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Interview with actress Dawna Lee Heising.

Dawna Lee Heising, several of my readers will not know you. Or who you are, or anything about your work. Care to describe yourself, and then a summary of your work?

I have acted in over 60 feature films, alongside legendary actors such as Eddie Griffin, Tommy Wiseau, Aki Aleong, Danny Trejo, Eric Roberts, Nicholas Turturro, Lorenzo Lamas, Olivia Hussey, John Reign, Mel Novak, Robert Amico, Justin Shenkarow, Manu Intiraymi and many others. I am also the Vice President of Aki Aleong's Mustard Seed Media Group.

I was honored to win Best Actress for "Dark Classics" at the 2019 LANFA Film Festival; Best Actress for her role as Barbie in Dustin Ferguson's "Nemesis 5: The New Model" at the 2018 LANFA Film Festival; "Actress of the Year" at the 2018 USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame Awards, and Best Supporting Actress for Gregory Blair's "Garden Party Massacre" at the 2018 Lucky Strike Film Festival. I am also the executive producer and host of the award-winning television interview show called "Eye on Entertainment".

I am trained in Tang Soo Do martial arts, kickboxing, ballet, and pole dancing. I am currently training with Sabumnim Rick St. Clair online on the Jo-staff and Kali sticks. I am a former Miss Los Angeles Chinatown, Ms. World, Ms. Universe, Miss San Francisco Universe, Miss Orange County Universe, Miss Orange County America, Miss California Hemisphere and Mrs. California United States, among many other titles. I was thrilled to be the Queen of the 2019 Hollywood Silver Screen Film Festival.

I have a B.S. Degree in Business Management and MBA from Pepperdine University, and my uncle is legendary director Tak Fujimoto. My cousins David Wong and George Daugherty won a Primetime Emmy Award for their televised Broadway production "Peter and the Wolf on Broadway". I study acting with Matthew Arkin and Karole Foreman, and I am a long-time member of SAG-AFTRA.

Can you tell my readers what your latest project was or is? Who you are working with and where it will be released?

I played Skye Kayhill in John Reign's heartwarming action/drama/comedy "Finding Purpose: The Road to Redemption. Legendary actor Aki Aleong portrayed my father and director John Reign starred as my husband John Kayhill.

"Finding Purpose: The Road to Redemption" is the story of John Kayhill, a U.S. Army veteran of the Bosnian War, who is trying to overcome the effects of the PTSD he suffered. His wife Skye, his mentally disabled brother Rod and he journey on an old sidecar motorcycle that was given to John by a close war buddy, who had recently died from a heart attack. John decides to travel to the family of one of his fallen veteran brothers to bring closure for them, but also for him. The film follows the trio through an inspirational journey of trials and triumphs, which enables John to find his road to redemption. The trailer can be seen at: https://youtu.be/Qm36cc26r6w

“Finding Purpose: Road to Redemption” won the Best Feature Film Award at the 2019 Hollywood Silver Screen Film Festival and was slated to be shown at the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival and after that, to be shown nationally through AMC Theaters. This was before the pandemic. The heartwarming action/comedy/drama is available on Amazon Prime at:


I also performed the challenging Lady Macbeth Scene 5; Act I monologue in B. Luciano Barsuglia's documentary "A Bard for the Ages: Shakespeare's Timeless Effect". I was honored to work with the great Eddie Griffin, alongside Robert Amico and Emmy and Golden Globe-winner Justin Shenkarow, in Param Gill's "Bad President", which premiered at the 2020 Cannes Film Festival. I played Ashley Flowers in Barsuglia’s “Social Distance”, starring Vern Wells, and I play Countess Ivory Dragnea, Queen of the Vampires, in John Reign’s “Evergreen Is the Blood”.

What is your favorite book?

Many years ago when I was attending U.C. Berkeley, I was assigned a book called "The Psychology of Winning" by Dr. Denis Waitley, and I have always followed the ten principles of positive self-awareness, positive self-esteem, positive self-control, positive self-motivation, positive self-expectancy, positive self-image,, positive self-direction, positive self-discipline, positive self-dimension, and positive self-projection. What these tenets have in common are positivity, and I believe that being positive is vital to success and having the life that you want and becoming the person you want to me. I also believe that it is important to stay away from all negative influences, and I have learned to enjoy blocking negative people on social media.

What is your favorite non-profit? Please provide a link.

I believe that contributing and making a positive difference in the world around you are the most important thing that we can do during our lifetime. To me, the finest example of this is the life story of the late Dr. Stephanie Van Dyke, who was my daughter Dr. Misty Richards’ best friend. Misty and Stephanie both attended Albany Medical College in Albany, New York and graduated Medical School in 2012.

Because of Stephanie, my favorite non-profit is the Engeye Health Clinic in Ddegeya Village, Uganda. In 2000, as a volunteer in Katooke Village in rural Uganda, Stephanie witnessed the urgent need for basic medical care, which inspired her to pursue a career in medicine with the ultimate goal of building and running self-sustaining clinics in Uganda. While still a medical student at AMC, Stephanie contributed an inheritance of $35,000 from her grandmother and teamed with John Kalule, a Ugandan of Ddegeya Village, to establish the Engeye Health Clinic in 2006. My daughter Misty and many Albany Medical College faculty and students made numerous trips to work at the Engeye Clinic in Uganda. In 2007, Stephanie received a Points of Light award: https://www.pointsoflight.org/awards/stephanie-van-dyke Today the Engeye Health Clinic continues to serve more than 13,000 patients a year. https://www.engeye.org/

Stephanie knew that medicine was her most powerful tool, so she decided to continue beyond her M.D., and after obtaining her M.P.H. from Johns Hopkins University, she co-founded The Sky Lakes Wellness Center in Klamath Falls, Oregon. Practicing a lifestyle of making mindful choices and improving quality of life are the primary focus of the services offered at the Wellness Center.

Stephanie died January 12, 2017 in Portland, succumbing to injuries she suffered in a sledding accident on Pacific Terrace in Klamath Falls, Oregon. She was 39. Stephanie's life was cut short all too soon, but her passion, kindness, and determination to make the world a better place, live on through everyone who knew and loved her and through those of us who followed her amazing life journey and admired her positivity and her willingness to contribute to humanity. Stephanie worked every day of her life to make the world around us a better place. I knew Stephanie mostly from my daughter and from doing publicity for Engeye in the very early days, but I think about her every day and it still makes me cry. A park has been dedicated in her name in Klamath Falls. http://continueherpath.com/

What story do you want everyone to know about you? What makes you YOU?

I am never satisfied with the status quo, and I am always trying to improve in all areas of my life. I am always striving to learn more to become a better mother, daughter, wife, grandmother, actress and all-around person. To continually improve takes hard work, dedication, education, meditation, total effort, and tremendous drive. When you have this type of obsessive, driven, Type A personality, it is easy to get burnt out.

"Finding Purpose: The Road to Redemption"

Because of this, I have always made it a priority to exercise every day, to learn something new every day and to connect with the people who are closest to me, meaning my family members. I have also learned that it is important to remember "Carpe Diem", and to appreciate every moment of life. I continue to study Acting, to practice Tang Soo Do martial arts and pole dancing, and to see my family as much as I can. This year I have studied for the CBEST test in order to be prepared to substitute teach if I decide to, and I have learned how to use the Jo-Staff and martial arts weaponry through studying online with Sabumnim Rick St. Clair. I am striving to do bigger and better films, and I have discovered intermittent fasting to stay in shape.

It has been hard during the Coronavirus quarantine to see my family as much as I want to, but I visit my Mother every week and bring her food and talk through the screen door, and I connect with my daughters and their families through Zoom. The quarantine has also forced my husband, who is a Certified Financial Planner and who is as driven as I am (or more), to work at home and has brought us closer together.

Professionally, there is always a dream job or role or project. What is that project for you and do you have a goal to reach it? Also please provide a link so others can see your progress if you work towards that goal.

My goal is to become the best actress that I can possibly be, and to do bigger and better film roles. The ultimate goal in this business is to work on feature films that are shown on all streaming platforms and on network television. In the past, everyone wanted their films to be shown in theaters nationwide, but we will see how the pandemic has affected everything.

I am extremely grateful to filmmaker John Reign, who has taken my career to a whole new level with his amazing film “Finding Purpose: The Road to Redemption”. It is a film that I really believe in and that I am enormously proud of. John is a great filmmaker, and I am incredibly grateful that he believes in me. John’s incredible talent and his ability to make excellent films on a low budget have captured the attention of major industry professionals, and he will be building a film and music events studio in Pennsylvania soon. He has huge things, including big budget films and music events, planned, and I am so grateful to be a part of the Polestar Studios family.=

I am also grateful for my Rockstar manager Joe Williamson, who believes in my talent and who always has my back. He also offers me a huge shoulder to cry on, when negativity and trolls and jealousies emerge, which unfortunately happens often in this business. He also is always there to keep me from being used, because I always want to see the good in people. I am very grateful and honored to be with the Williamson Management Company because Joe has turned down so many people and only manages a handful of people. I feel very blessed to be one of them!

And of course, I could not be in this business without the support of my wonderful husband Paul, who is even smarter, more driven and more successful than I am, and my wonderful, beautiful Mom, who is proud of everything I do!

My Demo Reel:


IMDb Pro Link:


My Website:



Queen of the 2019 Hollywood Silver Screen Festival

Queen of the 2018 WIND International Film Festival

Mrs. Golden Global 2017

Ms. World 2008

Ms. Universe 2009

Mrs. California United States 2000

Mrs. American Achievement 2001

Former Miss Los Angeles Chinatown

Former Miss Orange County Universe

Former Miss San Francisco Universe

Miss California Hemisphere









"Finding Purpose: The Road to Redemption"