On this On Purpose episode, Jay Shetty introduces his guest, Cynthia Erivo, an English actress, singer, and songwriter.
Erivo shares invaluable insights on speaking from a place of love, cultivating joy, and fostering authentic connections.
The actress finds joy in the small moments of life, appreciating the present and savoring the journey rather than fixating on the destination. She invites the listeners to celebrate small victories and cultivate a positive mindset that enriches their daily experiences.
Nostalgia and Cultural Differences Between London and LA
Cynthia Erivo and Jay Shetty discuss their experiences living in different cities, focusing on London and Los Angeles. The actress expresses her fondness for the sunny weather in LA and the joy of waking up to a blue sky every day. She relishes the opportunity to hike and enjoy nature, which is not easily accessible in London. However, she misses her family, the changing seasons, and small things like British biscuits that hold nostalgic value.
Jay Shetty shares his experiences, appreciating the energy and sense of community accompanying attending a football match in England. He acknowledges the unique vibe and memorable moments created by passionate fans. Despite their love for their current cities, they both recognize the elements of a home that they miss and cherish.
Discipline Made Fun
Jay Shetty shares his experience attending an all-boys school and his initial resistance due to its strict and disciplined environment. However, he found solace and inspiration through his art teacher, Mr. Buck Ridge, who navigated the rules while encouraging creative thinking. Jay expresses his gratitude for this unique experience that shaped his mindset and allowed him to embrace discipline and artistry equally.
Cynthia Erivo relates to Jay Shetty’s experience. She highlights the influence of her favorite music and French teachers who fostered her creative growth while instilling discipline. The melding of discipline and artistry has played a significant role in their lives.
Moreover, Erivo shares her running journey, which began in 2016 and emphasizes the ongoing nature of the practice. Running has improved her physical fitness and taught her valuable lessons about discipline, stamina, and the power of the mind.
The actress acknowledges the days when motivation is lacking. Still, she recognizes the importance of pushing through those moments, often leading to the most rewarding runs. She also appreciates the mental aspects of running, the space it provides for reflection, and her connections with fellow runners.
Cynthia Erivo shares her step-by-step approach to daunting tasks with Jay Shetty, mentioning examples like organizing a closet or learning a new song or character. She emphasizes taking the first step, propelling progress, and building momentum.
Cynthia Erivo shared with Jay Shetty her approach to character transformation. It involves meticulously exploring the nuances that make each character unique and multi-dimensional. She begins by delving into the rhythm and heartbeat of their speech, allowing their words to reveal insights into their inner world. By analyzing the pace, tone, and syntax of their language, Erivo uncovers the character’s essence.
To further understand a character, Erivo observes their movement patterns. Their physicality provides valuable clues about their motivations and emotional state, whether they walk fast or slow. She contemplates the reasons behind their pace, exploring whether they are escaping something or exuding confidence. Erivo also considers the character’s use of space, body language, and gestures, which add depth to their portrayal.
In addition to speech and movement, Erivo incorporates sensory experiences into her character development. She explores the role of scent and sense memory, using specific scents to evoke emotions and connections. By experimenting with makeup choices and clothing, Erivo enhances the character’s authenticity and transforms their physical presence. She pays attention to details like footwear, heels, and clothing styles to reflect the character’s comfort, protection, or transformation.
Through these meticulous observations and choices, Erivo brings characters to life on screen, ensuring they are three-dimensional and captivating. She highlights examples from her portrayals of various roles, such as Holly Gibney in The Outsider, and Aretha Franklin, showcasing how her attention to detail contributes to the depth and authenticity of her performances.
The Power of Belief and Support
Cynthia Erivo’s journey as an actress has been fueled by the belief and support she received from her mother, family, and friends. From a young age, her mother recognized her talent. Then, she encouraged her to pursue her passion. This unwavering belief laid the foundation for Erivo’s confidence in her abilities.
Erivo also explains to Jay Shetty the importance of having a supportive network of friends who challenge and inspire her. These friends celebrate her successes and provide comfort during challenging times. Their belief in her talent and unwavering support have been instrumental in her growth and achievements.
Jay Shetty and Erivo discuss the significance of normalizing belief in others, highlighting that belief can come from various sources and take different forms. Jay acknowledges that not everyone grows up with parents who believe in them. Still, resilience can be cultivated in the face of adversity. Erivo’s story exemplifies the power of surrounding oneself with individuals who believe in their potential.
Transformation and Connection with Characters
Cynthia Erivo possesses a unique ability to connect with the characters she portrays deeply. Her approach goes beyond mere technique; it is rooted in her innate curiosity, empathy, and keen observation of human behavior. From a young age, Erivo has been a dedicated people watcher, studying how individuals move, communicate, and interact. This practice allows her to understand people better and establish genuine connections with them.
When approaching a new character, Erivo focuses on understanding their rhythm, speech patterns, and body language. She told Jay Shetty how she analyzes the nuances of their language and explores the reasons behind their movements. By immersing herself in the character’s mindset and physicality, Erivo brings depth and authenticity to her performances.
The actress’ method extends beyond the realm of acting. She applies her observation skills and empathy to her everyday life, seeking to communicate better with others. This desire for connection is a driving force behind her commitment to creating fully realized characters. She wants audiences to see the people she portrays as real individuals with whom they can connect personally.
The Impact of Character Transformation on Personal Life
Transforming into a character profoundly affects Cynthia Erivo’s personal life. She describes to Jay Shetty the fusion of herself and the characters she portrays, where aspects of nature become ingrained in her identity. This merging of identities can last for months, particularly after working on a role intensively. Erivo acknowledges that her body doesn’t distinguish between reality and the characters she plays, leading to a more lengthy process of letting go.
To navigate the challenges of separating from a character, Erivo shared with Jay Shetty the importance of having understanding friends and a supportive network. These individuals recognize the demands of her craft and offer patience during the transitional periods. Additionally, the actress emphasizes the value of therapy in her life, which helps her process emotions, release resentment, and improve her communication skills.
Erivo opened up to Jay Shetty about doing therapy. It allows her to debrief and reflect on personal and professional experiences. It will enable her to confront discomfort, communicate effectively, and better understand herself and others. By engaging in therapeutic discussions, Erivo gains insights into her emotional responses and learns to empathize with others’ perspectives.
Following Intuition and Trusting Herself
Cynthia Erivo revealed to Jay Shetty that her journey in the entertainment industry had been guided by her unwavering trust in her intuition and the courage to follow her heart. She demonstrated this early on when she boldly decided to leave university and join a theater course, even though it deviated from the conventional path. Despite initial doubts, she listened to her inner voice and embraced the right opportunity.
When encouraged to apply to drama school, Erivo admitted to Jay Shetty to have resisted the idea. However, a chance encounter with a former acquaintance convinced her to try. With determination and dedication, she applied herself wholeheartedly to the auditions. She was accepted into the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, and this pivotal moment affirmed the power of trusting her instincts and taking a leap of faith.
Throughout her career, Erivo has remained true to herself and pursued opportunities that resonated deeply with her. Despite being advised otherwise, she valued her physical well-being and refused to compromise by ceasing her workouts. This unwavering commitment to her values and intuition has played a significant role in shaping her artistic journey, she told Jay Shetty.
Embracing Joy and Following Passion
One of the driving forces behind Cynthia Erivo’s success has been her unwavering commitment to pursuing joy and following her passion. She explained to Jay Shetty how she found solace and fulfillment in her love for music, which led her to spend time with a classmate learning the score of Wicked. Little did she know that this shared passion would become a significant part of her career when she landed a role in the same production.
Erivo’s journey has been marked by moments of embracing what feels good and brings her joy. She organized a cabaret in a bar to attract potential agents, creating a space to showcase her talents and share her passion for performing. This unconventional approach paid off, leading her to secure representation and open doors to new opportunities.
The pivotal role of Celie in The Color Purple came to Erivo through deep inner knowing. She listened to her gut and pursued the part with unwavering belief, even though she couldn’t fully explain why she felt so strongly about it. This commitment to following her passion and trusting her instincts has propelled her to incredible heights in her career.
By prioritizing what feels good and resonates with her heart, Erivo has created a path uniquely her own, defying conventional expectations and carving out a remarkable career in the entertainment industry.
Speaking from a Place of Love and Trust
Cynthia Erivo discusses with Jay Shetty the importance of speaking from a place of love rather than fear. She highlights the misconception that speaking from a place of love means protecting others’ feelings when in reality, it involves open communication and understanding.
Erivo emphasizes the significance of expressing how something made you feel, allowing for a genuine conversation. By sharing your emotions and perspectives, you create an opportunity for the other person to understand your point of view and vice versa.
Furthermore, speaking from a place of love requires courage and vulnerability. It means approaching conversations with a genuine desire to connect, understand, and find common ground. Erivo emphasizes that it leads to more fulfilling interactions where both parties feel heard and acknowledged. It fosters an environment of growth where individuals can learn from each other and build stronger relationships.
Embodying Joy and Finding Connection
Cynthia Erivo shares with Jay Shetty her commitment to embodying joy and finding moments of happiness in everyday life. She encourages seeking fun in the little things, such as completing tasks, enjoying simple pleasures, or encountering unexpected delights. Erivo believes that by appreciating these small moments of joy, we can build a foundation of positivity that adds value to our lives.
She also emphasizes the importance of connecting the dots in life. Drawing inspiration from Steve Jobs’ quote about connecting the dots in hindsight, Erivo encourages embracing the journey and not searching for connections as we move forward. She suggests that focusing on the present and taking daily steps will reveal the links and meaning behind our experiences over time.
Erivo’s perspective resonates with finding joy in the process rather than solely focusing on the result. She believes that by savoring the moments of pleasure and taking steps forward, we can cultivate a sense of fulfillment and appreciate the beauty of life’s unfolding journey.
More From Jay Shetty
Listen to the entire On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast episode on “Cynthia Erivo ON: How to Take Small Steps Toward Your Goals & Why You Should Stop Questioning Your Ability to Achieve Them” now in the iTunes store or on Spotify. For more inspirational stories and messages like this, check out Jay’s website at jayshetty.me.