Danielle Lemon is an agent provocateur, comedic queen, lawyer and shoe hustler. Curiously a lawyer by trade, she also is a singer, writer, blogger, who has also followed her passion for acting by taking on characters who dance along all parts of a sparkly rainbow spectrum. The latest being the tenacious Tracy Turnblad (Hairspray) and Lulu Von Doozy (SHINE: A Burlesque Musical) and without her shoe whispering mojo, the annual StepUp4CTYP fundraiser at Fluevog surely would have flip-flopped!
BLUSHVancouver caught up with Danielle, literally moments after she finished helping strike the SHINE set last night as it was creeping up on deadline time at the stroke of midnight.
What ignited the spark in you to live a life with zest?
Art doesn’t so much inspire me as much as to compel me to live a life where I am constantly seeking out opportunities to express myself, through music, writing, or performance. My passion for technology, start-ups, entrepreneurship and business have also inspired me to establish a successful career as a technology lawyer. While these seem like two very different worlds to inhabit, to me they both feel like home. Both of these careers allow me to think critically about the world I live in, in very different fashions.
What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?
I have often failed at striking a balance between my two careers: as a lawyer, and as an artist. What I learned is that I suffer whenever one gets too much priority over the other. When I’m too focused on legal work and am not performing, I get antsy. But truthfully, I could never give up law. People often assume that I would like to give it up to be a full-time artist, but again, when I have had the opportunities to support myself through my art, I’ve been reluctant to give up my legal career to do so. I’ve worked hard to be an expert in both my fields, and both add meaning and value to my life. So, now I’ve learned to set up both careers in a way that allows room for the other. I choose only great artistic projects that I really want to devote my time to, and I build space into my legal life for rehearsals, performances, and writing time.
How has being driven affected your family life?
Having two careers has sometimes been an excuse not to have a family of my own, or an excuse not to settle down with someone, because I’m so focused on these things, and my time is so devoted to them. I am often caught up in the business of rushing from one job to another, from day to night, and I find that I often have to say no to social gatherings, family events, and spontaneous hangouts with friends. My life is scheduled to the very last minute. I am trying really hard to build time into my life for unstructured, quality time with family and friends, because I really value that time. Part of that involves saying no to professional opportunities, and really thinking carefully about opportunities that come my way, and whether they are worth the trade-off of that family and friend time. I try to listen to my gut on that, and I’m slowly finding a way to build in that precious personal time.
What motivates you?
Personal growth motivates me. Will I learn something from this project? Will I do something I never thought I could do? Will I work with people I admire and want to learn from? Am I absolutely terrified to do it? Do I have no idea how I will begin? These are the kinds of questions I ask myself on a daily basis about what I’m doing. If the answer to any of them is yes, then I’m pretty much full speed ahead. Community is also a huge motivator for me – I’m hugely attracted to the idea of contributing and being a part of something greater than myself.
What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?
My biggest fears are really more for our world and where we seem to be heading these days. Hate seems to be winning. And I suppose my personal fear is that I won’t leave this planet in better shape than I found it. When these things seem insurmountable I try to think about what I can do on a very personal, local level to make a difference. Right now that means tolerance. Understanding. Building community. Helping others in need.
WHO IS DANIELLE LEMON?
Danielle Lemon is a singer, actor, writer, and technology lawyer. She recently starred as burlesque diva Lulu Von Doozy in the award-winning musical Shine: A Burlesque Musical, and performs regularly around Vancouver in local theatre productions for companies such as Pipedream Musical Theatre Project, Fighting Chance Productions, and Metro Theatre. She is also a member of the Lady Larks, a vintage-style singing and dancing quartet.
A graduate of the University of Victoria Faculty of Law and the London School of Economics, Danielle has practiced law for some of the most prestigious law firms in Canada and the UK, ran her own successful boutique law firm focused on start-ups, and for the past several years has worked as senior corporate counsel in-house with some of Vancouver’s most innovative technology companies. Danielle regularly writes, teaches and presents on legal subjects. She is a former columnist for Canadian Lawyer magazine, has been published by the University of Alberta Press, and is now developing course curriculum of the University of the Fraser Valley.
Follow her on Twitter at @danwithatwist.
We are so pleased to be able to share Danielle’s inspiring interview with our readers. If you know a woman who has ZEST and should be showcased in BLUSHVancouver, let us know!