Lynn Gilmartin is your archetypal strong, powerful and beautiful woman.
Today, strength comes from within. It’s all about the heart, the mind and the soul. A triumvirate of connections that can produce magic.
She can put a spell on you, that’s for sure. She imbues a confidence and happiness that’s infectious.
Talking to her for 45 minutes makes me want to climb a mountain, write a book, and offer my bed to the homeless guy drinking a can of Special Brew underneath the railway bridge.
Gilmartin's Success in Poker No Accident
Her success in the poker industry is not an accident. It’s the result of a series of opportunities that the universe has laid before her.
She has seen them. She has grasped them. She has felt the fear and thought "f**k it, I’m going to do it anyway."
Talking to her I get the impression that she hasn’t even pushed the stick into second gear yet. When she does, watch her fly.
Lee Davy: Bluff Magazine believes you have one of the 10 coolest jobs in poker. Tell the readers why it’s so cool.
Lynn Gilmartin: I get paid to do what I love; to see the world and to sit on the sidelines of the world’s largest poker tournaments, sharing life changing moments with hundreds of poker players.
For me, that’s the epitome of cool.
LD: What are your favorite moments so far?
LG: That’s a tough question to answer but my recent favorite has been witnessing Anthony Zinno’s success on the World Poker Tour.
He just won three WPT titles within 18 months, the most recent being a back-to-back victory. That night was insane to watch, it was like he couldn’t lose.
He is so humble; so grateful and just a really nice guy. Seeing the way he has handled each victory with such gratitude has been pretty special.
We keep joking that he’s part of the crew.
It’s become a regular thing now where we’re preparing before the final table and there’s Anthony Zinno backstage again!
LD: It’s all part of the WPT family culture I guess?
LG: Yes. When I first started with the WPT I was told I’m now a part of the “WPT family," and it’s true.
I felt it from day one. I was also pleasantly surprised to see many of the players also a part of that family vibe. It’s very special.
Everyone has a good time and that’s so important. Happiness needs to be high on our priority lists, whether we’re at work or at home.
LD: Describe the American Poker Awards for those that didn’t attend.
LG: It was a really special night. I knew it was going to be beautiful because the SLS Hotel is one of the best in the country, but it still exceeded my expectations.
It was a formal dinner, everyone was all dressed up and we arrived to flashing camera lights on the red carpet. I wasn’t expecting that!
There were hundreds of people there, like a gigantic reunion for the poker community. We got to reflect on the year gone and celebrate the biggest achievements in poker.
The head honchos at the WPT, EPT and WSOP were in the one room, which is a rare event in itself. There was a great sense of unity. Alex Dreyfus is doing some amazing things for poker.
LD: Adam Pliska won an award, how much of a mentor has he been to you?
LG: I could rave on for hours about Adam Pliska! The reason the term ‘WPT family’ is such a legitimate one is down to him.
He is so giving of his time and his wisdom, and loves to encourage people to believe in themselves and pursue their dreams. He has a way of making those around him feel special and appreciated.
So many leaders in his position take on a dictatorship style. It doesn’t work.
He values the importance of creating a nurturing work environment where everyone feels heard. He has had a huge impact on my personal growth and I will be forever grateful.
When I joined the WPT I was petrified. This big American TV gig, it was something I hadn’t fully experienced before.
But because there were no egos, no intimidation, I was able to be myself, feel comfortable and allow myself to shine because I wasn’t bogged down in self-conscious worry that I wasn’t good enough.
If only more leaders understood the importance of this!
LD: What is Hollywood Immersive?
LG: It’s a program run by an amazing Casting Director from Australia, Lilly Dawson, who now lives in LA. She puts together intense weeks for actors, musicians and hosts from all over the world.
They stay in a mansion in the Hollywood Hills for a once-in-a-lifetime experience to work on their craft and literally immerse themselves in the entertainment industry. I took the acting program.
We would get up at 6:30 am each morning to go hiking under the Hollywood sign with a personal trainer, then come back to a gourmet breakfast at the house made by our chef.
After that we’d be off to to acting class all day at Beverly Hills Playhouse, where the likes of George Clooney studied. We would work on a scene with a partner and a monologue, which we got to perform a few times throughout the week for casting directors.
In the evenings we had industry experts visit the house to provide their insight into the business. I had the absolute time of my life.
Acting has been on my mind a lot in recent years. When I was a kid I was always on stage. You couldn’t get me off.
But once I started High School I stopped. I convinced myself that I needed to get a ‘real job’ so I went to university and studied business and pursued a career in marketing.
Obviously that career took a turn later on! But just recently I had an epiphany. I realized that the last time I acted was in a small theatre show.
I was 11, maybe 12 years of age, and I fell over. I was on stage and my costume came undone as I was running off to the wings. I went flying in the air and landed on my butt.
Everyone was laughing at me. I was shattered. I still, to this day, haven’t seen the tape. I’m not sure if it still exists?
For years I would look at the tape sitting there with all our family videos and I would cringe. My epiphany was that I stopped acting out of shame.
Once this all clicked in to place I realized I had to go back and face that fear. Plus, I am in LA, so why not?
So, Hollywood Immersive was the perfect opportunity, and what a growing experience it was. On the first day I was like a petrified little mouse.
But from the first moment I got up on stage I felt alive. And according to my teachers, I’m a natural!
LD: Talk about your monologue
LG: I had to choose my own, which was scary.
I love comedy, so I chose a monologue where I was a bit of a crazy girl on a bus, next to this guy who doesn’t want to speak to me, but I wouldn’t stop talking to him.
It goes for about two minutes. On the last night we performed in front of a panel. We had to get up and simulate it like a real casting situation.
When I began the program that was what I was most scared of, but by the time the night came I couldn’t wait to get out and perform in front of them. I really surprised myself that week.
LD: So you fall when you are a child acting on stage, you develop a fear of working in front of people, and your later career takes you right back in front of the camera. Do you think the universe is trying to tell you something?
LG: Absolutely. We have our own individual passions for a reason, and most of us ignore them out of fear, but I believe we’re constantly being redirected toward them.
It’s those little nagging urges to do something that are always at the back of our mind. They drive us whether we’re aware of it or not.
And that is the direction we are meant to go. It’s not some silly hobby. You have that talent or passion for a reason.
And fulfilling our passions is where we find true happiness. Not all these other “achievements” we’re brought up to think we’re supposed to reach in order to buy stuff and impress other people.
I love Marianne Williamson’s theory that life is like a GPS. If we take a 'wrong' turn, we just get rerouted back on track. There are no wrong turns, just detours.
If we keep ignoring those urges and the detours of opportunity, I believe that’s when chaos is created in our lives, because we’ve got internal chaos going on.
I took a huge risk when I was 24. I quit my cushy corporate career to chase an opportunity on the other side of the world that felt right for me (a job as a reporter with PokerNews), not just what looked good on paper.
I knew nothing about hosting, had never been to America before and knew very little about poker.
The risk was terrifying, but it was the best decision I’ve ever made and is confirmation that as long as I’m doing what is right for me and makes me feel alive, I don’t think I can go wrong.
One of my favorite quotes is 'Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.'
LD: In your Hollywood Immersive experience why did you choose the acting class over the hosting class?
LG: I have this weird fear of seeing my audience. During a recent fundraiser run by WPT Foundation, I had to get up on stage in front of a few hundred people and was terrified.
Give me a camera and I will talk to it all day, but I freak when I see an audience. The silence is unnerving.
I think the event, where I fell over, created that fear. That’s what made me want to push towards the fear of acting.
It’s not that I must now become a movie star. I just want to break down that fear and have fun doing it at the same time.
LD: You are such a busy, hard working, driven young woman. How do you fit everything into your schedule?
LG: I don’t know. I’m also just about to open a juice bar with my family in Australia.
That is a huge passion project so I am ecstatic about that.
I think the key is that I am having a good time with everything I do.
I will sit at my computer all day and night working on the juice bar, work on some acting scenes, pack my bags and hop on a flight for another WPT event, and I won’t feel like I have worked a single day that week.
Do what you love or find a way to love what you do and you wont work a day in your life.
LD: I know you are a big fan of Kris Carr, what is it about her that inspires you?
LG: I love her. Kris played a big role in me changing my eating habits. Her book, and another by Kimberley Snyder, were responsible for my wake-up call to start respecting my body.
Kris has an amazing story about thriving with cancer and through her sharing she has empowered countless people around the world to take charge of their health.
She does it all in such a positive, open, easy-to-digest way. Her writing style makes you feel like you’re just chatting with a mate.
LD: What about Marianne Williamson?
LG: What a powerful and incredibly inspirational woman. A ballsy women.
The ideas she teaches can be very woo-woo to many people, but she will confidently walk into a room of government officials and start talking about the need for enlightenment and love in politics.
She is so articulate and has such a gift in being able to tie these spiritual philosophies to actual fact to what’s going on in the world and it all makes tremendous sense. She is a powerhouse.
LD: Two very influential and inspirational female role models.
LG: Yeah, I guess I am inspired by strong women who have such dedication to help make a change. That does inspire me.
Perhaps that’s the way I want to go, who knows?
LD: I know you also like Eckhart Tolle.
LG: His book The Power of Now is so simple and provides one of the most powerful tools that people can implement in their lives to reduce stress – presence.
All of these negative emotions we experience, such as guilt or fear, are just attached to nothing more than thoughts connected with the future or the past, which isn’t real.
When we get out of our own heads and focus on the present moment, it’s quite relieving. When we are in a constant state of fear of what might happen, or regretting what has happened, we don’t actually live our lives.
We are stuck in our heads watching some kind of awful film on repeat, instead of being fully aware and appreciative of our surroundings, and observant enough to actually see opportunity around us.
We are here on this planet to enjoy ourselves, not to be drowning in all this fear, stress and worry.
LD: Such a simple but powerful thing to grasp, right?
LG: I have bought that book at least six times because I keep giving it away to people. That’s how important it is.
LD: If you could leave your children with nothing but a set of principles and a few books, what would they be and why?
LG: Love and happiness comes from within. Everyone is equal. Fearlessly chase your dreams and know you have a purpose on this planet.
In terms of books, I would leave them with Eckhart Tolle’s Power of Now, Brené Browne’s Daring Greatly, A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson, and Kris Carr’s Crazy, Sexy, Diet.