23 Jan Bernie Van Tiel: The rising Filipino-Aussie artist to watch
Featured photo credit: Margaret Ellen Burns
Growing up in the small northern New South Wales town of Murwillumbah, up-and-coming actor and musician Bernie Van Tiel had big dreams.
Having had a love for the performing arts for as long as she can remember, Bernie first began to develop her skills as a beatboxer from the age of 12, when she began to imitate her favourite R&B and hip hop artists.
From then, Bernie also taught herself how to act, sing, and play the guitar, and she continued to perfect her talents throughout her adolescence and early twenties, in the hopes that she would one day be able to support her family while doing something she loves.
“I always saw it [music and acting] as a way out of a mood or a situation I didn’t want to be in,” she explained.
“My family didn’t grow up very rich at all and every family has history, and it just so happens to be that when you come from an ethnic background, it’s not always going to be easy.
I look at my family and I look at the situation they came from and the situation they continue to be in, and I am sitting here thinking that I need to make sure this isn’t their life forever.
Having lived in the Philippines for a few years with her mother and extended family, Bernie has a great appreciation for the influence the Filipino culture plays in her life.
During this time, Bernie was able to learn the language and attend school, and have a good understanding of the customs, traditions and superstitions, despite initially feeling some resentment.
Because I was born here and raised here in Australia, while also being raised under the cultural influence and customs of the Philippines, there was a bit of an identity struggle.
“It really conflicted, because when I was that age, I just didn’t understand why I couldn’t just live where I was born and brought up,” she said.
“But, I’m so thankful for my time over there because I lived the way that many Filipinos do when they’re not super fortunate and not super wealthy, and my perspectives really changed.”
Photo credit: Margaret Ellen Burns
Since then, Bernie has been fortunate enough to travel back to the Philippines alongside Filipino-Australian promoter Marco Selorio, where she and a few other up-and-coming artists toured Manila and Quezon City.
Bernie also had the chance to host a few competitions during this trip, thanks to her experience hosting the popular World Supremacy Battlegrounds street dance competitions in Australia.
Drawing influence from some of the biggest acts today, including Cardi B, Kehlani and Kendrick Lamar, Bernie continues to push forward with her varied performance careers, with a number of upcoming releases throughout 2019, including two web series in which she plays the lead, as well as a self-devised musical project that will fuse all her talents together.