First Published July 2018
WORLD IN HER SIGHTS, UNIVERSE ON HER MIND
Less than a year ago I had the pleasure of sitting down in a Dublin cafe and sharing a coffee and an afternoon with a pretty remarkable young lady. At that time, I already knew Hannah Hawkshaw as an extremely talented singer/songwriter, and a budding fashion blogger whose sense of personal style, both in her work and in real-life, were fast standing her apart from ‘the crowd’ as an emerging personality worth keeping an eye on. Not to mention, of course, the little fact that on top of everything else, Hannah was also one of the contestants in the Miss Universe Ireland pageant at the time.
Fast forward less than one year, and Hannah has become an amazing and inspirational young businesswoman, an international speaker, an award-winning blogger, and she’s even recorded in the world-famous Abbey Road studios in London, where the Beatles, Pink Floyd, and Paul Robeson have all recorded. Hannah didn’t end up there by accident, as will be revealed when her business commitments allow her the time and opportunity to focus on her music again for a while. But I’ve heard Hannah sing, and you can take it from me, as well as for all the other reasons already listed, this is another reason why you should remember her name.
I don’t think I’ve ever encountered as much drive, ambition, motivation, talent, and business savvy in someone so young before. But this twenty-one year old Dubliner has it all, and what’s more, the confidence to pull it all together and make it work. And because she made such a positive impression in 2017, Hannah has been invited back to take part in the Miss Universe Ireland pageant again for 2018. When we spoke last year, we were only able to share half of our chat at the time. Today, we’re going to go back in time to that sunny afternoon in Dublin, to enjoy the rest of my coffee with Hannah…
As someone who’s a singer/songwriter, and also a blogger, and then on top of that, a motivational speaker, I couldn’t help but wonder how does Hannah keep it all going? What motivates her?
“Well I don’t think anybody can always be 100% motivated, or 100% at their best. And I think that’s something you have to remember. I’ll look at people that inspire me and sometimes if you’re having a bad day you might think, ‘Oh goodness, I’m such a failure’, you know [laughs]. But at the end of the day, every new day is just that, a new day and a new chance to wake up and do something productive and positive towards where you want to go. So it’s really important to highlight where you want to end up and what your goals are, and then work a plan of action backwards. Reverse engineer your plan of action so that you have a step-by-step guide to follow to get yourself there. It’s very easy to get overwhelmed if you have a goal but you have no idea how you’re going to get there. Then it’s very easy to not feel motivated, and to feel almost discouraged. I like to listen to motivational podcasts and videos, read books from the likes of Tony Robbins, and Gary Vaynerchuk. You have to find the people who you resonate with. I like people like Gary Vaynerchuk sometimes because they kind of give you a kick and get straight to the point! [laughs]. But you have to try and motivate yourself every single morning. You’ll have your bad days, and you have to be o.k. with having those, too. But then wake up the next day fresh and ready to be positive. Because life is short, so even if you never achieve your goals, as long as you give them your best shot then you can be happy and know that you’ve gone for it.”
The term ‘blogger’ has become part of our everyday language at this stage, even if many of us might still be a little hard-pressed to define exactly what a blogger is. So I asked Hannah to tell me a little about that side of her life…
“I started blogging when it was quite small, in 2010, so most people didn’t have a clue what a blog was then [laughs]. But it’s something that’s grown so much, it’s crazy. I’ve just launched a new website, hannahhawkshaw.com, because my previous website was fashion specific. But I feel that with everything I have going on; I’m an actor, I’m a singer/songwriter, I’m a blogger, I’m into online marketing, and entrepreneurship, I feel like I wanted something that I could share more of my lifestyle and those other passions without feeling like they’re conflicting. With this new website, my focus is to get one-to-two new articles up every week, to go to as many events as possible, and to share things that perhaps not everyone will have the chance to experience. I’m very lucky and grateful to be connected to a lot of great P.R’s in Dublin, so I get invited to a lot of events which lead to chances to work with different brands. Even if it’s travelling, like for example, we went to the west of Ireland recently and we went out on a boat trip, just to the islands, and I wanted to document it. And it was a bit more personal because it was actually specific to my grandmother who grew up on one of the islands. So I think blogging is a great way to share experiences with the world, but also to document life for yourself. It’s really great to look back on.”
As I stated in my introduction to this piece, I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone as driven as Hannah is in so many different areas. And it’s not just that she has the drive, she has the talents, skills, and work ethic to make sure that sense of drive is put to good use. In time, as more people become aware of everything Hannah is doing (not to mention everything she’s already done), I have no doubt that she’ll become an inspirational figure to many. But who inspires Hannah?
“Well there’s people like Tony Robbins, who I mentioned before, and I find very inspirational. Different people. I’ve had the opportunity since coming online to connect with lots of different people from all corners of the planet. I think that everyone has their own struggles and their own stories. There’s so many people who’ve been through crazy things and have come out on top. And regardless of what that is, that inspires me. Whether it’s someone online, or someone as powerful as Tony Robbins, for example, or even somebody just around the corner working on a project that they’re passionate about. I look to people who are succeeding, for sure, but also to people who are just working really hard to achieve their goals. They all remind me that anything is possible when you put your mind to it. You just need to put in the effort, and have a plan, and keep hustling!”
With so much going on in her world, how on earth does Hannah combine everything, and make all of it work?
“Yeah [laughs], I definitely spin a few plates! This is something that I’ve thought a lot about. I think a lot of it is down to understanding which things are your priorities, and then managing your time. I have not always been the best at managing my time! I could still improve [laughs]. But I work hard to make sure that where I am focusing my efforts is on the things that will benefit me in the best way and help me move towards my goals in the most efficient manner. Because it’s very easy to have a project that you’re working on, but not necessarily prioritize what needs to be done to get you to your end goal in the quickest time. I try to highlight what tasks will help me and work on those. Like, if I have a music project coming up, for example, I’m going into the studio in early September, so I’ll be thinking a lot about rehearsing and making sure that I’m prepared for when I go in. And like with Miss Universe Ireland, I know this is coming up, I know I have deadline to work towards, so I’m making sure that my working-out and eating right is prioritized in my schedule. Whereas before, I might have said, well o.k, I’ll skip my work-out today to do this other thing, now I’m saying no, the work-out has to be done. I’m a big believer anyway in living a healthy lifestyle, but I just have more reasons to focus on it at the moment, too.”
Hannah has also started producing and posting her own podcasts…
“Yeah, I started a podcast recently. It’s daily at the moment, but with everything that I have going on, I have different ideas about how I’d like to move forward with it. So things might change slightly, tweaks might be made. But yeah, it’s been very exciting for me, I’ve always wanted to go down that kind of avenue. A lot of people actually asked me for something like that, so I decided to go with it. But up until now, with my online fashion blog and then my marketing/ motivational endeavors have been quite separate, so I’m excited to streamline it all now with my new website. It’s more about lifestyle overall.”
The very first thing that struck me about Hannah‘s podcasts was how comfortable she seemed on camera, completely at ease. totally natural, as if she could already look back upon years of experience doing this…
“Well I definitely have a plan before I record [laughs]. The first one I just winged, because I wanted it to be natural, off the cuff in that sense. i usually try and pick a topic, and then set some bullet-points so I can follow those when I’m talking. But I like it to be conversational. I don’t like things to be too static or robotic. I’ll prep it the night before, and I usually schedule them in advance too.”
Hannah has also spent a lot of time living and working in Spain. I wondered if she noticed much, or indeed any, difference between the Irish and the Spanish when it comes to things like ambition and motivation?
“I found the Spanish people to be very similar to the Irish in that they’re very friendly. But I do think that the sunshine helps! [laughs]. I think here, as much as I love Ireland, sometimes the weather can be a downer on peoples’ attitudes. And it’s very easy to get into that negative mindset, where in every conversation you have with someone it’s like oh my God, it’s raining, what a horrible day. But in Spain, quite often it’s, oh mu God, what a beautiful day, how are you today? And just that in itself, the tone you have when you’re saying those sentences, I think really starts a conversation off on a different foot. But yeah, they’re very similar to Irish people, very friendly, very open, and I got to meet some wonderful people out there.”