The faces leading Armenia and Cyprus’ Creative Industry

The faces leading Armenia and Cyprus’ Creative Industry

Hey everyone, I’m Katie Bedrossian! You’re probably wondering where that long surname comes from. It’s Armenian! Some Armenian creatives you may know of include Kim Kardashian and Cher but there are so many more out there. There’s also many talented Cypriot creatives out there. I’m here to shine a light on these talented creatives..but first let me tell you a bit about myself. 

So I’m Katie, a social impact advocate passionate about my Armenian heritage. You might be wondering where Armenia is. It’s a beautiful country in the middle east known for its amazing sights, churches, people and the food is the best part! I could write a whole piece just on Armenian food alone, but we will save that for another time. 

Alongside my Armenian background, I am also an advocate for my Cypriot heritage and connecting diverse Cypriot communities. As someone who comes from a family of refugees that fled to Cyprus after the Armenian Genocide  and later to the UK,  this has always inspired me to tell stories of often marginalized communities. 

I’m a bubbly person with a big energy for life and I can also be a deep thinker (I blame that on me studying Sociology at uni). I am very much driven by social impact and using my creativity to share important stories like this article I’m writing now! 

My creativity is explored in different ways through poetry, events, creating content, dance, webinars, and podcasts. I aim to leave the world in a better place than when I found it. Throughout my work one thing is always there: my desire to have impact and shine a light on diverse voices. Now that intro is out the way, let’s dive into this article properly and see what Armenian and Cypriot creatives to look out for…

Find insta: Garen Tchobanian Co-Founder of AZAT MARD

First up, we have ‘AZAT MARD,’ which is a cool Armenian men’s clothing fashion company by Armenian Co-Founder Garen Tchobanian alongside his business partner  Neil Malhotra . The words ‘AZAT MARD’ translates to ‘Free Man/People.’ Garen used to represent Armenia’s football team with a business and fashion background. The aim behind this fashion brand was to create comfortable clothing for men that also looked fashionable. Their experience of fashion and personal journey led to the creation of ‘AZAT MARD.’ 

Many celebrities like KSI, Anthony Joshua and Cristiano Ronaldo have been spotted wearing the clothing. It’s so good to see an Armenian fashion brand thrive with unique graphics on different products.

There’s the number 610 printed on most of the clothing which is a reference to the date AZAT MARD was made (6th October). I love the different graphic designs on the t-shirts and caps. One of my favourite designs is the t-shirt with Ararat brandy  , food and Mount Ararat. If you’ve never had Armenian brandy, it’s very strong!

I love the thought and detail that has gone into this authentic clothing brand. There are also some interesting graphic prints of various Armenian artists including boxer  Kirk Kerkorian and French-Armenian artist Charles Aznavour There are hubs in New York, South of France, and Los Angeles. Go check out their website and start supporting this Armenian brand! 

Jessie Bedrossian

Next up we have Jessie Bedrossian. So you noticed the surname is the same as mine right? That’s because she’s my sister! 

Jessie Bedrossian is an Armenian actor who has recently finished shooting a film playing the supporting lead opposite Danny Dyer, and ended last year performing a lead role at Shakespeare’s Globe. Hard to summarise how talented she is without writing a full-on essay, but I’ll try to keep it brief. 

So what is she doing at the moment? She’s in post-production on a short film, ‘Pomegranate,’ which she starred in and co-produced. The film explores an intergenerational Armenian family living in the UK, and the rippling effect of denied trauma from the Armenian genocide. Jessie can also be seen in season 8 of  ITV’s Grantchester (available now on ITV hub), and she will shortly be seen in the Bush Theatre’s ‘Protest Series’, which will be streamed online. 

She is passionate about creating and championing minority artists and underrepresented stories within the arts, and is currently developing her first short which explores her Armenian culture and heritage. So go check out her stuff and support! Can’t wait to see what’s next in store for her. (Keep shining sis!)

Elen Yeremyan (also known as Brunette):  Armenian Singer and Eurovision Song contest 2023

Elen is an Armenian singer. Her career with music started from an early age. She released single ‘’Love the Way You Feel,’’ and also represented Armenia at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2023 with a song she wrote called ‘’Future Lover.’’Her performance was beautiful and she also is part of Project 12, which is a band in Armenia known for great music. They performed when I was in Armenia last year and it was a lovely evening dancing and hearing different songs as well as remix versions of other songs. 

Andre Spight: Armenian Basketball, Sportsperson and Gold Medallist 

Andre is Armenian from America, and is part of the Armenia National Basketball Team helping them to win during FIBA European Championship and was recently featured on MIASEEN meaning ‘’Together’’ (an Armenian led platform that shares news on the community). Andre spoke with MIASEEN about his sports experience, career journey and what motivates him, with a big part of his motivation coming from his mother. Alongside this, he also has a tattoo of Kobe Bryant’s sheath logo which remains an important symbol for him of his personal journey and success.

In 2023, he was part of the Pan Armenian Games for the third time and spoke about previous success stories, and representing black Armenian communities. It’s great to see an athlete like Andre thrive.  

Ruben Koulaksezian: Founder of Little Armenias 

Ruben is a French-Armenian creative who created a travel guide helping Armenian diaspora communities to find Armenian attractions around the world. This is something that I think is so important as it allows us to see lovely Armenian places across the globe that we probably didn’t know about before. Even the name itself is cute. Ruben explains more detail in ‘Armenian Weekly’ about his personal journey and helping the diaspora feel connected.

It all started when Ruben was interested in travelling and documenting Armenian restaurants, churches, and sights he visited. After sharing vlogs of his journey across the world connecting to Armenian diaspora and sights, he began to grow a following online. It’s beautiful to see how many Armenian sight attractions there are in different countries. I have learnt so much just by following his page. Little Armenias was voted best project from AGBU FOCUS in Brazil. (Just to also add in for context that AGBU is a great organisation raising awareness and connecting Armenian communities through socials and events). 

Ruth Ismayelyan: Founder of Radiant Cosmetics, Forbes 30 Under 30

Ruth’s journey is inspiring. She was tired of damage that kept being caused by acrylic nails so she wanted to explore ways to enhance nail growth and healthy nails. Her journey began when she started looking at cuticle oil and making her own one. The results were great as she was able to create a cuticle oil that helped with nail growth. 

She started sharing content on her TikTok which gained attention from many people. Ruth started selling the cuticle oil and made ‘Radiant Cosmetics,’ selling cuticle oil as well as other products. She was on Forbes 30 under 30 and continues to promote nail growth through her cuticle oil which have amazing results! 

Go check out her page and who knows maybe you might even test out the cuticle oil yourself, I know I will be.

Cypriot Creatives

Anthony Anaxagorou:

Anthony  is a Cypriot poet, publisher, and educator. He was featured in Merky Books with publication ‘How to write it,’ which focuses on poetry, literature, race, and class. It also explains the creative writing process by giving advice to new creative writers. This is something I think is important as it’s helping people know how to write creatively.

Some of the themes Anthony focuses on in his poetry,I resonate with especially  where he speaks about the impacts of being a refugee. I felt connected to this piece as someone with Cypriot heritage too.. Poetry is a beautiful way to create stories and Anthony is definitely a creative person to look out for and support. 

Sophia Hadjipanteli: Model 

Sophia is a Greek-Cypriot model that is an active advocate for beauty and normalising being comfortable in your own skin and how you look. She is now the creative founder of the Unibrow Movement that helps overcome society pressures to fix or to hide who you are or what you look like. It’s great to see Sophia be an advocate for beauty and helping build confidence in young women to be your authentic self and not conform to societal pressures. I think this is so beneficial by helping young girls see beauty within themselves and strive to be confident in who they are.  Whilst Sophia gained attention from 2017 with her unibrow, she has become a beauty advocate ever since and a model for Premier Models. She is a definitive role model for the younger generation and has been in many publications one being Vogue and Vanity Fair to name a few. 

B-Young: Singer

B-Young is Turkish-Cypriot who is best known for being a rapper and songwriter.  He started gaining a following alongside other well-known artists of Hardy Caprio, Fredo, NSG, Not3s and Ramz. He also collaborated with Tion Wayne on ‘Last Night.’ His music is a vibe and has a mix of genres ranging from R & B,and Hip-Hop categories.  In 2017, he released ‘’Jumanji’’ which went to number 13 on UK chart. I remember when this song came out, I had it on repeat. His other song ‘’079ME’’  was another great hit. And let’s not forget about his other great tune ‘’Catch Me Outside.’’ This is also one of my favorite tracks. 

Maria Christodoulou: Founder of ‘Root to Vine’ podcast. 

Maria is a Cypriot creative that helps raise awareness on Cypriot diaspora communities by having important conversations on the  ‘Root to Vine’ podcast. It is the first podcast series that is shining a light on Cypriot identity and heritage  through the diaspora. She has had a range of people on this podcast series. It’s great how through having conversations, people are able to learn more about Cyprus, the culture and people’s individual perceptions. 

With each episode focusing on a different theme linked to Cyprus, it shows power in expressing yourself, your heritage through having important talks. Ultimately it’s through having important conversations that we are able to learn more about different cultures. Go check out the podcast episodes!

Hovig Demirjian: Armenian-Cypriot Singer

Hovig Demirjian is an Armenian-Cypriot singer and songwriter from Cyprus.  He started performing in various venues including clubs in Cyprus. He was part of the Greek equivalent to  X factor and came 7th, which then helped him to release songs and do tours. Hovig also represented Cyprus in the Eurovision multiple times.  

I enjoy hearing the blend of Greek and Armenian songs and I saw Hovig perform last year in Cyprus and really enjoyed it. Whenever I’m out and the music is a vibe, you will find me on the dance floor and Hovig’s tracks are great. It’s lovely to see Hovig succeed in his music journey whilst representing the Armenian Cypriot community. 

And that’s only a few Armenian, and Cypriot creatives. There are so many more to look out for and support. It’s been lovely writing this piece and showing some emerging talent out there. I love how people ultimately use creativity in different ways to express themself. The people I have written about in this article inspire me to continue doing the work I am doing. One thing all these creatives have in common is how they use their heritage in their pieces of work. I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it. Until next time, Katie x