Q&A: Happy Newlywed Maria Papadakis

She talks her amazing wedding, new projects and becoming the Greek Oprah.

We’re doing this interview three days after you got married at the Academy of Music. You’re not the honeymooning type?
No, my husband and I work too much. And to be honest, we spent the budget on the wedding. Which was totally worth it. Next year, next year.

Was the wedding everything you hoped for?
Oh my God, it was amazing. I love the Academy of Music. The first time I ever performed onstage was when I was 11 years old, in the opera Falstaff at the Academy of Music. And that really started my love affair with entertainment and music and performance. That building has a lot of meaning to me. My dad was on the board of the Opera Company, and it was incredible to have their opera singers serenade my guests in honor of my dad. It made me feel like my dad was really in the room that day.

You had 500 guests—everyone from business people to Susie Celek to Council-woman Jannie Blackwell to every Greek person in Philadelphia. How do you know so many different types of people?
I make friends, like, in a snap. I think it’s a Papadakis thing, or a Greek thing. My fiancé said, “Let’s do a Philadelphia wedding.” I said, “You don’t understand—500 people are going to show up.” And he said that would be great. So we did the big fat Greek wedding.


Where can people see your work?
I host Raw, which is the largest arts and entertainment show in the city, on the first Thursday of every month at G Lounge. I joke that Raw is like America’s Got Talent on arts steroids. It’s a three-hour show where you’re going to see everyone from makeup artists to fashion designers to musicians. And now I actually have my own segment on philly.com. I’m the host of “Out and About,” a digital video segment that goes around the city and shows all the social soirees going on every week. And I have a bridal column at philly.com.

No wonder you can’t take a honeymoon. What’s your long-term goal?
I actually just started a production company. It’s called CNP Productions, which happen to be my dad’s initials. I want to be like the Greek Oprah. I’d like to be able to bring people of all walks of life together for interesting stories.

What did you learn from your dad?
Oh, I could go on and on for hours. My dad always said to me, “It never hurts to ask.” If you ask, the worst someone can say is no. And in Papadakis style, we tend not to take no for an answer.

I assume we’ll be seeing you at the Academy Ball this month?
Oh, absolutely. I’m on their Young Friends board, and my mom is on the Academy board. Honestly, we got the idea for the wedding because the first Academy Ball 156 years ago was set up the way my wedding was. They took the stage and extended it over the seats and created a giant ballroom in the theater. The Academy Ball last year paid homage to that, and for the wedding I thought, “Oh my God, that would be perfect.”

You’re super high-energy. Do you ever just relax?
Right now, I have laryngitis and bronchitis, and I have no choice. This interview is being done on the phone while I’m in my bed and drinking Dayquil. So sometimes I have to chill out.

This article originally appeared in the January issue of Philadelphia magazine.