Athrafstos: An Interview with Athena Hiotis

Athena Hiotis and Nina Themelis have been friends since childhood and always dreamt of creating art together. It was when Athena showed Nina her latest song, “Unbreakable”, that they knew this was their moment to collaborate.

“We’re opposites in so many ways,” Hiotis said. “Even creatively, she’s a visual artist and I’m more music so when we came together it was awesome to see how similar we viewed the concept and the execution of the video.”

“Unbreakable” originally came about for an indie film and when revisited a year later, the two women brainstormed how they wanted the video to look. It started with a group of friends, expanded to a callout that brought people from all over the East Coast and ended with people from outside of the country.

“Unbreakable: Our Story” features various forms of women empowerment, ranging from eating disorders to drug addiction to fighting to change laws. The women were given free rein to naturally tell their stories, creating this universal theme. The editing of the video fell into place just as naturally, from beginning to end. Every submission was used and essentially made itself. “It was really beautiful to just let the women speak for themselves and tell them to write whatever they want,” Hiotis said. “It was a lot bigger than we thought it would be.”

The message behind the video is powerful and is meant to make the viewer feel powerful. Hiotis saw it the day of filming – the power women have when they aren’t perceived into a catty, gossipy role. The women that came to film the video barely knew each other yet they radiated powerful energy to each other. “You never really think of yourself as that important but we made it a point to be matter of fact because it is matter of fact,” Hiotis said. “You really take those pressures and those expectations away from them or rather take them away from those expectations. We really are just natural nurturers and there was absolutely no hesitation from what I saw of these strangers cheering each other on and helping each other.”

Hiotis is a strong advocate in the theme behind “Unbreakable: Our Story”. With this theme, she doesn’t plan on stopping as far as spreading the message of empowerment. She may not be at the front lines of the fight for normalization, with abrasive terminology that stirs up controversy, but she is still demanding normalization through her own approach. It’s a touchy subject, but a subject that she isn’t afraid to stand up for.