“I kept wondering to myself when I’d start taking acting seriously again, when I’d find the time. Well, the world kind of made that choice for me this year. But I could not be more grateful for this opportunity because I’ve been getting to know myself again.”
Nikki Petkopoulos has a robust background in the media and entertainment industry. She’s worked as a copywriter, brand strategist and a media specialist, but lately she’s been focusing more on her acting and screenwriting. “I’d love to continue content strategy and copywriting, particularly within the entertainment industry!” She shares.
Nikki was laid off from her job at a Bay Area tech company during the COVID-19 pandemic, and has been helping her parents run their restaurant (which is strictly complying with CDC regulations) as well as taking her newfound free time to explore her personal hobbies and creative interests. She’s taking acting classes and has been leaning on this support network to keep her grounded and actively social.
“I forgot to nurture my artistic side, the person I was before I entered the job market. In a way, I’ve allowed the inner child in me to resurface, and I drew strength from that.” She shares, of the positive consequences that have come from her job “loss.”
She also notes the enormous generosity that her community has been offering to her parent’s restaurant during these unprecedented times.
Read more about Nikki’s COVID Chronicle from the SF Bay Area of California, below:
[Editor’s Note: This interview originally occurred on June 18, 2020]
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced during quarantine/the COVID crisis?
“Managing what’s happening in my personal life with my professional responsibilities. I’ve been helping out my parents (they run an essential business) during this time, and it’s been really stressful. They’re not as young as they used to be and I worry about my dad’s health. Sometimes it feels like I’ve taken on too much.
When I got laid off, I felt paralyzed by indecision. It took me relying on my support system to get back on track and remember that my worth as a human being, and that this too shall pass.”
Is there anything you feel that this experience has taught you that you’d like to share as inspiration?
“I’ve learned to block out the litany of reasons to be anxious, mostly out of necessity or I’d never get things done. And by virtue of doing that, I can see that humans really are so resilient.
Something that really touched me was the donations my parents’ restaurant received amid the COVID-19 crisis. Reading what some of the long-time patrons had to say made me feel less alone, especially knowing that it eased my parents’ anxieties.”
Has this experience in any way changed the way that you order your priorities in life?
“I kept wondering to myself when I’d start taking acting seriously again, when I’d find the time. Well, the world kind of made that choice for me this year. But I could not be more grateful for this opportunity because I’ve been getting to know myself again.
I forgot to nurture my artistic side, the person I was before I entered the job market. In a way, I’ve allowed the inner child in me to resurface, and I drew strength from that.”
Where are you living right now? Is this where you permanently reside or is it a temporary living situation due to the pandemic? Who have you been quarantining with?
“I’m currently staying with my family. I’d say this is semi-permanent, as they need my help this summer and I need to save money in order to relocate.”
What has your community been doing to fight the rate of transmission?
“Our family restaurant has been complying with CDC guidelines. As of right now, we’re limited to outdoor seating and takeouts only. Everyone is required to wear a mask and handle food with gloves. Lots of hand sanitizer too haha.”
What has been your general daily routine so far during the pandemic?
“I make sure to get in daily exercise so as to keep my immune system strong. Then I’ll do chores around the house, and then go to the restaurant. I handle the takeouts and reservations. We get home around 8:30 PM and I’m usually too tired to do anything else but maybe read or play video games.”
What have you been doing to keep your spirits up on a day-to-day basis?
“Watching Avatar the Last Airbender surprisingly helped put things into perspective for me, which is funny because I didn’t finish the series as a child. Like I said, exploring my hobbies and interests has been soooo rewarding. I also attend online acting classes, so I have some sort of network I communicate with weekly. I’ve registered for other classes pertaining to my interests; it keeps me grounded and I need the socialization.”
Has this travel ban/quarantine situation impacted any important plans you had laid out for the future?
“Yeah, I was planning on traveling to Korea, Los Angeles, and New York. I plan on moving to LA but I don’t know when that will be feasible right now. It’s kind of complicated my job search, too.”
Anything else at all, you’d like to share?
“I just want to express my sympathies to anyone who’s struggled during this pandemic. I try to be kind to everybody because we are no doubt traumatized by this upheaval to our lives, and it’s not something I want to invalidate. We’re experiencing a tremendous historical moment, and it is completely okay to take time to yourself. You’re more than your job and your productivity.”
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