German news anchor Linda Zervakis likes to describe herself as a “Hamburg native with Greek roots.” Due to her family’s experience with immigration and what she calls her “migration background,” she has a frankness around multinationalism and an interest in diversity that she brings to all aspects of her life. Now the journalist and author is taking her passion to a new medium in the Spotify original podcast Linda Zervakis präsentiert: Gute Deutsche.
In each episode, a well-known guest will join Linda to share their family’s story of migration and the formative role of their homeland. The show also tackles tougher topics, like stereotypes and misconceptions. While these conversations at times are serious, Linda always approaches them with her signature lightheartedness and humor. Through deep dives into the culture, politics, and history of the guest’s origin country, the podcast aims to prove that all of us, no matter where we’re from, are more alike than we are different.
For the Record caught up with Linda to talk about what she hopes listeners will take away from Gute Deutsche.
Your podcast challenges people’s perceptions of individuals and stereotypes about the country their families migrated from. Why is this so important?
The podcast is meant to help break down stereotypes about people who come from different countries. Hopefully, this will show listeners that having people from different nationalities in your life is enriching for both people and society.
You’re very open about the background that you and your family come from. What has been the response to that?
I’m often contacted on social media by people who tell me that my story has given them courage. They know that I come from a simple upbringing and that I have made it this far despite my parents’ background. Growing up, I never thought I would be a role model for so many people.
You have a segment called “The Pearl from Afar” where guests bring with them something that reminds them of their journey from one country to another—what you would refer to as a “pearl.” What is yours?
I would definitely bring mixed Greek appetizers. Among them would be white beans in tomato sauce, grilled octopus with olive oil and fresh lemon, and fava, a Greek version of hummus made from yellow flat peas as well as fresh spring onions and parsley. And for washing it all down afterwards: a good ouzo. (Thinking about this made me hungry again immediately!)
What do you hope listeners will take away from this podcast?
I hope that we can bring a lightheartedness into difficult topics and that we can show that a colorful, diverse society is enriching to everyone.
Podcasts have traditionally featured primarily male voices. What advice do you have for aspiring female podcasters who may be nervous about entering this industry?
Believe in yourself and your podcast; don’t let statistics scare you.
If you could have any guest on your show, who would it be and why?
Edin Hasanovic. He was born in the middle of the Bosnian war, grew up without a father, and is so talented and has a great career. To me, that’s more than impressive.
What podcasts are you streaming lately?
What was the most surprising thing you learned while recording the show?
I learned that home does not have to be a place, but instead a feeling. This feeling can arise when you have family and friends around you that you don’t have anywhere else in the world.
Check out the trailer for Linda Zervakis präsentiert: Gute Deutsche below.