I got pinched by the acting bug early in high school and after performing in a few plays and winning a few drama awards. I really aligned my sights on pursuing acting as a full-time career after that. I enrolled in the acting program at Humber College and was feeling confident it would be a cozy ride up! However, I quickly discovered it wasn’t all as rosy as I had anticipated it. The program turned to be sub par from what I expected and had even made me reconsider pursuing a career in acting all together. I ended up dropping out after only six months and had fallen into a bit of a limbo in my life. I mostly took the time to travel a bit and consider what I really wanted to do. After about two years of odd jobs, and a dive in the music scene (played in a band) I was considering going back to school for marketing, and it was my mom who convinced me to give acting another shot, so I did. I was 23 and I moved downtown, got an apartment, an agent and joined a class. It would be a slow crawl of fruitless auditions and bit parts before I landed the role on Anne with an E last year, but I have to say it’s been the best time of my life living downtown pursuing this passionate itch that I perpetually need to scratch. Thanks mom!
What ignited the spark in you to start your career or to make significant changes in an existing career?
Well I think with me it was more of a realization to commit to my original path for a career in acting. I realized that it was better to have lived and tried than to never have tried at all and lived with that regret for the rest of my life.
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your career and how did you overcome them?
I think the biggest hurdle was getting over the reality that I was just starting from the bottom when I made the decision to move downtown, all the while my friends and colleagues from school had already been actively working on shows and had their ACTRA cards, and it all felt so far away for me still. Those first few months were really tough for me, because it all felt like a big gamble and I was just freefalling and hoping that something would catch me sooner or later. In many ways that feeling hasn’t really subsided, and I’m not sure if it really ever does but you learn to just trust in yourself, and by doing that it gives you enough reason to justify pursuing the dream that you have.
Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits? How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?
I’m not sure if I remember having any contention from anyone but I know I personally felt like it wasn’t something I would be shouting about to everyone because I felt kind of embarrassed in admitting that this is what I wanted to pursue. I think in hindsight that helped me focus by keeping my head down and just working on myself as an artist, without worrying too much about explaining myself.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your career success?
I think allowing myself the freedom to fail and just learning to accept rejection as a part of the process has been key to living successfully as an actor. That, and also finding a parallel passion that you have full control of to tide you over creatively in between acting gigs. For me, that was filmmaking and editing, so I bought a camera and started shooting music videos, weddings, promos, and of course films.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
That it takes time! I was incredibly impatient in my first few years living in Toronto. I had this obsessed idea of how my career should go and of course it never works out the way you think it will, and when it doesn’t you perceive that as failure, but in reality, these were just building block years that prepared me for bigger opportunities.
What advice would you give to an upcoming young and old entrepreneur locally and internationally?
My advice for actors that are just starting out is to take lots of classes! Before you even start shopping for an agent, take a year to just really test the water out if this is it all something you even want to do, and that it is okay if you don’t! But by doing that, it will help you commit better to your craft in knowing that you can’t do anything else that will fulfill you.