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See Mrs Bella in Up & Coming- Interview

Agent/Producer Denise Bella Vlasis

Here is the interview that went with this article Please describe what you do, and why you are passionate about your work.

I have been a creative person my whole life. My mother was a pioneer with making “what you have work” and taught me at a very young age to think outside the box. I utilized this way of thinking in combination with my passion for dance, acting, theater and performing. After a long career as Madonna’s Hollywood double, I found myself helping other Hollywood agents find “hard to find” performers. Being a performer myself, I knew how to scout and find unique and talented performers. After many years of helping other agents, it was natural for me to do the agent thing myself. It was not my intention to be an “agent” so much as it was to help my talented friends (and myself) to get more performing paid jobs. I know what it is to be a hungry and skilled performer that just needs a break or opportunity to shine – and that is what keeps me passionate about what I do as an agent/producer. Seeing my performers light up when they are on stage. I feel a part of my heart is in that performance.

What word do you feel describes you best as a professional and why?

One word…empowering (I love to empower people to live their dream)

Were you always sure you wanted to be in the industry that you are in?

Yes! When I was 5 years old our teacher asked us to write about what we wanted to be when we grow up. I distinctively remember writing how I wanted to be “Carol Marol” (for the younger generation she was the “Vanna White” of her day). I wrote about wanting to be Carol as her job looked quite appealing to me to be in fancy dresses, filming a TV show all day showing sports cars and blowing kisses to the camera. I begged mom for dance classes at age 9 and never stopped once I started. I was always finding a way to “be in the show” be it getting myself in the local parade (I played violin and was upset that the violin players were the only musicians to be excluded from marching in the parade) so I actually choreographed and costumed the rest of the violin players to create the very first violin marching girls. I went on to do the same thing in Jr high. I was always leading the way of talent shows, lip sync contests and always trying to convince my friends to join me. My mind was always thinking in terms of show ideas, and choreography and somehow bringing it to an audience. Along the way I was discovered as Madonna’s double which led me in a million places to perform including TV, film, body double, voice over, stand-in, and live stage performances. Working as an impersonator was great on the job training for everything- I am so grateful for those years!

What motivates you to continue your work?

The idea of creating something that is only a hope or idea in someone’s mind. I love to bring a vision to life. I also love helping performers utilize their talents so both of those things lift my heart.

Do you have any advice for those looking for a similar career path?

Well that is a tricky question since I do so many different things.

• Advice on becoming an agent; work as a performer first so you will always be sympathetic and compassionate to your talents. Learn the ropes of the industry and keep a kindness about you no matter what. • Advice on becoming a lookalike; read my book and learn your character. Create an entertaining act and be the best you can be. Don’t be competitive with others. Share information and keep on your path. It is not enough to just look like someone so hone your skills and create a convincing character that will entertain people. • Advice on starting your own business; Start with YOUR ideas rather than looking around to see what others are doing. Your success will come when you are sincere about what you are creating. Be an innovator not an imitator and success will surely follow. Do what you love and share that with the world.

To who, or what, do you feel you owe your success?

1. My parents. Dad taught me how to be a smart business person and mom taught me how to see things in unique and ultimate ways. They both taught me anything is possible and for that I am grateful! 2. My first performing teachers who gave me a blank canvas to paint-they changed my world forever. 3. My husband and daughter for being my “everything” always encouraging me and inspiring me. My husband for always being open to my next crazy idea and my daughter for fueling my spirt with joy

Who are your top three idols and why?

1. My mom. My absolute idol for all that she is, all that she has become. She came from nothing and made magic with every step of her life. Her grace, her vision, her passion, her compassion- she is truly someone I can only aspire to be like. 2. Michael Bernard Beckwith –spiritual teacher, speaker who is always eloquent and able to see life with clear eyes and heart. 3. Madonna for leading the way of my youth. Her ability to be fearless helped me in my awkward years of figuring out who I truly am.

What was the hardest part about getting where you are today?

The hardest part I suppose was learning not everything has the same intentions as myself. So getting burned was a hard lesson to learn. Be it a client with no intentions to pay, or a “friend” learning about my company only to plagiarize it, or dealing with what feels like rejection. I have tried to take these painful situations to learn from them as I know they are opportunities to grow. The pain has allowed me to push harder to rise above and try new things, which in the end I can only thank those people who hurt me as it forced me to get out of my comfort zone.

What's up and coming for you in the next year?

I feel blessed that both Tribute Productions and Mrs. Bella’s Dolls are both flourishing. Tribute Productions; we are booking a lot of TV shows and films at the moment. Working one on one with casting companies and booking many different talents at the moment. Bella’s Dolls; Our dance production BELLA’S DANCING DOLLS are in rehearsals with a new show for 2017. Tonya Vivian is my dance captain and an amazing addition to the company. We will be on Hell’s Kitchen soon debuting some fun dance performances. This year we will be booked at many different events and I love working with this group of girls-

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