Having lived a very eclectic life, Dani Behr started very young in the entertainment industry. From enrolling in a performing arts school to being signed to Warner Bros. for a record deal to TV hosting to becoming known as the voice-over queen on Kiss FM. Realizing how TV hosting, radio, or voice-overs, are jobs that are out of her control, she got into real estate with much passion and tenacity, specializing thereafter on lifestyle and consulting. Today, she introduces her podcast, The Behr Essentials. Join Dani and her celebrity guest friends, lifestyle experts, and people that are in branding, marketing, and fashion as they share their experiences and expert advice about everything life and style.
Listen to the podcast here:
The Behr Essentials – An Introduction With Dani Behr
The Behr Essentials is my individual show which is part of the La La Landed series and it’s going to be everything and everyone that is essential to me and my life. I have lived what feels like nine lives and I wanted to share my experiences and tips and tricks along the way with a few belly laughs thrown in, some fun characters, some educating experts and everything else in between. Thank you so much for reading. We’re going to have a lot of fun doing this. We’re going to have some fun people, some great guests and hopefully you’ll learn a lot, have a good laugh and join me for all episodes. For those of you that don’t know me, I’ve had a very eclectic life. I’m from London, England. I started very young in the entertainment industry. I wanted to go to a performing arts school to be a Royal Ballet dancer.
Performing Arts School
I had two little problems. I wasn’t that good and I was probably too tall so I have to quickly think of something else to do. All the dreams were shattered in a quick five minutes. The good news was I was super excited that I got in. This school was an extremely prestigious performing out of school, probably the best in Europe and they only took 150 people in the school at any one time. It was very difficult to audition and to get a place. I’d already got halfway across the finish line if you like, but it was on the condition by my parents that I do my work and get all my grades and all my academics were up to par. Otherwise, they were going to pull me out.
There is already a lot of pressure. It was a fun school. It was not like your regular high school. It was like that movie Fame, the TV show Fame where they walk in the classrooms and they’re all dancing on the tables and that was literally what that school was like because every classroom doubled up as a studio for a dance class or acting class. It was super fun and nothing like I’d ever seen or experienced before. I came from quite conservative, traditional British schools. This was like going to a party every day. I was so excited.Timing of life is everything. Click To Tweet
The Record Deal
At the age of fourteen, there was a producer that came around the school because we had a built-in talent agency within the school and the producer was looking to do a manufactured girl pop group. Pretty much like the Spice Girls where they a bunch of girls together, manufactured the whole sound, the look and everything and then off you go. This was pre-Spice Girls. This was in ’88 or ’89. I was one of the girls that got picked, which is extremely ironic considering I’m a baritone and my vocal abilities are limited should we say the very least. I suppose I was hired for my baritone skills but probably because I looked different from the other two girls in the band and we were called Faith, Hope and Charity, which already sounds disastrous from the get-go.
Needless to say, I was fourteen. I was signed to Warner Bros. with this big record deal. Our manager now was the biggest pop manager in music. He represented the Pet Shop Boys and other big names. Now, we’re working with one of the top record producers and was signed to a label that had Madonna and Prince and all these amazing artists I had looked up to and listen to their music regularly. It was super exciting. It was quite surreal to be totally honest with you. It was going on a fast roller coaster ride. I jumped on, strapped on the seat belt and off I went. We did that. That took up a couple of years or so until we finally released the songs and went on promotional tours and did all these PAs everywhere.
The timing of the music is everything as they say or should I say the timing of life is everything, particularly in this case. Here I was, we spent a year recording this amazing album and getting our rehearsals, our choreography and our tour and performances. The next thing you know, we’ve come out at the same time that dance music has started to get popular. Here we are, this cheesy all-girl manufactured pop group singing, “The battle, battle of the sexes,” this cheesy stuff and released at the same week as we were Pump Up The Jam by Technotronic. How can you compete with that? You can’t, unless you are as equally cool, which we were not.
As dance music ascended up the charts, we were left very quickly behind in the wake and we dropped quite soon after from the record label. It so happened that I’d met all now these great contacts and people in the music industry and from the record company and there was this new trendy hot network. There’s a new modern sign of the times network that was producing all these amazing new modern contemporary TV productions and they were about to embark on their first big late-night music show. It is like a Jimmy Kimmel, but very much more music based on a lot of celebrity guest interviews and crazy studio events. I would fly here, there and everywhere to do all these journalistic stories of crazy stories around the world.
At the time my friends in the rec company were like, “Have you heard about this new music show? Dani, instead of being in the band, why don’t you present the bands? You need to go off and screen test for the show.” Off I go to the networks, I get into the studio and they put me with the one co-host, the main anchor hosts that they already cast. They’re like, “We’re looking for his co-host, let’s get you in front of the camera.” Unlike the USA, when you do TV, there is no such thing as a teleprompter in England. There’s no big screen with the words and which you read. You literally have to ad-lib your way through everything, you are making it up as you go along or your memorizing script. Talk about being thrown in at the deep end.
I thought, “What am I going to talk about for seven minutes?” It was the length of the screen test. What am I going to talk for seven minutes which is a long time when you’re put on the spot and there’s a clock ticking? I just discussed the cab driver on the way over and the things he was saying and was repeating the jokes, basically talking nonsense, which is why I do daily anyway. I thought, “This is a piece of cake. I’m going to get paid to talk. How hard can it be?” The next week they called us, said, “We loved you. We think you’d be perfect for this. The only problem we’re having is that we think you’re a little bit too young. This show’s going to be a late night and it would be a bit controversial.”Doing real estate is turning something crappy and old into something beautiful. Click To Tweet
In the UK, censorship ends at 10:00 PM. The show was going live to the nation at 11:00 at night. There’s no censorship, anything was okay to say and do. They felt like I was a little bit too young for that. I think it was shy of my sixteenth birthday. They apparently went off and they did this big nationwide audition and search for the next co-host. They interviewed and screen-tested thousands of people. Six months later, I got a phone call. “We haven’t found anybody we like as good as you, Dani. Would you reconsider the position?” I said, “Sure, okay.” Within a week, contracts were signed and I was on a plane to New York for my first ever TV hosting job. I was sent to New York to interview the entire cast of Saturday Night Live. I remember this, it was with Mike Myers and Dana Carvey.
The host of SNL that week was Jason Priestley, the star of 90210. Naturally, he was the biggest TV star in the world at that point with Luke Perry. Everybody had their poster on the wall. They were gorgeous, hot and everybody had crushes on them. Here I am at sixteen and a half on a plane on my own to New York going, “I’m going to sit and hang out with Jason Priestley for a week. This is the best job ever.” That was the beginning. The show was very music-influenced and it became a big late-night success, a big TV success should I say. I was catapulted into the public eye from a very young age. We’ll talk more about my TV experiences on another show, but I went on to do many other hostings, presenting and hosting TV shows and I simultaneously hosted my own show on Kiss FM. I did the drive time show there. I was known as the voice-over queen. I did hundreds of cartoons, commercials, video games and corporate videos. They used to call me One-Take Behr because I would literally do the take in one go, which was my claim to fame.
I’m sure some of you have heard me before you’ve met me. While we’ll have a whole other episode on voice-overs because that is the funniest job ever. We’ll bring some fantastic voice-over artists and experts onto the show for those budding, voice-over artist wannabes, who want to get some insight into that career or interested in the industry itself. It’s quite actually one of those on the down-low careers I call it. It’s one of those careers that most people don’t even know exists. It’s an interesting industry. I’m looking forward to doing an episode on that in the near future. Stay tuned for that one. From that time I went on and I guest-appeared on TV shows and did some acting work, I also appeared on the stage and the theater at The Old Vic in London with Kate Winslet and Cate Blanchett. I was then performing at Madison Square Gardens with Jane Fonda and Oprah Winfrey. These are some of the many highlights.
Taking A Year Off
In around 2000, I was bought up the stage at a development contract with NBC Bravo and I did a bunch of shows over here in America for ABC, Fox and NBC. It was great. When I was pregnant with my daughter, because I’d been working from such a young age, I decided that’s it. I’m taking a year off to be at home. I’m not going to work because I’d been working since I was about eleven, twelve. I thought it’s time. I didn’t go to college. I didn’t take a year backpacking around the world like some of my friends. I’m going to take a year off and to relax. This is a very good legitimate excuse not to work having a baby. Little did I know when my daughter was six months old, I was four months pregnant with my son. Out pops number two, my son Zane. If you’d like, I kept the kettle boiling as they say. Now, I’ve gone from one year off to two years off to three years off.
Getting Cut Out
Nobody tells you how exhausting one child is, let alone when to pop into the picture. Again, we’ll have many episodes on motherhood and parenting and all that fun stuff. While all this is happening, I’m at home with my babies because that’s what worked for me and I didn’t want anybody else to step in and pay someone to take care of my children. I’m quite controlling like that. I’m a little bit OCD. I like everything just so. I thought I’ve got this down, I can handle this. While all of that was happening, the weld of TV was going digital. Suddenly now you’ve got all these new distribution channels and networks and the budgets are getting smaller and smaller as the content and the distribution hours are getting larger.
The first thing they cut out of budgets was the TV host because that was probably one of the most expensive line items. Suddenly you got all these reality shows, all these unscripted shows that don’t need TV hosts anymore. By the time I was trying to get back into the workplace, my career positioning had changed and almost gone unless you were a big celebrity or a journalist or a late-night comedian. Those were the people that were getting the very few hosting jobs that were available. I found myself in a quite bizarre position of, “What do I do? Who am I?” I’ve always been on TV. I’ve always been an entertainment suddenly I lost my entire identity. I had no idea who I was, what I could do and my skillsets. I’m sure a lot of mothers that come back from being at home for a few years are in the same position.Surround yourself with people that inspires you, educates you, and lifts you up to want to be more successful. Click To Tweet
I was like, “What can I do? What do I know how to do? What am I good at?” TV hosting, radio or voice-overs, those jobs are out of your control. It’s not something you could go get if you work hard enough. It’s very much you have to be given the opportunity to enable you to do your job. I thought, “What else can I do that I don’t need permission? I don’t need anybody giving the opportunity. What else do I know?” It so happens that real estate was that thing for me. Simultaneously while I was in the TV industry, my father was a big real estate broker in London and my mother had her stint at interior designing at one point. They always said to me, “Dani, save your money. Buy real estate.” I listened to their advice. At sixteen, I bought my first property, put my down payment down and my parents helped me fix it up. I think I either rented it for a while or I sold it thereafter and I thought, “This is fun.”
I love transformation. I love something that’s crappy and old and turning it into something beautiful. I realized I had this natural ability to walk into an absolute rundown piece of crap but visualizing the end result. I have that special gift of being able to see the end result and the potential of a property. I started doing that at sixteen and I did it every year or every couple of years depending on the market. I did it in London several times. I did it over here in LA many times. That was my hobby. That was the passion that I loved. I had a knack for it. I was a brilliant project manager. I knew how to hire the contractors and manage everybody and do budgets. I was very good at not capitalizing and not getting emotional, doing it in the right way that would maximize my return on each property.
That was my passion and my hobby that I felt like right now is the time that this career number two better kick in because this is the only other thing I know how to do and do well. At that point, by the time I’d got into it full time, I got my real estate license here in California and started helping other people doing the buying and selling and doing that side of things as well. That became my second career. That segued into more lifestyle specializing and consulting. The Behr Essentials is going to be a combination of everything life and style. I’m going to be discussing real estate, when’s the best time to buy or rent? When is the best time to sell? What investment properties should I buy and when? What’s this myth rent control, bringing in real estate experts to help with all of that? Bringing in interior design experts, bringing in prolific house flippers and their tips and tricks and some great expert advice on the best things to do in that area. People that I’ve worked with and I love who is very insightful and are great at what they do.
As well as also bringing in my celebrity guest friends every now and again, lifestyle experts, people that are in branding and marketing and fashion. The Behr Essentials is a play on my last name because my last name is Behr. It’s the people and the context that I’ve made over all my years and living in four continents and moving around the world. It’s my different careers and meeting some of the most amazing people. I like to surround myself by people that inspire me, educate me, raise me and lift me up and want to be more successful. I want to share those people with you all and help you along the way with all the things that I’ve learned along the way. That’s the gist of it. We can talk about parenting and dating. I’m now a single mom with two kids. Let’s talk about that. That’s funny in itself. Dating in LA is like a whole series in itself. I’ve got some stories for you guys.
I’m going to invite my friends to the show. We can hear their stories; they can share their experiences. I’d love to have your suggestions and any recommendations of episode ideas that you’d like to discuss. Make sure you join us at La La Landed Podcast on Instagram and like us there. Also we’re on Facebook at La La Landed and our website is LaLaLanded.com for all information and any future episodes. I’m super excited to have you guys join me for The Behr Essentials here on La La Landed coming very soon.
About Dani Behr
Dani has an extremely illustrious and varied career in the world of Entertainment and Real Estate. Starting her career at age 14, Dani was signed to WEA to record her first album with her all-girl pop group. At 16 she was hosting her first TV show ‘The Word’ which would become the highest rated late night show on UK TV, turning Dani into a household name and one of the most successful and popular TV stars with cult status.
Over the next 28 years, Dani hosted countless entertainment shows for both TV & Radio, in the U.K, U.S and Canada for all the major networks and was also a contributing sports Host at Fox Sports and Fox.com for Fox Soccer. Simultaneously Dani went behind the scenes co-creating and co-producing ‘Dani Dares’ for Channel 4,UK.
As one of the UK’s most recognizable voices as a top Voice-Over Artist and most well known as the voice of Virgin Atlantic, BBC, countless cartoons, commercials, video games and corporate videos, she also had her own daily drive-time Radio show on KISS FM.
As an actor, she has appeared on TV, film & stage with veterans like Joseph Fiennes, Cate Blanchett, Kate Winslet, Jane Fonda and Oprah Winfrey to name a few, and fortunate to perform at the Old Vic and Madison Square Gardens.
She has since co-founded DANTAR Productions, a TV production company, with partner Tara Joseph, creating & producing unscripted and scripted formats for both the US and UK.
Simultaneously, she is a Real Estate Specialist, with extensive knowledge of the Los Angeles market. She started her Real Estate career as a hobby, flipping homes from the age of 16, and after buying, remodeling and selling many properties on both sides of the Atlantic, she became a licensed California Realtor. She is currently the Director of Business Development at Avenue Homes; a 360° Real Estate services development and investment firm. www.AvenueHomes.com
For any info or inquiries please email: info@DaniBehr.com