Tag Archives: Women

“Look Forward, Look Forward.”- Sigourney Weaver

Sigourney Weaver

Actress. Environmentalist. Philanthropist. These are just a few of the things that make up Sigourney Weaver. From her incredible portrayal of character and strength as Ellen Ripley in “Aliens” to her extremely vulnerable and powerful performance as Linda, an autistic woman, in “Snow Cake” to her recent role as botanist Dr. Grace Augustine in the box-office smash hit “AVATAR,” one can safely say that Sigourney Weaver is one of the most versatile and respected actors of our time. However, her eclectic array of movie roles is not the sole factor that makes this woman an absolute inspiration. Weaver has also been a pioneer on the environmental front, bringing awareness to many environmental problems that our world experiences today. With an incredible story to tell the INSPIRE@BTHS team, Sigourney Weaver is the epitome of all that makes an incredible individual.

Although Sigourney Weaver is considered one of the greatest actresses of today, the theater was not the first career path that she had chosen for herself. “I wanted to be a writer or a teacher. … I wasn’t one of those people who wanted to be an actor at seven or something. I think one of the reasons I became an actor was because I couldn’t decide what to do. So if I was to become an actor, I could try out all of these different parts… When I was at Stanford, my last year English classes were getting pretty boring, so I applied to all these drama schools and got in, at which point I thought that that meant something.” After Stanford, Sigourney Weaver was accepted to and attended the Yale School of Drama.

At Yale, Weaver began to grasp how difficult show business really was. “When I was accepted to the Yale School of Drama, which I was terribly excited about, in the second year, out of the blue, they told me I had no talent and would never get anywhere. They told me essentially to leave the school and my father said ‘I’ve already paid all this money, at least stay and get a degree.’ I think I hung in there out of spite.” However, Weaver persevered and slowly, but surely, found herself in New York City and made her dreams go from impossible to possible. She says “… going to New York was the smartest thing I had ever done because you get to audition every week and to be in one thing after another; none of it paid very much, but I felt that off-off Broadway was, and still is, a really cool place to work.”

Through the hardships and the constant rejection, Sigourney Weaver not only made it to the other side in one piece, but has also reached Hollywood superstardom. From her experiences at Yale School of Drama to her constant auditioning in New York City, Weaver developed tough enough skin and proved all of the non-believers wrong. “I think you have to have a lot of personal character strength [to be in the movie business]…It’s a tough business, and I think I was very lucky to work with people who were very generous and very professional; most of them were from the theater. I arrived on the set of “Aliens” not having had much film experience, but I had done four years of off-Broadway and I always approached every film sort of as an English major, which I was. Was it about more than just the people in it? Instead of going for the role, you know, that was never interesting to me.”

In addition to being an incredible actor, Sigourney Weaver is also an environmentalist and philanthropist. Recently, accompanied by James Cameron and Suzy Amis- Cameron, Weaver traveled to the Amazon Forest, in order to bring awareness to the construction of the newly install hydro-electric dam that is damaging the lives of the indigenous people of the region. Furthermore, Sigourney Weaver has traveled to different schools, such as Brooklyn Technical High School in New York City, to bring awareness to the young people of today that our world truly needs our help. “I think a lot of people aren’t aware that a lot of CO2 has gone into the atmosphere and about a third of it goes into the ocean. And when CO2 mixes with sea water, it creates carbonic acid. So we’ve noticed, the scientists have absolute irrefutable data that in the last three years, the shells of all our precious creatures like mollusks, oysters, shrimp and even plankton is down and that in another 30 years the shell creatures will not be able to make shells if it continues the way it is. A lot of people think the oceans are these vast forgiving places and they are not. “This is one of the many daunting ways in which our world suffering and also one of the many reasons why everyone should get up and go green!

The INSPIRE@BTHS Team then went on to ask Sigourney Weaver a few questions out of the Marcel Proust Questionnaire. We believe that this is a great way to get to know our interviewee. Weaver had some incredible answers to tell us.

Favorite fictional character: Hawkeye from the novel The Last of the Mohicans by James Fennimore Cooper.

Your most treasured object: My family.

The happiest moment of your life: I am happy every day. I am very happy being a mother.

Greatest extravagance: I really love flowers. I think if I had no money at all and I could spend a dollar towards something I would probably buy that. My favorite flower is a Peony. They come out actually around now [April]. They have a very short season and they are beautiful flowers that open in beautiful pinks and reds.

Favorite journey: I went to Morocco a couple of years ago. I went to the film festival there ,and I said I would love to spend two nights in the desert. So we got to drive out to part of the Sahara desert and spent two nights in these beautiful tents just  living in the desert. It was awesome. The desert is so beautiful, so many stars… a magical place.

Greatest achievement: I think the Flea Theater. I am very proud of having founded the Flea Theater; it does excellent work. It provides a lot of entertainment and illumination to our audiences. We are very daring and we do a good job. We don’t charge anyone for their training; it’s the one program in NYC that doesn’t charge kids to learn the theater.

Greatest influence: Probably the actor Hume Cronin. He’s been an old friend of mine and a when I was first starting out, he and Jessica Tandy were most helpful to me, very encouraging and really good friends because it’s great to have friends who are your parents age. I learned a great deal about discipline, commitment, and organization…I really learned a lot from them, they are very inspiring.

Motto for life: My mother’s motto which was “Look forward, Look Forward.”

So there you have it, Hollywood at its finest. Sigourney Weaver is one of the most generous, beautiful and caring people the INSPIRE@BTHS team has ever had the pleasure to meet. She breaks new ground in her acting career as well as in the environment every day. We are so excited to follow Sigourney’s future endeavors. Congratulations, Sigourney Weaver on all of your successes and may you have brilliant successes in the future.

So everyone, look forward, look forward. Be assertive. Be curious and most importantly, be inspired.

Adieu and Arrivaderci everyone! Until next time on INSPIRE@BTHS.


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“Live Life And Experience It”-Selena Rezvani

Selena Rezvani

Selena Rezvani

A new era is among us. It is the era of possibilities; a time to be whatever you want, to do whatever you want, to invent your heart’s every desire. But with all this possibility and freedom what stops us from achieving what we want? What is holding us back from going for the gold? What is preventing us from moving actively forward to reach our dreams? It is fear. Fear of uncertainty and fear of change will always be obstacles that people, especially young women, are forced to overcome when trying to achieve their goals. However, some people have gone against the grain and have become the voices of encouragement; voices that will guide the young, the hesitant and the afraid into a world where one’s every desire can be achieved. One such person is Selena Rezvani, author of The Next Generation of Women Leaders and speaker and consultant for career coaching and development.

Graduating from New York University with a BS and MSW Degree and getting her MBA from John Hopkins University, Selena Rezvani is certainly no stranger to the world of success. However, Selena did not know from the get-go that she was going to end up where she is today. As a high school student and young adult, Rezvani was interested in French and French culture. She says, “I was a Francophile. So, I went and studied abroad in Montreal and then in France. I loved it and I thought that was going to be my career. …That’s what I applied at NYU to do. I decided to major in French. However, the first week they had you take a test to see how you do in the language and I placed out of the college needs. I could skip language all together. I decided I would try to skip it and do other things which then lead me to psychology and then business and then a whole other world…I still love French culture but it’s more of a hobby now.” Clearly, different circumstances change a person’s perspective. Rezvani’s love for French culture lead her to trying new things, like business. Suddenly, she entered a world that was totally different from what she had planned on exploring. Nevertheless, she learned that change was not only good, but necessary.

While earning her MBA at John Hopkins University, Selena began to write her book The Next Generation of Women Leaders, a bible of sorts for women who want to get to the top of the working ladder. This incredible book provides the instruments and secrets to progress into the top leadership roles of today as well as interviews with high powered women and their success stories. Rezvani had a multitude of inspirations for her book. “What inspired me [to write this book] was such a small number of women at the top of corporations. Being an MBA student, I looked up and thought this is dismal. This paints a really unsettling picture for a young woman who’s looking to go out there and do great things in her career…why isn’t it quicker to change? Why is it so slow to progress? That is what inspired me to write the book. I thought, even if I’m not one of these women at the top, surely there’s a way for me to create a conversation between young women and those that got there in order to learn their secrets.”

So what do women actually have to do to get to the top? The INSPIRE@BTHS Team got a little glimpse into what secrets Selena Rezvani had to offer. What can women do as that first step, that first leap of faith into the unknown? “A number of [things]” says Rezvani. “I think a really important one is to get a personal board of directors who can manage your career. Really taking the time to seek out different people who are  smarter and more knowledgeable than you and maybe more experienced to say ‘let me help you with your image, let me help you with your technical skills, let me help you and guide you in this industry.’ You know, you really can’t look to one mentor to do everything for you. No mentor is going to have everything you need. I think something young women can do is don’t try to do it all yourself. The smartest people reach out and make relationships. You ask ‘how are you so good at what you do?’ or ‘You’re so good with clients can you tell me or will you teach me?’ That’s the hallmark of a leader or a leader in the making.”

So there you have it. The secrets are revealed by the magician, herself. We then went on to ask Selena a few questions out of the Marcel Proust Questionnaire. We believe that this is a great way to get to know our interviewee. Selena Rezvani had some humorous answers to tell us.

Favorite fictional character: Caris from the novel World Without End by Ken Follet. She’s a strong woman. I loved her character because she was often underestimated because she was a woman and people didn’t expect a lot of her.

Your most treasured object: Probably my favorite thing is a framed picture of my parents on their very first date. That’s something I would hate to be without.

The happiest moment of your life: Getting married. It was a very happy and incredible moment and day. Also, getting my book deal.

Greatest extravagance: Massages. I do a lot of walking and carrying heavy bags and such so…

Favorite journey: The coolest place I’ve been in my life is probably going to India and Pakistan as a kid. My father is Pakistani so seeing the Taj Mahal, was so beautiful, so interesting, especially through a kid’s eyes.

Greatest achievement:  Helping young women think big. It’s a joy and a pleasure and a privilege to make a living helping young women.

Greatest influence: My mother.

Motto for life: Fear regret more than failure.

Words of advice: Don’t let anybody pressure you. Your compass in life should be ‘does this excite me? Do I like this?’ do I enjoy this? That’s what you should be gravitating to. You naturally gravitate to the things that excite you. What I found is, find a career that has your passion in it and you will work so much harder. That’ll get you further in your career, that will get you more respect from the people in your life.

Believe it or not, getting to the top of the working chain should not be a lonely road. Rather, an individual should have people by their side that will influence them and, most importantly, inspire them. For the INSPIRE@BTHS TEAM, Selena Rezvani is one of those people. Selena Rezvani is a pioneer in her line of work. She breaks boundaries with everything that she does and is a true inspiration. We cannot wait to see what this brilliant woman will do in the future.

So everyone, fear regret more than failure. Be assertive. Be curious and most importantly, be inspired.

Adieu and Arrivaderci everyone! Until next time on INSPIRE@BTHS.

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History is Herstory Too

Someone very wise once said “History is Herstory too.”

Behind every powerful man, stands a powerful, cunning and brilliant woman. However most of the time (not all of the time, but most) her story goes unnoticed. Throughout history, women have done incredible things that should be noticed and should be praised for. This is where our job comes in. We are here to uncover their stories, to capture the world through their eyes and ultimately motivate people (be it men or women) to do the same.

So, without further ado, in the style of Julia Powell, we start our journey:

The Mission: Spread the word about incredible women of today through interviews, profiles, the works.

The “Journalists”: INSPIRE @ Brooklyn Technical High School. A  few  girls trying to inspire the world….one blog at a time.

We can understand why you would not want to read this. Why should you care about someone who is not in any way close to you? Why should you care about this blog if you have number of other important things to do? Why should you care about what we have to say? The truth is you don’t. But think about it this way… Will it hurt you that much if you listen? Wouldn’t you want someone to care about your achievements? Wouldn’t you want to enthuse people?

We know it’s a lot of questions to be asked in such a short period of time. We figure we should just let you mull them over.

We leave you, however, with one last thought: These women have achieved success, why not let them inspire you?

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