On the Couch with Elise McCann

Elise-McCann-AAR-On-the-CouchWho is Elise McCann?
I am an actor, singer, producer and co-founder and director of a health and wellness tech company called Hey Lemonade. 

What would you do differently from what you do now? 
Honestly, nothing. I love my life. I know how privileged that is, but I love the variety of my work; the mixture of creative and business. I love that sometimes I get to solely focus on performing and other times I get to spearhead and lead and be in charge of everything. I am acutely aware of how lucky I am to have been able to forge a career in the performing arts and to have had consistent work for the last 17 years, and I don’t take it for granted. I also have amazing friendships and family and relationships in my life that make everything have meaning. The only thing I want to actively shift right now is finding a little more balance. 

Who inspires you and why?
Ooh so many people. But staying local and immediate I am going to say Lisa and David Campbell for one. They both have incredible careers across multiple disciplines, they each constantly seek growth both personally and professionally, and they push themselves outside of their comfort zones and into new arenas; but they also are a beautiful couple who actively celebrate each other’s wins and elevate each other, always finding ways to support the others dreams. And they have a beautiful family that they make space and invest in. They are peak individual, professional, relational and family goals! 

What would you do to make a difference in the world? 
Big difference – I am passionate about education and access for women and am an advocate and mentor for varying organizations to better equip and empower women to be bolder business and social leaders. 

Smaller everyday difference – I try to be kind and grateful. I find the energy we give to others is a key predictor of the energy they will give to the next person. All those micro interactions have ripple effects, so being generous and treating others as you would like to be treated has the power to shape the experience of a myriad of people you don’t even know, and shaping people is shaping the world. 

On another tangible level, my business partner and co-founder of Hey Lemonade, Lucy Durack, and I built HL to tackle smaller mental health problems before they become bigger. By nipping those smaller stresses in the bud you can prevent them from becoming bigger, and in doing so support people to be more confident, activate their own inherent resilience, and pragmatically bolster people around the world. 

Favourite holiday destination and why? 
I haven’t been on a holiday in soooooo long I don’t think I am equipped to answer! I actually need to be taking notes from others on this question, so I welcome any and all recommendations please and thank you. 

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why? 
I love taking tourist friends on the Bondi to Bronte walk. I love being near the water, you get some exercise but also beauty and I think Sydney is so unique and excellent at connecting nature and water with the urban city. You don’t find that real ‘big city’ vibe and efficient accessibility of resources alongside really epic and beautiful natural environment in many other big cities in the world. So I think it’s a cool thing to experience. 

What are you currently reading? 
I am part of a theatre nerd book club that a friend Brittany Page started and we read a new book each month. I have just started The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida. It is by Sri Lankan author Shehan Karunatilaka and it just won the booker prize earlier this year. 

What are you currently listening to? 
I am listening to a lot of Barbra Streisand right now as I am doing these Barbra Streisand concerts around the country and so rehearsing and singing and just listening to her catalogue. But I am also frequently found observing the genius that is Lizo, Allen Stone and Lianne La Havas.    

Happiness is? 
Purpose. Feeling useful, being of use in however big or small capacity. It can be to one tiny individual or to an entire community or cause. But being of use to someone or something gives me purpose and that is happiness to me. 

What does the future hold for you?
Ooh so many things, and also i have no idea! I have these amazing Barbra concerts over January and February, starting with Sydney on 13th Jan. I am producing on a new tv series that is in development. I am growing and expanding Hey Lemonade. I have some big shows coming up next year I am performing in. I have a few weddings, some friends big birthdays, hopefully lots of time with my family, hopefully a holiday (send in those recommendations please!) and a whole lot of ‘who knows’ and I can’t wait for whatever comes knocking! 

Elise joins Ryan Gonzalez, Katie Noonan and Caroline O’Connor to celebrate the inimitable Barbra Streisand in To Barbra With Love at Sydney’s State Theatre (13 & 14 January), Concert Hall – QPAC, Brisbane (3 & 4 February) and the Canberra Theatre (10 & 11 February). For more information, visit: www.livenation.com.au for details.

Image: Elise McCann (supplied)