How a humble, aspiring marine biologist found himself in LA nominated for his editing skills

Los Angeles-based Martinos Aristidou is not your typical Hollywood success story. Born and raised in Limassol, Cyprus, Aristidou’s journey to becoming a nominee for the prestigious Daytime Emmy Award was as unexpected as it was remarkable.

Aristidou, who moved to Los Angeles over 20 years ago, recently received a Daytime Emmy nomination in the Single Camera Editing category for his work on the show Searching for Soul Food.

Despite the significant achievement, he remains humble and even somewhat surprised by the recognition.

“I cannot believe I’m even in this position,” he told the Sunday Mail. “The nomination was totally unexpected.

“Unbeknownst to me and to other people working on the show, Hulu [the show’s streaming platform], sent it to the Emmys and next thing I know I’m nominated!”

The show, which explores the concept of soul food across various cultures and traditions, has garnered nominations in multiple categories, including Single Camera Director and Main Title and Graphic Design.

“We are one of five shows nominated in the three categories, and I have to admit that it caught everyone by surprise,” Martinos said. “It’s a huge deal for everyone working on it. We are literally up against giants, the likes of Jada Pinkett-Smith with her show African Queen and Oprah Winfrey with Oprah and The Colour Purple Journey.”

“The competition is the top of the top, so for a Cypriot to be in such a position it’s a huge honour.”

feature jon martinos is originally from limassol (minji kim)

Martinos is originally from Limassol (Minji Kim)

Martinos, in fact, is the first ever Cypriot to be nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award. He is also the only Cypriot to be an active member of the National Television Academy, with voting privileges at the Emmys.

Martinos’ journey to Los Angeles was far from conventional, as his path was not clear to him from the very beginning. Initially pursuing a career in marine biology, he found his true calling after discovering a passion for film and television during his time in the city.

“After taking a few chemistry classes, I realised that, despite loving the ocean, it wasn’t my path, it just wasn’t for me,” he explained. “At the same time, being in LA, I was constantly exposed to films, shows and everything that has to do with entertainment. It grew on me, and it got my attention and interest.”

Martinos’ first foray into the industry was as a production editor at a local TV station while he was still studying at Long Beach University. Despite initially being more interested in filmmaking, he quickly embraced editing and found success in the field.

“I was never really interested in television, I was more interested in films and features. But I did need a job and I thought that by entering the industry in something that I was good at, more doors would open for me. Plus, at the time, that was the only option in front of me!

“The good thing was that I started editing right away, which is quite unusual in my line of work, since most of my colleagues started as post-production assistants or in stunts’ departments, before they could be promoted to assistant editors and then eventually to editors.

“Gradually, I was hired to work on ever bigger projects. I moved my way up, but it was never a long leap, it all happened over time, which allowed me to get better in a more natural and organic way.”

feature jon searching for soul food, the show which he works on, stars celebrity chef alisa reynolds

Searching for Soul Food, the show which he works on, stars celebrity chef Alisa Reynolds

Searching for Soul Food, the show for which he received the nomination, follows celebrity chef Alisa Reynolds on a global journey to explore the meaning of soul food across different cultures.

Her journey, which took her to Mississippi, Oklahoma and the Appalachian Mountains, as well as South Africa, Peru, Jamaica and Italy, explores how people connect with food, bringing out their stories and their traditions.

“I think it resonated deeply with Cyprus,” Martinos said. “People outside the US may not be really familiar with what soul food actually means.

“Historically, it’s African American food inspired from the cuisines of enslaved Africans trafficked to North America. It is closely associated with the cuisine of the American South. The show, however, takes a more international approach to it and expands the concept.

“I think Cyprus has a deep connection to the idea of soul food, through its hospitality, its traditions, its values and the fact that food is always shared representing a joyous moment for families and friends.

“Soul food is actually food that feeds your body, as well as your spirit. I think it ties very well to the Cypriot culture. We are all about food, as we are all about hospitality.”

The show, at the moment, is not available to watch in Cyprus, since it’s only accessible on Hulu and Disney+. Plans to make it available have not yet been announced.

As far as Martinos’ relationship with Los Angeles, his chosen home, is concerned, he said he was not drawn to its famed glitz and glam, but, instead, grew fond of it over time.

“I did not move to LA to become a star, I wanted to be a marine biologist, away from red carpets and celebrities,” he said.

“I didn’t come here chasing the LA dream, but I feel it still found me and I’m very happy about it.

“What I hope is that my story will manage to inspire young generations in Cyprus, who dream of following their passions.

“I did and, through difficulties and with my plans radically changing, my path took me to the most unexpected and unpredictable places. I wouldn’t change it for anything in the entire world.”