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Chasing Celebrities, Hunted by the FBI: The Greek Paparazzi of Mykonos

Greek paparazzi Mykonos
Petros Nazos and Paris Hilton on Mykonos recently. Photo supplied / Petros Nazos

Petros Nazos, the Greek paparazzi based on Mykonos has many colorful stories to tell about chasing Hollywood stars for an exclusive video or being hunted by the FBI that is occasionally protecting VIPs or the President’s relatives on vacation on the cosmopolitan Greek island.

Nazos spent his working life in Athens. He had a great job at the electronics company Sony until he made the decision that changed his life.

“In 2004 there was a heatwave in Athens. I couldn’t stand the heat wearing a suit and going to work. I gave up everything to move to Mykonos where my grandmother lived,” Nazos told Greek Reporter.

Greek paparazzi Mykonos
Petros Nazos with his first camera. Photo supplied / Petros Nazos

He initially worked in a coffee shop belonging to relatives when he realized the quality of life was better on the island. “I  would finish work and in a few minutes I would be bathing in some of the most beautiful beaches in the world,” he remembers.

A celebrity encounter on Mykonos changes the life of Greek paparazzi

It was then that a chance encounter changed his life. He bumped into Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima, magnanimously known as Ronaldo, the Brazilian striker who at the time was at the apogee of his fame. He always carried with him the Sony camera and made his first video of a world-renowned personality. The video was sold to the private TV station and his career as a paparazzi kicked off.

2004, the year Nazos moved to Mykonos was a golden year for Greece, as the nation’s national football won the Euro competition and Athens hosted the Olympic Games.

Many international personalities descended onto the Greek island which was already a magnet for Hollywood A-listers and celebrities. The Greek paparazzi was providing videos to Greek TV stations that were watched by millions, as he told Greek Reporter.

Mykonoslive.tv is born

In 2011 he launched Mykonslive.tv and the success was instant. His exclusive video of  Shakira and Gerard Piqué enjoying their love on Myconos went viral. “It was a video that reached one million views. Many people, especially from Latin America wanted to see Shakira in her first holidays with Piqué,” he said.

The encounter with Christiano Ronaldo was also memorable he remembers. The Portuguese superstar agreed to come out of his villa at 4 am so he could be photographed by Nazos and other paparazzi who had descended on the island.

Nazos was also providing exclusive videos to the international media. He was traveling to other Aegean islands when international stars were visiting. He told Greek Reporter that once he hired a boat to travel to Paros to film Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson enjoying their holidays.

From Michelin-starred restaurants to designer shops and world-class spas, Mykonos offers everything a celebrity could desire for an indulgent vacation. While privacy is important, sometimes celebrities want to let loose and have fun. Mykonos’ famous nightlife, with its trendy bars, beach clubs, and A-list DJs, provides that option.

He remembers a wild party in a Mykonos bar by Lionel Richie in 2018 when 100 battles of champagne opened for the guests. “Some guests ended up putting on face masks to protect themselves from the strong odor.”

Greek paparazzi hunted by the FBI

The life of a paparazzi on Mykonos is a glamorous hustle under the Greek sun, but it’s not all easy.

Luxury accommodations with secluded areas and impeccably trained staff ensure celebrities can relax and unwind without being bothered by fans or paparazzi. High-end yachts and private beaches offer another layer of seclusion.

For Nazos one of the scariest moments of his paparazzi career was when Tiffany Trump, the daughter of the then-US President, arrived on Mykonos.

“I was following the entourage of luxury cars when a man on a motorbike who looked like a tourist tried to block the road. I continued following the convoy but when it arrived at its destination at the famous beach of Platis Gyalos several smarty-dressed men who identified themselves as FBI agents approached me and threatened to take me to police because ‘I was acting suspiciously’.”

Nazos recalled that he was scared and he decided to run. “There were many tourists around and I took cover amongst them. They never found me.”

Greek paparazzi Mykonos
Camera ready. Photo supplied / Petros Nazos

The incident proves that the legal line for a paparazzi is blurry. Paparazzi often push boundaries to get the shot, which can lead to confrontations with celebrities, security, and even the law.

“My goal from the beginning was to advertise Greece and Mykonos to the rest of the world. I am not doing it for the money. Mykonoslive-tv has several backers, but it does not get paid for the exclusive videos it does,” Nazos told Greek Reporter.

“We respect the privacy of the celebrities, but when they come to Mykonos they know beforehand that paparazzi will be following them for photos and videos.”

He adds that his subject matter is not just lifestyle. He has also been highlighting the social and environmental problems that Mykonos is facing.

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