Carmen Electra on Doing What She Loves
Ever dream about finding a way to do what you love for a living? In my "Do What You Love" column, I ask people who've done it to tell me their secrets. Here's hoping they inspire you to do the same.
Before she appeared on “Baywatch” and in dozens of movies, Carmen Electra kick-started her career in 1991 as the pop protégé of music legend Prince.
Now more than 20 years later, Electra has returned to her music roots, a dream she held on to for years. Her single "I Like It Loud" premiered in November 2012. From there, Electra hit the talk show circuit, sitting down with Kathie Lee and Hoda, co-hosting with Anderson Cooper and performing live on "The Wendy Williams Show."
Electra is currently working on her full-length album. She tells BusinessNewsDaily how she found a way to do what she loves and how you can, too.
BusinessNewsDaily: How do define your career?
Carmen Electra: I started dancing at the age of 5 and excelled by winning over 100 trophies in dance competitions as well as the title of Miss Dance Ohio. Being accepted into the school for creative and performing arts at age 9 inspired me to try new forms of art. Singing in the choir, studying classical ballet, modern dance and performing in over 15 musicals motivated me to always keep an open mind. You never know until you try! I use the lessons I have learned early in life and apply them to my career now.
BND: How did you end up doing this for a living?
C.E.: Lots of hard work and persistence led me to Minneapolis and Paisley Park [Records]. That is when things started changing for me and brought me to a whole different level in my career. Even to this day, when I am feeling insecure, I remember how Prince believed in me and gave me the chance to follow my dreams. I am forever grateful.
BND: What was the crucial decision you made that led you to this place in life?
C.E.: After recording my first self-titled record and opening up for Prince on the Diamonds and Pearls tour in Europe, I felt like there was another plan for me in this business. Something inside of me yearned for independence. I decided I wanted to try and make it on my own, so I uprooted my life and moved to LA to completely start over.
For a couple years, it was hard and I truly struggled, wondering if I made the right decision. Eventually, I found a manager and started auditioning. I was so petrified and intimidated about the auditioning process and the Hollywood scene. I remember walking out of auditions before going in for a reading! My manager at the time told me I would never make it, so I fired him, studied harder and faced my fears. Now I can say, “boy, did I prove you wrong!”
BND:What did you want to be when you grew up?
C.E.: I remember from the time I could walk, people would say to my mom, “she is going to be a star.” So when people would ask me what I wanted to be, I would repeat this and say, “when I grow up, I want to be a star!”
BND: Why did you decide to return to the music scene now?
C.E.: It is hard for me to answer that question because I don’t feel like there has been a time when music wasn’t involved in some aspect of my life or career. Whether I performed to music or made music or even found inspiration from music, it was an aspect of my life that I never left behind. Music has always been present for me.
BND: Why do you love your job?
C.E.: I love my job because it's ever-changing and sometimes very challenging, but has always been my dream so I am grateful for every opportunity.
BND: What's the biggest misconception about your job?
C.E.: The biggest misconception about my job is that it is perfect. Self-expression and creativity can make you feel very vulnerable at times. It seems like an easy life, but in this industry, you are constantly being judged and criticized. You have to love it to survive.
BND: If you didn't do your job, whose job would you like to have and why?
C.E.: Either a psychologist because I am intrigued with human behavior, a badass drummer in a cool band or a dance teacher.
BND: Do you think having a job you love has made you a better person in other areas of your life?
C.E.: Having the job you love and following your passion brings happiness to a person. So, I would say yes, I am happy when working and being happy encourages me to be a better person.
BND: What's your best advice to other people who are trying to pursue their career dreams?
C.E.: Put in the work and then just go for it! Keep trying and never give up.
BND: What's your idea of the perfect retirement?
C.E.: Having all friends and family together somewhere tropical!
Jeanette Mulvey has been writing about business for more than 20 years. Know someone who loves what they do? Tweet @jeanettebnd with the hashtag #dowhatyoulove.