Welcome to my new interview series featuring some of the brightest and most hard-working women I know. My goal for this series is to collect stories from women in all levels of their career. The hope is that their journey and their advice will trigger something in you, and help you take the jump you need to achieve your personal level of success. Whether they are freelancers, founders of their own business, corporate employees, or students, this #LadiesWhoHustle series will showcase their unique talents and help you unveil yours.
Athena Brensberger was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. With a background in astrophysics, she conducted research on Proto-Planetary Disks at the Hayden Planetarium while starting her career in modelling. Athena felt like she was living two lives, the catwalk by day and the telescope by night. She was a runway-strutting, astrophysics researching human that felt like no mentor could prepare her for what laid ahead. Read below to see how Athena has navigated in her career and how she's managed to balance all her passions.
Model, actor, TV host, and science communicator.
Why do you do what you do?
It's very important to communicate the advancement of science to the public. To explain to people that don't entirely understand how things work in our modern-tech world in a way where they can understand and be excited about it all. In turn, this creates a society that is driven towards human advancement. The further we advance as a species, the closer we get to solving problems that we face today like disease, population growth and environmental changes.
What was your dream job at 10 years old?
To be a dancer.
If you could have anyone's job in the world, whose job would you choose and why?
None. I don't really believe in "jobs" per say. I believe in doing bold things, taking big risks and working for yourself. I think working WITH people is important, but not FOR people. The idea of superiority should only be applied when an educational aspect is present, which sometimes is in the job force, but not often enough. I learn more when I have mentors rather than "bosses". I'd rather be the CEO of my own company than be the manager under someone else.
What is one thing people outside of your industry get wrong about your job?
Well, since I'm in multiple industries, A LOT. People outside modelling think we just play dress-up all day long, and those outside the TV industry think I'm filming every day. Those outside of the YouTube world think all I do is film myself in a selfie mode all day and those outside of science think I know everything in the world and that they will never be smart enough to compare or have a conversation with me.
People sometimes think those in the scientific community are closed off all the time and think we're better than everyone, but most of the time, we want to share and exchange knowledge with what we know and more importantly, what we DON'T know. We love to learn and can do so from absorbing others knowledge.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I haven't a clue. With a family. And I have no idea what my day to day will be.
What has been your biggest career struggle so far?
Mastering just one thing.
And what about your biggest career win?
Filming for the science channel.
What's the best piece of career advice you've received?
Test something out and if it works, great, if it doesn't, go elsewhere.
What about the worst piece of career advice?
Go for consistency.
What are you the most proud of?
My faith in God.
Who motivates you the most?
My best friend Anika Ahmed. She is the one person out of everyone I know that I have the deepest soul connection with. So, whether I'm watching her be the successful and powerful woman that she is, or listening to her words of encouragement that she gives me when I'm low, I can sky rocket to space when I'm around her. She has this magical essence about her that motivates me to be something incredible, to live fearlessly and she always knows how to remind me of my worthiness to the world when I feel completely worthless. She is my backbone and she gives me strength when I'm all out and running on empty.
What advice do you have for those looking for a career in your field?
Do research. Know what you are getting into. Then, be fearless and jump into it with all intentions of succeeding. When you fail, because it will happen, many, many times, let your feet do the leading and follow wherever the hell they go. Really. Even if you do this literally. Open your mind to the universe giving you the pathway and exit your door with an open mind and no plans, and just feel where you are called to. Left, right, into a store, out of the train... waste DAYS doing this. Because none of it will actually be a waste at all. Find yourself. This is how you figure out who you are, what your limits are and where you want to go.
When do you feel the most confident?
When I am surrounded by thousands of people. There's something about the crowd that CHALLENGES me to STAND OUT. It's like someone dares me to be confident and to push my shoulders back and say NONE OF YOU CAN GET THROUGH ME. I think growing up in NYC did this to me. And I love it.
How do you relax?
Deep breathing, preferably with lavender and tea tree oil. I love binaural beats or meditation music to help relax me.
Currently coveting: going to space.
Favourite way to sweat: a sweat session at ShapeHouse.
Favourite book: How to Win Friends and Influence People.
Morning bird or night owl? Morning.
Favourite '90s jam: Wanna Be by the Spice Girls.
Favourite city: Seoul, South Korea.
Spirit animal: a mythical flying Dragon.
Get in touch with Athena!
Know anyone that would be great to feature in the #LadiesWhoHustle series? Connect with me on Instagram to nominate them - or yourself!