Published in the Hanford Sentinel April 16, 2021
Cynthia Onyedinmanasu Chinasaokwu Erivo is an English actress. Last week she was a judge on "RuPaul's Drag Race." When one of the contestants asked for advice for her growing popularity, Ms. Erivo said, “Surround yourself with good people.” I discovered this is common advice in the entertainment business. In fact, entertainment people prefer a small group of friends and associates in their world. For many who are famous, it is profound how small their group of trusted associates are. Certain people can sap your energy, create self-doubt, and impede creativity. Artists who keep these people around may find that these people will eventually envelop the artist’s gifts and claim them as their own! Or worse yet, claim they are originators of the artistic ideas. Leon Logothetis in his article Keeping Good Company: Why You Should Surround Yourself With Good People writes, “...you should think about the people you’re spending time with the same way you think about what you eat and how you’re exercising.” He continues, “Some people can be parasites. They suck out your happiness, energy and maybe some of your tangible resources as well.” He goes on to say that you should choose people to be around you who inspire you, provide you with motivation to achieve your goals, empower you with tools needed to succeed and cheer on your success. A good test on whether you are surrounded by good people according to Logothetis is whether you feel happy and energized after spending time with them. If you do not, remove this person.
Many outside the entertainment business understand the advice to surround yourself with good people. However, in the entertainment business, with inexperienced or wholesome artists, they do become targets to these people. It can end sadly, or with a lot of grief to the victim. Clearly, the advice from Ms. Erivo and many in the entertainment business is to “surround yourself with good people.” This is also essential advice for a good life. Silvia Gonzalez Scherer is the Executive Artistic Director and co-founder of the Hanford Multicultural Theater Company. She is also a playwright and an actress.