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LHJ: You play an American professor who goes to Greece to get away from it all and winds up giving bus tours through ancient sites. What appealed to you about this role?
Nia Vardalos: My character, Georgia, was at a turning point in her life, and so was I. After the success of My Big Fat Greek Wedding I was getting a lot of offers but I didn't want to step back in front of the camera. I kept thinking to myself, I have lost my "kefi."
LHJ: What does "kefi" mean?
Nia Vardalos: It's your mojo.
LHJ: So how did you get it back?
Nia Vardalos: One of the reasons I was feeling so depleted was that I had tried for years to have a child, and then to adopt. But to no avail. Then I decided to try the foster care system. And literally, nine months after I made the first call to the Foster Family Agency, my husband and I had a daughter. We adopted her in 2007.
LHJ: What is it about Greece that speaks to you?
Nia Vardalos: When you stare at that ancient marble, you realize that the thing that is causing that huge wrinkle on your forehead really doesn't matter. And my character in the film just learns to go with the flow, too.
LHJ: You look amazing in the movie. How did you do it?
Nia Vardalos: To play this neurotic woman, I wanted to change my body. I did a vitamin C peel and microdermabrasion, which felt as if I put my face through the garbage disposal. I tried self-tanners until I looked like a mandarin orange. And I broke up my relationship with cheese.
LHJ: Wait. You did Greece without Greek salad?
Nia Vardalos: That's what my relatives said! They asked, "Not even feta?!" I had a date with a hunk of brie on my last day of shooting.
Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal, July 2009.