—Yes. I am available to speak or perform at your event.
Tessa Lena is a performing artist, a writer, and an immigrant New Yorker with a dramatic survival story. She has been featured in a documentary about her adventures, and on Douglas Rushkoff’s Team Human. She is on a mission to create social change by bringing people closer together and by helping fellow community members talk to each other over disagreements.
She has traveled the world, done academic research in Tibet, worked as a developer at Blue Cross and Blue Shield, performed her music at the Moscow Conservatory, fought off a sex trafficker in China, survived an abusive marriage, and even spent a month in jail after being wrongfully arrested by Immigration during the Bush administration. Yes, she was able to successfully prove her case, and she is currently a proud U.S. citizen.
All is good that ends well! Tessa believes that a true sense of community is crucial to each individual’s well-being, and that we have the power to help each other be the best versions of ourselves.
Featured / interviewed / quoted: @InsideEdition, @TeamHuman, @Univision, @ChicagoReader, @IndianCountryToday, and more.
Speaking topics & program ideas:
An immigrant’s journey is rarely easy. Being far away from all the things you know, missing your family, looking for ways to make money – all of it requires extra strength and extra resilience. You find out that some people are warm and welcoming, and some are ignorant and rude – and you have to carry on no matter what. You learn that sometimes you are perceived as an inferior human being, that you have to work harder than others – and yet, you still have to carry on. In the end, you win.
In my journey, I have experienced both the joy of finding my new community, and the pain of being degraded for no reason other than other people’s ignorance. When I found myself on the receiving end of abuse, I felt trapped – but my friends fought hard for me, and in the end, I won.
By sharing my story, I want every immigrant to know that nobody, nobody can take your dignity away from you unless you let them. Don’t let them.
Domestic Abuse & Sexual Violence
- On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States.
- 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of [some form of] physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime.
- 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
What most people don’t know about domestic abuse is that anybody can become a victim. Absolutely everybody, regardless of income, gender, social status, and religious beliefs.
When I was growing up, I could not possibly imagine myself on the receiving end of it. I thought it only happened to ‘other people.’ So when it happened to me, I didn’t know how to react, and was too ashamed to tell anybody.
Everybody’s story is different, but there are things in common, such as confusion, shame, fear, a growing sense of inadequacy, anxiety levels going through the roof, and often, a complete denial of the problem.
I know it because I’ve been there. I know shame and fear. I remember being afraid to go to a grocery store, because I thought I wasn’t capable of buying the “right” groceries – a fact that shocks my new friends who didn’t know me back then. I remember being afraid to come home because my then husband was prone to irrational fits of anger, and I had no idea how to handle it.
I am lucky because I was forced to seek help. I feel honored to talk about domestic abuse because it needs to be talked about. Nobody should be dealing with it alone.
Fearless Dialogue Workshops
Dialogue workshops last from one to three hours (depending on the size of the group). They are designed to unlock the participants’ potential for self-respect and intelligent, productive exchange, while addressing complex issues.
In the course of the event, two or more audience members are invited to present their stories related to the topic. The focus of the guided conversation is always on direct personal experiences. The workshop teaches participants to turn the universal human condition of vulnerability into empowerment, kindness and strength – through fostering dialogue rooted in self-confidence.
"She is miles ahead of the game while most everyone else is still trying to figure it out. She is one of the hardest working artists I've met and she's also one of the nicest. That's a very rare combination in this business. There's a reason why she is so successful. She's good!"
James Laurance, Creative Director at AudioMoxie®
"Tessa Lena is a charismatic speaker with a powerful story. Whether she is talking about serious topics or entertaining, she has a gift of captivating the audience immediately and keeping them engaged."
Eric Goodman, Educator / Founder of the Spectacle Show
"I curate The Museum of Interesting Things, I do many events both educational and entertainment. We do a Speakeasy and I have worked with Tessa many times. She is Creative, Brilliant, reliable and easy to work with! Her performance mesmerizes the audience and her knowledge of so many things inspires them. I will certainly have her back again in the future!"
Denny Deniel, Museum of Interesting Things
"Creative, driven and unstoppable... Lena is a mighty talent in both art and business. Always breaking new ground, her fearless and adventurous spirit amazes everyone who crosses her path! Her results-focused determination makes her an excellent fit for any team or creative collaboration."
Mary Patton, Amoeba Music