I was single for most of my twenties – I did not want to just date anyone for the sake of dating, I wanted to only date the “right one”. Moving across the world and working on my career, I also realized that it was actually quite tough to find like-minded people who I could connect with, especially men. Over a drink with one of my friends in Shanghai, I told him about another mismatch and he advised to make a list about the values which I look for in a partner. Maybe I should have read Elena Murzello’s book The Love List.
When Elena was in her early twenties she applied her passion for lists to her love life and created a list of qualities her lifelong partner should have. In her book, she not only shares her own experience but also the insights of over 100 single, divorced and married women AND men about the characteristics of their Mr. and Mrs. Right. In this interview Elena told me how she became an author even though she did not use to like writing and how you can deal with outside pressure regarding your love life.
How did you grow up?
I grew up in a small prairie town in Alberta, Canada. I was a really shy kid and I would spend my time reading books and making up stories in the basement of our house during the cold winters. We did a lot of road trips as a family, which initiated my love for travel and adventure.
What was your very first job?
My first job was at the Gap when I was 15 in grade 10. I learned about fashion and how to put outfits together. Some of my closest friends to date come from that period of my life.
After your MBA, you decided to travel. What triggered this decision?
I did some travel before going back to grad school with my ex. I felt travel after the breakup was crucial to my wellbeing and newfound independence. I wanted to redo some places I had travelled to before and see them with new eyes.
How did travelling influence you?
I love seeing different cultures and people in their everyday life: Shopping at grocery stores, on the train, doing laundry. It’s always amazing how physical environment always impacts the way people interact with each other. I talk about business culture in Siem Reap, Cambodia in my article for Huffington Post Canada.
How did you end up as a book author?
Just by chance. The book is the accumulation of stories from my interviews that I conducted. I never liked writing in high school and I never thought I would write a book.
Can you give us an insight into writing a book?
I was writing the book at the same time I was going to grad school. A lot of the interviews and such were written in notebooks and on my phone during transit to work or home.
I did hibernate because I was working full time and had part time school, but I remained in the city. I was so busy that I really didn’t have time to travel during the two years. I was really trying to concentrate of taking care of myself.
What do you do against writers’ block?
When I get writers’ block, I tend to leave the piece alone and come back to it. I don’t work well rushed. There are moments when everything flows and I end up writing those pieces/lines on my phone before the time passes. My notepad on my phone is filled with great lines just waiting for the right piece.
Your book is about finding the right partner. What do you advise a single woman in her early thirties who hasn’t found the right partner yet or simply wants to be single and is pressured into a relationship, family and children?
I would advise them to stay true to who they are. Relationships are not for everyone and a lot of people are pressured into doing something they are not sure about. Society creates imposes this pressure on people when they are not in the same place as everyone else. Just because your life is completely different than everyone else’s doesn’t mean you are not happy or successful.
You are also an actress and influencer, how easy is it for you to venture out into new fields?
When I was in high school, I was interested in acting but I didn’t have the financial means to pursue it. Classes, headshots etc. were affordable once I was working as a nurse. I would work shift work and go to auditions on my days off. Once I started writing for different outlets and expanding my network, becoming an influencer was organic.
How did your multicultural background influence you?
My multicultural background has made me more aware of the subtle nuances of different cultures. I’m a big fan of all food and interesting traditions. Recently my multicultural upbringing was the inspiration for my first article for Cosmo UK.
If you could meet the 20-year-old Elena, which advice would you give her?
I would tell the 20-year-old Elena that she should exercise more and try and cut out the refined sugar. Wear sunscreen. Put more savings away. I would also tell her life is meant to be experienced and that doesn’t mean necessarily taking the same path as everyone else.
How do you define success?
Success is whatever makes you truly happy. Your definition of success can change as you grow older. I think that you are on the right track if you a doing something that you love and you are able to share your gifts with others to inspire and create positive change in the world.
Elena Murzello, the daughter of a Filipino-Chinese mother and an Italian-East Indian father, holds a degrees in Nursing at the University of Victoria and an MBA at University of Columbia. After her MBA, she travelled to South America, Europe, the Middle East and East Asia. She authored the book The Love List: A Guide To Getting Who You Want, which was published in 2013. Elena is also an actress and social influencer and was recently featured in Good Morning Washington.
All pictures courtesy of Elena Murzello | Website: www.elenamurzello.com