I am Tanya Hennessy, and I am different. But I’m also an actor, writer, comedian, radio announcer and Nutella lover.
Can I tell you, it’s so weird to see the words ‘radio announcer’ and ‘comedian’ when describing myself, because they were the things I dreamt about becoming when I was twelve.
I used to dream about being paid to be funny and talk on the radio. I thought “that will never happen to me”, but through hard work, persistence and passion, I MADE it happen.
And you will too, I promise.
You know, in primary school I was the only one who did singing, dancing and acting outside of school. I loved it. I. Was. Obsessed. I didn’t do any sport because my mum couldn’t tear me away from the theatre.
So when it came time to do our Year 6 musical, you would think I would get a role wouldn’t you? Well. I didn’t. Oh my gosh! It was shattering at the time, because I wanted it so badly. I didn’t understand why I didn’t get a role! I worked so hard, and I was good! But did I turn around and go… “I’m worthless and terrible… I’m going to give up on my dreams!”
NO! It made me more determined to succeed.
I didn’t like primary school. I was bullied, the boys didn’t like me and I didn’t have many friends. I was different.
I still am.
When I was in year 5, one of the popular girls decided to have a ‘crazy hair’ party. It was a party just for the cool girls and somehow I got an invite. I had no idea how I scored it, but I didn’t debate it. I was just so excited. Mum did my hair, massive teasing, plaits, bows, colour and glitter spray! It was awesome. I was finally going to be in the cool group, after months of having no one to hang out with at recess.
I turned up at the house and all the popular girls ran to see me. They all burst out in uncontrollable laughter. No one else had crazy hair. Just me. I got out of the car, beyond excited to be there, but when I saw it was a prank on me, my heart sank. It still does, writing this. It really hurt.
It’s only now as an adult I realise that these girls were super jealous and mean spirited. I am almost thankful for this experience in a way, because it made me who I am today!
Funnily enough, all of those girls want to be my ‘friend’ on Facebook or have emailed me saying they wish they had my job!
I didn’t let nasty people take my dream and passion away from me and neither should you! Being resilient is hard… but not living your dream is harder.
Maybe you don’t know what you want to do with your life… maybe you know exactly what you want to do. But if you have a dream, you will get knock-backs and rejections, you will. It’s a part of life and learning.
Here’s my advice to you - success is the ability to put yourself on the line and deal with rejection. It will be your persistence that will ultimately define your success. (Write that on a piece of paper and stick it on your wall!)
Be fearless! Take risks. Don’t stay safe, cause everyone can be safe… it’s your choices that make you unique.
Be passionate and love what you do.
Always be yourself. It will pay off.
Don't be jealous of other people and their opportunities. They will come to you too.
Don't compare yourself to anyone else.
Trust your gut.
Never make enemies.
Don't ever regret, just learn from your mistakes – and know you are NOT your mistakes.
It took me 29 years to learn all of that. It’s good to be different!
I promise it pays off! x