LtdA year after being fired from VRT, Gina Lisa Peters, 51, is brimming with energy. She’s on stage in the musical comedy So Pretty, So Blonde and this month will release her fourth book, Escaping Narcissism and Toxic Relationships. A candid conversation about the benefits of aging, dealing with setbacks and manipulative men and her retirement from public broadcasting. “It became an expensive job, but the way they fired me was not right.”
As a cognitive behavioral, narcissistic, and career coach, Gina Lisa knows better than anyone how to deal positively with negative experiences. When this presenter and singer was fired from VRT last year – along with Annick Roets and Sarti Vandendreich, among others – after 22 years of loyal service, she didn’t give up. “My classroom eventually became a positive story,” she recalls. “I can now fully spread my wings and focus 100% on my job as a coach, singer, actress, and author… You know, the problem isn’t the biggest problem at all. The problem often is how I deal with the problem. I try to do that in the biggest way possible.” As positive as possible, although it remains a daily exercise to keep me mentally fit.
The goodbye at VRT was too cold and not human enough, and I didn’t feel appreciated
Jenna still supports VRT, but regrets the way she had to leave. Her exit interview lasted barely fifteen minutes and she was immediately released. “I fully understand that there is no longer a budget for my role as an internal coach. It has become an expensive job, but the way they fired me was not right. The farewell was too cold and not humane enough, and I did not feel any recognition or recognition.”
Women over 40 are often pushed aside in the media. That’s why Gina retrained to become a career and life coach. “I knew it would stop sooner or later. The athlete or footballer also knows that at 60 it no longer matters. Then it’s a matter of reorienting yourself. Women over 50 are not written off,” she says. “You are no longer the youngest pony.” But you are an experienced woman. In your 50s, you are in the middle stage of your life, but this can be a very exciting period where you question yourself, but also discover who you are and what you like to do. The great thing about getting older is that you dare and can do more. When you lose your youth, something else beautiful takes its place: wisdom, experience, more balance, more self-knowledge…”
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Physical diseases in old age
Under the slogan “Never too old to learn”, Gina Lisa cast herself in the role of José “Van ‘T Kel” in the musical comedy “So Pretty, So Blonde”, about life at the camp site in Blankenberge, complete with Flemish songs. From the 1970s. “It’s been a long time since I’ve acted, but fortunately you don’t forget it,” laughs Jenna. “Combining acting, singing and dancing is still a lot of fun. It takes some digging and testing of boundaries, because how do you play comedic? I feel a little embarrassed. I’ve already gained musical experience in “The Sound of Music” and performing with my own band, but this is something different. As I get older, I sometimes suffer from physical ailments such as back and knee pain. (He laughs)
Wearing a blonde wig helps me grow into my role
“Fortunately, I get good advice from the director and my fellow actors,” Gina continues. “Being able to wear a blonde wig helps me grow into my role. My character is a far cry from my real identity and I’m a far cry from the camping life. After the festival I would rather drive to a hotel than sleep in a tent.” (He laughs)
Jenna plays alongside Evan Peknik. The duo follows in the footsteps of Nicole and Hugo. It has been exactly twenty years since they presented this production at the same theatre. Hugo has given his blessing and is grateful that we are playing this piece again, including their songs. Even though I was too young to grow up with 70s music, I love Anne Christie very much. In collaboration with Andrea Cronenberg and Sam Verhoeven, I will perform classical pieces in Dutch on the new tour “This is so-called happiness”.
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In addition to being a presenter, singer, actress, and coach, Jenna has also been able to call herself an author for five years. She wrote, among other things, “Lust for Midlife” and the best-selling book “Positive Intelligence.” How can you have a positive, conscious outlook on life? On October 23, she will release a book called “Escape from Narcissism and Toxic Relationships,” following her testimony on “The Cooke & Verhulst Show.” “I had a relationship with a narcissistic man, and there is also a narcissistic man in VRT,” says Jenna. “Believe me, this eats away at your energy and your self-esteem. I suffered such damage, both physically and emotionally. Fortunately, I was able to escape from that, but not in the blink of an eye. It was a long process of searching for answers and ways to protect yourself, draw boundaries, and take back your power.” “When I saw that on TV, I was shocked by the many reactions.”
You can’t change a narcissist, but you can learn how to deal with them
Through her book, Gina wants to remove the topic from the atmosphere of taboo and call for more accurate and calm discussions on this topic. “Not every bully is a narcissist either,” she explains. But our society today is fertile ground for narcissism, so it is important to discuss it. How can you escape or learn to deal with narcissism or a toxic relationship? First you need to understand what narcissism means: what are the manipulation techniques? What red flags can you recognize?
To find out if you’re dealing with a narcissist, Jenna has developed a test www.narcissismescape.comBut not everyone can escape from it. “Sometimes you are financially dependent or don’t want to protect your children or sever family ties. You don’t just encounter narcissists in love relationships. It could also be your parent, a colleague, your boss, or your girlfriend,” she says. In my book, I provide advice on how to recover, determine your limits, and how to communicate with a narcissistic person, because changing a narcissistic person is not possible.”
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New happy relationship
Jenna left a toxic relationship long ago and has been happy with Coco Jr., the father of her children, for twelve years. “I still have a good connection with him, and I really carry him in my heart.” Despite her love journey full of obstacles, the singer still believes in love alongside Peter, with whom she has been together for four years. “We live under the same roof and we are happy. We have a stable relationship where I can be myself. I love the sense of humor and care. I get along with my children, but sometimes things can conflict, as happens in families where the biological parents are still together.
My two humble sons are not influenced by social media
Does Jenna also coach her sons Zion (23) and Yarrow (21)? “No, the first rule of coaching is: Never coach your family and friends. You’re too close,” she says. “But as a mother I’m kind of a coach. You guide your children through their childhood, but now that they are adults, they don’t crave motherly advice, even though they still live at home. (He laughs) My toxic relationship was having an impact on my children, so I had conversations with them about it. They need to know that self-esteem is very beautiful, but being overly self-esteem doesn’t always show your best. There’s no need to underestimate her either. Find the right balance. But I have two humble boys who don’t exaggerate with social media or social expectations. The eldest is studying to become a police officer, and the youngest is becoming a pilot. They also love football. Music and theater do not interest them much. “When I asked them to come and watch my play, they rolled their eyes.” (He laughs)
“So Beautiful, So Blonde” can be seen until October 29 at the Elkerlik Theater in Antwerp. Tickets via www.aufondproductions.be.
“Escape from Narcissism and Toxic Relationships” by Gina Peters from Pelckmans Publishers is available from October 23 and costs $24.50.
look. Evan Picnik and Gina Lisa in “So Beautiful, So Blonde”
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