Photo by Michael Creagh
“You know that expression that is thrown around a lot these days about women supporting women but in some cases, is more talk than action? Well, Deirdre truly epitomizes the action as it relates to that expression. She is inspiring in her tremendously focused drive, and comforting in that you always know that at the end of the day, she’s still that Oregon girl with the same solid morals and values she came to the big city with. Deirdre makes you want to try harder and dream bigger; a perfect read to start your week”. -Michaela
First off, I want to put it out there that you might just be one of the most genuinely sweet, heartfelt people I know. Whether it’s hustling professionally or just sitting down on a personal level with a friend over coffee, you truly go into everything with the biggest heart. You work in some pretty cutthroat arenas; honestly, how do you remain so kind in the midst of ruthlessness while staying competitive?
Integrity is so important in life, and if that is lost, your life changes forever. It may be in a small way, but it changes. So, I try to live my life with self respect and integrity so that I can be proud of who I am and what I’m doing, and am able to make the most positive impact in the world. No matter who I work with and what their values might be, I never let go of mine and who I am. The bottom line is that I (try to!) treat others as I’d like to be treated. I lead by example, and if they don’t reciprocate, that’s their loss since I’m not going to lower myself to their level, and will just move on to the next opportunity without looking back. I think that kindness is a powerful quality or choice. I’ve learned that people, no matter what field they are in, respond to kindness on a deeper level and connect to it, even the most ruthless people I’ve encountered. And, at the end of the day, it gives you a competitive edge to connect with others on that human level. And, don’t get me wrong. Kindness doesn’t mean weakness. You can be kind and tough at the same time. One of my favorite mottos is by Maya Angelou, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
In your words, you have a lot of “irons in the fire,” from a successful modeling career to a film company with some exciting projects in the works, yet you still have time to pursue other dreams and nourish your personal relationships. What are your tricks?
Planning is number one. As much as I love spontaneity, I definitely reserve and then plan out personal time for family, friends and life outside of show business and fashion. Nothing matters if you can’t share the journey with your loved ones, so they come first. Always! To do this, I like to sit down and make lists of goals for the different areas of my life, then map out the detailed action plans for those goals with timelines. Having those in writing helps me keep focus on what I’m hoping to accomplish. I’m also a big texter and FaceTimer. You have to make the effort to keep the relationships that you value alive and to touch base regularly, no matter how busy you might get. I’ll use my subway commute times to send out a batch of hellos to people. Being from the west coast, most of my family and many of my friends live in a different time zones. So, texting makes it easy for them to respond once they wake up in the mornings or whenever is convenient. I don’t wait for people to contact me first. If I think of someone and want to chat, I just make the effort to reach out. I love celebrating life moments and I keep a “Special Days” list on my refrigerator year round, broken down by months. Also, I try to get my talented and/or interested friends and family involved with my projects, so that I can spend time with them and share those creative life experiences.
I want to also praise you because you are an incredible example of how to successfully let go of the things you can’t change or control. We’re really going to need you to share your personal secrets here because we all know this can be SO hard to do.
I’ve definitely had my share of big challenges in my life… losing my father and other very dear people, among other traumatic losses, but I’ve realized that nobody can take away the love and happy memories you have. No matter what, how the special people made you feel stays in your soul forever.
When dealing with other life challenges, I always reflect on what I have learned. I ask myself what the take away of the situation is, and focus on treating it as a learning opportunity. I sit down with my laptop, or, if I’m one the go, I journal in my ever-ready notebook, and write out all the facts of the situation and details, breaking down the reality of it all. In addition to the facts, I write out the feelings and how the circumstances have affected my life. I’ve written some of my best screenplays off of inspirations from my life experiences, both big and small experiences that were good and, sometimes, otherwise. It’s so therapeutic and such a release. I turn the experiences into learning experiences that will hopefully help others and, meanwhile, will help me heal with the pain of the loss, or however it made me feel.
I also need to physically sweat out the stress of the situation, so I usually go to hot yoga, pilates or spin class. A few years ago, when my father started fighting cancer, I decided to fight the disease along with him by running with purpose, and began fundraising for cancer research and patient care. I ran dozens of races and several marathons on his behalf, raising money and, in turn, releasing stress, staying healthy and giving back everything I could toward the battle. Sadly, he lost his battle, but he was an inspiration with how hard he fought to the end.
Last but not least, I do yoga as much as possible. Yoga is my meditational treat to myself. It calms and rebalances me, and, in the hustle and craze of the city, creates a space to be alone and with my thoughts while working out physically. I do it as much as possible, sometimes every day for long periods of time. It’s a healing retreat gently packed into a class.
As much as you’re a city girl, I’ll bet that at the end of the day, your heart is in your home state of Oregon. As far as natual paradises go, Oregon pretty much fits the bill, with its beaches and lakes, mountains and forests. Another iron that you have in the fire is the launch of an environmental innitiative this coming Earth Day. Can you tell us more about it and the inspiration behind it?
I will always be an Oregon girl, it instilled a deep love of nature and the outdoors in me. Our family has always been Green Peace supporters and participants in nature clean ups over the years. In my life and career here in New York City, I’m always looking for meaningful ways to give back and make a difference. So, when Earth Day was approaching in April, a dear and likeminded friend of mine and I came up with an idea to peacefully build a community of people who were also interested in restoring, preserving and appreciating nature around us. It’s very new, but we share about ways people can help make a difference in small, attainable ways, as well as taking time to appreciate the beauty of the earth. People can join the conversation and community at EarthShiners on Instagram. We look forward to expanding the group and have our first official clean up in the works.
Unsurprisingly, we’re big Oprah Winfrey fans here at The Modern Bee! She once said, “”[e]very time you state what you want or believe, you’re the first to hear it. It’s a message to both you and others about what you think is possible. Don’t put a ceiling on yourself.” As your friend, I have watched you dream and go after so many passions in your life. Is there anything that you tell yourself every morning before you get out of bed that really gets you going and inspires you to not only dream big but to also live big?
Yes! I always wake up and say, “It’s going to be an amazing day. I can feel it. Let’s do this!” Even when I’m exhausted from the week or am not feeling well, I try to be positive and hopeful. If I don’t say it and believe it, it’s not going to happen. So, it’s up to me to choose happiness.
In a world of possibilities, what would you do with your life if failure wasn’t an option? What advice would you give your younger self just starting out yourself at a trying time in the past that you’ve since overcome?
I’m doing exactly what I want to be doing right now and have already failed at it thousands of times. Literally. Haha. People often say negative things about acting, auditioning, modeling, writing and filmmaking, and about how impossible it is to succeed. It just isn’t true. Success is a mindset. I’ve succeeded so many times, too, and am grateful and enjoy each and every time that much more. I moved across the country to pursue this dream and had no contacts in the business, but I’m so happy I did it and have never looked back. I’m where I should be right now.
As for advice to my younger self, I remember a time when I trusted a close friend’s friend and didn’t have them sign a contract for a deal. It was against my better judgement, but the friend vouched for her. It was a mistake. Make everyone sign contracts for any deal you make. Do you remember that scene in the classic movie Jerry McGuire when the Jerry character, who is a sports agent, attempts to sign a famous athlete, and the father says to Jerry, “No contract, but my word is stronger than oak”? Then, they powerfully and convincingly shake hands? Do you remember how that turned out for Jerry? Badly! So, get it in writing, young one. Get it in writing. There’s my advice.
What traits do you value most in your circle of friends? What traits do you most value in yourself?
Honesty, loyalty, integrity, earth consciousness, human compassion, kindness, open mindedness, creativity, tenacity, industriousness, peacefulness, timeliness, thoughtfulness, intellectual curiosity, knowledge seeking, good communicator, champagne loving and light hearted, among other traits. I also value these traits in myself. I’m pretty much the hardest on myself, so I hold myself at high standards of keeping it together in life!
And I always end interviews with 5 (hopefully) fun rapid fire questions. Where do you stand on…
Forest hike or beach walk? Beach walks along the Pacific Ocean are the best in the world. Just saying. Barre or spin? Spin. I like the stadium classes in the dark with fun music. Really energizing. Comedy or drama? Dramedy. Haha. Ok, Comedy. I love a good laugh! Uptown or downtown? Downtown since I love the art scenes everywhere. Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade or the Village Halloween Parade? Village Halloween Parade since I love original costumes and creative expression.
Deirdre has a lot of exciting things in the pipeline, from the new community with Earthshiners on Instagram to her film and modeling work. We can’t wait to see what else she has up her sleeve and look forward to following along on her journey.