Excerpt from a book featuring an interview with Kathryn Eisman:
From US presidents to Hollywood royalty and pop culture icons, Kathryn has interviewed the biggest names of our time, including former US president Bill Clinton, New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, George Clooney, Bono and Sacha Baron Cohen. She is currently the LA correspondent for Network Seven and a regular on the leading Morning Shows in the US.
Kathryn began working in the media as a successful fashion model while completing her bachelor’s degree in communications. She majored in journalism and was named Most Outstanding Feature Reporter.
Days after graduating, she moved to New York where she soon became a features reporter for WNBC’s No.1 rating morning news show, Today in New York, and NBC’s youngest on-air reporter in history. In her four years there, she quickly established herself as a talent both in front of and behind the camera, researching, producing, writing and editing all of her packages. Kathryn proved she was skilled in covering a wide cross-section of subject matters, including HIV awareness, New York Fashion Week, social reform initiatives (including her award-winning “We Beat the Street” series), the New York Film Festival and the Academy Awards.
With her strong professional relationships and warm personality, Kathryn has secured exclusive interviews with a range of artists, including Sarah Jessica Parker, Cate Blanchett, Gwen Stefani, Shepard Fairey, Daniel Craig, Matt Damon, Cameron Diaz, Jerry Seinfeld, Jeffery Rush, Ryan Reynolds, Phillip Noyce and James Cameron, to name a few.
Kathryn then returned to her native Australia to be ‘the face’ of Foxtel’s Arena, as well as the executive producer and solo host of their daily entertainment news program.
Kathryn was recently awarded Cosmopolitan magazine’s award for Fun Fearless Female Author of the Year. She has written two international bestsellers, which have been published in 10 languages and 15 countries, selling more than 40,000 copies in Australia alone.
As a quick-witted expert on popular culture, social trends, entertainment news and fashion, she has appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, VH1’s Fab Life, MTV’s Best Week Ever, MSNBC’s The Abrams Report, ABC’s News Now, CBS, TV Guide Network, Scarborough Country, E! News, Access Hollywood, Extra, The Style Network and Fox News’ O’Reilly Factor.
She is an entertainment and style blogger for Yahoo!7, the host of The Style Networks’ Timid Girl’s Guide to Life series, and the proud ambassador (and former big sister) for Sister2Sister, an organisation that mentors at-risk teenage girls.
Kathryn has also recently founded The Trifecta, a personalised coaching service for the woman who wants it all.
How would you sum up yourself and your career in one sentence?
I create books and TV shows that speak to women (and men) about the thrills and spills of modern life, encouraging us to think bigger, laugh louder and to realise we are not as alone as we might think.
What do you think are the keys to being a happy and successful woman?
It’s about committing to the lifelong search for personal and professional growth and contentment. Personally, it’s to find someone worthy of your love, who loves you back and to surround yourself with people who want the best for you. Professionally, it’s to find a passion that you can commit to and turn into a career. Once you find the people and things that make your heart beat a little faster, a lifelong love slips by in a blissful moment and an eight-hour work day flashes past without so much as a coffee break.
What steps did you take to get to where you are now? How did you get your passion off the ground?
I have always had a deep love of words and language and was fairly prolific writer of poetry when I was growing up. While I was studying communications and journalism at the University of Technology, Sydney, I was also working as a model. However, I found running around from casting to casting and standing around on shoots without a voice (and in a flimsy bikini) to be so tiresome (and freezing) and I desperately sought a way of expressing myself in a non-physical way.
So I wrote my first book, How to Tell a Man by His Shoes. To my great surprise, it became a bestseller and was published in 15 countries, selling close to 30,000 copies in Australia.
A week after I finished my degree I went over to New York on a book tour expecting to stay three weeks. Instead, I was booked on Good Morning America and NBC’s Today and other shows that boasted audiences with more than 30 million viewers. I remember being stunned by the fact that more people where watching me on TV than there were people in Australia! I knew that TV was where I belonged. Fortunately the producers there agreed and after some positive audience feedback, they asked me to appear on the show again. A few months later, I become the youngest on-air reporter in NBC history.
For four years I worked around the clock and dedicated myself 100 percent to being the best reporter, researcher and writer I could be. I was waking up at 3am and going to sleep at 11pm. I interviewed everyone from former US president Bill Clinton to George Clooney and spoke to everyone except my pillow. Of course, what people saw was the on-camera work, but the true effort was behind the scenes in the researching, writing, producing and crafting of a story.
I then followed my heart and returned to Australia where I became the face of Foxtel’s Arena and the host and producer of their flagship daily entertainment show. After two wonderful years of writing the show and interviewing everyone from Bono to Sacha Baron Cohen, I was called back to the US to create my own show on E! and The Style Network: The Timid Girl’s Guide to Life. I also just published my second book, How to Tell a Woman by Her Handbag.
What does happiness mean to you and how do you achieve it?
Happiness comes from celebrating each day and taking delight in the small victories, such as a great frozen yoghurt or walking hand-in-hand with the man you love. It also comes from having a dream for your life and working towards achieving it, no matter what obstacles we are faced with.
That unique sense of purpose is like a light is our hearts, without which the dark shadows of depression, worthlessness and sorrow quickly find their home. My big dream is to encourage us to all find and nurture this light within us, to commit to making our lives that which we dream about and to then share that light with others.
My family jokes that I am the ‘family motivator’ because I’m always encouraging them to craft the life of their dreams, sometimes a little too enthusiastically. I guess my greatest joy comes from seeing the people I care about succeed and find love, adventure and peace of mind.
What has been your most successful moment in your career?
My deepest satisfaction is when I’m with my family. Watching our daughter, Capri, grow into a kind, brave, smart, happy person is by far my greatest joy.
Professionally I suppose all of my ‘successes’ have been born from not being afraid of leaving the status quo behind and pushing myself out of my comfort zone in order to grow, even when it hurts a little (or a lot).
My career has taken me to many different cities and countries, often arriving alone without a clear plan or even a single friend. Rebuilding a life, friendships and a career for myself often without a support network, be it in New York, Sydney or LA, has made me so much stronger and given me a deeper sense of self.
That self-knowledge has manifested itself creatively; from writing two international bestselling books, columns for Men’s Health Magazine and Cleo, creating original TV programming for NBC, Foxtel and Style to winning Cosmopolitan magazine’s Fun Fearless Female Author of the Year.
I’m also very aware of using my skills to raise money and awareness for important charities, including Sister2Sister, and am so proud to have been a ‘big sister’ myself.
I love meeting other women and sharing their clever, wise and witty thoughts and feelings about life.
What techniques have you used to spread your message to the world?
In addition to my books I write columns, blogs and appear on TV shows.
What was the turning point for you to be where you are now and on your path?
It was fairly early in my career when I realised that my motivation for being in the media wasn’t about fame, celebrity or money. It was about telling stories and creating beautiful pieces of work that touched people, if only for a moment.
What has been your biggest obstacle and how were you able to overcome it?
When I first arrived in New York at the age of 21, I did it on a whim and didn’t even know where I would be spending the night. After moving around from place to place in the snow for a few weeks, I eventually found a tiny apartment on the roof top of a dilapidated townhouse. It was a separate structure, not unlike a caravan, and I had to wade through knee-deep snow to even get to my front door.
My ‘shack’ was so cold I could see my breath, the taps froze more often than not and I had to sleep bundled up in all of my clothes, like a babushka doll. At first I didn’t even know anyone and had to make friends and build a career from scratch. There were some lonely times sitting up there above the world I longed to be a part of, but I look back at those times and know that they were so instrumental in becoming who I am today.
Who has been your rock?
My husband Siimon Reynolds has never tried to change me, and has always made me feel that I am perfect just the way I am (even if it isn’t true!). From that place it’s easier to take on the world and even get rejected because I feel deeply loved at home.
And of course my parents have always made me feel as though I have a safe place in the world, each in their own way. My mother urged me to keep going and gave me the confidence to keep going and trust that the floor would appear beneath my feet. My father reassured me that if I wanted to stop treading and just sit down for a moment, the ground wouldn’t swallow me up.
Do you practise gratitude? If so, what are the three things you are most grateful for?
I think the act of practicing gratitude is the single most life-changing habit one can form. It’s easy to get bogged down with the everyday dilemmas or obstacles of life. However, to live in a state of power and prosperity it’s crucial that we focus on our blessings instead of our obstacles. Being grateful for what you do have forms a tremendous positive force in life.
Four things I’m grateful for at the moment are: my incredibly close and supportive family, friends and partner who love me unconditionally and know just how to make me laugh; my health, youth and physical vibrancy; my passion for creating, which allows me to connect with women of all walks of life; and the wisdom to know that we are all ultimately more the ‘same’ than we are ‘different’.
If you could leave one message behind, what would that be?
Be kind to yourself. Women are so tough on themselves and I hope my work can make them see that they are so much more wonderful than they realise.
What makes you happy?
Weekends with my husband and daughter, be it having a long brunch or playing in the park.
Reading my daughter a bedtime story and snuggling up on the couch.
Watching a GREAT TV show or movie eating an ice cream with Siimon.
Pilates first thing in the morning.
Having a girls night with friends I love and trust.
Creating something I’m proud of- be it a book or writing a TV feature…the act of creation gives me so much energy.
LIVE TV makes me feel present.
Family dinners with my brother, sister, parents…it’s always very entertaining!
Describe a typical day in your life.
I always start by walking into my daughter’s bedroom with a smile on my face, and having a family breakfast with lots of music and dancing then dropping her at school.
After that, it varies so much, which thankfully makes getting bored an impossibility. One day I’ll be writing my books, columns or blogs from my home office, the next I’ll be on location in Hollywood shooting my TV series. I might then spend the day running around to back-to-back meetings with production companies and TV networks or trawling through a labyrinth of emails. One day I’ll be in New York on a book tour, the next I’ll be hosting a charity luncheon in Palm Beach, Florida. There’s always a lot of travelling between Sydney, LA and New York. No matter how hectic my schedule, I always keep my family as my priority and book the rest of the madness around that.
Do you have a dream board or vision board? If so, what is on it?
I think my dream board is in storage, which is a frightening thought!
Who has touched your life the most?
My daughter has shown me a deeper love than I thought possible. My husband who I met when I was just a kid and my mother, for encouraging me to follow my passion wherever it may take me around the globe and for always dreaming big dreams.
What is one moment in your journey that you can now look back and laugh about — but wasn’t funny at the time?
Most of them!
When are you the most productive?
Unfortunately, it’s late at night somewhere after midnight, which makes getting up at 7am a challenge.
Otherwise it’s 7am, which is hard when I’ve been up till 2pm!
Who has imparted the best (and most helpful) tip to you and how did you use it?
My grandmother, Anna Reich was a glamorous reminder of what it is to be a woman. She survived the Holocaust, the gas chambers of Auschwitz and Berkinow and somehow came out of Hell with hope and a smile on her beautiful face. She didn’t hold a grudge; instead she held her elegantly coifed head high.
What quote or motto is your favorite?
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” — Frankin D Roosevelt, US president.
Why do you think people are afraid of trying to find their true passion or path?
As we get older and are thrown a few punches by life, we try to protect ourselves from the perceived pain of failure. We’re afraid that if we admit to the world (and ourselves) that we have a true passion and then we don’t achieve it, then we’ll look foolish. We mistakenly think that failure is something to be ashamed of, something to avoid. We convince ourselves that we don’t really want, what we really want. Then one day we start believing our own lie and forget what it was that once excited us.
My father is a paediatrician and I remember sitting down at the beach with him one day watching a baby endlessly attempting to walk only to fall face first into the sand. We talked about just how many times a baby needs to fall down before it finally learns to walk. We joked that if adults had to overcome that same challenge, many of us would still be crawling. I always tell my friends, “If you’re not failing, you’re not trying hard enough.”
How would you describe your journey to be where you are now?
I’ve made the rules up as I’ve gone and tried to be kind to the people I’ve met along the way.
What can you suggest to others to help them find their true passion?
Don’t be afraid of bouncing ideas off of someone you trust. Most humans are naturally collaborative.
How do you stay motivated and focused? Do you have three tips?
Write a to-do list. Make the first hour of work count; it creates momentum for the rest of the day. And when you leave work, switch off; it’s important to be present with family, friends and partners and make them feel special — don’t be glued to your iPhone.
What’s the best way to relax and unwind?
A no-thrills Thai or Chinese massage. It does the trick every time.
What tips can you offer to make life happier and more productive?
How do you find balance in your life?
It was this striving for balance between career success, health and love that inspired me to start Trifecta, my personalised coaching service for the woman who wants it all. I’ve worked tirelessly to find a system for women to follow that guarantees success in all three major aspects of our lives. I’ve seen so many wonderful women achieve their goals, be it building a thriving business, having a job that satisfies them, attracting the man of their dreams or losing weight and getting into glorious shape. I know firsthand that happiness only comes when all aspects of our lives are in balance.
What did your parents teach you about love?
That it’s not something you can take for granted.
What’s the best recipe to overcome immediate heartache?
A hot bath; it’s almost as good as a big warm hug.
What’s the best present you have given to your girlfriend going through a break-up?
I forwarded an article I wrote for my Cleo column about how to survive a broken heart. She read it, cried and then she said felt like a huge weight had been lifted from her shoulders.
Have you felt love at first sight? How can it be explained?
Yes, however with time I discovered it might have been another four letter word beginning with ‘L’.
How do you find time for love?
Love is part of everything I do. It’s not something I “find time for”.
Do you have five top tips for heartache recovery?
Write a list of the 10 reasons why you’re better off without them. Try to get a good night’s sleep. Don’t call your ex to chat late at night (even though you really want to). Distract yourself with a fun girlfriend who makes you laugh. Give yourself time to heal. And do not, under any circumstances, watch The Notebook!
You are a TV presenter, bestselling author and columnist. What else do you find time for and how do you manage it all?
I recently wrote my first screenplay based on my first book, How to Tell a Man by His Shoes. It’s about one woman’s search for her ‘sole’ mate.
You have interviewed some of the biggest names of our time. What has been the best part of having this ability to get up close and personal with these personalities?
It’s wonderful to get to pick the brains of these iconic figures, to learn from their experiences, to see what obstacles they’ve overcome and to see that, at the end of the day, they’re just flesh and blood, like everybody else.
What is the most challenging aspect of being such a young journalist at NBC and how do you overcome this?
Whatever I do, I put everything I have into it. I’m very passionate about work and the things that I’m creating and NBC was the perfect environment to focus and learn as much as I could. I was given so much independence to come up with all my own stories, research them, set them up, produce them, write them, front them and edit them. I was like a one-woman TV station. It forced me to be resourceful and self-sufficient. To this day, I’ve never read an autocue I didn’t write. I do the same thing as the LA correspondent for Network Seven’s The Morning Show. It’s a role I cherish.
I am so grateful for my experiences behind the scenes as well as in front of the camera because I truly understand this business and don’t feel like a ‘talking head’ for hire. But there certainly were times where I had to fight my nerves or pretend to be more experienced that I actually was, now it feels second nature and effortless…like breathing.
You have given many women advice about modern love and life. What would be your best ‘take home tip’ for women out there looking for love?
Look for a man with good character. Looks and money come and go but character is forever. My grandmother told me that and she knew a thing or two about character.
What do you make sure is always a part of your daily routine no matter where you are?
The less I stress about looking perfect, the better I end up looking. I never diet, I try to do Pilates of boxing instead of being bored on the treadmill at the gym. I always take my make-up off thoroughly (even though I despise the process). When I’m not working I don’t wear a scratch of make-up. It’s only a matter of time before I’m in one of those scary “stars without make-up” exposés!
You are an ambassador for Sister2Sister. What is the most important message you can pass on about this wonderful charity?
I had the absolute honour of being a ‘big sister’ before being an ambassador and I saw firsthand just how much of a difference this organisation makes in young women’s lives. It provides teenage girls from ‘at risk’ backgrounds the opportunity to recalibrate their life. It provides them with a friend, a mentor but most importantly, someone who purely has their best interests at heart, someone who believes in them. To be able to make such a mark, at such an important time in a young woman’s life can make all the difference between a life filled happiness and success and a life filled with sorrow and regret.
How long did it take you to write your two books and what did you hope to share with your audience through them?
The books felt playful and were written with much wit and whimsy. But at their heart they’re serious books about people and archetype personalities. I have developed this theory over many years that we reveal ourselves in details. It’s not the grand decorations or who we say we are; it’s the little details that we don’t think anyone will notice — our bags and shoes, the way we hold ourselves, how we answer the phone — that reveal our essence. My mission is to help other women break these unspoken codes and see the world through a fresh perspective.
You have also had a successful career as a fashion model and worked on swimwear and lingerie brands in Australia. What was the best thing of that part of your journey?
I always look at my life as if it was a book and I’m trying to squeeze as many chapters into it as possible — perhaps if only so I don’t fall asleep reading it! Modelling was and is something that always seemed so ridiculous to me. I remember modelling in the Tigerlily swimsuit show at a fashion week event each year, and thinking to myself, “My job is to put on a bikini, get my hair and make-up done, walk down a long catwalk (through water one year and in a mock jungle the next) while people look at me take photographs. Then once I get to the end, I’m to turn around and walk right back to where I started.” I couldn’t believe I was getting paid to do something so absurd!
You are a Sydney chick at heart. When you come home for visits, what are your favourite things to do?
Icebergs on a Sunday afternoon; the Bondi to Bronte walk with my father in the morning; lunch with my Mother in Double Bay; a movie at Bondi Junction; and my favourite, yum cha in Chinatown, whatever is the latest it restaurant I don’t know about with my amazing girlfirends.
What is your passion?
I love communicating and expressing ideas and fashion.
What have you been saving up for?
An amazing mid-century modern holiday home in Palm Springs, California. I can see it clearly in my mind: the pool, the deck chairs, the chandeliers. It’s sort of my obsession.
What are some of the perks to your job?
Travel, meeting new people (from former US president Bill Clinton to Sarah Jessica Parker), writing about the things that interest me and the odd fabulous dress.
Who are some of the most inspirational women you have met?
I find most women to be inspirational.
What’s next for you?
I’m delighted to keep creating TV shows, feature films and books and am now in a position where I want to share my knowledge and systems with other women, so that they too can live the life of their dreams. Because of this, I’ve created a coaching service called The Trifecta (which is used in sports to describe a succession of three wins). The Trifecta is designed to ensure women succeed in the three crucial aspects of their life: career, love and health — and all at once.
It is an honour working with women of all ages and professions and helping them create their ideal life; be it attracting the man of their dreams, building a business, getting into the media industry or getting into those skinny pair of jeans. Together we make it happen. I don’t take everyone on, and have to feel that the women I work with are committed to living a superb life.
Excerpt from book. Who needs Prince Charming is a collaboration of amazing and inspiring women, including TV personalities, Authors, sporting hero, singers, performers, actresses, business owners and more! It aims to give information from inspiring women on what techniques they have used to make their life a success. 100% of proceeds from book sales goes to non-profit.