Updated: Aug 15
The day I met Aysan, I thought: I want to be like her when I grow up.
She’s a beast when a performing, a loving voice acting coach, a listening ear and just a sweet soul.
Actors often talk about the “it” factor. What is it? Who has it? And is it important? I remember Mary Overlie often commenting on individual who did not have the ‘it’ factor and encouraging them to cultivate it. This factor always bothered me because I desperately wanted everyone to have it. It seemed un fair for some to have “it” and others not to. It felt like some media-pushed concept of what a star must have and those who don’t have simply cannot be stars. As I studied theatre I came by several verbal definitions of the “IT”. And for weeks I would stress myself, trying to walk around embodying the supposed “it”. What was it anyway? Aysan, however not only spoken about the “it” in a way that made sense to me, she also embodied it quite naturally. You must be reading this and wondering, what in the world is it? The “it” factor is, I would say, the ability of the performer to remain present. It’s presence.
Presence is not just something that must be maintained on the stage. Presence is a factor that is major part of our daily interactions. It’s possible to come away from a conversation with someone and have the sense that you were not heard or you really didn’t hear what the other person said. Presence is what helps us navigate situations of nonverbal communications when you feel someone walk into the room and their “presence” whether ugly or positive feels the room and suddenly the emotional energy of the rooms shifts. In her teaching, in her acting, in one and one Aysan Celik was and is always such a strong force to reckon with because her presence fills the room in a nonintrusive way and when you speak to her, you really feel heard and understood yet she may only say one or two words.
As a voice, body and speech coach, Aysan gives such valuable lessons on how our body posture and habits play a major role in how we view the world and how the world views us. Once we learn to use our instrument to its most powerful capacity only then shall we know how to control the various energies and tones emanating from it. This is such a vital lesson in this tech-heavy generation where because we’re so familiar with interacting with gadgets, we have forgotten how to give people our presence and actually sit in real moments. We like things to switch up every ten minutes or less but it takes strengthening that inner muscle to be able to sit in rooms and with people and not check-out mentally. It’s work. It’s time. It’s energy.
At a larger level, Aysan has inspired me to be present to my own life. To not just let the days race by and allow myself to get whooshed into a whirlpool of events. But rather - be. Yet this doesn’t mean, being a busy body and nodding my head vigorously during conversation and opening my eyes widely but rather being calm and content and appreciating every second for what it is. It also means training the body to occupy healthy postures that help it operate more acutely. Life is intentional. Being present to your own life is an intentional act otherwise your life may pass you by.