Q&A with Singer, Actor, and Musician Heather Braverman
As a singer, actor, and musician, Heather Braverman is what people in the entertainment industry would call a true “triple threat.” You may have spotted her on TV in commercials and shows like “Law & Order” or “One Life to Live,” or perhaps you caught her turn in the American Girl musical “Circle of Friends” in NYC.
She’s also done the off-Broadway thing and is a rockin’ guitar and ukelele player. Oh, and did we mention she’s 14 years old and navigating her first year of high school? That’s a whole lot of awesome.
We chatted with Heather about her life in the spotlight and how she uses her growing fame for good:
You’re just 14 and you’re already an accomplished performer! What are some of your tips for shining on stage in front of lots of people?
Heather: I get nervous all of the time, and it’s a problem that a lot of performers face. What I do is turn it into something positive. Being nervous gives you a new energy and somehow that always makes me more excited when I’m performing and more determined to do well!
What are some of the pressures of being a role model and how do you deal with them?
It’s difficult to always say and do the right thing, whether at school or on a stage or set. However, I always keep in mind my goal of being myself and being the best that I can be at whatever I put my mind to.
One of your main areas of focus is increasing awareness of food allergies. Tell us about why this is so important to you and what you’re doing to get the word out.
I have lived with food allergies almost my entire life. I know firsthand how hard it truly is. Even the smallest bite of a peanut can put me in a life-threatening situation. When I advocate for kids with food allergies, it’s with the attempt to educate. I think that if more people understand the severity of food allergies, the world will be better for kids like me. In order to do this, I always talk to restaurants, teachers, classmates, friends, and family about what they can do to better understand food allergies. I also talk to kids with allergies about how they can do the same in their communities.
You’ve done a lot of performances for charity. What are some of the other causes that are closest to your heart?
This past Valentine’s Day, I performed a touching monologue in a show at the BergenPAC as part of the Bergen Women’s Alliance. This Alliance fights against domestic violence and encourages women to stay strong and seek help. I also participated this past January in a singing competition called Englewood Idol that raises money for the John Greico Scholarship fund, offering college scholarships to gifted students who cannot afford a continuing education.
Do you have any advice for readers who might want to use their talents to benefit a good cause?
Food allergies are close to my heart because not only do I have to struggle everyday, but my sister also has severe allergies. In result, I am always determined to help the cause as much as I possibly can. If you’re looking to become involved in a cause, I would choose something close to your heart that you are sincerely dedicated to. Do some research about the organization and contact its leaders with ideas about how you can help benefit their charity.
Balancing work, school, and fun must be a tall task for someone so busy. What’s a typical week like for you, and what’s your secret to juggling it all?
It’s definitely crazy! My week consists of large amounts of homework and studying, reading long scripts, memorizing lines, practicing a song for a performance, traveling back and forth to NYC, and seeing friends. I go to a very academic high school in which a lot of time and effort is required in order to achieve top grades. Under these circumstances, being an A student is not easy, but I always plan ahead and focus on one task at a time. In addition, I stay home one night every weekend to study and catch up in preparation for the upcoming week.
What are some of the recent projects you’ve done and what’s coming up for you?
I just completed a movie called ‘SPAZ’ that takes place in NYC in the 1980s. I play the role of Lila, the 13-year-old girlfriend of the lead, Oliver. I help him through some pretty rough times in his life. I’m also in the works of recording my first EP of all orginal music which will be up on iTunes very soon! Check out my Facebook page or follow me on twitter at @heatherBrave for more updates.