On the Couch with Helena Merten

Helena Merten AAR On the CouchWho is Helena Merten?
I am 29 years old and I am from the Gold Coast, Australia. I play the Running Woman character on Cirque du Soleil’s show Luzia.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
There is not much that I would change about what I do now. I am so fortunate to have a job that I am passionate about, I get to travel often and I am surrounded by incredible people from all walks of life.

Who inspires you and why?
On a daily basis my colleagues inspire me. Working in an environment where people are so passionate and motivated by what they do is contagious and even after so many years of working with them, I still catch myself in awe of their talents and that doesn’t just go for performers.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I watched a two hour show (Cirque du Soleil’s Quidam) when I was 7 and that inspired me throughout 15 years as an athlete and to achieve my dream of becoming a performer. If can be apart of a show that can achieve something like that, I will feel very fulfilled.

In a broader sense, I hope to make a difference by taking people away from their day to day life and to come and live in our dream world. I hope that they can be be inspired to be more creative, active, adventurous or simply to learn to take some time out, relax and enjoy live human performance and production.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
It’s probably not the answer that you are looking for but being away and travelling the world for over 11 years, I would have to say Australia. I love the great outdoors, the laid-back, open, people and the active lifestyle. We have such diverse and unspoiled landscapes; beaches, mountains, dessert, rainforests and reefs. Otherwise, just to name a few, Cuba was incredibly unique, the Portuguese Islands of Madeira and Azores left me in awe of their landscapes and Mexico for its rich culture and traditions.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to and why?
If friends are visiting me on tour, it would have to be Luzia of course! When my friends from tour will be visiting my hometown of the Gold Coast later this year, I’ll be taking them on my favourite hikes and to our pristine beaches.

What are you currently reading?
I have just started reading And Then I Found Me by Noel Tovey. When possible, I love to read a book about or from the city that we are visiting.

What are you currently listening to?
That is just a coincidence that she is from the city that we are currently touring as well… the first to pop into my head is Angie McMahon.

Happiness is?
Contentment and feeling value or purpose in life, certainly come to mind. So does quality ice cream, friendship and a bit of adventure

What does the future hold for you?
I hope to stay on this path for as long as I am fit enough, passionate and enjoying it. Past performing, I would love to continue in the industry because I hope that my lifetime in sport and 11+ years of performing professionally can be valuable. If it’s not in this industry, I hope I’ll find work or a lifestyle where I can spend plenty of time active and outdoors. Also, if I ever stop travelling, I hope the future will finally allow me to have a pet dog!

Helena stars in Cirque du Soleil’s Luzia – which is currently playing under the Big Top at Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne, until 26 May, before touring to Adelaide (from 9 June), Perth (from 25 July), Brisbane (from 25 September) and Sydney (from 24 November). For more information, visit: www.cirquedusoleil.com for details.

Image: Helena Merten (supplied)