A Cicada in Hong Kong
Posted December 01th, 2016
Valentina Mazzanti for China in Italy
Ballerina, singer, actress, entertainer and screen writer, considered the unquestioned Queen of Television in the 80's and 90's, is living now in Hong Kong with her family. We will be seeing her return on Italian television with "Nemica Amatissima", with a double appointment on December 2nd and December 3rd, with Lorella Cuccarini.
Her future is bound to be in China but for everyone, "I will always be the eternal cicada".
She describes her life as it would a "Heather Parisi" movie. Arriving in Italy in 1978 on vacation, and being discovered in a Roman discotheque, she was immediately noticed and handpicked for the new Rai 1 television show, Luna Park, hosted by Pippo Baudo. Top actors, singers and comedians as in Massimo Troisi, Beppe Grillo, Tina Turner and many more were on this show. And, just like in a dream come true, the young blonde teenager, with the funny American accent, does a precise bull's eye, entering straight into the Italian's hearts.
During Heather's long career, her television shows were seen by record-breaking audiences, as in Stasera Niente di Nuovo, Al Paradise and 5 editions of Fantastico. She worked with Adriano Celentano, Sandra Mondaini, Raimondo Vianello, Mike Bongiorno, Lino Banfi, and many others, the most talented artists, considered the "Number 1's" on Italian Television.
And, the one and only Pino Daniele wrote the opening song Io, Pinocchio for her television show, Ciao Weekend.
The multitalented and versatile artist, enchanted television viewers with her many songs, as in Crilù and Cicale, with audiences, ranging from adults to children, glued to their televisions sets as her contagious energy and fighting spirit flabbergasted them. She now lives happily in Hong Kong with her family.
Her passion towards the Chinese city, was love at first sight. The American entertainer has found her inner peace, together with her husband, Umberto Maria Anzolin and her 6 year old twins, Dylan Maria and Elizabeth Jaden. In China, besides being a full time Mother and wife, she hasn't abandoned her great love for the dance world.
But another dream is roaming around in her mind. A true lover of travelling the world, her desire is to get the Italian audiences acquainted with the "real" China, the authentic country few truly know. And, it is exactly here in China where Heather sees her future and that of her children, who speak perfect Mandarin and, who have fully integrated into the Oriental culture.
A more interesting and easy future, a lifestyle that permits them to grow up and live in a multi-ethnic society, and to go further and further, above appearances and, the concept of "diversity".
And it is precisely on the "diversity" subject that Heather will work on during her new television show, Nemica Amatissima. The thousands of fans will be on 7th Heaven, who for years, have been long awaiting the return of their "darling" on Italian television.
A television event that will see Heather more mature, who will touch important themes which are both delicate and social, often with prejudice attitudes. As told on her Instagram account, one of her recent magazine covers, Oggi, includes an interview declaring: "I would like to work without any prejudices whatsoever, towards Homosexuality, Immigration and in general, anyone who clashes against Diversity ... if you ask me to do the same things I did 30 years ago, I am calling myself out".
You have been living in China for the past 7 years, where you came to live with your husband and children. Why exactly China?
"I have loved the Orient since I was a little girl and was always fascinated by my Aunt Anita's stories of her travels by ship from San Francisco to Hong Kong. She would tell me about the narrow and crowded market streets, full of stalls of pure silk, scents, and spices, jammed close to one another. In 2006 I arrived for the first time here in Hong Kong and it was love at first sight. My husband has been working here since 1980, and I continue to thank him, to this day".
Besides being a Mother and wife, what else are you up to in Hong Kong?
"Being a Mother and wife isn't as easy as it seems! It has always been my dream to be a Mother with a lot of children and to take care of them daily. Here in Hong Kong it is easy, but at the same time demanding. Uncomplicated because Hong Kong is such a safe city that offers many an opportunity for any type of after-school activities. It is extremely challenging if you follow the 'Yellow Brick Road' of everything they offer and get caught up in travelling right and left all over the city".
Is living in China the way you imagined?
"To be totally honest, it was easy as pie, as in not difficult at all. Hong Kong is a sort of Disneyland for adults. It is a city built to function precisely for the citizens. Transportation, security and any type of business services are all impeccable and professional".
Did you find any bureaucratic problems for your little ones?
"If I really have to find a needle in the haystack, I must say that I am not keen on how the School system here is managed. It is not easy in finding the right school and the costs go beyond expensive, plus the teaching system is way below expectations totally. In my opinion, the Hong Kong government should intervene and take a strong turn on not looking at the quantity and beauty of the school buildings but at the quality of who is actually teaching our children. I have a few stories that would make this system a worldwide laughingstock. If they want us to pay these high costs, okay by me, but there must be a positive change in the "teaching skills" department".
How are your children adapting?
"They are convinced that they are Chinese, even though they both have American and Italian passports! We arrived here when they were 2 months old and we have been here ever since. They adore Mandarin, which they speak perfectly, and adore Chinese food, especially Dylan".
Where do you see their future and what do you think China has to offer?
"Their future, without any doubt, is here in the Orient. Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai. I don't see any other destinations, at least until they are living with us. We want them to speak perfect Mandarin and to grow up with an open mind towards diversity".
You arrived in Italy when you were 18 years old, coming from an emancipated country as the United States of America, and now you live in Hong Kong. Three countries with totally different cultures, but where does Heather feel at home?
"I feel like a Citizen of the World. Today "home" is Hong Kong, before it was Italy and before that San Francisco. It isn't in my line of culture to hitch myself inextricably to a place. I like to experiment and discover".
In an interview you said that you have always liked to bedazzle and amaze in an unconventional way. In what way?
"I believe that one of the great evils of these times is the social sense of conformism. I see that people just don't want to think in an independent manner, where they are conditioned by the mainstream of the media and packed up to be like non-thinking robots, as in 'Follow the Leader'".
Cicale was one of your great successes in Italy (Gold Record) and you declared on your blog: "As every Rose, every artist has his or her insect: I have the cicada and sunglasses". Can you explain yourself?
"It is a phrase from Goethe that I rephrased to tease Lorella. For everyone I will always be the eternal cicada".
Ballerina, singer, television entertainer, actress, screen writer and director, what else would you like to do?
"My dream is to show the Italian public what China really is. I would like to do an 'on the road' television show in China to show what it is really and truly like. China is a humungous country and it has a fascinating and alluring charm that people abroad have no idea exists. The profound and rich culture isn't always caught on sight and the banal folk ways which are brought to be seen, unfortunately are not the marvelous China I know. A perfect example is something of the sort, as in years ago, when people thought Italy was only pizza and mandolin.