Meet Emilia Hernández - the woman who got to bring together the best ballet dancers of the world in one stage in Mexico, the woman who is the key piece of the success of the most important ballet dancer in the world: Isaac Hernandez.
Emilia believes in the power of imagination, hard work and the importance of leaving a legacy in this world. Living with consciousness about time and our existence. She was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco Mexico her main interests are music, dance, art, human rights, creativity and making things happen for a better being.
Emilia as a kid was very curious, hyperactive, and in a way, a rebel. Questioning everything all the time, she needed to know exactly why she had to do certain things and follow certain rules. After she had an explanation and this explanation was rational to her, she would then obey. She thinks that her mom especially had a bit trouble raising her, as she was demanding information and facts. She used to read a lot as a kid and teenager. All kind of books, not necessarily only kids' books, so she was aware and interested in knowing how this world works.
You are the oldest child of 11 siblings. How did that fact mark your childhood? How was Emilia as a kid?
It's common in our culture for parents to tell the older sibling that it’s our responsibility to set the example for our younger siblings. I don’t fully believe in that as I think as humans, we are all different and we make choices according to the circumstances that we are living or our personal interests and beliefs, but, of course, in a certain way, we can influence our younger siblings. So, that comes with responsibility “per se".
We were all homeschooled, we did not have a TV at home, no video games, not a “regular childhood“, we all had a very strong learning discipline, responsibilities, homework, ballet classes, playing an instrument, learning English, and of course helping in the house duties to my parents.
Once Isaac won the gold medal and the Grand Prix at the biggest International Dance Competition in the world (Youth America Grand Prix), he was offered a lot of scholarships to study around the world in prestigious dance institutions, my parents and he decided to send him to The Rock School for Dance Education and American Ballet Theater in New York for the summer intensives but, in order to take the scholarships, he needed a legal guardian because he was only 13 years old so, being the oldest of 11, my mom spoke to me and told me that I was the one that could go with him. I told her that I was happy living in Mexico but my mom encouraged me to try for six months, and I ended up staying for almost 10 years.
I thank my mother for doing so and my brother Isaac for being the reason, I enjoyed every single day living there, learning, getting to see so many things that I never knew they existed. New York was the best thing that ever happened to me. That does not mean that we did not face hard times, we did, but it was a wonderful lesson every single thing. It helped me to grow, to understand and develop my interests and to make me a well-rounded person, which is important in life
We know your brother is very talented, but you have been a very important piece in Isaac's success. When your brother grew up, you could work in another profession but you are working in the same field as him as a producer. Tell us more about how, when, and why you decided to stay in Ballet's world?
Indeed, I stayed in the “dance world" because of him. I think we both enjoyed the journey so much and lived so many memorable things together of this journey that in a way, we developed a mutual understanding of life with deep gratitude, because we literally, started from zero. I call it, “the Art of making something out of nothing”. So, we both used to talk in our long subway rides about ideas, people, projects, dreams, we used to say, one day we will… and it all started like that. Believing that it was possible to do things that were not done before in our Country.
Besides that, I think we both clearly understood all the steps that needed to be taken, done and achieved, in order to accomplish that dream. And we were equally willing to pay the price of it: working very hard, perseverance, genuine desire, honest porpoise, integrity and keeping the highest standards in everything we do. I think as long as we love what we do, even in the hardest moments, hope will prevail.
Emilia founded Soul Arts Productions Company in 2014 with her brother Isaac, and she achieved the show "Despertares" ( “Awakening") that became an international event. Despertares is a show that presents the best dancers from around the world on one stage, the audience watching this show, would have the need to travel to over fifteen different countries in order to see the artists that participate on it. Despertares became the biggest dance show in the world. The show is presented in massive auditoriums. The last edition happened at the National Auditorium in Mexico City and 20,000 thousand people attended to the show, that was a historical attendance for the dance industry in Mexico.
In another interview, you mentioned that people tried to discourage you, saying it was impossible that Despertares happened, how did you, as a producer of Despertares, achieve that? What was the recipe for your success?
At some point sponsors and producers did not believe that it was possible to achieve what we wanted and to keep doing it, so we had to found our own Production Company to do it. We never doubt that the Country needed it and that it was a good idea. We did not get mad or discouraged when they told us that there was no audience for such a project in Mexico and that it was not sustainable. They recommended us to produce it and present it in other countries but not in Mexico. We just respected their point of view and moved forward.
The key for success is a lot of hard work, also, a strong desire to make your dreams and purpose happen. Some people call it passion, I call it perseverance. When you want to accomplish something, you have to always find a way, this is where imagination and creativity play their role in life .
You have a husband who lives at the Mayan Riviera, you travel a lot and your work is very demanding, how do you balance your personal and professional life? Have you had problems with him due to that fact? If yes, how do you manage that?
I feel very lucky to have a husband that supports my direction, that understands all that this life projects take, that is not a “sacrifice” for him to deal with my travel schedules or work demands. He has the character and the peace to live with this in his life and be happy. As humans, I think it's important to develop ourselves and feel happy knowing that we are capable of becoming what we want to be. So that way, when we leave this world, we leave with peace, knowing that we did not waste our time, that we did actually something that made us happy and we shared our happiness with someone that understood and respected our dreams and purposes. We can't expect to have a happy marriage if we don’t have a happy life as individuals. My husband is from Paris, he moved to Mexico because of me, that means a lot to me and I am happy that it was his personal choice to live here and that has also been a learning experience for him. I was never in a rush to marry or it was not my ultimate goal in life, I had so many things that I wanted to do with my time that this decision never ruled my life, it all happened unexpectedly. I also have a great mother-in-law, that respects what I do, she is also independent and easy going, same with my father-in-law.
I think that when making the decision of getting married, you need to be mature enough to understand what you call happiness because it’s a very important decision that determinants in many ways, to follow or not to follow your dreams in a lifetime. Marriage should not only be synonymous of sacrifice between each other.
My point is that being married should not determinate if you can or can’t follow and accomplish your dreams, it’s just important to choose a partner in life that is a good companion for doing so.
How is your relationship with Isaac and with your other siblings and parents?
I have a great sense of communication with Isaac, we also have a sense of humor, which helps in the difficult times and common sense. So, overall, he is my brother, but he can also be my best friend, I can tell him anything about so many different topics and I know, that he will always give me his best advice possible. We trust each other.
We are all different, but we get along very well overall, we laugh a lot, we give our opinion in every single thing possible, even when someone does not agree with a topic or decision, we all know deep inside us, that we really want the best for each of us. We have different personalities, dreams, purposes, etc.. but, we all enjoy seeing each other being happy and doing what they love.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love house music, when possible, I like to go dancing house music in a boiler room party, jazz, soul music festivals and concerts. I enjoy going to Contemporary Art Fests. I love eating (but not cooking). I love spending time with my nephews, watching documentaries, and jogging.
What are your plans for 2019?
We are working in Despertares 2019 edition, this would be the 7th edition, also Despertares Impulsa the Creative Industries, a free platform for young people to access to different creative industries related activities such conferences, workshops, classes, etc. We are also working in founding the Creative Industries Federation in Mexico.
There is still the glass roof for women in the world, especially in Latin America, fewer opportunities, jobs underpaid just for that fact of being a woman, etc. Have you experienced the glass roof? If yes, how you have gotten over it, and if not, why do you think that is?
It's a sad reality still in some fields and countries for us as women but makes me happy to see that every day there is more consciousness about the fact that humans should be treated equally, regardless the gender. I think this is the result of a convenient ignorance and unconsciousness of the real value that we as women bring to the world.
What are the biggest challenges that women have and how do you believe we can face them?
I think the biggest challenge is to be brave for what we want and being able to stand for our dreams and happiness.
What piece of advice can you give to young girls who want to work in creative industries?
To be disciplined to work, success its not magical, it feels magical, but it does not come as a magic thing, takes a huge amount of work to accomplish our dreams in this industry, you need to believe in yourself and be confident but also, to be realistic about ourselves and work accordingly, there is time for everything in life, you need to prioritize your interests. Character plays an important role in the creative industries.
Is there something else you want to add or share with us?
Just to thank you for this opportunity to share a bit of my story at WELUM, I hope it can inspire others.
Name: Emilia Hernández
Sector: Creative Industries (ballet and more !)
Company: Soul Arts Productions
Social media: @soulartsproductions @despertaresmex @lamusiquelavielart