Monday, September 6, 2010

Private Interview with Erika Heynatz

With so many great Australian women who are talented, ambitious and gorgeous we like to share with you the stories behind what makes them the unstoppable forces that they are. We give you a sneak peak into the private world of Erika Heynatz where you can get an insight into what it takes to reach the top and launching in September - Private Access™ Woman the lifestyle and mentoring program that will bring you the latest in style and spiritual substance from successful women for successful women where you can learn how to join the elite club for women and live a privileged life.

Where were you born?
Port Moresby Papau New Guinea

Where did you grow up?
Papau New Guinea, Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Perth, Brisbane, Townsville, Cairns. Dad was a lieutenant commander Navy so we jumped around a bit, which has served me well in preparation for a career that sees me living out of a suitcase and seeing the airport as a second home.

Favourite fashion brand - why?
I’m a huge fan of Stella McCartney for Adidas – active, dynamic and ethically created garments, a strong use of organic fabrics. She is an animal rights activist who is strongly aligned with PETA. Everything she does cruelty free, she takes responsibility for her impact as a designer and an individual, & encourages informed choice as consumer.

Favourite designer - why?
Isabel Marant creates my favourite type of understated chic, sexy separates that mix and match to create a look that is casual, fun & feminine with an androgynous edge. Her collections heavily feature denim, leather, plaid, cashmere, organic cotton and great boots.

Favourite holiday spot – why?
Hawaii – super cheap flights and a reasonably short flight, amazing old surf shacks to rent, perfect beginner waves for surfing, warm brilliant aqua blue water, amazing weather and easy access to great Mexican food and margaritas.

Favourite resort/place to stay?
Copacabana palace in Rio, South America is the perfect old world hotel, magnificent in it’s history, style, incredible service, close to as much fun as you can handle. Swimming in the ocean out the front of the hotel and looking up at sugar loaf mountain with the favelas behind makes it an unusual collision and contrast of visual beauty.

Things you love and cant live without?
Stella McCartney for Adidas Jacket - half my life is spent in workout gear, but this is my favourite lucky green jacket. This makes me go faster, run forever, the colour makes me feel good, and because of its texture, people always squeeze my arm or hug me when I wear it. And I like being squeezed.

Christian Dior Watch- this watch is the perfect timepiece in every way, it spruces up average outfits instantly and I feel nude without it. From the moment I put it on it felt like a perfect match, and I can't count the amount of compliments I receive about it. I run a tight ship, some days in 15 minute increments, so it's the face that gets looked at the most in my life!

Juicer - Part of the daily morning ritual I make a huge beetroot, ginger, lemon, carrot and celery juice. I think veggie juice is the elixir of life and balances out all the other crap I put inside my body along the way. The noise it makes is unbearably loud, a bit like a chainsaw, I think the neighbour must plot killing me when I fire it up at 6am every day.

Tobasco Sauce - to say that I am a chili freak is an understatement. I inherited my father’s love of all things spicy and have a dangerous collection of hot stuffs in the house. Tobasco is the staple favourite, and I use it on everything from toast to fruit and I love the cheap sensory thrill of feeling like my mouth is on fire.

Andrew - my partner in life is one seriously chilled out dude, who really is just happy to be. Not the rose smelling type, but has shown me how to stop and sniff the ocean - or throw me into it head first if necessary.

Music/Soundtracks - My favourite CD's are soundtracks, glorious collections of mostly dramatic orchestral, sweeping arrangements that make simple tasks like cleaning the house or just staring out the window on a long drive instantly more wonderful. A single Man, Magnolia, Monsoon Wedding, Last Samurai (anything Hanz Zimmer) I especially love the brilliant collaborations between composers and artists on soundtracks like "One Giant Leap".

Pens/coloured textas - thanks to my Mum who is an artist, at age 34, I still get coloured pencils for my birthday. And I love it. This year watercolor pencils. I could die in the aisles of officeworks with a smile on my face. And I'm a kleptomaniac - always on the hunt for the perfect 0.5 firm tip black pen (and something to doodle on)

Mini things/Sample sizes - now, thanks to ultra convenience, single serving, fast living, always moving times, you can get anything in mini size or a sachet. Small things packed & stacked perfectly give me the ability to travel light with all the things I love, and it's my way of compartmentalizing & creating order in an otherwise chaotic working world.

Grand Cinema - Escaping into the magical world of film and out of my own head is my absolute favourite passtime. Going to a movie, handholding & lolly sharing, always feels like I'm on a date.
How did you start out?
My career began as a model while I in my 3rd year of Graphic design at university, I began doing fashion parades, which led to full time modeling work that evolved into television, radio and film – all the while harbouring a desire to be a recording artist. I sought out as many opportunities as I could to sing, but wasn’t ever able to give it my full focus until I was offered a spot on “It Takes Two” and the chance to be mentored through musical boot camp. After winning the series, I was signed to EMI and have been writing, recording and producing music since. I released my debut Album “Sweeter Side” this year and filmed my first two music videos for the singles “Kingdom” and “Bullet”.

What do you love most about what you do?
Music has incredible transformative power, I love the creative process of writing and collaboration with other artists and the physical sensation of singing is absolutely joyous! Live television and performance is an incredible adrenalin sport that requires courage, and film/music video creates the opportunity to experiment with character play and fantasy as an artist.

What do you feel is your calling and how do you achieve it through your art and work as a singer? I think creative communication is my calling, as an entertainer I strive to be as generous of spirit as possible, using spoken word or song to connect/engage distract, to shift peoples thoughts and feelings – to be present in the moment. Music is a great way of keeping our stories and expression alive.

What other professions have you tried and when and how did you know that this was your calling? There’s feels, for me, like finality to the word “calling”, and I think I am still very much in the process of evolving and working out where I belong. I don’t imagine I’ll ever be still or have the resolve to stay in the one role. I’ve worked in Design, Modelling, Acting, TV Presenting, Radio, public speaking singer and songwriter. Of all professions, recording artist has proven to be the most challenging, the most rewarding, and the one that feels truly connected to my hearts desire.

What inspired you to become a singer? Did you always know what you wanted to do?
From my earliest school days, music has brought me incredible pleasure, and I have pursued creative expression in every form throughout my adult life. I have always known that I would end up involved in this industry. Yet also knew that it would require patience due to the relevance of timing and the competitive nature of the business.
Who has influenced your career and how?
An ever-growing list of musicians, artists, actors, athletes, explorers & adventures influence my career pursuits and the way I strive to perform in my professional life. These are people who live in the fearless pursuit of their dreams, have incredible courage and determination, enormous creative capacity and seemingly limitless personal strength, determination, motivation and potential.

Was success a choice or something that just happened? What conscious decision did you make to get to where you are today? I have set myself goals, and at times exhausted myself in the pursuit of them, so I think it’s a choice. Some goals, however, have come more easily than others and I’ve realized that not everything has to be chased – sometimes being open, gracious and receptive creates far greater opportunity.

What do you believe contributed mostly to you achieving success? What do you attribute to your success and having reached being at the top of your game? Old fashioned hard work and persistence. I’ve never given up on myself or any one of my desires. That said, I think I have a level of self-belief and faith in the world, instilled in me by a hugely supportive family, which I’m incredibly grateful for.

Who are your role models and what inspires you about them?
My role models tend to be very strong creative women with multifaceted careers. What inspires me about them is their ability to embrace change, thrive in a constant state of adaptation, exude incredible confidence, remain loyal to their passion, act with integrity, and speak with clarity and conviction, while always honoring and nourishing their family and friendships.

How do you find balance in your life and have a successful career?
Being really conscious of making balance a priority through lifestyle changes including exercise, meditation, healthy eating, plugging back into simple (slow) daily pleasures and social pursuits creates a sense of stability and enables me to be present when things get chaotic.

Have you had a mentor along the way?
My mother, an artist and writer has always been my greatest mentor.
When I first embarked on my career as a singer, opera singer David Hobson mentored through my initiation into this difficult industry, and really enlightened me with his sensitivity as a performing artist.
Professionally, my manager of over 10 years, Ursula Hufnagl has been an incredible and consistent mentor – pushing me and encouraging me in the pursuit of every single dream I’ve had. She has always been swift to share her experience and firm in her counsel.

Who would you most like to meet and why?
Wow, another long wish list. Suzanne Vega one of the first musicians to have a really powerful effect on me. The strength of the narrative in her writing completely captured my imagination as a teenager and I’ve loved her songs ever since. I’d love to have her as a teacher, and I’d love to learn her skill of such sharp creative observation, word and melodic mastery. Sting would be a close second.

What difficulties and challenges have you faced to get to where you are and how did you turn them around?
Categorization/pigeon holing – I’ve been on the receiving end of plenty of negative critique and judgment based on my career as model moving into film, TV and music. I’ve experienced the limited vision of others in terms of what I can pursue professionally and their desire to enforce that. I’m always curious to know what bothers people so much about me exploring another role within the entertainment industry? But I figure, stand tall and you’ll get shot at! As long as I have the nuts to do what I want, albeit within a very public arena, I’m going to cop commentary on my choices. I will never allow others to define me or decide what is good for me and I feel confident that I can prove them wrong through my sheer pleasure, diligence and pride in what I do.

Financial insecurity – the only consistent thing about the work that I do is its inconsistency! Riding the peaks and troughs in the financial flow has had an effect on my confidence in the past. One minute you’re rolling around in the crispy greens, and the next your bank balance is a wasteland. I managed to turn that around early in my career by anticipating those times and being practical. I’ve always maintained my financial independence by having an emergency fund, saving a bit and investing a bit. I have a really healthy attitude towards money these days and work towards maintaining a real attitude of abundance.

Do you have a favourite quote you would like to share with us and what it means to you?
The boat my father built and we grew up and travelled on as children was called Different Drummer. This name comes from the quote by American Philosopher and poet Henry David Thoreau:

“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears, however measured or far away”.

This is a strong belief held by my parents; the true celebration and respect for individuality, independent thought and action… and it has become firm belief of my own.

Erika Heynatz xx

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