Becky Hunter-Kelm spoke with actor, writer, speaker, comedian and mum of three, Olga Thompson about her dramatic encounter with God, a breakdown during early motherhood and how she lives out her faith in the comedy and entertainment space  


Ever since she can remember, Olga has loved to make people laugh. When you initially land on Olga’s Instagram account @big_fat_greekmother (which has over 50K followers) or her TikTok (over 15K followers), you can’t help but start chuckling at her hilariously relatable reels about texts from teenagers, her ‘then and now’ takes on parenting, and the adventures of her character Adroulla (the influencer with far-too-much-fake-tan). When you dig a little deeper into Olga’s social media content, however, you find refreshingly honest stories about life behind the screen and encouraging messages to help us stop comparing ourselves to others, and reminding us that we have been fearfully and wonderfully made. 

Discovering God is real 

Olga grew up in a Greek Orthodox family in the UK and was raised by her grandmother while her parents worked. As a child, Olga had a traditional view of God. She explains: “My perception of God wasn’t about a relationship; he was more like this distant patriarch I could never quite reach.” 

As well as being severely bullied throughout school for not speaking English ‘properly’ and for being different, she went on to struggle with her mental health as a teenager. However, she always had a niggling feeling deep down inside that there was more to God. 

Finally, at age 17 and alone in her bedroom, Olga decided she needed to know whether God was real. She laid out her Greek Orthodox icons on her bed and prayed the prayer that would change the course of her life: “God, either you’re real or you’re not. If you’re really the God of the universe, show me!” 

She says: “Immediately God’s presence filled the room. His love and power overwhelmed me. I immediately called my best friend, whose dad was a pastor. They’d been praying for me for years, and together they led me in a prayer of commitment to Jesus. I changed overnight – even my appearance.” 

I feel a bit like John the Baptist; I wander around encouraging people and figure it out as I go 

God then gave Olga revelations through scripture, and she found she couldn’t get enough of His word. She hid her Bible under her bed and read it at every opportunity.  

From finding a career, to marriage and traumatic childbirth 

Olga’s new life in Christ flourished as she plugged into church and youth groups. She studied at Kensington Temple School of Creative Ministry, and then joined the Riding Lights theatre company in Yorkshire as an actor.  

Olga went on to become a youth pastor before going on a short-term mission trip to Beirut in Lebanon in 2001. While there, she wept and wept, and knew God was asking to stay. So, she moved there permanently, and while there met her husband, Paul. Olga and Paul spent a total of five years serving in Beirut in sport and drama ministry with the Echoes of Service to the Evangelical School for Girls and Boys. They were engaged within three weeks and married three months later – and they’ve just celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary.  

She says: “I always said to God, ‘I need you to find my husband! I can’t do it, I don’t know who to trust or how to navigate all this, so please bring him to me, Lord!’ He is so good and so faithful – he did it!” 


When Olga had her three sons she stopped performing for a season. After three traumatic births and the resurgence of some past trauma, she suffered a breakdown after the birth of her third child.  

“I was delusional and obsessive; I suffered panic attacks – it was really bad. But God brought me through with the love of my husband, Christian friends and my doctor. God used medicine to heal me.’” 

A new creative outlet opens up opportunities 

Although Olga’s Instagram account (launched in 2016) serves as the shopfront for all the elements of her career, she never explicitly set out to become a social media content creator. It happened after she recovered from her breakdown, and she started to think about how she could continue to show up as an actor while being a mum at home.  

“I love performing and making up characters that make people laugh, so I started making little videos. And people liked them. The opportunities began coming in, and it just grew from there.” 

From performing at Katie Piper’s house to being on BBC3, on the radio and in theatre, Olga is thankful for her rich and varied career so far. 

Things didn’t get going for me until I reached my 40s and emerged from my breakdown 

“When God opens up doors, I walk through them. I’m always sidestepping and hustling. I feel a bit like John the Baptist; I wander around encouraging people and figure it out as I go. I still don’t know where I am going. I’m still thinking about what I want to do when I grow up, to be honest!” 

One of Olga’s favourite projects was touring her comedy musical El Greco at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. She wrote the hilarious El Greco all about her childhood growing up in a hair salon in the 1980s in North London. Olga and her colleagues are now developing it as a podcast and TV show.  

Olga serves as an ambassador for anti-bullying charity Kidscape, where she gets to advocate for safe communities for all children. She also recently filmed all of the teaching content for the Christians against Poverty Money Course ( which teaches people how to budget and manage their money. 

Life as a late bloomer 

Whether on stage, on Instagram or in-person, Olga shows up as her authentic self, a woman secure in who she is and full of the love of Christ. “I don’t force my faith on anyone. I’m just me. I release little videos where I encourage people; they are gentle and honest and God is in them. I pray before my shows.  

“God has given me specific prophetic words for people  – even strangers. I once told a stranger on the tube that God wanted her to know that he loved her very much. When I told her she melted, burst into tears and said thank you. I saw into her soul and knew how much that word meant. It was humbling.  


“I share my story with people about how God rescued me. It’s the same with my boys. When they were little, I did ‘all the right stuff’ like read the Bible with them and take them to Sunday school. Now I model my faith to them. I say sorry when I mess up. I ask them for prayer when I’m struggling.” 

Like many in the online world, Olga has experienced some trolling but, amazingly, never once about her faith. “I’ve got thicker skin now that I’m in my 40s. I know who I am. I feel like a late bloomer sometimes. Things didn’t get going for me until I reached my 40s and emerged from my breakdown. Now I feel freer, I’m more creative and I’m funnier! God often gives me creative ideas through dreams – that’s how I come up with all of my mum comedy sketches.” 

Now I feel freer, I’m more creative and I’m funnier! 

Olga recognises there are women in the Church (particularly of around her age) who are grieving the life they thought they would have.  

“I know what that feels like. To be honest I thought I’d have a TV show by now! For me, everything has been slow. Growth is slow. I have felt overlooked and forgotten but I am entering a new season. If you’re reading this today I want to encourage you: don’t compare yourself to me or anyone else. No matter your story or your age, this is your beginning. Look at your lane and what God has for you; it’s something even more incredible than your wildest dreams! You haven’t missed it!” 

The story of Sarah in the Bible is significant for Olga (see Genesis 16-23). Sarah had longed for a child all her life. And when it was finally time for God’s promise to come to pass, nothing could stop it. Olga has peace knowing she is right where she is supposed to be, even in the waiting.  

Olga is no stranger to lack either; there have been weeks and months when she hasn’t had enough paid work, but she still shows up and creates content that will brighten up someone’s day.  Olga has been asking God to give her another way of working, but he hasn’t as yet. During the lockdowns, a potential opportunity came up for her to be a Chaplain for the Arts, but the funding dried up. “It was really disappointing but I’m looking forward to seeing what God is preparing for me in the future, because I trust him completely and know he has good plans for me.” 

Follow Olga on @big_fat_greekmother