priorities right.  It’s the same for TV. Don’t do things for your ego, get involved because you want a better community.

How do you balance your life between work and home?

My work life balance is better now I am working part time. I live and work from home, which also doubles as a tv studio. Its great when I’m not too busy i can just breeze through, though  when I’m doing too much I get stressed out, I cant relax, then my health suffers. Its not worth working too hard without a very good reason. We delude ourselves into thinking we constantly need all this extra money, when I would rather live  a more humble way, and have the extra time to chill out here and there.

Which celebrity wardrobe would you most like to raid?

I don’t think about raiding any celebrity wardrobe because I design cut and make all my own clothes, even my undies!

How did you get into doing what you do?

I got involved in fashion since my childhood, my mother was a dressmaker. I used to make dresses for dolls, much to the discomfort of my family when I was a child. About 10 years ago, when things in fashion where very slow, I started working as an extra, on films, TV commercials, and drama series etc. It was alot of fun, then I started taking acting lessons for fun, then I got a part scholarship to study film making, while I got involved in community TV as work experience.

I used to produce and present a weekly segment on one of the programs for  a few years. Then I was offered my own program, which eventually went national.

Around the home my design rule is…

Minimalism. I don’t like clutter. There’s alot of white walls, polished Sydney Bluegum floor boards, privacy, and natural light. It’s all very simple.

My mother and father always told me to…

Get married… Sorry, I haven’t gotten around to that yet.

What charities do you support?

I have promoted alot of charities and community organizations through my TV show. Its great Karma, I really feel that’s my way of giving back to the community someway.

How often do you cook at home and your signature dish?

I will cook at least one main meal at home each day. I can because I work from home.

I do an amazing gluten free pasta dish with bolognese sauce.

Your thoughts on Australian fashion compared to International fashion?

Australian fashion is great at certain things only, from the Worlds reaction. We are good at swimwear, beachwear, surf wear, its more the casual stuff the global market wants from us. Yes there are many small designers selling overseas, but we are an absolute speck in the ocean. Too many Australian designers never make it overseas because they are busy copying what already been done there… We need to be more creative  and experimental, develop our own signature, then we will have something to promote.

I cant leave home without…

My keys, my small wallet with my I.D, business cards, some cash, and a credit card.

Plus I always try to not leave the house with  out making my self look half decent.

What frustrates me most about Sydney…

The congestion. Its become a claustrophobic, cramped place. It’s loosing its charm, there are too many people around, its becoming too expensive, everyone is stressed out. It’s not as relaxed and care free as it used to be when i was growing up.

If I where Clover Moore I would…

Shoot myself for allowing those ridiculous bike lanes. No one uses them, they have created even more congestion. There is no where to park, where there wasn’t enough parking places to begin with. Those bike lanes have sent many business broke, cause such havoc in residents lives. I can’t believe where our money is going!!!!! It would have been cheaper to pay the cyclists to catch a cab than the $80 million wasted…

My ulitmate holiday destination would be…

Miami, and New Orleans, I have always wanted to go there.

One of the most embarrassing moments I have had was…

Recently appearing in an ABC documentary about the lives of Australians. There I was on national TV, in all these naked photos of me on holidays in Mykonos on a gay beach. I dont think my mother was too happy!

One success I am proud of is…

My work in producing, and presenting a national community TV show for the last 5 years. I really enjoy being out there in the media, communicating. I get to work with the most extreme variety of people, from politicians, artists, entertainers, community organizations, and charities.

This had made my life very interesting and enjoyable.

One failure I have learnt from is…

Not to be vulnerable. When you are vulnerable as I have been in the past people can be nasty and vindictive. They do horrible things to you. If you are strong, and believe in your self, if you are confident, people tend to pick on someone else.

If millions of kids admired me…

I would tell them not just to think of themselves, but to think of others. I would tell them the importance of self control, and self discipline. Also how its good to be involved in community, to somehow give back, not just take.

My best grooming tip is…

To work on your soul, to be a good person, be happy, because that’s what really radiates the best king of beauty. Its from within.

http://www.tvs.org.au/programs/yiannis-city-life

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