Ernest Dempsey — Actress, singer, author, speaker, and comedy hypnotist – Catharine Hickland, known primarily for acting on soap operas, is an artist of diverse talent and unfailing flair for living life to its fullest. From her dazzling on-screen chemistry with David Hasselhoff in Knight Rider to the perfect family entertainment shows on stage today, Hickland’s charm is virtually never-fading.
Ever more vibrant, she is an inspiration scores of people, a model of a great life even after a big heartbreak. For the Journal of Humanitarian Affairs, I had the pleasure of a chat with Catherine about her work and life.
Ernest: Hi Catherine, it’s a pleasure to be with you for a chat. For three decades, you have been in the entertainment industry and remain a heartthrob. Was acting or singing your first love?
Catherine: Acting is definitely what I am more comfortable with. I had been doing that almost all of my life; and singing I didn’t start training until I was in my early thirties! I starred in my first Broadway Musical (Les Miz) at 34 or 35. Everyone told me it couldn’t be done, that it was too late in life and blah blah blah. You have to be very careful not to let other people put their limitations on you.
Ernest: I personally remember you from Knight Rider where you and David Hasselhoff shared some fascinating online chemistry. Those episodes had a magical effect of music and romantic acting in a single show. What was the experience like to you?
Catherine: Well, we were in a relationship at the time, and it was really fun for the first episode, White Bird.
Ernest: Lindsay Rappaport of One Life to Live is remembered as your most special role on TV. Do you feel you were a perfect fit into it?
Catherine: The role was incredibly demanding inasmuch as I played such a wicked and dark character for so many years. Unless you are phoning it in, you take a bit of that home with you everyday and you start feeling the character come upon you from the minute your hand is on the door knob going into the studio in the morning. I loved the role, but it did wear on me.
Ernest: As a singer, what has been your primary interest and you still sing?
Catherine: I don’t sing professionally anymore but I do sing for fun. I still prefer the classics and pop opera, as I was trained classically as a soprano. I find it easier to sing up in those high notes than anywhere. The other night at dinner, Debbie Reynolds and I were harmonizing on something and I will say that it was just such a thrill to do it. I do want to sing a duet with her on stage someday. It’s on my bucket list.
Ernest: With such diverse talent and artistic interest, do you achieve a greater personal sense of satisfaction by singing and writing etc alongside acting?
Catherine: Acting is something I do and not who I am. It might have been when I first started out but not for over 20 years has it ruled me. I think that is why it was so easy for me to put it down and pick it up and put it down again. I tend to immerse myself into whatever it is I am doing. For example, when I am running my cosmetics company, I am RUNNING it. When I am onstage, performing my hypnosis comedy show, I am PERFORMING it. When I am writing a book, I am WRITING it. And on and on. I prefer to focus on one thing at a time and get it done. I do NOT like to multi- task, I think it has created a world full of ADHD people and no one ever does their best and to completion. When someone forces me to multi task, I get very cranky and no fun to be with.
Ernest: Please tell us a little about your book The 30-Day Heartbreak Cure and I see some very positive Amazon reviews of it. Please tell us a little about it, particularly why you thought you should write a book to help others get over a broken heart.
Catherine: My book would make a fantastic movie, actually. It would be quite easy to adapt for the screen. But the primary reason I wrote it was because I am interested and endlessly fascinated by the mind and how it works (which is why I studied to be a hypnotist I suppose) and as it turns out, the mind works in a very particular order to heal, or, I guess I should say, it works best when you know how to put that order in order! Most of us live in a world of illusion that we create in our heads about relationships and people and how they fit onto our lives. We aren’t taught how to make choices that will be good for us in school, and we operate on past hurts and old belief structures. We need to learn why we make the choices we do, how to change destructive patterns, and learn how to read people the best we can so even if an emotional vampire set their sites on you, you can see it coming and get the garlic out.
Ernest: Currently, you also are a hypnotist, right? Please introduce us in your words to the Hypnotist Catherine Hickland.
Catherine: Yes, I am a hypnotist. I am on tour right now; I spend the entire summer on tour of the US performing, and it’s so fun. We make people laugh and forget whatever is bothering them, and for the people onstage, I give them a chance to be free of all of their stuff and be as awesome, outrageous and funny as they were created to be. The audience also gets a chance to see how powerful their mind actually is. How do I do it? That’s classified information (smiles). I have a unique show, very different. If you want to know what I mean, you’ll have to come see it!
Ernest: One question knocking on my mind’s door is that you did many soap roles but not any features films. Any particular reason for staying away from the big screen?
Catherine: No, I had always wanted to do soaps. That was the extent of my acting ambition. I started out with many actors and actresses who became huge movie stars and that was their ambition. I think what you are most clear on and work hardest towards is what will become; so it is very important to be clear about any intentions you may have in life—work or otherwise.
Ernest: How long have you been doing public speaking and what do you most like to speak about?
Catherine: I believe this is what I excel at. I love teaching people how to become emotionally intelligent—for their lives and their business. I have many programs to choose from. How to work with their fears to get to where they want to be. Being fearless is BS. Sometimes, fear is actually your friend. Working with your fears to your advantage is the key.
Ernest: Besides performing various arts for an audience, what are some of the ideals and hobbies you love to follow in your spare time? Your hobbies, any pets?
Catherine: Spare time? I seriously have no concept of what that is. My Hobbies? Hmmm… let’s see… everything I do is kind of a hobby. Animals? I LOVE Them. We have many. Horses, dogs, a goose, ducks, chickens, cows, a parrot. I am an animal geek. Have you seen the video of me feeding a bear a snickers bar with my teeth? Now THAT was awesome!
Ernest: In closing, what is your philosophy of life?
Catherine: Be a good person. Mind your own business. Refrain from gossiping about other people’s personal life. If you’re truly minding your own business, you won’t have time for that, anyway. Do the right thing. Most of us have already done the wrong thing, some many times over. It’s never too late to change, and change is easier when you seek it from a spiritual place within yourself. Change is actually easy… it’s the decision to change that is hard. You are more in control of your environment and life than you think you are. That’s why I’m here. I help people access that mind-set. Focus. Focus. Focus. What are you focusing on anyway? Write things down, especially when you are falling asleep and waking up; those are your most creative moments because you are in the dream state and your subconscious is accessible, so keep a pen and pad of paper by the bed. It is at this time that solutions to problems come to you and your greatest inspiration comes to you. Remember that you are, have always been, and will always be loved.
Ernest: That is the best message we could get anywhere. Thank you so much Catherine!
Catherine: Thank YOU!