Faces of AWNY: Analisa Bell

Analisa Bell is a singer, storyteller and comedienne who arrived in New York five years ago to pursue her dream of performing cabaret in one of the most vibrant cities in the world. In this edition of Faces of AWNY, Analisa shares her tips in staying grounded whilst achieving creative success in the world of musical theater.

What part of Australia are you from?

I was born and bred in Perth, WA. 

What is your background?

I trained in musical theater at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts before veering into a short-lived career in commercial radio. I eventually found my way back to the performing arts touring as a performer and teaching artist for various arts companies in Australia before moving into a life of arts management by day and cabaret performance by night.

What brought you to New York and when?

Long story short, my mentor, Tony-Award winner Broadway star Faith Prince convinced me I should pack my bags and get my butt to New York to pursue my cabaret dreams! I arrived December 31st, 2014.

What do you do for work in NYC?

By day, I am Education and Operations Manager for The New York Pops Orchestra. By night, I perform in cabaret shows and open mics at clubs such as Don’t Tell Mama, The Duplex, The Triad Theater and Feinstein’s/54 Below.

Where do you live? Why did you choose that area?

Washington Heights. A lot of the friends that I’ve made here live in WaHi, so it felt like the best spot for me. 

What do you like/dislike about living in New York?

I love the collective energy of the city. I dislike the combined summer scent of urine, doggy-doo and bin juice.

What’s your favorite New York spot?

Lincoln Center Plaza, especially at night. There’s just something magical about the fountain and being surrounded by cultural icons like the NYC Ballet, the Met Opera and the NY Phil. 

Where do you like to eat brunch in New York?

Root and Bone in the East Village.

What is your favorite New York City cocktail spot/wine bar?

Empire Hotel rooftop bar.

Do you have a recent ‘only in New York’ moment you could share?

A guy on the subway was making animal balloons wearing nothing but an American flag around his waist and he had a small live bird sitting on top of his bald head!

What are your top three tips for friends visiting New York?

  • Go to Bluestone Lane for a good Aussie latte and a lammie.
  • Hop on the Staten Island Ferry to see the Statue of Liberty.
  • Don’t take pictures of, or with, any of the characters in Times Square.

As a professional working in New York, what are the differences to working in Australia?

Not enough paid leave!

Got advice for people moving to New York City?

Networking is key. Don’t be afraid to sell yourself! As Aussies, we tend to be self-deprecating, having grown up in a society rife with the “Tall Poppy Syndrome.” It kinda feels wrong to say “I’m good at this or I’ve achieved this”, but Americans love it.

What’s the biggest challenge or roadblock you’ve faced since being in New York, and how did you overcome it?

Is it just me or is dating in this city really hard? Can’t say I’ve overcome it just yet.

Is there anything you miss about Australia? What things do you do to keep homesickness under control?

Really good beaches. Nothing beats a good Aussie beach, amiright? I have an Aussie music playlist that I put on from time to time, go to Bluestone Lane for a decent coffee and ask my family and friends to send me a bag of Caramello Koalas!

Do you have any hobbies, activities or rituals that help you stay sane in this city?

I start each day by writing in my journal, meditating and repeating mantras. It’s so clichéd but it helps. I also like strumming on my ukulele and writing silly ditties. And who doesn’t love lighting a scented candle?

Who are some Aussie ladies doing awesome things in New York who are currently on your radar, and why?

Tamara Hansson, an Aussie pop artist based in Harlem. Her music name is just “Hansson” and she’s killing it on Spotify right now!

What does it mean to you to be an “Australian woman in New York City”?

Something to be proud of. Like many of us, I moved over here on my own and have made a life here. That’s an achievement in itself.

Do you have a signature Aussie saying that stumps New Yorkers every time?

“Bob’s your uncle”. My colleagues still scratch their heads when I say it

If you were a character in a New York TV Series, who would you be, and why?

A Carrie-Charlotte hybrid (from Sex & The City). I tend to spend more than I make like Carrie and I constantly ask “WHERE IS HE???” like Charlotte.

Is there anything extra that people should know about you or New York?

I’m doing a cabaret show to celebrate my five-year New York-i-versary, January 12, 7pm, at Don’t Tell Mama, 343 W 46th Street. Come along! Details and reservations here.

Connect with Analisa:


Author: Angela Tohl

Adelaide-born Angela came to New York in search of the ultimate adventure, by way of Australia and Japan. She juggles technical and copywriting projects, with chasing her kids around (usually on roller skates). Find Angela on Twitter @angelatohl and at www.australianwomeninnewyork.org/author/angelatohl/. Image credit: Susie Lang

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