Once again my wonderful and exciting journey has led me to meet another incredibly interesting, accomplished and inspiring person. This time, it is Johnnie Fiori, actress, singer song writer and as she likes to call herself Sensitive.
Johnnie started performing at the cute age of 3 in the States and has never stopped since! In 2002 she decided to move to England, the land she had always dreamed of moving to, shortly after her brother died in a terrible tragedy. Rather than let the sorrow and pain take over, she decided to use those feelings for the good and manifest her dreams.
One thing to know about Johnnie before delving into our interview is that she is an obvious force to be reckoned with. But behind the undeniable charisma lies a compassionate person who not only takes great pride in her life and her gifts but is also eager to share them with others. From our moment together I got a sense that she is a no no-sense woman! She is direct and quite persuasive but won’t waste her valuable time trying to change or persuade people.
Who is Johnnie Fiori?
I am a Singer Song Writer. I do voiceovers, predominantly for children television. I came to England with a one way ticket. I knew that I wanted to change my life and ever since I read the Legend of king Arthur I wanted to move to England. I was inspired by chivalry, the holy grail, the landscape, the feel of the time. I guess I was on a personal quest for my holy grail.
One thing I didn’t know at that time which I know now is that the grail is inside of you, it’s not something that you have to leave in order to seek.
I basically reinvented myself from a Singer Song Writer to a Singer Song Writer and Actress who does TV, film and stage work.
London is now my home. My dream was to move to England and I made it happen! But that was just one part of the dream.
How did it all come about?
I definitely manifested my life! I overcame a horrible tragedy when my brother was murdered and I told myself that I couldn’t crawl in the grave with him and would make my life an example of the man that he was. I started reading a lot. The first book I read was “Creative Visualisation” by Shake Gawain. Every morning right after I wake up, l light my candles and incense and practice my creative visualisation. When I started visualising London, everything I would look at was about London – where to live in London, where to eat in London, etc. So this was a sign that I was meant to get on board with it!
How do you deal with rejection because your world is so full of it?
Every day from the moment I wake up, I say my gratitude and walk in gratitude. I want my life to be the example of a person able to manifest and live in abundance. It’s a way of life for me. It’s not something that’s alternative. I’m in a business where you could go on 50 auditions a week and not get a job. And my attitude is “what belongs to me will never pass me by.” I’m not attached to the outcome.
You basically have two opportunities during an audition to make an impression. If you don’t get the job, at least make them remember you. And understand that these are the things that you do – they don’t represent who you are. Who I am is not the person who does television, stage, the person people perceive as living a glamorous lifestyle.
Stage life is a hard lifestyle, but I love it because it calls on you to be very disciplined.
How do you deal with stress?
I don’t fall into that stress pit. I’ve always been this way. My mother used to say “nothing bothers you!” It’s not that things don’t bother me, but when you’ve gone through but I’ve gone through, you always look for the upside of things instead of looking for how negative a situation can be. In stressful situations I know that I can come home and have an amazing bath, I know that the situation is temporary and won’t last forever.
Is this something that can be learned?
Absolutely! People choose stress. There are so many other avenues – you can meditate, light a candle, aroma therapy plays a huge part in my day-to-day activities for example. I’m surrounded by stress, by people in a stressful environment but I don’t have to take that on. There’s always a solution.
We weren’t built to lay down and let people roll all over but somewhere along the way, people became complacent. In Buddhism, the symbol for Chaos is the same for Opportunity. So I view it like that. Instead of falling to pieces, which is never a good look, I choose to step away from the situation and not be overwhelmed by it.
Don’t get me wrong, there are moments when I go crazy, because that’s just who I am, but on a whole, I am a woman who is happy with my environment and with myself and that is what I show. As my grandmother told me as I was moving to England, “you can go anywhere with a smile” and that’s what I do!! And I don’t take myslef that seriously!
I’m constantly reading books and starting journals that help keep my eyes on the prize and the prize is to always operate in my authentic self, to always be able to inspire others. I know that is why I’m here – to be of service, of inspiration and to be approachable. I’ve worked with a lot of different types of personalities and even the difficult personalities I’ve been able to learn something from.
What do you tell the young actors?
You can’t be concerned with what people think about you, it’s what you think of yourself. If you’re ill-prepared, if you don’t know what you’re doing, of course you’ll feel insecure. If you feel you are a fraud then you will come across as a fraud. Everybody is not going to like you but you must like yourself. I always tell young actors “if you don’t like you, why should anyone else like you?” If you’re afraid, worried and insecure, it will come off and people will pick up on those feelings. I’m not saying that you must have a heart of steel but you must be motivated to think better of yourself. If you think you are incapable then you will be. If you think you are not likeable then you won’t be. That’s what you put out to the universe.
I tell them to be realistic and prepared. If you don’t get a job, it’s not the end of the world but make sure you make a favourable impression – arrive early, deliver, and don’t be attached to the outcome – that’s what kills many people, breaks so many hearts.
I also tell them that if they are in this business to become a Star, Stars are in the sky. Fame is what others give you, Success is what you give yourself. And rather than trying to be like let’s say Mariah Carey, why don’t you aspire to be yourself, be who you are? Just close your eyes and tap into who You are.
Do you have any idols?
One of my idols is called Diane Louie. She’s a master musician, philanthropist, humanitarian and friend. I’m always in awe at how much she gives back to the community, how many people she’s put through school. She inspires me to do better – every day to be to service to others.
Amongst celebrities I worked with, Richard Griffiths touched me the most. Of all the things he has done, he always made time for a conversation. He was open-hearted, he was kind, extremely intelligent. You could converse with Richard on any subject. He had stories about everybody! He was in Chariots of Fire, Ghandi and all the Harry Potters. He was a well-respected, well-rounded character actor. When the cameras were off and we weren’t on stage, he was such an inspiration to me. His door was always open. He really inspired me. When we lost him, it hit me really hard.
Another person who really surprised me was Woody Harrelson on the set of his last movie “Lost in London“, his first directorial debut. He did something no-one else had ever done which is doing a single camera shot for a film. And we streamed it Live to theaters as we were making the film. He had a tremendous amount of pressure on him and had to overcome a lot of technical obstacles, but every day he had a smile on his face, he always made time for you and made direct eye contact with you. He is a genuine soul and is desperately trying to save the planet. He has a genuine charm, a genuine wit, a genuine humility.
Dani DeVito is the same way! Dani is the Governor. Working with him was such an amazing learning curve. When we did “The Sunshine Boys”, he could have wiped the floor with me, if he so chose. He didn’t do that. He was a consummate professional, a consummate mentor figure just like Richard.
Working with those types of people inspires you to not only be a better actor but to be a better human being. I’ve come across actors for whom the limelight is all that they have and that is not how I choose to live my life.
What do you think about this new era of reality TV/ Social media?
I think because we live in an era where everything is so immediate, we have a generation of individuals who are famous for being famous. I don’t judge those people. You know you have the choice, if you want to follow folks like that, you can. If you want to turn from one program to another, you can. I think it’s counter productive to voice my opinion on things that I may perceive as overkill, or too much. If I have time to watch TV it means that I have time to read a good book, or do something far more productive. And I prefer to do things that are far more constructive to be honest with you.
Even though this is where we are headed, this is not where we’ll end up. At the end of the day it’s very easy to spout our displeasure with things, very easy to have an opinion, but we don’t know what these people are going through. We don’t know how hard they are running to catch up. It’s very surprising in this day and age to see what some people are famous for, how they have actually achieved fame. But are they successful? I don’t think money is a barometer on fame at all. There are far more things in our lives that we should be focused on, like the plastic in our oceans and how it is choking the wildlife, how the fish are eating it and we consume it. The level of homelessness in great nations like Great Britain and the United States, the harassment and disrespect of women. I couldn’t care less who is doing another selfie. How others choose to promote and flaunt themselves is their choice.
What would a world be without imagination?
I can’t answer this! I would not know. I dream every day! I imagine every day! And my imagination always imagines hope, doing better, going further, bringing someone with you, helping others, being there.
One of my favourite books is the Four Agreements and I really try to adhere to those four principles. I always imagine things being better, more creative.
Do you have any regrets?
Why? Every thing that I have done and every step that I have taken have made me a better person. There were lessons that I would have preferred not to have learned as harshly. But I did play a role in certain situations knowing that they weren’t good for me and I still went ahead anyway and I learned. Sometime we learn harsh lessons, sometimes mild lessons and sometimes we say “I’ve already learned that lesson and cross the street!” I have no regrets.
Is there a fun fact about you that most would not know about?
I’m very, very, very eccentric! I have a wicked sense of humour. I find humour in the weirdest places.
And I believe in Magic. Every day I ask the universe to witness a miracle and I do. There are days the world breaks my heart, takes my breath away. Then I realise that when you seek good news, you find it. Bad news spread quicker but if you seek goodness you will find it, if you seek miracles you will find them, if you create goodness there will be goodness, if you create kindness there will be magic.
I don’t live it up to anyone to bring me joy or happiness. These are things that I am capable of creating for myself. I’m always working on it. I am not responsible for the actions of others. I live a life where I’m constantly challenging my integrity. When you do that you realise that you’re constantly fighting with your own mouth and what comes out of it. Everyone has a journey and people come to enlightenment in their own time – eventually they will!
Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.
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