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What economic crisis? Greece focuses on porn movie by pop star Julia Alexandratou.
ATHENS, Greece — A peroxided blonde mounted on high heels stalks into an uptown bar in northern Athens, turning every customer's head.
Swathed in a leopard-print fur, she is instantly recognizable as Greece's scandalous new "it girl."
Julia Alexandratou, a 23-year-old minor Greek-British celebrity, attained Paris Hilton-esque infamy overnight when a controversial porn film starring her went on sale across Greece this month.
In the bar, she sat down with me. Beside her was her ever-present, chain-smoking metrosexual manager, Menior Fourthiotis. Alexandratou had agreed to give her first interview since triggering a nationwide sensation with her porn performance. All eyes in the bar were on our table.
"It's a big scandal in Greece, it's the first time that a Greek celebrity did something like this and it got out," said Alexandratou. She claimed not to know that the video was going to be released commercially.
"It was 5 a.m. the day I was told the video was on sale. I ran out to the kiosks and realized it was true," she said. "But I have never watched it. I can't bring myself to look at it."
Alexandratou's x-rated DVD has reportedly sold 240,000 copies since its March 3 release, grossing some 5 million euros before. It prompted the Greek government to investigate her tax claims and the DVD was removed from stores.
Rather than focusing on Greece's unprecedented economic crisis and the harsh new measures aimed at reducing the state deficit, many Greeks have been transfixed by Alexandratou's porn video. And as sex aids and Easter candles fashioned in Alexandratou's curvaceous likeness have appeared on the market shelves of this conservative Orthodox Christian nation, the sensation has sparked a bout of soul-searching over the nation's morals.
The controversy even reached the hallowed debating chamber of the Greek Parliament when far-right wing politician George Karatzaferis pointed out that "3,500 people came out to protest the harsh and cruel measures of the prime minister while 150,000 sped to buy the DVD of Julia Alexandratou."
The publicity-hungry starlet has titillated the nation's males for years with provocative appearances in fashionable nightspots and naked photo shoots for Greek magazines.
Her anthemic 2007 single, "The Target is Cash," defined gold-digging during the freespending, credit-fuelled first decade of the 21st century. It features her writhing over an overweight, cigar-puffing man against a succession of exotic backdrops.
Sitting with Alexandratou is an unsettling experience. Her seemingly airbrushed face is sprinkled with glitter, frizzled blonde hair hangs over high cheekbones, framing vacant green eyes and supersized lips. Her leopard-print coat does little to hide her curves.