Keep Calm and Be Yourself – Q&A with Michael Goode & the FunZen Girls






 Michael Goode, my  Mom, and I



Hi, it’s Grace! My mom and I went to go see Michael Goode speak recently at a SAG event. After hearing him talk, we were so inspired by what he had to say that we decided to interview him! We hope that this Q&A piques your curiosity and that you will be inspired to contact Michael Goode to learn more.

Michael I. Goode’s Performance Under Pressure™ workshop helps actors, musicians, dancers, voiceover artists and any other performer understand and conquer their stage fright and learn new techniques by which to work more efficiently in a creative situation without the annoying problem of performance anxiety. In this workshop, you will not only understand what stage fright is and isn’t, but you will also be given exercises that you can try in simulated work situations. As artists, you will be able to take away and use the skills you learn in this workshop whenever performance anxiety may try to interfere. You will learn to become more comfortable under pressure and to spot stage fright when it tries to overtake your performance. In addition, you will learn how to effortlessly push such distractions away and remain in “the zone” where you always do your best work.

Q: What is Psychoneuromusicology?

A: A new field of science I invented to study performers that covers the psychological, emotional, and neurological aspects of performing artists’ mindsets.


Q: What inspired you to write your upcoming book “Your True Self?”

A: My clients, my research, and my observations from my own life.


Q:When did you realize that your tools would be beneficial to actors?

A :When I was doing my first book tour in California for my book on Stage Fright, and an actor came up to me and said: “Your work would be great for actors.”  He was very enthusiastic.


Q: We notice a decline in discipline or work ethic. How would you suggest a person begin to develop discipline?

A: Going inward and observing nature.


Q:What does self-love have to do with improved performance?

A: The more genuine self-love, the better the performance.  A large ego is falsely assumed to be self-love; it is not.  It’s just the opposite.  Genuine self-love is different and distinctive and most people don’t have it, or have it enough, or understand it.


Q: Soul signature question.. How does one get centered to experience successful performance under pressure?

A: By going inward.

Michael Goode’s website:
Twitter: @stagefrightfixr

Effortless CoverGirl Beauty! Funfilled Q&A w/ Bestselling Author Machel Shull

Effortless Beauty M.
“When you appreciate the beauty and uniqueness of things, you receive energy.” -James Redfield


The zen expression when the student is ready the teacher appears is generally how people perceive meeting a spiritual or zen teacher. A Course
in Miracles (ACIM) suggests, “When the teacher is ready the student appears.” I resonate with how actress Ruby Dee’s words of wisdom presents
an east meets west viewing point;  “We all are students of each other.” Working with Machel in the nineties into the early millennium to this day transcends boundaries. She wholeheartedly understands the Chinese Proverb that; “Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself.”
For example, sharing the mindful tools and zen drills, and watching her over time become the female superhero of her own story makes me beam with pure joy. And this is just the beginning of Machel unleashing her pure potential seeking manifestation.
I am honored and wonderstruck to be a part of Machel’s evolution and witness her continuous growth. Some say, “don’t judge a book by it’s cover.” With Machel, what you’ll find is that what’s soul deep on the inside is just as beautiful as the cover. Read on and see for yourself. And most importantly, let Machel inspire you to reach inward to be the superhero of your own story.

1. We’re so looking forward to your new book, “Live, Love, Soul” and would love a sneak peek, what can you tell us now? 
LIVE LOVE SOUL comes from the deepest essence of my own spiritual journey. I track back to the beginning of my book how I find out that I am in ‘search of happiness in the now’ and not from ambitions or accomplishments. After making many dreams of mine come true–from becoming an International Face Model, An actress, I wondered why reaching these goals did not necessarily equate to inner happiness. This was over 20 years ago. In LIVE LOVE SOUL, I share my own struggles, wins and defeats, while also sharing exercises that have helped me achieve my own inner peace. I also interview seven individuals, including you :), that share with me how they have found inner peace and passion in the midst of their own personal journey. A couple of very famous and and another is a matchmaker that just co-founded a successful on-line dating site, an author that has traveled to Peru, Brazil and around the world looking for the ‘happiness equation in civilizations’ and a doctor with that is a running expert. All of these interviews will encourage and inspire the reader to find their own inner rhythm in life that can help them discover more happiness. There is nothing wrong with searching out joy and happiness. But we must first know what our ‘inner-life’ desires in our soul to know what CAN make us happy.
“For every challenge, the superhero’s solution is to go inward.” Deepak Chopra


2.  I am honored to say that aside from Grace (daughter) no one has come as far as you Machel in terms of experiencing my inner work or (mental fitness -zen training) early on to taste the sweet fruit from the root of self discipline on a consistent basis.
Easter wisdom says that Zen is a living flower, a rose that last forever beginningless and endless-with petals that fall while new petals grow in a constant state of change. Yet at it’s center, Zen never changes. What aspect of our inner work has stayed with you and is a touchstone?


Three is a charm-so here they are:
1) I know without a doubt what that answer is. That what I feel is not WHO I AM. Emotions are like water. They wash over us like waves from the ocean. So when I am sad or down, I have learned to reflect upon these feelings without being suppressed by them. I don’t let my emotions control my life.
2) That I have the ability to center my thoughts from within my body. My body is part of my instrument that I can connect with my mind. I can keep my thoughts and feelings grounded, like a tree rooted to reality. MY body is connected to my core. And my core is the essence of my breath and center. I keep this with me every day. Even if I am not meditating daily, I am concentrating on my breath and making an effort to breathe deeper within my core.
3) To learn the value of non-attachment to places, people and things. In LIVE LOVE SOUL, I write about finding a balance with non attachment. Obviously, feelings of love and attachment to certain aspects of our life make us human and lovable. I am attached to my family and would be devastated if something happened to them. Yet, from doing inner work of exploring how life changes without warning, I have developed tools that have helped me to gain composure and gratitude during harder times. I have learned to be more present in the daily schedule that I live, while making small goals and being practical. I still dream with much imagination, but keep my feet rooted to the ground. I also work on my own shortcomings and try to practice more gratitude and love. I find that each chapter shows us a new miracle and lesson. So be open to both.


3. What life lesson would you have shared with Machel on her enlightened journey of self discovery that you know now but didn’t know in your twenties or thirties? Two words- BE BRAVE. The real journey in life is much larger in scope than we can imagine when we leave home. Being brave and facing fear during hard and scary times is the most important lesson I have ever learned. “This too Shall Pass.”
When we are  younger, life feels like what we are experiencing NOW, may be a ‘forever thing.’ Only age and time can show us more chapter that can reveal that is not the case. In order to imagine the future you want to live in, you have to have the courage NOW to dream and to be brave with your current circumstances. Utilize your gifts. Being brave, means having ‘courageous endurance.’ You will need that to weather the good times and unsuspected valleys of life you cannot see or know they could be just around the corner.
After being brave, REMAIN POSITIVE. If you have negative thoughts, you can weed them out with positive affirmations. This is part of being brave. You must take action to empower your mind so win and triumph over whatever threatens to defeat your spirit. Just remember you are bigger than any circumstance that tries to take you down. So Be Brave and don’t give up. Your future and your destiny depend on these two words during your youth.


My soul signature question is ♥ how do you both nurture your soul? which brightens your spirit and actually find the time to actually do it?


I spend time with only those that bring love and support into my life. I have weeded out the surface friends that don’t support my dreams. I exercise and spend time with my animals. I love my dog, Fortune and my kitties, Sophie and Lily. Never under estimate the love from your furbaby. They can turn your day around in a moment.
I enjoy small moments. I schedule them. I know what makes me happy and I make sure I add time for me away from my family and my work.
I read–a lot. Reading fiction and non-fiction books keep you grounded in the gift of imagination and teach you about other aspects, places and things you may not be experiencing right now in your own journey. Reading can reveal a part of your own soul you have not discovered but only do when you relate to a character in a book that reveals that part of who you are–TO YOU.
I practice gratitude and prayer. I pray daily in my thoughts and practice gratitude for all that I have, including if that  means a messy closet. What we have might be someone else’s dream. So pray and practice gratitude.
How do I find time to do it?
I take a calendar and I schedule the time. I look at my week, my month and my year and I plan for moments of joy. I make them happen. Happiness is a place we can create. WE have to fight for our happiness. And sometimes that means making time in our schedule. So get busy with that calendar and schedule some time for your SOUL.  You deserve it.

Follow Machel on Twitter


Steven Universe’s Garnet: Cool, Calm, and Collected


“The ideal superhero is a master of martial arts, which at it’s core is a spiritual discipline.” Deepak Chopra

Grace my daughter,  is the voice of Connie,  Steven’s bestie.  The FunZen Girls,  are grateful to add Steven Universe’s third Crystal Gem, Garnet. (check out past interviews with crystal gems, Amethyst and Pearl)
Garnet is a female superhero who appears to be a disciplined warrior that is stoic and focused. The best part is that her character (voiced  by gorgeous R&B singer Estelle) reveals the ideal of “staying cool under pressure.”


“In Steven Universe, the world is protected from evil threats by the Crystal Gems, a group of intergalactic female warriors who use the power of special gem stones embedded on their bodies to summon magical weapons.”
Who is Garnet? She is a superhero that uses her magical powers to fight evil and triumph in the name of good.
She seems to be the unofficial leader of the Crystal Gems, and she is also the most mysterious.
My favorite soul signature question to ask people is “how do you keep calm, steady your nerves, and excel under pressure?” From my research, Estelle has already answered my question of how she succeeds under pressure. She does this by being true to herself and staying focused on the purpose of her journey of self discovery, and promoting the projects that matter to her.


“We’re not on our journey to save the world but to save ourselves. But in doing that you save the world. The influence of a vital person vitalizes.” Joseph Campbell
FunZen girls  <3 LOVE Estelle’s new Album, click here ->“True Romance”  available now at Best Buy and
 iTunes  Check it out!

Follow Estelle on Twitter: @EstelleDarlings and  Instagram

The Single Breath Snow Globe Meditation

FullSizeRender (57)

Your Quiet Moment: Single Breath Snow Globe Quote

 “An amazing thing happens when we slow down. We start to get flashes of inspiration. We reach a new level of understanding and even wisdom. In a quiet moment we can get an intuitive insight that can change our entire life and the lives of the people around us in incredibly positive ways. And those changes can last a lifetime. Living more simply will make it possible to create those quiet moments. Out of those quiet moments miracles happen. Be open to them. — Elaine St. James


Gary Snyder (born May 8, 1930) is an American man of letters. Zen poet perhaps best known for Pulitzer Prize-winning Turtle Island (1975) (often associated with the Beat Generation and the San Francisco Renaissance), he is also an essayist, lecturer, and environmental activist.


Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 9.27.49 PM

Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 9.28.07 PM

 “Zen aims at freedom but its practice is disciplined.”  Gary Snyder

Hi Everyone! I’ll be presenting a single breath Snow Globe meditation that I learned from Gary Snyder @ Disney Cal Arts. What stayed with me was his presence after he guided us through an effortless one breath zen exercise to reach stillness and taste silence. As if by magic, taking a mindful breath reminded me of a snow globe settling, where suddenly everything becomes clear. I recalled moments from my past of flip flopping from performance anxiety to zen like calm. However, with this centering breath charm, I now have an upgrade to carry on with fearless confidence. After my transformative experience with Gary Snyder, I knew it had to be shared with others.
Read more about the Legendary  Zen Beat poet, Gary Snyder,  in the New Yorker magazine.  Check out a few of  Gary Snyder’s awesome books available at Amazon:  A Place in Space , Pulitzer Prize winning, Turtle Island, and he wrote the foreword to  Zen Pioneer, the life and works of my great grandmother, Ruth Fuller Sasaki, wife of my great grandpa, Sokei-an Sasaki, Roshi.  Gary Snyder shared with me that my great grandpa inspired him to study zen, he wrote the Foreword to the book  Zen Pioneer. I am honored to share my zen wisdom with you, in the spirit of the FunZen girls.  
Grace says that, “As a voice over actress, I use the snow globe Single Breath meditation very often when I’m working. Whenever I feel anxious, or as if whatever I’m saying is not what the director wants, I take my single breath and center myself. When I worked on Lucy from Charlie Brown, I was told repeatedly that I had to slow down so I could sound more like the original voice over artist. I could’ve easily panicked, thinking that what I was doing was not good enough. Instead, I took some breaths and went from a worrier to a warrior. From a more mindful mental stance, I’m able to become relaxed and easily do what I need to do in the recording booth. Without my FunZen tools, I wouldn’t be able to have grace under pressure. By calming the inner storm of my thoughts, my snow globe settles and I am able to perform brilliantly.” FunZen fact: The sweet science of it is that the situation is the same, but the way we handle it is different as we go from a Worrier to a Warrior in the moment, under pressure.

To get familiar with the idea of being a Warrior, not a worrier, check out my twitter friend and founder of the Daily Love, Mastin Kipp’s article here.

Now, when you’re having one of those days that Lil Mama told you about, press your zen button: Ahhhh to center your spinning tea cup mind and SMILE shifting from Anxiety to Serenity now. unnamed Miracle Diamond Charm: “Help people to learn to move gracefully, to think clearly, to form– like artists–the matter of their lives.” Gary Zukav

Carry your miracle diamond of mindfulness to awaken your inner dancer; “When the body lifts, the mind shifts, (worrier to a warrior) and the spirit soars.” (See introducing The Miracle Diamond, Author, Artist, Mentor, Helen Fleder)

Update, Order Now, new amaZEN book, Shape Up, Shape Up as you sit, stand and walk, it’s nature’s Miracle Exercise  by Helen Fleder


Lil Mama and Elle


Jill (Mindful Mom), Elle, Liam, and Carson Mathews

Namaste in Action. – FunZen Girls OX 143 #urloved   To buy The Worrier and the Warrior, (the newest addition to our e-book collection!) currently only $3.99, CLICK HERE! worrwarr

Mindful Momma- Melissa Scanlon Shares Her Description of “The Worrier and the Warrior”

photo 3Melissa and her baby Isabelle <3

Grace and I are grateful to serve up Melissa’s story about how the FunZen Kid’s life lesson re. shifting from a worrier to a warrior has positively influenced her life both personally and professionally.

Melissa totally gets it like Ryan, choosing to pivot from a worrier to a warrior prepares you to be a female hero of your own story.

Check out her blog where she has to use her mindful tools (such as the snow globe meditation) with her daughter in a story that brings a literal meaning to the expression, “Poop Happens”.

~FunZen Girls just wanna  Focus, Flow, and have Fun!

piecakesCherry Pie ~sweet-tart~Cupcakes

 Melissa Scanlon’s  Sweetie Pie in the Sky Yum- Om
Quotables from the FunZen Bakery

Pie crust 101: Be open to changing your habits and practice being receptive.
You may enjoy the new flow! 

“In a delicious pie it is the filling that matters most. Our thoughts about our Self
and the world around us create our soul batter.”

Would you describe yourself as a Worrier or as a Warrior?  Do you know the difference? As a parent are you raising a Worrier or a Warrior? Your answer to the first question dictates your answer to the next two. When we become parents the choices we CHOOSE to make translate to the wisdom we pass on to our children. Like sponges, children absorb everything around them. Like adults, children feel pressure and stress. The way they learn to respond to these stresses mirror our behavior. We all want to be the best parent we can be to our children and the wisdom to be that person lives within our heart.

Michiko and Grace Rolek’s FunZen approach to parenting and to life reminds us that parenting isn’t about being perfect. It’s about being a parent who digs down deep to root, rise and soar. It is about being a parent who looks in the mirror and sees a Warrior smiling back. Clear vision often requires adjusting our lens. The Worrier and The Warrior is an invaluable tool that empowers parents with the wisdom necessary to make the adjustments to awaken our inner Zen Master –growing our wings of self-love to soar with our child through life’s happy-calm skies.

As a new parent I am learning that, “The real challenge of wholehearted parenting is to be the adults that we want our children to grow up to be.” We child proof our home, but quickly learn that our souls also need childproofing. A common misconception is that once we become an adult we stop growing. When children come into our life they invite us to rise to the challenge of raising our Self and attaining our Black Belt for the Soul.

As a yoga instructor focusing on children, one of my favorite things about children is their natural inclination to live life completely in the moment. In this total engagement there is beautiful, uninhibited self-expression. Self-love is the foundation of good parenting. Out of this glowing and flowing heart space we celebrate our Self and SHOW our children to celebrate their individuality by brightly shining their heart light.

There are a ton of parenting books on the market. It is easy to get bogged down with long words and lost meanings. The magic in Michiko and Grace’s FunZen Life Lessons is that they keep the lessons simple, pure and FUN! Written as a child-friendly narrative The Worrier and the Warrior is an interactive story you can read with your child to cultivate mindfulness and get the conversation started. In Michiko’s A-Z Life Lessons she teaches us that, “like an umbrella, the mind works best when it is open.  If we think we already know, how can we learn anything new? To embrace life’s possibilities, the Warrior is open to trying a new approach and thinks creatively.”

Namaste <3

FunZen Girl & Mindful Momma


About Me

melissa happy calm pose


I am an LA based yoga instructor focusing on children (Happy-Kid Yoga) and have been practicing yoga for 8 years. My passion is to help others find the inner strength and peace that my own practice helped me to cultivate. From this place of self-love our brightest light shines – life coaching with Michiko and her A to Z Life Lessons taught me to LIVE from that place of self-love and I have blossomed as a person and as a teacher since.

I have a 10-month-old daughter, Isabelle, who has caused my heart to blossom and grow in ways I never imagined possible. One struggle that we faced with Isabelle was getting her to sleep peacefully. We were going through all the motions; lavender baths, music, books, signing, rocking – nothing seemed to soothe Isabelle to sleep. We endured hours of crying at night for 8 months. Michiko reminded me to check in with myself and to nurture my Zen Momma soul with lots of MOMents and self-love. Bedtime had become such a stressful time for me and my stress was affecting Isabelle – she could FEEL it. I shifted my perspective and WHOOOOSH Isabelle’s sleeping has been improving and the whole family is happier at bedtime.

A mutual friend introduced Michiko and I, and in the short time that she has been coaching me her wisdom and approach to life has empowered me to wear my Black Belt for the Soul. I am honored to have the opportunity to write the book Description on Amazon (Kindle) for Michiko’s newest book and share with you how much her wisdom has helped me to grow. Thank you Michiko for sharing your Spirit to spark my inner light and helping to build a foundation of confidence to keep it shining bright.




To buy The Worrier and the Warrior, (the newest addition to our e-book collection!) currently only $3.99, CLICK HERE!


New Exclusive Clip From Our Interview with Voice of Sailor Moon (Linda Ballantyne)

[soundcloud url=”″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]

Hey guys! Here’s an exclusive new clip from our chat with Linda Ballantyne, the voice of Sailor Moon. She showed us her awesome battle cry, and we briefly talked about going from a worrier to a warrior! Don’t miss it!






Follow her on Twitter @LABallantyne or listen to some of her archived radio shows at


Steven Universe’s Deedee Magno Hall’s Pearls of Wisdom


“Heroes feel the same fear as cowards; they just respond differently…The way itself creates the warrior.


We are all peaceful warriors in training, and every life is a hero’s journey.”  Dan Millman


“We are the hero of our own story.” Mary McCarthy


“In Steven Universe, the world is protected from evil threats by the Crystal Gems, a group of intergalactic female warriors who use the power of special gem stones embedded on their bodies to summon magical weapons.”




Who is Pearl? Pearl is one of the Crystal Gems in Steven Universe. She is one of the main female protagonists in the series. She is a superhero that uses her magical powers to fight evil threats and protect Beach City.


Pearl acts as a kind, motherly figure towards Steven, in some episodes treating him like her own son. She always speaks gently to him and is always the first show concern when taking him on a dangerous mission.


All Gems have many powers including the ability to summon a weapon, shapeshift, and retreat into their Gems after becoming injured to heal. Activating her Crystal Gem summons a magic spear. She is able to project holographic images from her Gem and has psychokinetic abilities. She can also fuse with Amethyst to create Opal.


 Recently, it was exciting to connect up with “Steven Universe’s” Deedee Magno Hall, the voice of Pearl. Here are her  Q&A answers to some of our questions. Note my soul signature question re. how she handles stressful moments and keeps calm to sparkle on and carry onward both professionally and personally as an awesome mother.

♥ What inspired you to get into voice-acting?

I’ve always loved cartoons and animated films, especially ones paired with singing, but voice-acting wasn’t a real career path for me until I discovered that the singing voices of Disney’s Jasmine and Mulan were of Lea Salonga. (I had been a fan of her voice since my parents bought me the Miss Saigon soundtrack.) I developed a deeper appreciation and paid more attention to the voices after that, and started to pursue voice-acting roles.


♥ What are the similarities between you and your character, Pearl?


I feel like, since I started working on Steven Universe over a year ago, more and more Pearl has evolved into a sort of heightened version of myself. I am a real life mother of two boys, so naturally my maternal instincts kick in as Pearl to try and keep Steven safe and far from danger.

♥ Do you have a girl powHer tip, or advice for kids of all ages to support their  dreams?

I just recently watched an ad on YouTube for @Always #LikeAGirl and loved it’s message about embracing who YOU are, and being the best YOU can be…not letting stereotypes, limits, judgement, anyone or anything negative hold YOU back from the best YOU can be. That’s what I got from it anyway, and that’s what I try to teach my kids…to always do their best and never give up. 

♥ How do you find the balance between work and motherhood and stay happy?

I’ve been so incredibly blessed to do what I love for a living. Although it can sometimes get a little challenging, it’s difficult to call it work when your living your dream, and the dreams of so many! Motherhood is by far the MOST challenging job I’ve EVER had, but the most gratifying! 

Music has always been present in my life ever since I was very young, and I want to keep that tradition alive with my children, with making up silly songs while we do our chores, having random dance parties, holding friendly Karaoke battles, or listening to live music! Basically, family, friends, good food and good music make me very happy! That, and endless hugs and kisses from my kiddos!
My soul signature question is ♥ How do you keep calm, carry on, and steady your nerves under pressure?

I don’t think I’ve ever NOT been nervous before a performance. What’s worked for me in the past is to be prepared, take deep breaths, warming up my mind, body and voice with proper training technics, and using that nervous energy in a positive way, keeping me grounded and focused. I also try to remind myself that I’m where I am because I enjoy what I do, and the moment I feel it’s not fun anymore, it’s time to move on!

Hero Journey Quotes

Hero lies in you

“We all live in suspense, from day to day, from hour to hour; in other words,
we are the hero of our own story.”  Mary McCarthy


Awakening Sleeping Beauty…”In every one of us there lies a sleeping beauty waiting to be awakened through love.” Sarah Ban Breathnach


“We’re not on our journey to save the world but to save ourselves. But in doing that you save the world. The influence of a vital person vitalizes.” Joseph Campbell


“The hero’s story is always a journey…but there are many stories that take the hero on an inward journey, one of mind, the heart, the spirit. In any good story the hero grows and changes, making a journey from one way of being to the next; from despair to hope, from weakness to strength, from folly to wisdom, from love to hate and back again. It’s these emotional journeys that hook an audience and make a story worth watching.” Christopher Vogler


“The ideal superhero is a master of martial arts, which at it’s core is a spiritual discipline.” Deepak Chopra


Follow DeeDee on Twitter: @TheParDee
More awesome female hero stories to come!


The Best Kept Secret is Out! My Mistakes, Miracles, and Most Treasured Gem

I am most proud of motherhood, which gave my life a singular purpose. I still celebrate the opportunity to see the world through the window of a child, which reminds me everyday to practice mindfulness sooner and not sweat the small stuff.  FunZen heart♡note

Being the best kept secret is a good thing unless you see the value of what you have. For me, being born into a famous zen lineage was a struggle until my daughter, Grace was born. The inner conflict became apparent when I heard from my great grandfather’s secretary, Mary Farkas, how much I resembled my great grandpa, (Sokei-an Sasaki Roshi) and carried his divine current. At the time, in the early eighties I didn’t know how to handle that, because I was basically raised by my father’s Robinson side of the family who is Black and European (Italian, Irish).
Certainly what was clear to me, was that I knew that everyone has zen presence, a radiant luminosity but often are unaware of it. My conflict growing up as a spiritual being having a physical experience was the suffering I experienced when I felt any envy from my family or others. I simply didn’t want anyone to feel left out.

Sailor Moon Sharing Secrets Regarding Her Superhero Journey



“Heroes feel the same fear as cowards; they just respond differently…The way itself creates the warrior. We are all peaceful warriors in training, and every life is a hero’s journey.”  Dan Millman

Who is Sailor Moon? She is a superhero that uses her magical powers to fight evil and triumph in the name of good.

Simply put, the difference between a hero and a superhero is that a hero is respected for courage or noble qualities like integrity, loyalty, or warriorship.  A superhero has magical powers to change our lives.
Recently, it was exciting to chat with Linda Ballantyne, one of the voices of Sailor Moon. Hear her answers to some of our FunZen questions, and listen to her share how she handles stressful moments and keeps calm to sparkle on and carry onward.



1. What inspired you to get into voice-acting?

I was one of those kids who couldn’t sit still for a second. I was so outgoing and crazy. Really, I don’t think I had a choice in life other than acting. It was what I was meant to do. But it’s one thing to say you have to act and another thing to make a living at it. It is not an easy profession to get into. So I went to theatre school to help hone my skills and give my career direction. One of the courses they offered at theatre school was voice-over technique. As soon as I stepped into the booth, put the headphones on and started to talk I knew this was something I wanted to do. I absolutely loved it! Then one day we had a guest voice actor come in to the school to talk to us about VO’s. As soon as I heard her voice I knew it immediately. The quality of her voice, her energy, her love of the job and her knowledge of all things voice all drove me to pursue this career. She was inspiring! Years later I had the opportunity to work with that voice actor– It was none other than Susan Roman, Sailor Jupiter! Now she is a very good friend. But I tell you I never stop learning from her. She is just soooo good! She is definitely my inspiration.

2. What are the similarities between you and your character, Sailor Moon?

I am a big goof-ball. I tend to joke around a lot. But when push comes to shove it always seems to be me who ends up in the role of leader. I guess it comes with having an outgoing personality. People pick you as the natural leader. So in those respects, I’d say I’m a lot like Serena/Sailor Moon.

3. We’ve heard that playing the role of a female hero can be demanding or rigorous, even if it’s voice acting, how was your experience?

It’s demanding doing most roles in voice, but when the show is high octane like Sailor Moon then all of that gets amped up even more. I mean, even the crying took a lot of energy. Just take a second and throw your head back and do a Serena crying fit. Feel how your stomach muscles are pushed and how all your face muscles are stretched and pulled. Now do three or four takes of that only 100 x bigger because that’s what they’d tell me to do. Now think about how often Serena cries, and screams and falls and, and, and. I would walk out of each session feeling very beaten up. Voice acting is a very physical job. You have to put your whole body into each line or it just won’t be believable– especially in the fight scenes. When you are being hit in the stomach you have to knock the breath out of yourself and really feel like you’ve taken a blow to the gut. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE doing it. It’s just so much fun. But at the end of the day I am spent.

4. How does it feel to be part of one of the most famous Japanese anime series of magical girls who can transform into heroines and fight evil or ward off the negaforce?

I feel like I have been truly blessed getting to play the part of Sailor Moon. The show is iconic and has such a loyal following. It is something that can never be taken away from me. I am a lucky girl! And the fans are bar none the greatest fans on earth! They are so loving and knowledgeable and faithful. They believe in everything Sailor Moon stands for. I swear, every time I get to meet another fan my energy level is boosted and I just feel so full of love that I’m on top of the world.

5. Do you have a girl powHer tip, or advice for girls (teens) to support their dreams?

Being a teenager is a very difficult time in a girl’s life. You’re caught between being a child and a grown-up. Things are happening to your body and your mind that are all foreign to you. But that’s what I loved the most about playing Serena/Sailor Moon. Here was this girl who really wanted to be a goofy kid and she was thrown into this very adult world, fighting evil and warding off the negaverse. It was all the different maturity levels that made her fun and challenging. Don’t ever stop having fun. Be true to yourself. Don’t try to be someone that you’re not. I know that sounds so simple and so cliché but it so true.

6. For any aspiring voice actor’s, do you have any advice for them?

In an actor’s life there should always be someone who believes in you even when you don’t believe in yourself. Find out who that person is for you and trust that person. They are not trying to pull the wool over your eyes and tell you things that aren’t true. They believe in you and that’s what will help pull you through the rough times. And believe me, there are a lot of rough times. I have been very lucky in my voice career. I have worked a lot. But I hear the word “no” a lot more than I hear the word “yes”. It can really bring you down. In those times, the people that believe in you will keep you going. Allow them to carry you forward… soon you’ll be master of your own universe again.

And enjoy the journey. Always look for something new and different in your reads. Don’t stick to stereotypes or what you think the director wants to hear. Make the character your own and have fun with it.

Well I guess that’s the end of the interview. I can’t thank you enough for reaching out to me. These were great questions and I hope they help some budding young actor somewhere. If you think voice-acting sounds like the greatest job in the world, you are right! I wouldn’t change it for anything!

In the name of the Moon,

Linda Ballantyne (Sailor Moon)

PS- Follow me on Twitter @LABallantyne or listen to some of my archived radio shows at


Hero Journey Quotes

“We’re not on our journey to save the world but to save ourselves. But in doing that you save the world. The influence of a vital person vitalizes.” Joseph Campbell

“The hero’s story is always a journey…but there are many stories that take the hero on an inward journey, one of mind, the heart, the spirit. In any good story the hero grows and changes, making a journey from one way of being to the next; from despair to hope, from weakness to strength, from folly to wisdom, from love to hate and back again. It’s these emotional journeys that hook an audience and make a story worth watching.” Christopher Vogler


“The ideal superhero is a master of martial arts, which at it’s core is a spiritual discipline.” Deepak Chopra
More awesome female hero stories to come!

Uncovering The Female Hero Journey


We are honored to share Mythology Scholar, Anime Expert, and Voice Actor, Crispin Freeman’s answers to our questions.  Crispin actually inspired me to explore the idea of presenting the female journey in a whole new light. He eloquently stated that, “I’m very fond of magical girl shows like Cardcaptor Sakura, Sailor Moon and Escaflowne. I wish American animation had more female hero journey stories.”
Please zenjoy our interview of Crispin Freeman sharing his knowledge and hard-won insights about the female hero’s journey.
1. How did you get into anime?

When I was young, I was always fascinated by cartoons. I watched everything animated I could get my hands on, no matter the source. When I was 6 years old, my father yelled at me for watching too many cartoons. His criticism was probably motivated more because I wasn’t doing my homework and less because he disapproved of the medium of animation. Nevertheless, I remember making myself a promise when I was 6 years old that when I became an adult I would still like cartoons.

It wasn’t until I was in high school that I realized that some of my absolute favorite cartoons were made in Japan. When I was younger I didn’t realize that animation could be made in different countries. However, when I was in high school, the anime series Robotech was being broadcast on television and I was captivated by it. I realized that Robotech was Japanese in origin and that in fact all of my favorite cartoons from my childhood were Japanese. That’s when I became aware that I was a fan of anime.
I lost touch with anime when I was in college (this is in the days before the world wide web) but reconnected with anime when I went to grad school in New York City for acting. There was a store that sold anime videos on VHS tape. Also, back then the Sci-Fi channel was airing anime on Saturday mornings. Both of these new avenues for exploring anime rekindled my interest in the medium and I’ve been involved in the anime industry ever since.


2. What fascinates you about female hero journeys?


I think what fascinates me about female hero journeys is that they tend to be more emotionally and spiritually nuanced. The traditional male “doing” hero journey usually involves some sort of external activity or quest like slaying a dragon. Those types of male hero journeys are plentiful across cultures. What is more rare are the traditionally female “becoming” hero journeys that tend to be more focused on emotional or spiritual development and less focused on swinging swords or fighting battles. “Doing” hero journeys tend to be physical while “Becoming” hero journeys tend to be spiritual. Either gender can embark on either hero journey. A man, like Prince Siddhartha, can go on a becoming journey in order to become the spiritual leader known as the Buddha. Conversely, a woman, like Joan of Arc, can go on a doing journey in order to become a physical hero. You can also have a hero that does both at the same time. The prophet Mohammed was both a spiritual and a military leader in Islam.

Unfortunately, if you look back over history, the female hero journey has not gotten nearly the attention either creatively or scholastically that the male hero journey has. There are fewer female hero journeys in mythology and those journeys usually get less attention than their male counterparts in academics. However, there’s never been more of a need for strong female hero journeys than there is right now. Fortunately, some pop culture storytellers are filling that gap and creating female heroes that young women can identify with and model themselves after. I think it’s important to study those female heroes, to talk about how and why they are compelling so that girls can have more opportunities to find psychological role models that appeal to them. I think a preponderance of meaningful female heroes in pop culture storytelling will also have a beneficial effect on men. Sexism is a destructive force in almost every culture on the planet. This widespread chauvinism not only hurts women, but it damages men’s psyches as well. They learn modes of interacting with women that are demeaning rather than respectful and mutually beneficial. I think young men need to see female hero journeys and understand them as much as young girls do. It will help them realize that they do not have to conform to some macho archetype that insists on dominating the opposite sex in order to feel secure.

I myself never identified with that macho archetype and many times looked to other types of characters in order to find psychological models for myself. Female hero journeys are important to me not only to help ameliorate the vast inequalities between women and men than continue to damage our society, but I also look to those female heroes as a role model outside of sexists attitudes to allow me to be free from the pressure to be macho that I felt through most of my childhood.

3. Who is your favorite female hero? Why?
I’m not sure I have a single favorite female hero. I’m very fond of Nausciaa from Miyazaki’s first film Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. I think the character of Sarah from the movie Labyrinth is also pretty great. Ripley from Aliens is awesome. Buffy and Willow from Buffy the vampire slayer are pretty amazing. There’s lots of great female heroes in the anime show Revolutionary Girl Utena. I’m also fond of the characters in Sailor Moon. And I have a soft spot in my heart for Captain Janeway in Star Trek: Voyager, the first Star Trek show to have a female captain, even though some people think the show is not very well written. I’ve always been far more comfortable when women are in positions of authority. I’m an old-school Doctor Who fan and I look forward to the day when we can have a female doctor. That would be amazing. It was done once in a parody, but never with serious intent. The closest I think we’ve had is Romana, the time lord woman who travelled with the 4th Doctor. I really like Lalla Ward’s portrayal of her.
4. How did you get into voice over?


 I talk about how I broke into voice acting in detail in episodes 4 and 5 of my Voice Acting Mastery podcast that you can listen to at


In a nutshell, I was a theatrical actor who had always had a passion for Japanese animation. At a summer theater festival, a friend of mine caught me watching anime and offered to put me in touch with a studio in NY that dubbed Japanese animation. I sent them a recording of a radio play that I had acted in and produced and eventually I was able to audition for a show. I booked a small role at first and then was able to audition for larger roles. Eventually, I reached the limit of what I could achieve in New York and decided to move to Los Angeles to pursue voice acting more full time.
For more about Crispin’s awesome teachings, check out his website, his podcast (that Grace was interviewed on) and his twitter.

Thank you profusely for joining the FunZen Girls and our com-passionate, playful and practical approach while we discuss the Female Hero Journey. In our next blog, we’ll be sharing a fun illuminating interview with the beloved Linda Ballantyne, voice of Sailor Moon.

Linda’s Twitter : @LABallantyne
Linda’s Radio Show :