We had the good fortune of connecting with Laura Wilhelm and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Laura, do you have a favorite quote or affirmation?
Albert Camus said, “Always go too far because that’s where you’ll find the truth.” This philosophy has informed all of my academic and creative work. People who are brave enough to push the boundaries are not always understood or appreciated, but they are the ones who will ultimately make a real difference.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I created LauraWil Intercultural in 2009 after being invited to assist the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce with business development projects of interest to the Russian-speaking community. I have held a PhD in Russian language and literature since 1994 and speak the language fluently.
At this time I started advertising my business with articles in Hollywood Weekly. A few years later I started doing international entertainment reporting for fun and profit. Now, most of my work is focused on “Hollyworld” and I am a judge, board member, and media partner for the French Riviera Film Festival which celebrates short-form content from all over the world.
I got to where I am today business-wise mainly by networking with like-minded and trustworthy people. Without them, I would never have gotten anywhere in Hollywood.
The hardest times I have had were when I worked with the wrong kind of people. I learned who my real friends were during a health crisis a few years ago and know that I will always do well if I keep working with them. For me, it is much better to work for myself and be able to keep the company I choose.
My best career advice to others is to keep alert to global trends. When I was growing up in the 1970s President Nixon was opening the door to Russia and China. I figured it would make sense to learn as much as I could about these rival nations and that perception has proven to be tragically right. Keeping ahead of the curve will always make you a leader.
My skills and knowledge have equipped me to succeed in good times and bad. I have reported on the COVID-19 crisis and done relief work on behalf of Ukraine. The world is always with us. The more we know about it, the more we are able to do.
What matters about me is my work. My “story” seems irrelevant. I was blessed to have a good childhood that made me ready to take on the world. This has been like money in the bank. When the going gets tough, I can always stop and pull out some good memories from past times. And when the storm has passed, I can file away whatever I have learned for the future.
“LauraWil” is a bit of a pun on the Teutonic stubbornness often seen on my father’s side of the family. I traveled to regions beset by wars, genocides, and complete economic collapse to get my doctoral degree. If you need something done, I will always try to do it. No risk, no reward.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Places–Academy of Motion Pictures Museum; Arena CineLounge; Beverly Hills Hotel and Public Library; Beverly Wilshire Hotel; Book Soup and Vroman’s Books; California Science Center; Chateau and Bar Marmont; Chinese and Egyptian Theatres; Emerson C0llege campus; ethnic and film festivals; farmer’s markets; Fred Segal’s on Sunset; both Getty Museums; Griffith Observatory; The Grove and Palisades Village; Hollywood bus tours, sign, and Walk of Fame; LA Fashion Week shows; London West Hollywood; Los Angeles Public Library; Malibu wine country; Marina del Rey harbor and restaurants; Mr. C’s outdoor film screenings; Norton Simon Museum; Pacific Asia Museum; Pacific Coast Highway; Pacific Design Center; Pantages shows; Robertson Boulevard shops; Rodeo Drive; Santa Monica Pier and beaches; Sunset Plaza; Sunset Strip; Third Street Promenade; UCLA Sculpture Garden; West Hollywood Library.
Fine dining–Cafe La Boheme; Campanile; Crossroads Kitchen; Delphine; Il Cielo; PUMP and SUR; Taverna Tony.
Fun dining–Astro Burger; El Compadre; Fu’s Palace; Hoy’s Wok; Kung Pao Bistro; Los Tacos; Oliver Cafe; Pizza Press; Sunnin; Tamayo; Tiago; Wokcano.
People–celebrity red carpets at film and television screenings open to the public.
Days away–Lake Arrowhead; Palm Springs; San Clemente; Whittier.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Lena Lencek, my now-retired mentor at Reed College, maintains a lively interest in my evolving career. Prather Jackson at Hollywood Weekly, Valerie Milano at The Hollywood Times, and Joss Gomez at Magic Image Hollywood Magazine have all offered limitless amounts of support and encouragement over the years.
Nicole Muj and our associates at the French Riviera Film Festival fill my life with fun, wonder, and of course WORK!