The World’s Most Important Industry Has a New Captain—and She’s Piloting It Into the 21st Century

Marina Hadjipateras photographed in November 2023 along the East River in New York City. PHOTOGRAPH: ELINOR CARUCCI

Meet Marina Hadjipateras: Greek shipping heiress, successful venture capitalist, and the woman trying to transform the $14 trillion shipping industry.

By Virginia Heffernan

Marina Hadjipateras, the dashing American venture capitalist, has only one word of derision. She speaks it softly and rarely. Conservative. A family can be conservative. An investment, a choice. The way she uses the word, it’s never political. It’s also never a good thing.

The first time I hear Marina deploy her tender curse is during lunch with her brother Alex on the harborside deck of Zephyros, a seafood restaurant in the fifth-century-BCE port city of Piraeus, near Athens. Sophisticated—God, they’re sophisticated, I keep thinking, dimly recalling a line from Fitzgerald. As platters arrive, I’m aware that I’ve never settled on a way to gracefully extract bones from fish.

Marina, a general partner of the VC firm TMV, which she founded with the Iranian-American entrepreneur Soraya Darabi in 2016, is brooking my questions about something else: Dorian LPG, the public shipping company started by her forebears in the 19th century. At the end of 2023, the company was valued at around $1.9 billion. Its stock price shot up 141 percent in the past year. But it’s the company’s history that’s most thrilling, and each version of the fairy tale I hear is more romantic than the last. Marina’s background in shipping, in fact, makes the origin stories of just about every other VC frat house—at Harvard, at Stanford, you don’t say—look like provincial banalities.

Greek shipping companies like Dorian sometimes seem to have emerged fully formed from tiny, rocky islands, as Athena from the head of Zeus. The tales of their genesis constitute latter-day Greek myths whose gods have bold-faced names like Onassis and Niarchos. Hadjipateras is a less bold-faced name, but these days it’s a far more valuable one.

At the same time, Marina’s past and patronym haven’t been her calling card for a long time. At TMV, she ventures rather than hedges, and she much prefers the future to antiquity. Lately she’s been betting on new maritime technology so successfully that, at 41, she was named to Lloyd’s 2023 list of the top 10 people in ship finance. On that list she sits in the company of Xu Bin, of BoCom Leasing, who has more than $18 billion in vessel assets, and Akihiro Fukutome, president of the Japanese leviathan Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation.

As it turns out, it’s not social media that connects us in the 21st century. It’s ships. Shipping is a $14 trillion-plus industry, and the overwhelming majority of the world’s goods—a colossal 90 percent of them—spend time at sea. Marina believes that shipping is good for humans, as to trade with people around the world is to acquire empathy for them. “To see them in their places, to see what they need, what they want. It’s globalization.” And with the ramp-up of TMV’s latest fund, it seems to me that Marina, in her steel-bougainvillea way, is currently orchestrating a one-woman overhaul of the entire shipping industry.

WHEN SHE WAS 11, Marina, whose family had recently moved from London to Connecticut, was on a summer-long holiday at sea with her siblings, her cousins, her grandmother, and her grandmother’s longtime companion, a woman the kids called Roula. This is the part of Marina’s story I can’t stop thinking about. The family never owned pleasure boats. They’d rent a yacht or a sailboat for the summer holiday and cruise out onto the Ionian or Aegean, going where the winds took them. That summer, when it was time for the children to go back home, Marina’s grandmother, the formidable Maro Lyras, designated the girl her protégée. Maro had been closely observing the grandchildren, and had settled on Marina as the one with the most potential.

Maro, Marina’s grandmother, had a steel-trap mind for the compendium of numbers that have defined shipping since the 17th century. PHOTOGRAPH: COURTESY OF MARINA HADJIPATERAS

“She ordered me to stay,” Marina says. “Or—not ordered. She offered me a carrot. She said, ‘Stay for three more weeks, and I’ll teach you shipping.’”

Maro’s husband’s shipping fortune (Hadjipateras) and her father’s shipping fortune (Lyras) both launched on islands in the Aegean. Growing up female in the pious Greek Orthodox Lyras family in the 1930s, Maro was deprived of higher education. At 19, she consented to an arranged marriage with a member of an allied shipping family. Dutifully, she produced four children: John, Mark, Kathryn, and Angela.

Then, in her mid-twenties, she turned autodidact. It quickly emerged that she had a steel-trap mind for the near-infinite compendium of numbers that have defined shipping since the 17th century, from tonnage to nautical miles to tariffs to insurance rates. She left her husband, Marina’s grandfather, in 1979 and moved into Roula’s villa soon after.

Summer after summer, Maro singled out Marina to stay overtime with her at sea. Grandmother would tutor granddaughter every afternoon, teaching her about the global economy, the fair treatment of crew, and how to endure the devilish volatility of the shipping business. Maro kept screens showing the positions of all of the company’s ships—and still more screens showing relevant news. “Knowing her, she probably had her Bloomberg terminal on shipboard then,” Marina jokes. “She kept that thing close.”

Then, in 2000, Maro’s ex-husband died suddenly. With moral support from Roula, whose real name was Irene Dambassis, she and her son John, Marina’s father, started a new company called Dorian LPG. Together they steered it from secondhand tankers to sea monsters with the term-of-art name Very Large Gas Carriers, built in South Korea, most of them by HD Hyundai.

When Maro’s health took a downturn in the aughts, she and Roula retreated to their hillside villa, which looks out on all of Athens. From there, Maro kept a weather eye on Dorian, the ports, and everything that flashed across her Bloomberg terminal. She died in 2012. Marina remembers Roula’s tears at the funeral. “Her love for my grandmother was tangible.”

(About the nature of Maro and Roula’s liaison, everyone in the family is circumspect. Marina’s mother, Lydia Hadjipateras, describes Roula as a “very good companion and friend” to Maro. Marina calls the relationship a “way to embrace their own independence” after marriages to men.)

To raise money for the massive new tankers, Marina’s father, who became Dorian’s chairman and CEO, a title he still holds, proposed something nearly unheard of among family-owned shipping companies: going public. Marina dove in. At 31, she helped lead the firm’s in-house road show, raising $135 million. In preparation for the IPO, Marina also restructured the company, building departments that the family shop never had: investor relations, human resources, finance. She further oversaw the brain-bruising work of making the books of a family firm kosher for regulators.

When she was very young, Maro designated granddaughter Marina as protégée. PHOTOGRAPH: ELINOR CARUCCI

On the morning of May 9, 2014, Marina stood on the balcony of the New York Stock Exchange. Without Maro, she was the sole woman in a cluster of men in dark suits, including her father and her two brothers, Alex and Peter. She wore a dark gray shift dress and simple gold jewelry.

Today, unencumbered by marriage or children, Marina, who is known as something of a heartbreaker, could be forgiven for spending the rest of her life on her own superyacht, in a high-flying sinecure at Dorian LPG, hosting posh -ship-christenings in Athens, where everyone knows her name.

But this would be conservative.

Instead, Marina settled in a two-bedroom on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, where people find her name both forgettable and unpronounceable. She also bought a farmhouse in Amagansett, on Long Island. Soraya and she kicked off a “raise” for round one of a venture fund in 2017. Seven years later, TMV is closing its third fund and will enter the ranks of the $200 million VCs this year.

AROUND US AT Zephyros, kids and silverware clamor and motorbikes cough, but Marina’s voice is barely above a whisper. “When the hippopotamuses quarrel, then the frogs get stepped on,” she says of geopolitical conflicts, including the war in Ukraine.

She’s sphinxlike, at times. I’m starting to think she may have the rare quality that Fitzgerald’s characters called “repose,” a kind of physical self-possession seen only in people who lack neurotic tics like face-touching. Marina never fidgets. And her soft voice is not shyness, I’m learning. She speaks in verdicts. Her straight brown-black hair, ballerina physique, and air of frankness bring to mind a Hellenic Frida Kahlo. But tactically reserved.

Also sharing from our platters of tomatoes, taramosalata, and sea bream is the man Marina unfailingly calls “Mr. Markakis.” A proud figure who can only be described as looking like a sea captain, Constantine J. Markakis runs Dorian’s Greek subsidiary. He’s talking about how nation-states behave like their icons: Russia like a bear, England like a lion, and so on.

The objects of Marina’s word of derision, this time, are the other families from Oinoussai, the island where the Hadjipateras mariners go their start. There are five original Oinoussaian clans—Hadjipateras, Kollakis, Lemos, Lyras, and Pateras—and nearly three dozen illustrious families trace their fortunes to the island. In spite of these accomplishments, several of the Oinoussaian diaspora, in Marina’s view, have become hidebound in their approach to shipping, too slow to modernize and expose their fleets and finances to public scrutiny and investment. Marina’s line of the Hadjipateras clan is, by contrast, “progressive.” Indeed, over 15 decades, it has pivoted unsentimentally from sail to steam, from steam to tankers, from private to public.

Marina’s approach to social equity and climate action is also earnestly progressive. Dorian is known among seafarers for high wages, excellent benefits, and perks for its crews, including cruise-ship amenities like gyms, karaoke, and onboard holiday celebrations. At TMV, Marina and Soraya helped create Transact Global, a network for nontraditional fund managers, mostly women, so they can trade strategies, build solidarity, and gain greater access to capital.

For the past decade, Marina has also served as vice chair of the Intertanko environmental committee—that’s the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners, which was founded in Oslo in 1970 to address safety in shipping. Members of the committee, of course, are still in the “energy” sector—meaning fossil fuels. (The LPG in Dorian’s name stands for liquid petroleum gas, a natural gas that is better than coal but far from green.) But, perhaps to offset their guilt, they concentrate on emission reduction, alternative fuels, ballast water and waste management, ship recycling, anti-biofouling measures, and underwater noise reduction. The shipowners I meet later are now confident the industry will meet the UN’s demand that ship emissions, which account for some 3 percent of greenhouse gases, be reduced by 40 percent by 2030.

In spite of this collective project, I encounter several shipping executives in Greece who talk as if they are above both the climate crisis and the affairs of humankind. “Who cares about Ukraine?” asks a well-heeled exec whose business has evidently been inconvenienced by the sanctions imposed on Russia since the war started. This small-mindedness profoundly displeases Marina, who nonetheless sidesteps most third-rail subjects, including Russia, China, and Gaza.

We’ve finished our espresso by the sea. Mr. Markakis is still talking. Marina’s brother Alex seems ready to go. “Marina is the visionary one,” he says. At this she neither gloats nor demurs. Instead, having made sure everyone at the table needs nothing more, she whispers in Greek to a waiter. The check.

IN THE SUMMER of 2004, when they were both undergraduates at Georgetown studying abroad, Marina and Soraya met in Fiesole, Italy. Though American—Soraya grew up in Minnesota, and Marina went to high school in Greenwich, Connecticut—both women are bona fide cosmopolites. At their first meeting, they drank limoncello and practiced their Italian.

By the time they started TMV, which was originally called Trail Mix Ventures, they had already collaborated to invest in Figs, a producer of nurses’ scrubs and other medical apparel. Founded by Heather Hasson and Trina Spear, Figs was then just a precocious startup, but Soraya and Marina saw at a glance that the market for good-looking scrubs, which at the time were both ugly and scarce, was vast. The company was a sensation. In 2021, Figs was the first company with two female cofounders ever to go public. It’s now valued at more than $1 billion.

Soraya, whom I once worked with at The New York Times Company, introduced me to Marina in October 2016. In TMV’s temporary offices, Marina seemed kind but withholding. Her manner was so non-unctuous, in fact, so unsales-y, that I had a hard time believing she was suited for VC, which I associated at the time with yawping Twitter bullies, with fleece, with the Sand Hill sausage party.

In a transatlantic accent, Marina asked me considerate questions about my life. She also listened, closely. Listening: also not a Sand Hill hobby. But was she listening for something in particular? Could she have been trying, in a way that went over my head, to elicit something, maybe my assets, even, the way the real operators do?

When the tables turned, she told me she’d started at Ohio Wesleyan, transferred to Georgetown, and then attended the US Merchant Marine Academy to get her seaman’s license. In her twenties, while based in Greece and South Korea, she worked all over the shipyards, doing sea trials with new vessels and learning her way around their engine rooms. As part of her training, she practiced putting out shipboard fires.

But Marina was given a seat at the table early on. She has no impostor complex. She can negotiate with anyone.

Well, cool. Actually: holy shit. But still. No jargon. No, for the love of God, techno-optimism. Everything about Marina was hard to assimilate. The usual suspects in New York venture capital—Josh Kushner at Thrive Capital, David Tisch at BoxGroup—come from American families of investors. Their so-called high-conviction bets tend to be bets on their conviction that, wouldn’t you know it, their closest friends from childhood are all Thomas Edison.

Soraya assured me privately that Marina was what she seemed: intellectually on fire. Her family wasn’t going to bankroll her. She was also the rare woman, Soraya pointed out, who’d had a place at the captain’s table since childhood. “In VC, women have to both protect their turf and not look angry,” Soraya says. “We’ve only had rights for 50 years.”

As for Soraya herself: “I was the classic kid of an immigrant. I had my first job at Starbucks at 15 so I could get a 401(k). I’m a scrappy street mouse. But Marina was given a seat at the table early on. She has no impostor complex. She can negotiate with anyone.” And she can also evidently pick startups that will fix the climate, fix humanity, and make piles of money. The so-called “triple bottom line.”

I paused to consider. Marina’s inheritance from her grandmother—the know-how, the fortune—had made her ferociously self-assured. Inside her was a flame. But the rest: Was it greenwashing? I wondered. ESG posturing?

Maybe the jargon, for Soraya, was reassuring. For me too. Now here was a VC. I wished her well, and left intrigued by Marina, whom I came to consider a gorgeous throwback, a woman with a jet-set air of mystery, the kind of figure for whom Coco Chanel once designed airplane-ready bouclé suits.

AS WE FLOAT from one stunning Athenian setting to the next, there is talk of chartering a boat or plane to Oinoussai. But the idea fizzles. By the way Marina avoids that place, you’d think it was, somehow, unbeautiful.

It is not unbeautiful. Ablaze with bougainvillea, studded with blonde maisonettes, bathed in sea light, Oinoussai in pictures is another belle in the wine-dark East Aegean. Though it has belonged to Greece since ancient times, Oinoussai is far north, a kind of offshoot of grand Chios and a distant neighbor of better-known Lesbos. From Athens, Oinoussai is a nine-hour ferry ride. From Turkey, it’s a three-hour swim.

I resolve to revive the option of a private plane later. I can’t let this posh week pass without one chartered Falcon flight to a Greek island, can I? People from distinguished families often take a zealous interest in genealogy, so I figure that, once Marina trusts me enough to boast a bit, she’ll want to show me the homeland, while volunteering that 23andMe had confirmed her as a direct descendant of Odysseus. On the contrary. Not only is she mostly indifferent to Oinoussai, she has never so much as swabbed her cheek for DNA. On her own odyssey she much prefers the dangers to the homecoming. Her indifference to ancestor worship, in fact, makes me wonder whether my attention to my much humbler Irish lineage has something unsavory and maybe vain in it.

I’ve divined the earlier family timeline nonetheless. The Pateras family started seafaring 176 years ago. Then, in late 1868, Captain John C. Pateras set sail on a 150-ton ship from Oinoussai with his son Constantinos, who was then 12. Captain John died on board. Constantinos, who later made the Greek Orthodox hadj to Jerusalem and, following custom, upgraded his family name from Pateras to Hadjipateras, stayed on board as a seafarer. He then became a captain himself.

Back on the island, his widowed mother and his siblings used the money he earned to invest in ships. It was not uncommon for book-smart women to create and run whole shipping businesses while the men were at sea. Perhaps the proximity of Lesbos, where Sappho wrote of the sexiness of female separatism, made matriarchal societies seem perfectly plausible.

In 1905, the Hadjipateras family, along with the island’s other maritime families, saw the future. They gave up sailboats and pooled their money to buy the Marietta Ralli, a merchant steamship built in the UK. Both elegant and mighty, she could carry up to 3,550 tons of deadweight—cargo, fuel, fresh water, ballast water, provisions, passengers, and crew. Then the families learned, for the first time, how to operate engines.

Her interests are not in games or ecommerce or the usual stuff that New York City VCs hunger to disrupt. Instead, she focuses on supply chain and logistics, industries that no one ever wants to disrupt, lest the world come to a standstill.

ANY DOUBTS I’D had about TMV were unfounded. In its very first year, the fund roared to life. Hot on the heels of their bravura investment in Figs, Marina and Soraya raised more than $11 million. Soraya was right: In the event, only a fraction of the money came from Marina’s father. John Hadjipateras really had refused to bankroll his daughter. She preferred it that way. The initial fund invested in Cityblock, a health care provider for underserved neighborhoods; Kindbody, a fertility care service; and Ridwell, a recycling company. All three have or will hit the billion-dollar mark.

A CFO and a creative director would soon join TMV, as well as various high-profile limited partners. The reputation of a venture fund often rests with its LPs. Theirs include former General Electric vice chair Beth Comstock, private investor Kristen Dickey, and Wharton psychologist Adam Grant. Among TMV’s other LPs are the founders of MakerBot, Scope3, and

All the while, Marina has never lost her focus: maritime technology. Her interests are not in games or ecommerce or the usual stuff that New York City VCs hunger to disrupt. Instead, she focuses on supply chain and logistics, industries that no one ever wants to disrupt, lest the world come to a standstill. Both have always been central to shipping. That’s where the margins are, where a company gets an edge. It’s also where reductions in emissions and costs can be made. This was just as Marina’s grandmother had drilled into her in the salty blue haze of those summers at sea in the 1990s.

While TMV grew, Brexit and Trump burned up the Anglosphere, the pandemic hit, and a crisis convulsed the supply chain. The consumer world’s desperate dependence on both container ships and oil tankers was thrown into ghastly relief by increased demand, labor shortages, lockdowns in China, troubles in the Suez, the war in Ukraine. At the same time, in Silicon Valley, the bloom came off the VC rose. Both reckless and conformist, the traditional male-run VCs were exposed as too easily besotted by hypermasculine charmers like Adam Neumann; 98 percent of the companies in their portfolios had male founders. Big Tech spiraled. Facebook became Meta, dropped off the leaderboard. Twitter went up in psychodrama. Elizabeth Holmes and Sam Bankman-Fried landed in the klink.

By that time, when I encountered Marina’s name in the news, I didn’t think not flashy enough. I thought: Judicious. Cerebral. Unerring, even.

The Dorian LPG ship Captain Markos NL, named after Marina’s great-grandfather PHOTOGRAPH: COURTESY OF FOTOFLITE

In 2020, TMV kicked off a second fund: $64.8 million. That one was backed by the rhinos: Bank of America and J. P. Morgan. With a gay woman and a Middle Eastern woman in charge, TMV became one of the first investments made by Project Spark, J. P. Morgan Asset Management’s $50 million initiative to back unconventional fund managers.

Drawing from the new urn of capital, Marina and Soraya invested in 29 companies, putting in $1 million to $3 million at a time, which gave TMV upwards of 15 percent of seed-stage and early-stage startups.

Marina has now bet the farm on the sea. Nautilus Labs aggregates data to reduce per-voyage emissions. Freightify manages freight. Shipskart is known as the Amazon for ships. Portcast forecasts cargo demand. The VC biggies almost always “write up,” or assign a higher valuation to, Marina’s picks—the highest affirmation a fund manager can get.

Last June, TMV invested $1.5 million in Trackstar, a logistics company that offers the world’s first universal programming interface for managing warehouses. Marina is especially bullish on Trackstar. The logistics system as it stands rests on a patchwork of applications, broken websites, and glad-handing deals that glitch almost as often as they work.

Finally, in TMV’s third and latest round, Marina’s first investment made global shipping news: over $1 million in Secro, a US-based company that aims to make managing supply-chain transactions, especially bills of lading, more efficient and equitable. This may sound dull. But ask anyone at any link in the supply chain, and they’ll tell you: It’s about time.

Bills of lading are the legal documents that became standard in the late Renaissance, so we’ll call them legacy technology, from the days when cuckoo clocks were the latest in breakthrough engineering. Bills of lading are issued by carriers to acknowledge receipt of cargo for shipment. Central to the backroom, Cosa Nostra, cartel-adjacent way of doing business among the European shipping families, these bills were used by ship brokers who swapped them on scrap paper at places like Lloyd’s, which was then a London coffee house frequented by sailors, merchants, and shipowners ravenous for scuttlebutt about whose ships were and were not going to come in.

By the early 1700s, the coffee house published Lloyd’s List, which reported on maritime tidbits, including updates on cargo. (“Not a breeze can blow in any latitude, not a storm can burst, not a fog can rise, in any part of the world, without recording its history here,” a journalist once wrote of Lloyd’s.) That’s how the coffee house eventually moved into insurance and reinsurance, and became the massive global insurance marketplace Lloyd’s of London.

Who can resist the quaintness of Renaissance shipping customs? They bring to mind Antonio in The Merchant of Venice, who wouldn’t have run into all that trouble with Shylock had he had maritime insurance. But Secro doesn’t care about history. It wants the modern supply chain to actually work. Bills of lading still account for some 10 to 30 percent of trade documentation costs. “​​The backbone of global trade—the bill of lading—remains stubbornly wedded to paper, causing headaches for companies the world over,” Marina says.

“When we are looking at things that are creating efficiencies within the maritime world and the supply chain, something like Trackstar or Secro is low-hanging fruit,” she tells me one day on the phone. Low-hanging fruit! Now there’s the venture capitalist.

MARINA DOESN’T HAVE an obnoxious bone in her body, but I have to be frank: She travels like a character on Succession, or at least The White Lotus. I developed a crush on her lifestyle. A low-key, silk-soft leather jacket. A black jumpsuit. Art openings, Verdi at the Met, jaunts to see colleagues in Singapore, regular dinners at the Pierre in New York, and high tea at Fortnum & Mason in London (where Marina was nearly born, when her mother, Lydia Hadjipateras, had her water break on a drizzly late-October day in 1982).

Before she left for Athens, Marina felt a cold coming on. She couldn’t afford it; she had to make a presentation to Athenian founders the day she arrived. To preempt the sniffles, she requested a house call for intravenous hydration and vitamins. This staved off illness and jet lag. In Athens, she stayed near the 19th-century Old Royal Palace at the New Hotel, a high-rise designed in a voluptuous, cartoony style by Brazilian architects.

The Hadjipateras family driver, a friendly man named Costas Coletsis, is dispatched on the day we arrive to inch Marina and me through demoralizing city traffic to various swank events. “Marina is exactly like Yaya,” he tells me when we first meet. He knew Maro well. “Marina is smart. A woman for business.”

When I’m alone with Costas, we don’t talk about Marina. Rather, he briefs me on Greek shipping luminaries. Inevitably we touch on the ballbusters, including Aristotle Onassis, who gave the “O” to Jackie O when she married him after her first husband died; Stavros Niarchos III, who once dated Mary-Kate Olsen; and Konstantinos Boulis, who sold 11 casino ships to corrupt American lobbyist Jack Abramoff in 2000 and then was murdered by a hit man with alleged mob connections. (Macabre gossip about the Greek shipping magnates goes back a long time. A 1970 New York Times headline about Niarchos’ grandfather, the first Stavros Niarchos, reads, “Niarchos Denies Injuring Wife and Attributes Death to Drugs.”)

Before I go to dinner with an executive at Latsco Shipping, Costas reminds me that Paris Latsis, whose grandfather founded Latsco, was briefly engaged to Paris Hilton. I like the double Paris. There’s something rhythmic to Athenian gossip, with TV-star names merging with Greek phonemes and the names of islands, ships, and ancient philosophers. When I told Marina I was cottoning to this rarefied chatter, she urged me to subscribe to TradeWinds for global shipping news. How else to follow every twist and turn in shipboard sexual abuse cases or Maersk’s quest to acquire ammonia tankers?

I’M A GADFLY: I keep asking about Oinoussai, which I’ve come to believe is the key to everything. Mostly I hear folklore. The island is so stony that Oinoussaian bees have to make their honey in rocks—and it’s all the sweeter for that. From Marina’s father I learn that some Oinoussaians are so unworldly that a group of nuns on the island once mistook a water-skier for Jesus walking on water.

A 1979 Times piece further describes the island as benighted and loveless, with winter wind screaming through the shutters of the villas. In a touch that would seem indecent today, the journalist notes a “recurrent physiognomy … heavy, dark eyebrows, aquiline nose, piercing dark eyes, square jaw, and solemn expression.” This physiognomy, the Times concluded, was “bred by generations of intermarriage” among the few hundred islanders.

In a paper about the achievement of the Greek shipping families, business professor Alexandros M. Goulielmos passes on a saying: “The harder the life in an island, the more people go to sea, and the more people become shipowners!”

Like her grandmother, she does not consider herself beholden to tradition, let alone to the patriarchal and literally incestuous moral codes of Oinoussai.

Over Marina’s global life, the island still casts a shadow. Somehow related: She has no pressing desire to settle down with a partner. Her parents divorced when she was only 3 years old, and she remembers the loneliness. She dates when she wants but feels happiest at her weekend house on Long Island, one-on-one with her dog, a schnauzer–shih-tzu mix named Scooby.

Marina and her pup Scooby, a schnauzer–shih-tzu mix. PHOTOGRAPH: ELINOR CARUCCI

She describes her early childhood to me at yet another sumptuous dinner in Athens, this one with her uncle, Mark Hadjipateras, and his wife, the filmmaker Valerie Kontakos. Mark is a successful artist, with a set of 34 glass mosaics at the 28th Street subway station in Manhattan. (Marina’s aunt, Kathryn Hunter [née Aikaterini Hadjipateras], is an actor who recently appeared in Poor Things with Emma Stone.) Marina’s description of her parents’ divorce seems to make Mark and Valerie uneasy, as if divorce were still something one spoke of only pas devant les enfants.

Marina does not rush to lessen her family’s discomfort. Her experience of her childhood is her own. Her sorrows are her own. Her romantic life is her own, and her ambitions. Like her grandmother, she does not consider herself beholden to tradition, let alone to the patriarchal and literally incestuous moral codes of Oinoussai.

I’m reflecting on Marina’s personal sovereignty as she and I survey the ruins of the ancient Agora, walking among the broken colonnades where Socrates once badgered his students. She seems to be getting irritated, ever so slightly, with our private tour guide. Just as he’s explaining Socrates’ way of leading people by bedeviling them, she breaks in.

“I think you should lead by example,” she says.

I’ve never heard Marina interrupt anyone before. But I’m no longer surprised when she surprises me. Marina will be skeptical of a company—right before she’s all in. She’ll seem content with a new girlfriend—and then break up. After shadowing Marina for months in New York and Greece, after discussing her at length with her parents and siblings and extended family, I find her air of mystery somehow, mysteriously, intact.

“That’s leadership,” she’s saying to our guide. “It’s not treating people like you’re above them. Looking down on others: That’s something I really don’t like and haven’t liked throughout my life.” Thus she refutes Socrates.

Virginia Heffernan is a contributor at WIRED.