"The Dream of Hollywood" is a Nettseries of 10 Norwegians living and working in Los Angeles, and who were brave enough to leave their native country to live their dream in Hollywood.
Traded her acting career in Norway with a writing desk in the USA
By Ine Therese Back Iversen
Norwegian Elisabeth Ekornes stood on all the major theater stages in Norway alongside such prominent actors as Rolf Wesenlund and Aud Schønemann.
After just one audition in Norway, her career took off and Elisabeth starred in several musicals that were played throughout Norway. She had a bright future in front of her as a singer and actress, but one day her plans got changed.
Elisabeth sang Grieg for the honorable American guests in Norway and was then invited to the U.S. to perform.
“I sang at a Gala dinner at Nordmannsforbundet with honored guests from the various Sons of Norway lodges across America. Of course, I performed in my National costume. One of the prominent organizers responsible for the event liked my voice and invited me to sing at other Scandinavian music festivals in the United States,” she said.
And that was the start of Elisabeth’s journey to the United States.
“When I arrived at the airport in Los Angeles, I heard all the different languages. I felt it was so liberating to come to a place where there were so many different cultures mixing together. I felt like I was home,” says Ekornes in the video you can see at the top.
“I felt it was a little square in Norway at the time because I couldn’t quite express myself there. The USA is so big that you drown a bit in the crowd, and I thought that was quite appealing to drown a bit in the crowd,” noted Ekornes.
“After being a singer in the United States for several years and appearing in everything from performances on theatrical stages to singing at the Norwegian Seaman’s church wearing her National costume, her work began to spread Norwegian music to American audiences. As time went on, Elisabeth was more and more attracted to being behind the scenes as well.
She started studying and taking courses in writing which led to several poems that were published in American books.
“I submitted some poetry and was published in two different compilation books of various poets here in the US. I actually got an Editor’s Choice Award for both,” she says.
“Later, I took courses in songwriting. America is so exciting in that regard, but now this has come to Norway too. We didn’t have song writing courses when I was young. So I decided to write music to my poems.”
Still Elisabeth has kept Norway close in her heart, and her love for Norwegian fairy tales and cartoons led her to begin writing children's books.
Do not accept Norwegian fairytales
“The transition from the Norwegian to the American audience was still not easy, for the Norwegian fairy tales did not fall well on American soil. That's because here in America, they have completely different sensibilities. At home we have it all with trolls and gory creatures, but psychologically speaking, that would not appeal to an American audience. Here in the US one should learn something with a sweeter and nicer tone,” she says.
Elisabeth is now sitting with several children's books both in Norwegian and English to be published and her dreams are clear.
“The biggest dream I have right now is to get my books out and that people like them. That they appreciate what I do and they take it to heart.”
Nothing is like Norwegian nature
Even after over 20 years in the United States homesickness comes now and then and Ekornes knows very well what she misses the most about home.
“I think Norway is a wonderful country. I used to go for a month each summer and one month for Christmas. I love the Norwegian nature. I can walk for hours in the Norwegian woods. There is nothing else that compares to it,” says Elisabeth.
She is not sure if she would make the same choice to move from Norway if she lived there today.
“We have so many more opportunities in Norway now. Had I been young women in Norway today I might never have moved to the United States. Now I have sort of grown a bit stuck here - in a good way, of course.”
For other creative souls out there Ekornes has some advice to give to them.
“Take classes and learn as much as possible. Do not be afraid to expose yourself. Whatever happens happens and what doesn’t happen is not meant to be,” she laughs.
© Copyright 2007 Elisabeth Ekornes. All rights reserved.