By Anita Tedaldi: CNJ columnist
I have a new hero. Her name is Susan Boyle and I love her. Even worse, like a middle school girl enamored with her idol, I want to be just like Susan Boyle, maybe with a different haircut or plucked eyebrows, but nonetheless I emulate her fearlessness, strength and confidence.
Boyle, the single, 47-year-old unemployed charity worker who lives with her cat in a small village in Scotland, wooed audiences on the U.K. television show “Britain’s Got Talent” with her rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Miserables.
If you haven’t seen Boyle’s performance type Susan Boyle on You Tube and watch the video already seen by 50 million viewers. It’s worth it.
Boyle doesn’t simply have an amazing voice. Her story and the way she came to be one of the most popular singers of the moment is inspiring.
While Boyle became a sensation overnight her talent is the result of years of perseverance and hard work. Boyle had been singing since the age of 12 and worked with church choirs for the past two decades. She had the support of her mother, who passed away in 2007, and of her voice coach Fred O’Neal, who encouraged her to audition and keep going forward despite setbacks.
In an interview with the The Times of London, Boyle explained that she used to watch Britain’s Got Talent with her mother and that it was her mom who pushed her to try out for it.
Unfortunately, when Boyle walked on the Britain’s Got Talent stage for her audition her mother had already passed away. Boyle was greeted by Simon Cowell, the show’s host, who began by asking her questions in his usual mocking tone.
Boyle was painfully ordinary, older and not exactly fashion savvy. Viewers expected her to fail when she responded awkwardly, instead, Boyle surprised the world.
Boyle defied stereotypes and expectations and we loved her for it. Skeptics have argued that Boyle knew she could sing well and played a part adding that the show producers and judges were also aware of her talent. Perhaps it’s true, but I don’t think it matters.
Boyle’s story goes beyond Boyle’s talent and determination. She embodied our hopes that with perseverance and determination, given the right stage and the right time we too can share our unique gifts with the world.
Susan Boyle, thank you for inspiring the world with your performance, for reminding us all that we often expect Barbie Doll looks and can’t imagine talent doesn’t come in size zero.