Ilias Psinakis was for Sakis Rouvas for 12 years what colonel Tom Paouel was for Elvis Presley. Meaning the man who had took it upon himself to become apart from manager, his family and intermediate between the star and the world. And while their relationship seemed solid as rock during the past few months the scenario changed.
Ilias Psinakis was the man responsible for the most successful singer’s management for 12 years. He was the one who managed to keep Sakis “at the top” without tiring his audience. On the other hand Sakis was an apt pupil who never protested. The rules were the follows:
1. Never present the girl you sleep with because you will lose your fans. 2. Let the rumors run wild, no matter how outrageous they are. 3. Don’t speak because you might make a fool of yourself. Sakis obeyed the rules to the letter until two years ago when he decided that rules are made to be broken and everything has to go with the flow.
Sakis first rebellion, that causes the first fractions in his relationship with Psinakis, was his decision to make his first long term relationship in 2002. And his choice was not random.
Rebecca Wouang is ideal for the part of Sakis first relationship in the media. She looks cool and doesn’t seem to care about Sakis pop – idol myth and treats him like an ordinary person without hysterics or fan’s adoration. The fact that she isn’t part of the Greek elite is extremely convenient. Rebecca was the last piece of the puzzle, with an upbringing that doesn’t allow pettiness, financially independent and mostly without being intimidated towards the wave of publicity that covers every move that Sakis made. Their relationship that officially started at a dinner party in 2002 in London, that was organized by Chrisanthi Laimou, with Sakis as a guest of honor and Rebecca among those who were invited, became official when Sakis in their joint appearance at the “In Style” (magazine) party. Psinakis doesn’t agree with the whole thing but Sakis insisted. It was the first time that Sakis didn’t follow his instructions. Something is changing in their relationship.
The next summer, when Sakis was at the Elounda Hotel for the shooting of the Vodafone commercial, he becomes acquainted with Katia Zigouli. The first rumors appear, that say that between them there was a short but very passionate affair, begin to spread. Until the moment those rumors reach Rebecca’s ears. And then “the perfect” Rebecca loses her composure and starts to claim Sakis not only for herself but for her image as well. And when you are not thinking straight you are bound to make the wrong move. According to sources from Sakis’ social circle, at June 2004 Rebecca and the singer go out to dinner at Boscetto, with Ilia Psinaki and Ilia Kokoto. During dinner everyone witnessed Rebecca’s unreasonable demand to bring a photographer to take pictures of them. The more Sakis and Ilias try to explain that such a demand would spoil their evening, the more insistent she becomes. Rebecca is determined to stop the rumors that make her to be the “cheated wife” She wants to become the number one again. And with her attitude she manages to spoil everything and make Sakis, who up to that point was feeling guilty, very angry. And Katia comes back to the picture where she remains until today.
Ilias is watching Rebecca’s fall and Katia’s rise in Sakis life. Rebecca re – appears but leaves almost immediately after another mistaken maneuver that was the definite one. The last act between them will be played when Rebecca, with her lawyer present, gives an interview at an English castle in London for a monthly Greek magazine, tells everything about her relationship with Sakis. Ilias Psinakis is the messenger who tells her that Sakis doesn’t even want to see her again. Katia Zigouli is now the official relationship of Sakis.
Sakis is growing up.
At the same time Sakis, apart from going public about his personal relationships, he starts to form new strategies about his career.
He feels he is growing up, while his friends and associates constantly remind him that with silly pop songs at the age of 33 he is in danger of becoming a joke, and that his career will end when the first lines appear at his face. And he feels that he has to do something. His attitude towards Ilias is changing. He is turning from the obedient student who always does as he is being told to an artist with demands from his manager. He wants to change his repertoire so in his previous album titled “To Hrono Stamatao” (= I am stopping the time) he is hand picking all of the songs. He is looking for more rock, more independent and electronic sound and he succeeds. Ilias Psinakis insists that “Shake it” is among the selection but Sakis is not listening. The CD is released on December 2003 but doesn’t have the expected success. To be exact, nine weeks after its release it has sold only 8.000 copies, and on the tenth it is removed from the ifpi charts.
January of 2004, when Sakis turns 33, is particularly gloomy. The press has started to make fun of his “international career” that started and ended in France and everything shows that Sakis has lost the public’s interest. But his lucky star and his personal glam won’t let him down. On February from the lowest low he gets to the highest high with his participation in Eurovision Song Contest. The endless but effective marketing of Psinakis has the desirable results. Sakis is no longer o pop star, he becomes a national symbol who takes it upon himself the represent the Greek people. Everything else is forgotten and an entire nation falls in love with him. And he falls in love with Katia. Success exceeds the wildest expectations and Sakis is back on the game. He is so sure of himself that he decides to take charge of his career and public image.
He is tired of being a just a pretty face and decides that he can express himself. Besides, we don’t admire stars simply because of their success but because of their lifestyles. He decides that his “untouchable / unreachable” look that Ilias has created for him had to go. He is tired of irrational stories. People who knew him said that although Ilias Psinakis had trained Sakis to be patient towards rumors, not to raise his voice and to be disciplined and calm even when facing the most surreal stories (like the one that was published in 14th of July 1994, and said that they were marrying each other in Amsterdam), it’s not a rare occasion when Sakis is vulnerable in comments that aggravate him. So when he presents Katia Zigouli, he introduces her as “a very OK girl that isn’t chasing publicity or anything”. On the other hand Katia doesn’t like Sakis fiends and she prefers them to be alone. And the feelings are mutual. And that situation has nothing to do with jealousy but with lack of patience towards her and her eastern philosophies. And to be precise Katia who is a follower of reiki (?) and other techniques is often expressing her opinion, in front of Sakis friends and Ilias Psinakis that he is a carrier of negative energies. Her opinion is naturally causing a friction in their relationship (who would like someone who thinks that he brings bad luck?). Nevertheless Katia is not backing out and insists on her opinion even to people who are closely connected to Ilias like the director of Sakis’ record company who is still in shock after their meeting.
Hollywood is opening its doors.
In the summer of 2004 Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson are on vacation in the Aegean as guests of a Greek shipping tycoon. While they were socializing with the Greek jet set they are introduced to Sakis Rouvas. Rita who is a second generation Greek and owner of an independent studio (who discovered Nia Vardalos and released the greatest block buster in the history of independent cinematography “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”), has showed some interest that night that lasted until dinner. It will be renewed later, on a different city. On September 2004 the festival of Venice starts with the premier of Steven Spielberg’s movie “Terminal” and Tom Hanks who is starring in this movie and his wife Rita Wilson invite her Greek friends over. They of course mention Sakis again and on November of 2004, just before Sakis appearance in the club FEVER, Sakis accompanied by Ilias Kokotos, is paying a professional visit to his friends in L.A. There the discussions begin again and Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks throw a dinner party with guests such as agents, Nia Vardalos and the producer David Geffen (he is the guy who in 1995 united Steven Spielberg and David Gadgenberg and created the company Dreamwork who is one of the most prominent studios). Sakis is winning over Rita and her friends.
During his twelve days stay Sakis convinces Rita and her powerful friends that he deserves their attention. A series of dates is scheduled then, with acting schools and agents and people who have influential positions in the movies industry. All these dates will take place after the end of the season in Greece. Rita Wilson opens doors for Sakis that other people can’t even begin to imagine. And Sakis is ready and willing to prove that he deserves their attention.
His return to Greece
At the end of September Sakis is preparing for his appearances in Fever. His triumph in Eurovision apart from his self – confidence has boosted his case as well. To be exact it has tripled it. And Sakis needs that money to support himself during his stay in L.A. that will last over a year. And suddenly Ilias isn’t so important. On the other hand his relationship with Katia is closer than ever and the only associates of his circle that can influence him are his secretary, Erofili Gioni and the business man Ilias Kokotos. Ilias who is the judge of the Greek Pop Idol, the manager of Giorgos Tsalikis (another well known Greek star and the star of the Greek version of Saturday Night Fever) and a model of plastic surgery, manages to remain in the spotlight without Sakis. Things can’t be different. The official “end” of their partnership comes when Ilias signs a contract with TIM (one of the largest companies that provide cell phone services) while Sakis has a contract with Vodafone (TIM’s major competitor). What really puts the final nails to the coffin of their friendship is the announcement of “the end” over the phone: “Ilia we have to split up because Vodafone won’t allow us to be partners anymore”. His request is reasonable, but Ilias can’t cope with the fact that after 12 years of friendship he is learning Sakis decisions over the phone or through his interviews. And although they both claim that they remain close on a personal level, none of their acquaintances stick by that story. Besides the fact that Ilias stayed at Sakis party for his new album in Hard Rock café for about half an hour speaks volumes about the way things are between them. Sakis in a recent interview for the magazine Down Town said: “I still talk with Ilias. There is nothing amiss. We have many things in common like joint experiences; friends etc and we have gone through a lot together both on the professional and on the private level. He has played a major part in what I am today. Without him I would have been someone different. I don’t know if that would have been better or worst but it would definitely be different. We are no longer working together”. There is another twist to the plot that many people are unaware of, Sakis has hired a new manager. His name is Kiousis and he was involved with organizing sport’s events and happenings but now with Sakis he is expanding his horizons.
His days in L.A.
Sakis is in L.A. since April 12th. In the mornings he is taking lessons in acting and singing and in the evenings he is meeting with managers and producers.
He has a series of appointments that other people can’t make even after a two year stay there and he has to cope. Ilias Kokotos is with him and they live at a friend’s house until they can find something of their own. He has also created an internet company that sells T – shirts, photos and other collectible items with his name. Katia will visit him in Easter as a tourist because her attempts to get a temporary working licence have failed. But Sakis is not the kind of person who would allow his personals to get in the way of his goal that is the expansion of his career. And you must be very determined to leave a country where you are a star and go someplace that nobody knows you, a stranger among strangers. Psinakis will be there after Easter. And the story goes on. But now we’ll be watching from a different level because people’s stories don’t get to be re – written. They just move on.
Magazine Nitro, May 2005