By: Donna Freydkin
For starters, with her flowing blonde hair, Elena Kampouris doesn't look like she'd be the half-Greek daughter of Toula Portokalos, played by Nia Vardalos in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2," now in theaters.
And that's why New Jersey actress Elena Kampouris is beyond thankful that she listened to her dad and put herself on tape to audition for the role of Paris, the daughter of Vardalos and her movie husband, John Corbett. Paris wants to leave the nest. Mom isn't quite enamored of the idea. (Watch our interview with Vardalos above).
"I don't look like a typical Greek girl. I knew my chances were slim. I knew I would get rejected and it would break my heart and I'd be disowned by my Greek family," says Kampouris, who's half-Greek in real life. "Nia looked past the surface and believed in me. I've only been doing this for four years."
By this, she means appearing in Jason Reitman's "Labor Day" and "Men, Women & Children." And just completing her very first magazine cover shoot, despite inclement weather.
"It was very fun. We were shooting out in the pouring rain in the streets of New York. It was freezing," she says.
To make Kampouris believable, she was brunette in "Greek Wedding," and says she's hit the jackpot with her movie and TV families. She's learned that on set, you can't be difficult or precious, and punctuality is a must. Plus, kindness isn't optional, as she learned from working with Adam Sandler on "Women & Children."
"I have a miniature English bulldog named Petunia. Adam Sandler is so cool. He let me go into his trailer and play with his bulldog, whom he brings everywhere on set. He's just really awesome. He plays basketball with the cast and has lunch with the extras," she says.
Speaking of food, what's Kampouris' Greek go-to concoction? "My first dish would be grilled octopus drenched in lemon," she says.
We'll take that with a side of Windex.