Helena Geraci: 5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Became An Artist

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That I could be a multi passionate individual, and that I could pursue multiple careers at the same time. When I was younger, the idea of embracing different professional paths wasn’t an option on the table. One could have one major career and the rest was supposed to be just an hobby. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to travel the world and experience different cultures as that helped me realize that a lot of people around the globe pursue different professional paths, and… that’s ok.

As a part of our series about “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Became An Artist” I had the pleasure of interviewing Helena Geraci

Helena is an Italian actress, from Sicily, with 5+ years of working experience in film, TV and theater, both in Italy and US. She lives in Los Angeles where she is the founder of L.A. Creative Circle, a networking community to inspire and connect artists through workshops and meetups with professionals in the entertainment industry.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

I grew up in the beautiful island of Sicily, Italy, more specifically in the enchanting city of Catania. My fascination with the world of performance began at an early age, as I organized small events to captivate and entertain my neighbors since I was 8–10 years old. In these youthful creative experiences, I took charge of everything, from crafting costumes to meticulously planning the schedule, curating the perfect music, casting fellow young actors, and more. I was immersed into a world of creativity and playing for many years, until I got to high school. These years were full of joy, crafting and exploration!

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

Back in high school, a modeling agency noticed me, and that kicked off an eight-year modeling career in Italy. It was my first taste of the performing arts, and whether I was strutting on a catwalk or stepping onto a stage, I found an incredible sense of comfort and excitement. I caught the acting bug when I turned 20, during my first year of college. I decided to join an acting studio in my hometown, and that experience changed me in profound ways. I stuck with acting for a couple more years, hopping into another acting studio and taking part in various theater productions.

Life took a different turn when I got a job offer in Paris, France. I was eager for a new adventure, diving into different cultures and languages. From that moment in Paris, my world opened up to exploration and travel. I embraced the chance to live in different countries, picking up new languages along the way, all while building my career in marketing. This journey of globetrotting and exploration, which began at 20, continued for over a decade. It was only four years ago that I reconnected with acting after moving to Los Angeles for work.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

My journey to where I am in my artistic career has a fascinating backstory. Back in 2018, I came to the United States with plans to work as a Project Manager and earn the necessary certification for the job, which I did. But life had other ideas. The company that was supposed to sponsor my visa had a change of heart, leaving me in a tight spot during the pandemic. I had to make some critical decisions and find a new way to stay in the U.S. Around that time, I had just started taking acting classes in Los Angeles, mainly for fun. It had been 15 years since I’d been on a stage, and I was craving that creative outlet. After a few classes, I had an epiphany — acting was my calling, and I wondered why I ever left it behind. So, I decided to fully embrace the world of acting once more. I worked tirelessly for a few years to qualify for an artistic visa, making a significant shift from my corporate career to a creative one.

Ironically, I’m thankful that the company didn’t sponsor me back then because it led me down this path of artistic fulfillment. If they had, I’d probably be in a corporate office right now, doing something completely different.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

Recently, I fulfilled a long-held dream by shooting a feature film and playing a key supporting role, in my hometown of Sicily. This dream became a reality after three years of meticulous planning and pre-production. The film, titled “Killer Card,” is produced by Hethol Productions and directed by Giuseppe di Blasi. It falls into the psychological thriller genre and promises to captivate the audience with its adrenaline-pumping storyline. We have ambitious plans for international distribution, with a particular focus on the US market, where we aim to participate in festivals and connect with US distributors.

Additionally, I’m excited to share that I’m also a part of the cast for a theatrical production titled “Holiday Rush!” which will be staged at the Brick House Theatre in North Hollywood, in December. This project, produced by Force of Nature Productions, consists of an ensemble of original short plays exploring holiday traditions from around the world.

Looking ahead to next year, I have several thrilling projects lined up. I’ll be teaching a new course on Marketing and Branding for Artists at Viagrande Studios, the larger Artistic Training Center in Sicily, located in the city of Catania, Italy. Alongside this, I’ll be launching my new coaching program for artists, leveraging the vibrant community I’ve cultivated over the past two years, known as L.A. Creative Circle. The future is bright with exciting endeavors on the horizon!

Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?

I’d like to share something a bit unconventional. While some might be more drawn to the big names in the entertainment industry, I’ve found some of the most fascinating people behind the scenes, those everyday individuals working diligently to make a living as artists. One interesting experience I’ve had involved taking on background roles in major film and TV productions around Los Angeles. I had the opportunity to work at renowned studios like Warner Brothers, Disney, Paramount, and Fox, where I crossed paths with numerous artists and crew members. Between takes or during lunch breaks, I had the privilege of hearing their stories. During my time on the set of “The Joker 2,” I spent nearly four weeks alongside the same actors and got to know some of them on a personal level. What struck me the most was how many of them pursued other job ventures outside of acting. I found their stories deeply inspiring. Among the diverse array of backgrounds were a catering chef, an elementary and middle school teacher, a baker, software engineers, sales representatives, musicians, dancers, pet sitters, hairdressers, and more.

Yet, one story that touched me profoundly was that of a man who experienced homelessness during certain months of the year or whenever he didn’t have background work. He alternated between living in motels and on the streets while also caring for another friend in a similar situation. I found his story incredibly inspiring, highlighting the resilience and resourcefulness people can exhibit to uplift themselves during challenging times. I’ll always cherish that story with me and I wish this incredible man a good health, love and a lot more work coming!

Where do you draw inspiration from? Can you share a story about that?

I draw inspiration from various sources, but the times I felt the most inspired were when I was walking in nature or during road trips. Travelling and hiking put everything in perspective for me, free my mind and remind me how precious life is.

One story that comes to mind involves a road trip I recently took to Mount Rushmore. Me and my friend drove from Salt Lake City through Utah, Idaho, Minnesota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Oregon. The sheer magnitude and beauty of the natural landscapes we saw was awe-inspiring. At our final destination, the Mount Rushmore Memorial, while driving through the Black Hills National Park, I couldn’t help but marvel at the forces of nature that had shaped this breathtaking place over many years. The experience served as a reminder of the incredible beauty and resilience of our planet and gave me the inspiration to reflect on the things I have to work on, the areas to improve or strengthen and also the accomplishments and successes I have had. A great reminder to be humble while at the same time honoring yourself and all the work you have done so far. It also reinforced the idea that inspiration can be found in the most unexpected places, often when you’re completely immersed in the moment. Whether it’s the grandeur of nature, the resilience of people, or the creativity of artists and thinkers, inspiration is all around us, waiting to be discovered.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I’m dedicated to making a positive impact by sharing knowledge and providing valuable resources to support artists. In 2021, I initiated the creation of “L.A. Creative Circle” with the goal of fostering a strong and nurturing community for artists. L.A. Creative Circle is a place where creatives come together to empower and assist each other on their artistic journeys.

To facilitate growth and resilience among creatives, I organize monthly gatherings at different locations throughout Los Angeles. These events offer opportunities for networking, engaging in group discussions, and forming accountability partnerships.

Additionally, I host a monthly webinar series, featuring top notch guest speakers who share insights on various topics, crucial for all artists navigating the entertainment industry. We’ve delved into subjects like self-tapes, auditions, cultivating healthy habits, setting and achieving goals, honing your voice, managing finances, casting, signing with agents and managers and handling the business side of the creative world. Excitingly, I have a compelling lineup of guests scheduled for 2024! I welcome everyone to become part of this community by reaching out to me through email or Instagram. Joining is free, and we’re always thrilled to welcome new members to our creative and supportive network!

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

1 . That I could be a multi passionate individual, and that I could pursue multiple careers at the same time. When I was younger, the idea of embracing different professional paths wasn’t an option on the table. One could have one major career and the rest was supposed to be just an hobby. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to travel the world and experience different cultures as that helped me realize that a lot of people around the globe pursue different professional paths, and… that’s ok.

2 . That if I don’t reach an artistic success by 30, it doesn’t mean I won’t make it. There is a misconception of success being tied to your age, especially in certain countries. Each person path is different and unique and what success means for you can have a different meaning for me or another person. I remember that when I was young I thought success meant having a stable office job, a family and husband by 25. I am sure this is a brilliant success for a lot of people, and that’s amazing, but I soon realized that success for me meant something else: freedom, flexibility and creative space, all things that I am still building. Success is a process for me, not a destination, and that’s O.K.

3 . That you can reinvent your life and career at any age and that’s ok. Can you go from marketing manager to actor when you are 35? Yes, you can! Why not? It all depends on your perspective and how much you decide to enjoy the journey. You can still bring with you all the expertise and skills you have built over the years and re-apply them into a new career. I still use all my marketing and branding tricks for my work, but this time is to promote myself, I am the product of my own business. This time I am the CEO.

4 . That you can be a great artist without be famously recognized or hit theatres around the world. Yes, you are still an artist even if you act in a student film or in a local theatre play. Yes, you still are an artist even if you are not in a national commercial or a film that is screening in theatres. Yes, you are still an artist if you produce your own web-series on YouTube. Yes, you are still an artist even if you took a break to recover financially or there is a strike or you are not booking much lately. You can create art everywhere, and with the technology we have today we can make that happen and share it with passion much more easily!

5 . That your journey is different from others and comparing yourself is pointless. I used to compare myself a lot to my friends’ back home, who, over the years, got married, had kids and bought a house. I used to come back to Italy and feeling I wasn’t “accomplished” or “completed” enough, that I failed in doing something. With time, study and reflection I realized that this is THEIR journey, not MINE. I took a different route with a different pace and comparing myself to others is not going to bring any good. I learnt to stay on my own trail and keep moving forward, with a laser focused vision to keep going UP. They don’t teach you this in school or university, society pushes for a more structured way of doing things and for creative and multi-passionate people like myself, finding your own path could be challenging and time consuming. It took me years to understand this and I hope this message will reach anyone who is struggling with comparison and self-doubt right now. You are on the right path, keep walking on your own trail and you’ll get to the top of that hill you are trying to climb, don’t look left and right, don’t look back, just keep going forward.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I am always shocked by the fact that people in different countries don’t have access to the same education and I wish I could do something to change this! If I could inspire a movement, it would be a Global Education Equity movement!

This movement would have the following key principles and goals:

  • Equal Access to Quality Education: The primary objective would be to ensure that every child, regardless of their socioeconomic background, geographical location, or circumstances, has access to high-quality education. This means building and equipping schools, providing access to digital resources, and ensuring that qualified teachers are available. Promoting Digital Literacy: In the digital age, it’s crucial to ensure that everyone has the skills and access required to participate fully in the global knowledge economy. This includes not only traditional academic education but also digital literacy, which is becoming increasingly essential.
  • Teacher Training and Support: The movement would invest in teacher training and professional development to ensure that educators are well-equipped to provide effective, engaging, and inclusive education to their students.
  • Gender Equality: Part of the movement’s focus would be to ensure that girls and women have equal access to education. Gender disparities in education are still a significant issue in many parts of the world.

By inspiring and leading a movement centered on global education equity, we could address many of the world’s most pressing challenges, reduce inequalities, and empower individuals to improve their own lives and communities. Education is a powerful catalyst for positive change, and by ensuring equitable access to it, we can create a brighter and more inclusive future for all.

We have been blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she just might see this.

I’m incredibly inspired by Dan Levy, both as an actor, filmmaker and a writer. His humor is not only hilarious but also deeply insightful, touching on essential topics with sensitivity. I had a blast watching his TV series, “Schitt’s Creek,” which managed to make me both laugh and cry, evoking a wide range of emotions that I hadn’t experienced with other shows.

I’m eager to co-produce a TV series with a similar blend of humor and heart, set in a remote Italian village, perhaps Sicily! Dan would be the ideal collaborator to bring this project to life. So, Dan, if you happen to come across this message, I’d be thrilled to team up and create something truly magical and unforgettable together! Let’s connect and make it happen!

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This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

Helena Geraci: 5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Became An Artist was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.