I was born and raised in Canada, and grew up speaking both English and French. After graduating from Dalhousie University and the University of King's College I have ultimately made a career on both sides of the camera making me an intuitive filmmaker and performer. From network television to indie features, I don't compromise when it comes to telling great stories; putting passion and dedication into every project I make coupled with an easy-going "Canadian" sensibility. As a filmmaker, I have made it a priority for years to champion people of colour in meaningful roles on screen. In May 2020 I was honoured to be recognized for these efforts and was included in a panel for the Toronto BIPOC TV & Film community to discuss the TV ‘Movie Of The Week’ genre, representation, and opportunities.
As an actor in film and television, I quickly realized that the conventional way of going about things in this industry wasn't going to work for me, for my personality, and for my overall sense of happiness. A pervasive and, in my opinion, ridiculous mantra in the industry is: "If you have a Plan-B that's what you'll end up doing". You hear it non-stop when you're just starting out and from well-intentioned people who seem like they'd be an authority on the matter. One day I paused to think, why does it have to be a Plan-B? Why can't you diversify yourself and your career in this industry? So many people around me were stuck working jobs that they didn't like for the flexibility of auditions that they never got. I had certainly fallen into that cycle. I asked myself what I wanted to do along with acting. I came up with a couple of great ideas. I decided to start by trying my hand at film production. Within a year, I had been accepted into a competitive technical post-graduate program, accepted it, started working in the field, and then declined it before starting and established myself full time in the industry learning as I went. I fell in love with filmmaking and now balance my time between both sides of the industry. My next step will be combining all of my skill sets by making and starring in my own productions.
On the acting-front, I starred in the new Hallmark Channel rom-com “Fit for a Prince” in the supporting role of socialite "Brooke Hamilton". That premiered on Saturday, March 6th at 9/8c on Hallmark Channel. I also played a TV movie role in Super Channel’s romance “My Boss’ Wedding” premiering on March 27th and Lifetime’s thriller “Deadly Mom Retreat” (release date TBA). I am no stranger to entertainment, working in many facets of the industry as a Casting Director, Producer and Actress.
What were the biggest initial hurdles and how did you overcome them?
A constant hurdle has been getting into the rooms, agencies, auditions, meetings - you name it. I didn't grow up in the business and my family and friends weren't in entertainment before I started getting involved (now I have many amazing friends in the biz). I'd say pick your path and find an entry. Whether that's training, volunteering; anywhere you can meet people and form a connection. Know that it will be slow for anything to come from those connections - people aren't there to serve you!
I realized pretty early on that I wanted to produce as well as act. I wanted more than a seat at the table, I wanted a voice and to be able to guide my own career. Outside of family and friends who were and continue to be wholly supportive, there were a lot of unsolicited discouraging opinions. I just kept plugging away at it and, sure enough, it's now considered an asset that I have a career to stand on, on either leg of the business. Who'd have thought ;-)
What books are you currently reading?
I'm on a murder mystery rampage! Outside of that, lots of scripts for upcoming projects, auditions, and development :)
Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your pursuits? How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?
I'm very lucky because my family, boyfriend, friends have all been actively supportive. Before I had found and really made my path in this industry, there were many difficult conversations where I felt attacked or a sense of not being believed in. It's easy to feel that way when you personally feel discouraged or vulnerable and project those opinions/feelings, to also be coming from other people. I think communication is key. Tell the people close to you if you don't feel supported or if their well-intentions are actually doing harm. If they keep on you, put them to work and challenge them to help come up with solutions or alternative ways to break in if they're so concerned. ;-)
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your success?
Believing in myself and perseverance. I put in the double overtime, for myself, all the time because I really believe that it will pay off and continue to.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started?
People will tell you that you're "too" anything because this industry is so hard. The current thing I'm being told right now is "you're too white". I think that's a really harmful attitude. I refuse to believe that I'm "too" anything and just focus on building my craft as an artist and as a filmmaker. I'm focusing on creating the opportunities I want to see and lifting people up with me. There's room in this industry for everyone.
What advice would you give to an upcoming youth or talents locally and internationally?
Only pursue a career if the work means something to you. That's to say, don't chase being a producer if you really just want to be an actor. There is so much focused talent in every discipline that you need to bring your A-game every time. Know your goals, stick to them, and if you're not on a path that facilitates them - make a new one.