Born on 25 August 1973, Nico Panagio's full name is Nicolaos Panagiotopoulos (Nicolas Panah-Jio-Topless) and although he carries it with pride, for practical reasons, as his public profile, he uses the stage name Nico Panagio (nicoh pana-jio). He was raised and schooled in Pretoria, South Africa and matriculated at Pretoria Boys High after which he went on to complete his national service in the South African Navy. Following this, he spent 5 years in the corporate industry, during which time he earned a diploma in Business Management followed by a Drama diploma at the School of Method Acting in Pretoria. Spanning a period of 17 years to date, he has had the pleasure and privilege of working on various platforms of the entertainment industry, from theatre to soaps, TV series’, magazine and reality shows as well as feature films for the big screen.
His first ever stage performance was at the age of 12, as one of the princes in the PACT production of the King & I, alongside Joe Stewardson & Judy Paige at the Pretoria State Theatre. After his drama studies he continued with theatre work and has performed on various stages around the country as well as numerous arts festivals from KKNK, Inniebos and Cultivaria to the Artscape Theatre in Cape Town. His most formative technical training he attributes to his time spent performing in various TV productions. He started out in shows like Egoli & Generations after which he was offered the lead role of George Kyriakis in 7de Laan. He spent 5 years there, honing his skills, and then decided to venture into the exciting world of freelance film and television work.
He spent the next few years exploring the industry and was privileged to be offered lead roles in various television series’, most notably the mini series ‘Ella Blue’ for MNET as well as 4 seasons (to date) of ‘Vallei van Sluiers’ for Kyknet where he featured as the romantic lead. He also explored his darker side when he played the villain in Zone 14 as the drug lord ‘Mr Big’ as well as playing the high rolling con man Jason Parker in MNET's 'The Wild'.
In between acting gigs, he joined local iconic magazine show, Top Billing as one of the hosts. Having spent many years as a master of ceremonies, he slipped into the role of presenter very comfortably. Top Billing involves traveling the globe and indulging in all kinds of exotic and adventurous exploits like skydiving, swimming with sharks, bungy jumping and interviews with celebrities around the world. In 2010 Nico was asked to be the host of Survivor South Africa (the local version of this world renown show) and he has hosted the last 3 seasons in Mocambique, Maldives and South China Sea.
Apart from his television series work, he starred in various roles in small independent films but his big screen film debut was the Franz Marx production ‘Susanna van Bilton’, in which he played supporting lead as the rogue music agent alongside Karen Zoid. His film-work was highlighted by the 2012 blockbuster romantic comedy ‘Semi-Soet’ where he played the romantic lead in role of the millionaire, corporate-takeover, mastermind ‘the Jackal’, who discovers that money is no match for true love. This film hit record sales on all platforms and earned him a SAFTA Best Actor nomination and is currently available on iTunes worldwide.
In 2014 he teamed up with Semi-Soet co-star Louw Venter, as lead actor in the Light & Dark Films feature 'Konfetti'. This is a bilingual romantic comedy and the was shot on location in Cape Town and was released in February 2014. Also released in the same month, was the Comedy ‘Vrou Soek Boer’ in which he plays the romantic lead alongside Lika Berning (of ‘Liefling’ fame). The feature was shot on location in the small, farming town of Wakkerstroom in Mpumalanga. In 2014, Season 5 of MNET’s Survivor SA was also flighted, with Nico as host for the 3rd time, as well as Season 3 and 4 of the Afrikaans KykNet Series Vallei Van Sluiers. It was nominated by Huisgenoot's 2015 Tempo awards in the 'TV Series of the year: Drama and Sitcom' as well as Nico being nominated as 'Actor of the Year: Drama and Sitcom'.
In 2015 he hosted KykNet's 'Afri-Visie' - a national television song writing competition and he also Co-Produced MNET's new reality show 'Power Couple'. Nico decided to get involved on the producing side of the business and he procured the format for this brand new reality show which was conceptualised in Israel. Power Couple is a huge hit in Europe, Israel and South America and this will be the first English language version of the show which hits SA screens in September 2015. He partnered with friend and associate Handrie Basson from Afrokaans to produce the show for DSTV's premium platform MNET.
Nico is the co-owner of an import / export and commodities trading business and he is the Chairman of Missing Children SA an NPO which works closely with the authorities to locate children that have gone missing.

He is addicted to trail running and an avid mountain biker and surfer, as well as a coffee aficionado, lover of chocolate and drinker of fine red wine & Irish whiskey. Most importantly, he is a devoted Christian and husband - married to his soul mate Christi Panagio and has 2 gorgeous adopted daughters, Evah and Shay.