Introduce yourself! Who are you? I’m Esther. I’m an actress, artist, creator at the Box Collective, and the artistic director of Piece of Yourself LLC.
What is one thing no one really knows about you? I write poems when I’m in love or home sick and usually only then.
Did you always know what you wanted to do as a career? Yes. As a child I loved making up stories and playing all the different characters within them. However life took me somewhere totally different at first. I studied Business Administration and founded a company, which turned out to be really successful and simultaneously made me realize how much I missed art and acting in my life. Hitting this point of feeling like I’m in the wrong life, gave me the courage to follow my passion: acting.
Were you scared to start the process? Yes. I remember the first time I went to a class, I just sat outside the door and listened. It was a Meisner class (which is an acting technique) and it sounded like total soul exhibitionism, people just openly confronting each other. But it made me curious and I become a regular.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? Root yourself. I tend to have so many ideas and creative input that it becomes really necessary for me to physically ground myself, in the form of running or yoga and movement.
Do you remember a specific time you overcame adversity? Starting the process to apply for drama school and not having the back of my family. No one understood me, I knew I needed to do it and trust this seed in myself.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned along the way? Be kind to everybody.
Looking back, what would you say to 16 year old you? You are loved and worthy of all the love!
Have you ever had anyone doubt you? How did that make you feel? Yes. It made me decide that sometimes you walk a few steps alone and honor your dreams. People can only relate as far as they dared to experience themselves. It’s not even personal if they doubt you, so I think I became wiser in choosing who I’m sharing my dreams with.
What message do you think every woman should hear? You have a unique gift. Trust it. Nourish it. Let yourself be inspired, and follow your path.
Have you always had confidence in yourself? No. I had a big crises with the age of 16 and it took me years to find peace in myself and have confidence in friends, women, and in myself with women. Now that’s my gem, sisterhood.
What do you love most about yourself? That I can make friends wherever I go. (My best friend in NY would sing this to me about me, and I believe her now).
What motivates you most? To connect with humans through stories, through being alive, empathic, creative.
How do you manage your work-life balance? I love my work and feel very lucky when I am deeply involved in a project. That is life for me. Uncertainty is the harder part.
What do you do on a daily basis to grow and move forward? I move, practice Neutral American Accent and look at plays, monologues, work of other artists that inspire me. Also, I started a writing practice; I’m writing my first play.
Do you have a mentor? If so, what did they teach you? I was lucky enough to study with Elizabeth Kemp, who introduced me to perceive theater as an art of ritual, an offering. Also Kaariina Saariinen, is a grandmother shaman who I work with and who really supports and inspires me to stay true to myself.
What is one thing people would be surprised to hear about you? I’m an open book. I write a gratitude list every day and note five things that made me happy that day.
Where do you find inspiration? Everywhere. Humans. Mostly in wild cities like NYC, or Berlin, where art, different cultures, all sorts of people mingle together. On the other hand, nature is a huge source of inspiration too. Books, movies, theater, music, life is full of inspiration.
Esther Artner is an actress, artist, creator at the Box Collective, and the artistic director of Piece of Yourself LLC.