Intelligent Greek attorney Emilia Bechrakis burst onto our screens like a breath of fresh air when planning her wedding to top New York real estate agent and reality TV star Ryan Serhant in last year’s Million Dollar Listings New York; The Wedding. Choosing love over all else saw her stay in the USA instead of returning to Greece, and turn down her dream job in Geneva, but she is the first to say that it has all been worth it.
With three law degrees under her belt, the 32 year old exudes an inner warmth that matches her physical beauty, and is renowned for her ambitious streak, her love of her husband, family, and her homeland Greece. So much so that Ryan agreed to have their wedding in Greece and convert to the Greek Orthodox faith, much to the elation of Emilia and her family.
GCT recently had a chat to Emilia about how she met the love of her life, the quest to break into shipping law from a young age, and her experiences on the show.
Where were you born and raised?
I was born in New York and raised in New York, PA, and Athens. I went to college in the United Kingdom to study law, and I currently live in New York.
Where in Greece is your family from?
Both my parents are from Athens but my father’s side is from Mani and my mother’s side is from Tripoli.
Were you interested in law from a young age?
My paternal grandfather was a lawyer and my maternal grandfather was a nautical engineer. I knew I was going to be a lawyer, and specifically I was going to be in shipping law, from a very young age. I have always been ambitious and I still am. I have three law degrees from the UK. I intended to be an international shipping attorney between New York, Athens and London. I came pretty close.
Tell us about meeting Ryan?
I met Ryan at a Hannukah party on the Upper East side that was being hosted in a listing of a Greek Jewish developer. I knew the developer, Ryan came to meet him. I saw him and almost fell off my chair. That never happens. I knew he was the ONE after lots of convincing, but not because I wasn’t in love with him, but because he wasn’t Greek and being with him meant I would never go back to Greece.
What was the biggest highlight of your experience with Million Dollar Listings New York?
I met Ryan before his show aired, so I watched the entire journey and success. It took him some time to convince me to be on the show, but as our lives together evolved so did that. I loved being able to have something in common with him. So that’s the highlight!
What was the biggest challenge?
I am a private person. The challenge is embracing being public. But he is worth it.
It is often said if a couple can survive planning a wedding or doing home renovations, they can survive anything. What are your thoughts?
Planning a wedding is difficult as it is. It’s particularly difficult when you’re not the bride type and don’t really like the idea of planning a wedding. We survived it. But I can come up with way more than those things as a challenge. You just try and enjoy it and divide tasks and set expectations.
How important is your Greek heritage to you?
It is THE most important to me.
Do you feel like you have two ‘patrides?’
Yes, and I feel different in each.
You consistently look the picture of good health, fitness and beauty. What are your secrets?
There’s no secret. I work out, work hard, I rarely drink, I treat my body well and I find what works for me beauty-wise and stick to it.
What inspires you?
People, travel and the arts.
Who has influenced you most in your life?
I don’t have one person I can point to. Everyone gives me a little something. I suppose my husband more so than anyone because I admire his hard work.
What is one piece of advice you have been given that has stayed with you?
Life is moving by so fast so you have to make it count. Give back to others and stay true to yourself.
What has marriage taught you so far?
That nothing is perfect and it doesn’t have to be. You’ll fight but you’ll forget it two seconds later if you don’t hold a grudge. Work hard at staying on the same page. And it’s awesome.
What’s coming up next for Emilia Bechrakis?
Business is booming and we are constantly trying to find ways to expand our brands. Hopefully we set a strong foundation so we can have a family.
What is your wish for Greece?
To have continual steady tourism land to find its balance. Greece is a spectacular place and its people are resilient.
What is your favourite Greek food?
I love Greek salad, kolokithakia tiganita, garides saganaki and I melt for a good galaktobouriko.