What doesn’t kill you


I am not a model. I went to a model search thing when I was about 12 years old with my cousin, and they told me I would never make it because I was too short, and my parents weren’t tall enough to imply that I would grow much taller. However, I have had some really awesome experiences lately with photographer friends, so when I saw a request for models for a bridal shoot, I figured, why not? I was a little surprised to find out I would be bringing my own wardrobe and it was the hair and makeup that were wedding themed (not the dress), but I still had a really fun time. I had my first ever experience with fake lashes, and got some beautiful pictures out of it.


As soon as we were done with the photoshoot, I drove to Montreal with Johnny, for a couple of days of family and income taxes. One was a lot more fun than the other.

We drove back to Toronto on Tuesday, so I could work at Michener, then try out a Krav Maga class. A friend started taking it and said it was a really fun workout, and you learn self-defense, so it seemed like a win-win situation. I arrived as class was starting, so I jumped right into the elbow moves. We learnt them, then were told to get into groups, grab some pads and practice. I was lucky enough to end up with a guy who is also a krav maga instructor, so I got a lot more practice than everyone else, and learned quite a few things that the others didn’t. And it was really framed as a self-defense class rather than a workout, which was a bit scary in what it makes you think about, but also a really interesting approach.


After krav maga, I went to 4 Points for the NOGI class. It’s an hour and a half class, where the first hour is spent learning new techniques, and then we roll for the last half hour. The one who knows the technique better is always the one who does it first, so that wasn’t me. However, I was really proud when my partner was having trouble with a certain technique, and I was able to help him figure it out. When it came time to roll, I tried more things, actually using armbars and kimoras rather than just trying to not have them used against me. When someone asked if he should take it easy on me and let me do all the attacking, I told him to just go for it and I would tap out if he was hurting me. Rolling has become a lot harder now that people aren’t going as easy on me, but I am also learning a lot more. In one of my rolls, the guy not only didn’t hesitate to put me into submission, he went straight to choking me or armbars, anything to make me tap out. The one time I thought I might have a bit of an upper hand, he just stood up, so I was hanging off his neck and shoulders, upside down, and then he turned around in circles before bringing me down to the floor. We restarted every 10 seconds because I kept having to tap out, but I was still incredibly proud of myself. Because even though I knew he was going to have me on the ground and tapping out within seconds, I literally just sat back up every time and went for another round. There are a lot of things in life that are scary because they are unknown, and now I don’t have to be afraid of being twirled in the air, choked or whatever, because I know it really isn’t bad.

On Wednesday I did a boxing bootcamp, then spent some time with the roommates before going to dungeons and dragons. I am really enjoying these games and wondering why I didn’t start playing years ago. Also, I think LARPing would be awesome.

On Thursday I went to ACTRA for the Respect on Set workshop, where I had the chance to meet some fellow members, and actually learnt a few things that could definitely be helpful in the future, and would have saved me a lot of trouble if I had known it years ago.

After the workshop, I went to my third pole dancing class, where I learnt a new back spin, as well as sits. Apparently, sitting on the pole for extended periods of time isn’t exactly a question of building up strength, but of building up a tolerance for pain (or discomfort?). ACTRA’s website suggested asking yourself if you have a high threshold for pain before becoming a stunt performer, so I guess there are benefits to building it up? We also tried elbow hangs, which I managed with help for a few seconds, but my pain threshold is not there yet.


Friday was one of those days where I was THAT GIRL. I went to the boxing class, where I was alone again, so I got a thorough workout, and learnt a new combo for the boxing. At the end, he asked if I wanted more pad work or conditioning next week. Pad work is obviously more fun and feels like much less of a workout, but I am aware that I need to build up my endurance and my core and my hips and all those fun things, so I did not take the easy way out. I’ll hate myself next Friday, but in a good way.

After, I had a Jiu-Jitsu class, where we learnt some new techniques (or at least new for me). One of them I had absolutely no confidence that I could do, and wasn’t sure I really wanted anyone to try it on me, but I kept my fears to myself and trusted the guys I was learning with. Turns out it really wasn’t bad being the one who is thrown, and I actually managed to throw the guy who twirled me around on Tuesday over my head. It wasn’t like he was putting up a fight, because we were learning the technique, but I am still pretty impressed that I managed it.

That evening, I drove to MWF Madness, which was recommended to me probably because they work on stunt stuff on Wednesdays (according to the website), but Fridays are for gymnastics. Which I love so much in theory and would really like to get better at. We learnt a bunch of cool jumps on the trampolines for a warmup, then did stretching and stuff before tumbling. There is a list of skills to go through and I was starting below the newbie line, but I am very looking forward to moving my way up. At the end, it is open gym for everyone to work on whatever they want to work on, so I got some advice and worked on my back rolls, handstands and trampoline work. Both he and my boxing coach gave me things to work on before I see them again, so looks like I will be shadowboxing and spending some time upside down this week.

On Saturday an hour long open mat rolling session turned into an hour of technique and a half an hour of rolling with a Jiu-Jitsu champion and stunt guy from Montreal, Lee Villeneuve. I am now used to being the only girl in a lot of these classes, but I hope the guys aren’t too disappointed when they are paired with me. Today, Lee was teaching all the techniques, so it was even new for the people who had been training with David for a long time. This meant that although I always assume that the other person knows so much more than I do about whatever we’re learning, this time we could actually help each other figure it out. And while I usually ask which hand goes where and which way do I turn, this time it was more of a mental game, because we could either wait to ask the teacher what was wrong, or we could realize that grabbing here creates a space there, and putting the leg here makes it easier to go there…it was really exciting for me.

When we got to the rolling, I obviously wasn’t one of the few who got to roll with Lee, but I do think I got better with each time. I used the technique we did on Friday to throw someone over my head and instead of just “Once more unto the breach” with the guy who twirled me over his head, I tried to hold my ground a bit, or stay up, to at least delay the moment where he would get me to tap out. Because learning how to lose and go back for more is great, but you also need to learn how to hold on and fight rather than to just resign yourself to a defeat. All in all, it was an awesome class. And a really cool week of new classes and pushing boundaries that is totally worth the bruises and the pain.


“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

-Friedrich Nietzsche


This week was busy, which is just how I like it. It started off with work at Michener, with a bit of suspension of disbelief when my ‘scene partner’ went from playing my 23 year old husband to playing my father. Either way, it is always so much fun to be able to play off of someone in those scenarios.

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New demo reel 🙂

When work was done, I headed over to 4 points to be one of the Amazons at the 7 pm class. Women are welcome in all of the classes, but if one feels like she would rather try a class when she knows there are other women who will be there, she can sign up for this one. There are guys too, but we outnumbered them this week. With 10 girls and slightly less guys, I ended up being paired with a girl who was there for her first ever jiu-jitsu class. The teacher came over to make sure I had the technique right, so I did it on her a few times, then guided her through doing it on me. There was a lot of uncertainty and trying to figure out which side to do certain things on, but we made it through. I also told her that it would be a good idea to stay for the second class, because while I struggled through figuring it out, most of the guys who showed up for the later class know what they are doing and have been incredibly helpful in teaching me the techniques.


For the rolling, I completely made the mistake of acting like all the guys did with me, where they won’t attack or take the upper hand, they just wait for me to figure things out. At the same time, I really appreciated that my first ever time rolling, when I knew nothing. There was someone I had rolled with last week and they had simply used their strength against me, grabbing my wrists tight enough to bruise, so I was slightly reluctant when paired with them this week. A few moments in, I asked them how long they had been doing Jiu-Jitsu and found out it was their second week. I actually knew more than they did! So, instead of trying to win or get the upper hand, I talked them through the techniques they could use to get out of my guard, or to get control over me, without just using all their strength. I tapped out 3 times that roll, but it was because I showed them how to overpower me. Which still feels like a win in my book.

On Tuesday I worked all day as an SP, starting with an incredibly topical role that brought up a lot of conversations, most of them really inspiring, while some comments reminded me why a #metoo movement and #believeher is so important.

In the evening, I had a scenario that hit so close to home during the dry run, having spent the week at the hospital in a much less severe, but still similar situation. This week I was thankfully out of that situation personally, but it was incredibly easy to put myself into that emotional state. The tears poured freely, even with the frequent time-outs to discuss how things were going.

Wine and cheesing at the ACTRA Member’s Conference.

On Wednesday I had a fitting for some background, then came home to sleep because I was under the impression that I had an overnight shoot, followed by a 5 am call time with potentially no time to sleep in between. Luckily, that wasn’t the case, but it took a while for me to find that out.

I had brought my car to set before, but this was the first time that I was actually asked to drive it in the scene while being background. The part that worried me of this was after they call cut, when you have to back your car back up to the original position, while the crew and the other extras who had crosses are all wandering around because they know the street has been blocked off for them. After the first take, a guy told me to honk twice to let everyone know I was backing up, then said he would guide me, so he went behind my car and walked backwards, gesturing with his hands for me to go straight or to turn, telling me I was doing great. At one point, we had to stop for another car to turn around, so he waited by the side of my car and said, “This is what happens when you get BG for ND drivers.” into his radio. He kept telling me I was doing great, and I have no idea if he meant me, the car we were waiting for, or just the lot of us in general, but I felt slightly offended, and like he was underestimating me. True, I was nervous about this part, but I had only ever done exactly what I had been told to do. After future takes, he left me on my own, so I did the 2 honks and drove progressively faster to get back to my starting position.

We wrapped around 1 am, and my call time wasn’t until about 11, so I went home and slept before driving to Hamilton. It was nice to spend international women’s day on set, with a bunch of other women. There was also a stunt happening, with a very energetic and demonstrative female stunt coordinator, which I find super awesome. Especially given the date, but also just in general. Some people couldn’t wait to go home, as with every day on set, but I loved pretty much every minute of it. I met some cool people, saw some brilliant performances, and my reaction game was on point.

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On Friday, to celebrate my day off, I went to a boxing class, where I was the only student, so I basically got a private lesson. It was a totally off day for me, where I found myself assuring him that I can normally do a much better, real pushup. He thought it was really cool when I told him I wanted to get into stunts, but he didn’t let me off easy. I still had to punch as hard, and he insisted my technique would need to be even better, because when he sees me on tv one day, he wants to believe that I am someone who actually boxes.

I stayed afterward for the Jiu-Jitsu class, where we were three, but there was some time between the 2 where I got to roll a bit with my boxing coach, then I worked on my handstands, because having a padded wall is almost just as good as a person who promises to catch you.

The techniques we learnt in jiu-jitsu were pretty straightforward, but I was really lucky (and a little frustrated) to have someone who was not going easy on me. When learning new techniques, you go until the other person taps out, which I usually do once they get to the end of the moves, because we’re just learning things and I assume you’ve got the gist of it. My partner, however, did not tap out until he actually had to, and purposely tried to hold his position and make me work for it. In the moment, part of me was obviously exasperated that he was making everything harder, but I also appreciated it sooooo much, because he wasn’t underestimating me, he was showing that he believed that I could do it, and was making me prove it. Which I did. It was more of a struggle than I would have preferred, but it was so much better that way.

From the Action for Film and TV Workshop


“Being strong doesn’t mean you’ll never get hurt. It means even when you get hurt, you’ll never let it defeat you.”

Becoming ‘That Girl’

This week, I got to spend 3 days on set doing background, which was really cool because I love being on set, and because there were stunts, so I got to watch and learn a bit and get reacquainted with some cool people.

My first day not on set, I headed downtown for a Toronto Ninjas meetup, which is the name given to the people who use Bonnie Gillespie’s wealth of information. It was awesome to catch up with some fellow actors, make new friends, find out about interesting events or classes that are going on, and just talk about acting and the industry. I had to leave early for a dry run at Michener, but even that was a lot of fun.

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I went home and worked on my new demo reel, which is looking amazing. And by worked on it, I mean I watched what my super talented friend had put together for me and told him what I thought, so I can have an incredible demo reel that I am really proud of.

That night, my roommate and I went to audit Lewis Baumander’s acting class. I saw some familiar faces, and some great performances. It was really interesting to see him work with the actors and have some great discussions with us. Last, but definitely not least, he seemed like a hardworking, genuine, supportive person, which is nice to have in a teacher, or anyone you work with.

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On Friday, I tried the lunchtime Jiu-Jitsu class, and received my first GI. I did karate as a kid, so I’ve had kimonos, but this is me as an adult, not just dabbling in something sport-related, but actually committing to it and investing in it. In myself. It’s just another ‘costume’, but to me it’s huge and exciting and I’m really happy about it. Like I’m a part of something


I rushed home after class to shower so I could make it to Anthony Meindl’s workshop. His studio was one of the places I trained when I was in Los Angeles, and more than just attending classes, I absolutely loved auditing his masterclasses, so I was really glad to get to watch him work again here in Toronto. His enthusiasm and love for actors and storytelling is incredible to be around, and it is inspiring to see how simple things can elevate and bring truth to a performance. A fellow Toronto Ninja performed a monologue and she was heartbreakingly beautiful.

Now the title of this post refers to ‘that girl’ in an awesome way. I mean, I definitely would have rolled my eyes and thought ‘that girl’ was crazy, back in the day, but now that I am becoming her, I have to say she is so much more than that. (but yeah, obviously crazy) You see, after more than 12 hours on set and getting up long before the sun, I headed to Jiu-Jitsu classes on both Monday and Tuesday. Hour long workouts used to be my max, and I especially enjoyed the warm up and cool down parts of them. These days, when the hour class ends and they ask if I’ll stay for the next hour and a half, I’m like “Of course.” I am bruised all over and finding out what it’s like to roll with people who don’t take it easy on me because I’m a girl and I’m new, but I am loving it. I am loving the way it makes me feel when I’m done. In general, and about myself.


On Saturday, I went to my first ever parkour class at the Monkey Vault. It was with a teacher and 2 other women, who had each been coming off and on for the past 3 years. We started with easy things, like vaults, then the obstacles got higher and higher until we were scaling walls. There was a rod to hang on to, but I haven’t always had that much faith in my own strength, and if my arms had decided to give out at certain points, I may have tumbled to my death. Or a brain injury. Or at least a lot of pain and some broken things.

This summer, I told a new friend who is really awesome in the stunt community that I wanted to be a badass and do my own stunts and stuff. He was really supportive and on board, until he asked, “Are you afraid of heights?” and my answer was, “Yes, but I do it anyway.” That wasn’t good enough for him.

Over the past few months, I have been discovering that a lot of the things that scared me were because I didn’t think I could do them. I have already shared how having trouble lifting myself up while tree trekking made me train to do pull ups so I could go back and not be afraid anymore, and it’s like this for a lot of things. It’s scary if you think you can’t do it, but if you know (or trust) that you have the strength to catch yourself, it’s incredible what you can accomplish. I mean that metaphorically, but also literally.

I was ‘that girl’ because after staying after parkour class to ‘play’ until my arms couldn’t hold me up anymore, I drove to 4 points for the boxing bootcamp. On Sunday, everything hurt, but rarely have I ever felt that fierce and accomplished. Part of me is terrified that this is some phase, or burst of motivation that will fizz out and disappear soon, but I am so excited to be becoming THAT GIRL, who goes to the gym instead of home to sleep after a long day, who does more than one workout in a day, who does the things that scare her and pushes her limits until she is doing things she only ever dreamed she could.

“This is a door. Kick it open and come in.”

“I think the greatest thing our industry does is erase the lines in the sand, we should keep doing that as the world tries to make them deeper.”

-Both from Guillermo Del Toro

Action for Film & TV with Tazito Garcia

On February 25th my roommate and I headed to 4 Points for a workshop with Tazito Garcia, called Action for Film and TV. While we waited for everyone to show up, he told us that this industry (acting, stunts, entertainment) is heavily based on relationships, so we should all introduce ourselves to the people beside us. Knowing this to be entirely true, I figured we were off to a good start.

We got a handout and went through some ground rules and learnt the difference between Hong Kong and Hollywood style fighting, which was really interesting. His goal is to eventually have us all doing Hong Kong style, so we don’t need editing or camera angles or cheating to look awesome.

It wasn’t long before we were all up on our feet, learning the footwork, which kind of felt a lot like a dance. We learnt a few different attacks, (jab, cross, hook, upper cut, hammer, back hand) as well as the reactions (it was fun for people to try and figure out which way their head should go based on where the punch was coming from). When we moved on to doing the punches with a partner, I was paired with someone I am pretty sure was there to help out the teacher, not to take the class, but he had told me, “A little” when I asked if he had done any of this stuff before, which is exactly what I would have answered. But so not the truth for him.


My favorite part of the workshop was the flips. We started by falling back onto the mat, then throwing ourselves backwards onto it, then we did front rolls and flips (one with no hands guided by Taz).  It wasn’t that I didn’t think I could do them, because I have been doing front and back rolls in jiu-jitsu, but flips had always seemed like a bigger deal, and something scary. I’m not implying that we really did actual flips, at all, but what we did, I wasn’t afraid of, and flips seem like something I could work up to in the near future.

We learnt a sequence of punches and reactions, that ended right before a flip, but we never got to that part, because we were already way over our time. We ended with a Q & A, but there weren’t a lot of questions, so it was mostly Taz telling us about the industry and how stunts work. It was about 30 minutes after the time we were supposed to end at, but he invited us to stay after and ask more questions or practice.

My roommate and I decided to stay, and got some help with rolls and flips, before Taz showed us the end of the sequence we had been working on earlier. We tried the flip a few times on the mat, and then we did it without the mat. It may have knocked the wind out of me a bit the first time, but I think I did it more than 20 times before we left the gym, 2 hours after the workshop was supposed to have ended.


This whole stunt thing of mine may seem like a crazy pipe dream to a lot of people, especially the ones who know me, because I definitely don’t come off as athletic or physical or someone who would do stunts. It may also seem like it is coming out of left field, but I have been working towards this for years, I just didn’t believe I could do it. I self-talked myself out of it. I needed to find the confidence to actually seriously give it a real effort. Thanks to that and some amazing people who have been giving me advice and training me and supporting me, I am actually believing that I can be a badass. I am trying things that terrified me and realizing that they aren’t really so scary. I am discovering that a lot of things seemed impossible because I wasn’t putting in the effort or I decided that I couldn’t before I even tried. Turns out that if you try, and work at something, you have a way better chance at making it than if you just say you want to.

This isn’t me looking back on my journey once I have succeeded, this is me at the very beginning of what will be a very long and hard journey, saying BRING IT ON 🙂

“I can’t do _____ YET.”

-Tazito’s mindset advice. It’s not that I can’t do a backflip. It’s that I can’t do it YET.


Toronto ACTRA Awards

Moving to Toronto gave me a second chance to attend the ACTRA Awards 🙂

We weren’t sure if doors opened at 7:30 or if that was when the ceremony started, so we were there really early. Which gave us time to catch up and meet some new people.


When the elevators started bringing people up, we were among the first batches, so after signing in, checking our coats and getting our bearings, we went to get pictures with the ACTRA backdrop. It wasn’t until much later that we realized we weren’t supposed to be taking pictures yet, only the nominees were. Which explained why the photographer had asked us who we were, sounding like he was surprised he didn’t already know. My friend jokingly told him, “We’re actors. We’re awesome.” Thinking he was just making conversation, rather than trying to figure out why we belonged there. Which we didn’t. Yet.

We spent a little over an hour working the room before going into the theater for the actual show. There was a band, God Made Me Funky, while we found our seats, then Colin Mochrie was our host. He was hilarious.


My biggest takeaway of the night was Theresa Tova’s speech. As the president of ACTRA Toronto, she came onstage to speak, and what I expected to be the customary thank you for coming speech quickly turned into a jaw dropping life lesson. She shared stories about her mother that broke my heart and inspired me to the highest point, then had everyone standing when discussing history and the current Time’s Up, Me Too and Got Your Back movements. She is my new Oprah.

“Get used to it. There’s no one in your life you’re going to meet who won’t hurt you.”

-Theresa Tova’s mother

I can’t say I really knew Jennifer Podemski’s work before the show, but after her acceptance speech, I definitely want to check it out. And create things. And help people. And make a difference. Because everyone has the power to change the world, even if it’s just for one person.


We ended off the night with more networking and some dancing. I made it a point to go up and talk to people I was maybe a little intimidated to. And although I still have the set mentality where you can’t go up and talk to the actors unless they talk to you, I still pushed myself to tell some people how much I appreciated their panels, or how much their work had touched me.

The evening was an absolute success, and I already can’t wait for next year!


“We all deserve to be here on this earth and we all deserve our stories to be heard.”

-Teresa Tova

ACTRA Winter Member’s Conference

Joining the union in Toronto, even as a background performer, gives you access to events, such as the Winter Member’s Conference. Based on how involved I tried to be back in Montreal while not being a part of the union, you know that handing me a membership card, of any kind, means that I will be there for everything.

Amanda Brugel, Sarah McVie, Ryan Belleville, Juno Rinaldi, Peter Keleghan and Nikki Duval.

It was a 2 day conference,  beginning with a breakfast with the cast of Workin’ Moms. Mostly, we ate while they talked, but they are the interesting ones, so that was perfect. We covered what it’s like working on their show, working with children, Canadian television and what it means to be an actor in Canada, all kinds of fun and interesting anecdotes from set, before they left us with some pieces of advice. Improv at Second City was Peter Keleghan’s recommendation, while Juno Rinaldi stressed that you should “Be you. Because no one else can do you.” This panel was also the first of very many to suggest that we create our own work, but especially to be happy to create just to create.


Next, Johnny and I attended Nailing the One-Liner. I had signed up to all the workshops without realizing there was a brochure, so I was going entirely off of the session titles. This one was given by Ron Leach, whose weekend class I have already taken, but there was still some valuable information to learn, or at least be reminded of. Even in his classes, he stresses that there is a whole life to be lived in a one-liner, that they shouldn’t just be thrown away, and as someone who would kill for a one-liner, I completely agree. Not that you should stress and go insane over a one word audition or something, but don’t dismiss it and treat it like it’s beneath you either. Do the same work you would for a scene. It was a very condensed version of the weekend workshop, so he couldn’t go into most of his techniques, but he did bring a few people up and worked with them, to show how much certain things can elevate your audition.

For lunch, there was salad and sandwiches, and new friends to be made. Although it wasn’t quite intentional, we focused on quality over quantity, so I didn’t make a bunch of new connections during the conference, but I did really get to know the ones that I did make.

The afternoon was for masterclasses, starting with Sudz Sutherland, who was hilarious, generous, and clearly someone I have to work with someday. He seems to truly love actors and creating and telling stories, which has me excited 🙂

The last class of Day 1 was with Adrienne Mitchell, where I found out about TAWC, the Toronto ACTRA Women’s Committee, and a wealth of resources for female filmmakers. Adrienne was a huge proponent of creating your own work and a brilliant director. I felt humungus pride watching clips from her reel, which included Bellevue. I haven’t had the pleasure of being on it yet, but there was Montreal pride, and the one that comes from seeing your friends doing awesome things.

Some people had wine, I had cheese and got to meet some really cool people before heading home and getting ready for day 2, which started with a panel discussion entitled, So, You Wanna Make A Movie? And boy, do we want to make movies 🙂 I have pages of notes with a wealth of information from all facets of filmmaking. Hearing the panelists talking about their journeys, their jobs and the process of bringing a film from pre-production to distribution made me want to just rush home and start writing.

Jackie English, Bill Marks, Matt Campagna, Greg Jeffs, Dan Lyon, Dan Abramovici, Jen Pogue

After lunch, we had the ACTRA General Meeting, which covered the Operating Plan for 2018, with some exciting things on the horizon, as well as a panel on sexual harassment, which isn’t exciting, but very topical and necessary. Knowledge is power, so knowing your options and who to turn to if something happens is always a good thing.

My last panel was on Social Media, where I found out that I am doing some things right, but also have a lot of room for improvement. It was a smorgasboard of panelists, so I found out more about creating your own work, how to navigate the world of publicists and even some tips about O-1 Visas. One of my favorite things that was said, that I wrote in BOLD in my notebook was “BEING SHY GETS YOU NOWHERE”. It wasn’t even so much about social networking, but about not selling yourself short or diminishing your accomplishments. It hit home for me because I spent most of my life missing out on opportunities and connections, both in my personal and professional life, because I was too busy being shy and worrying what others thought about me. During this conference, almost everyone I went up to with the assumption that they would know me had no idea that we had met before. And while the old me, who wouldn’t have gone up to them, would have been saved that initial embarrassment of ‘nice to meet you’ when that isn’t actually the case, she also won’t be remembered by them next time. I’m not saying I was super memorable this time and they’ll never forget my name, but I am working on it, and participating more in conversations, and building relationships rather than just collecting people I know. Not that it’s what I was doing before, but being connected on facebook doesn’t mean much if they don’t know who you are when they run into you in life.

During the wine and cheese, other than approaching people I thought knew me, I also met some new people, including some people on the stunt committee. My new game plan is one I do expect people to laugh at for now, but they were really nice and offered some advice, even if they probably thought I was crazy.

Today wasn’t exactly a part of the conference, but we did attend the TAWC meeting, where I met a multitude of female filmmakers, found out about their initiatives, volunteered to be on some committees and got even more excited about creating my own work and some of the opportunities and resources that are out there. It is inspiring to be around people who are accomplishing the things you want to accomplish, and I can’t wait to get more involved in what the committee is trying to achieve.


Now it is time to time up these notes and start putting it all into practice 😉

“Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.”

-Jennifer Lee





SPs, Karaokes and Reads

I have been in Montreal recently because my grandmother was undergoing surgery, and there was nowhere else I could think of being. The surgery was a success and she is now at home, getting better and closer to her old self every day, but Monday was pretty nerve-wracking. After spending the day at the hospital pre and post surgery, it was a nice relief to get to go and try out some jiu-jitsu moves and stuff with a friend.

On Tuesday I got to see my McGill friends and do some dry runs before indulging in some apple pancakes with the family. I make it a point to celebrate Mardi Gras, or Pancake Day, every year, because who doesn’t love an excuse to have pancakes for supper?

On Wednesday I did a program where I was a bit of a wild card. I was encouraged to swear and be disruptive, so my notes after the first try were actually to drop more F bombs and be louder. It was a bit of a stretch from every day me, but I am getting used to doing things that feel counter-intuitive or scary, and so far I have been loving it. I am not going to start cursing like a sailor, but hopefully people won’t giggle anymore when I do.

On Thursday I proved to anyone that had any doubts that I truly am crazy. I left my parents’ house in the morning and drove to Toronto so I could do training for a program. It is a really emotional one, where I not only had to cry, a lot, but the facilitators can pause the scenario, discuss things, and then continue. Which means I have to suspend the tears, then start them up again. Luckily the scenario was hitting close to home and bringing the tears with no problem.

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For supper, we went to the Korean Grill House for my roommate’s birthday, then to karaoke. I was with a group of amazing singers, but was not really one of them. I was convinced it was just the karaoke setting, but once we got to the car, my friend informed me that I just can’t really sing. At least that song, I hope. It was 11 at that point, and we were just beginning our drive home.

Friday was exciting and a lot of fun, but it was also super stressful, as I was kind of double booked. And running on no sleep. Still, I got to be a reader for a couple of hours, do a scenario at McGill on my lunch break, coerced a friend to cover for me for 15 minutes, then hours of more auditions before calling it a day. At least as far as working was concerned. My brother met me at work and took me to see Black Panther with Sam. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I think the true testament to its being awesome lies in the fact that I did not fall asleep during it. Which was asking a lot at that point, and my eyes didn’t even close a bit.

On Saturday I was spending the day with my family, thrilled with my grandmother’s progress and getting spoiled with baked goods, when I saw a friend’s post about needing help for his play. Since I am trying to get out there more and be of use, and because I really enjoy it and wanted to see the play, I volunteered. In exchange for an hour of catching up with old friends while hanging up coats, I got to see the final performance of Antigone. I loved it, with stellar performances all around.

Once the coats were all gone, I headed across town for some more karaoke. This time wasn’t a bar with song choices and individual performances, it was a room with a bunch of friends, 2 microphones and a screen that takes requests, but also gives random suggestions. It was way more my speed, because my voice could get lost in the crowd as I sang my heart out. Definitely something I would love to do again.

On Sunday, I caught up with JF over breakfast and a chai latte, before he blows up and becomes too famous for the rest of us mere mortals. If you haven’t read A God in the Shed yet, now is the time. Especially since he is getting a tattoo once he reaches 10 000 copies. (I probably wasn’t supposed to tell you that)

Afterwards, I said yes to the dress. A bridesmaid’s dress, but it was still really exciting. And any chance to spend the day with my cousin is awesome.

Yesterday I spent the entire day being a reader for a really interesting and topical project, which had me bouncing between an 8 year old, a 14 year old and their mother. There were so many familiar faces and amazing performances. I don’t think a day spent reading there will ever not be incredible.

Today, I am participating in the Olympics of the McGill Simulation programs, then driving back to Toronto for a week I cannot wait to experience 🙂

“And one day she discovered that she was fierce, and strong, and full of fire, and that not even she could hold herself back because her passion burned brighter than her fears.”

-Mark Anthony

Classes and Hidden Gems

This week was a combination of being really busy, and then hanging out with family. On Monday, I had an audition for a student film, where they handed me new sides at the door and had me do the scene twice, with absolutely no notes between the two takes, so I wasn’t sure if I should do it the same or make adjustments. I mostly reacted off what the reader was giving me, but also took my time rather than rushing through my lines as I often do.

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As soon as I was done with the audition, I drove over to 4 points BJJ for my first Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class with GI. I felt like the pressure was on, because I couldn’t exactly stick to my being new at this, I would be expected to remember some of the techniques I learnt two weeks ago, if not by them, then at least by me. Luckily, even the things I had learnt had small variations, now that there was something to grip on to, so I got a refresher course. One class turned into 2, with rolling, so I ended up being there for 2 and a half hours rather than the hour I had expected. And at no point did I feel like I was done and wanted to go home. I learnt all kinds of techniques and rolled with many different guys. Other than the first guy in my NOGI class, pretty much everyone I have been paired with has waited for me to make the first move, then sort of coached me into positions and moves and getting the upper hand. This is awesome and I so appreciate them taking the time to teach me new things instead of just sending me straight to the floor, but at the same time, it’s not the same rolling everyone else is doing. Thankfully, Ayisha got this, so for my last pairing, she told the guy to challenge me more, to get the upper hand so I can realize what doesn’t work, what happens when I let someone get the advantage over me, and so I can think on my feet and get out of tough situations. It was definitely more of a struggle, but it was also so much fun.


After class, Ayisha and I had a long talk about my training plans, the classes I want to take, and how the studio can use more girls trying something new. I left with a lot of advice, and the knowledge that there are a lot of cool things on the horizon!

On Tuesday, I woke up so early to get to Niagara for a Mounted Combat and Stunts Workshop. I’ll make a post just about that day, but in the meantime, here are some pictures of me putting my yoga and ballet dabbling to good use…

On Wednesday I was back at 4 Points BJJ for their 6 am boxing class, which was more bootcamp than boxing, but exactly what I needed. It was hard and I had to keep going even when I wanted to give up, but I felt incredibly accomplished afterwards. There was also a point during the workout where I became convinced I have no core, only to realize in the following days that I did, because so many things became a lot harder after this class, when my core no longer worked. I exaggerate, but only slightly. The last 15 minutes or so were actually spent boxing. Maybe it was because we were only 2 of us at this point, but Ryan, the teacher, took the time to teach us the proper stance, the footwork and armwork for jabs, crosses and hooks. These aren’t really foreign concepts for me, but this was still the first of my boxing workouts to concentrate on proper form and making sure we got it right every time. I was initially planning on just going to 4 points BJJ for the Jiu-Jitsu, but now I think I might head there at the crack of dawn to get my ass whooped (in the best way possible) a few times a week.

That evening, we had a dress rehearsal for Hidden Gems, the variety show I am participating in at an elementary school. I met some really interesting people and was blown away by the talent and charisma in all of these tiny performers.

When it finished, we headed to my first ever Dungeons and Dragons session. I left my character to chance, and ended up with a Fighter, which I thought was super cool, but as a friend pointed out, the elf wizard has way more fighting skills. And magical powers. So lesson learned, but I still had an awesome time, and liked playing the kind of kickass character I am working to be in real life.

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On Thursday we did 2 performances of Hidden Gems, which went awesome, and while we couldn’t really watch the other acts again, I did get to participate in an impromptu green room rendition of Riptide, and made suggestions (that never made it to paper) on a song they wrote.

On Friday I drove home to Montreal, where I have been taking care of family things ❤


“It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.”

-Babe Ruth

Classes, Auditions and a Visit

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I was signed up for another suspended yoga class on Monday, so I was going to leave pole class to another week. Which would have been fine, but as soon as I decided not to go and made plans with my roommate, I regretted it. Because I wanted to go. A completely new concept for me as far as working out is concerned, but I have managed to find really fun classes that don’t feel like working out. I quickly signed up and had my roommate drive me so I wouldn’t be late (She’s clearly awesome). We did inversion prep this week, though I wasn’t quite there yet. Inversions are when you go upside down on the pole, and when we were doing the floor work to prepare, I wasn’t really able to lift myself up off the ground so much. Which left me feeling a bit like a weakling.

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Once the floor work was done, we started learning a combo on the pole, which the teacher checks every few moves, making each of us do it for her before we can move on. When I was showing her the spin, I did the wrong thing, but realized it and told her I knew I wasn’t doing it right, even as I spun around the pole.

“That’s okay, you also aren’t holding on properly, but you’re really strong so it works anyway.” She told me.

She showed me how I should be holding on (which would make it a lot easier for me) and I redid it without the mistake, but with a pretty big smile. There was a small part of my brain that was mortified at how badly I had messed up that move in front of the teacher, but I was way too busy concentrating on how I am not a weakling; I am so strong I make it work.

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After an afternoon of working at home and running errands, I headed out to my second suspended yoga class, this one Ashtanga Suspension Flow. Instead of a progression like the first time I was suspended, this one was a sequence, so we didn’t try one thing and then get out of the sling to try something a little harder. We got up in the sling and just kept doing things. It was the first time since I started all these classes that I worried I wouldn’t be able to keep up, or do the exercise another time. In my defense, I was suspended in midair and the exercise was to kind of go into the splits, then come back into a standing position, so if you do one too many and your legs get tired, you fall flat on your face. Still, I never thought yoga would be the one to get me.

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On Tuesday I worked as a standardized patient, then went to the Toronto School of Burlesque to try out some classes. The first one was Burlesque Teaser, and it was so much fun. The teacher, Red Herring, was hilarious and very entertaining. If ever I somehow end up on a stage where I am expected to do Burlesque, she taught me enough that I can go at least 2 minutes before anyone realizes I don’t belong there. And, depending on the costume, that couple of minutes could be a lot of fun. For me.

I stayed for the Drag Queen Ballet that came after, which was kind of just like a regular ballet class, with very different music, and a lot more attitude. I am planning for more action-themed classes in the next few months, but this is definitely a studio and classes that I want to come back to.

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On Wednesday I went to my first Kickboxing Class, where I am pretty sure I nailed the combo. All the boxing/kickboxing/muay-thai class I have taken so far involved a combination of punches and kicks and stuff that you do with a partner, one with gloves and the other with pads. Let’s just say I am not consistently awesome at getting the right moves for these. This class however, I knew exactly what I was supposed to do. Even when we switched sides, I still had it. And when I was on pads, instead of holding them both up and hoping my partner would know what to do, I was actually able to guide her by holding up the proper pad and putting it sideways if it was a hook and so on. Progress!

That afternoon, I got pictures taken for a background agency, and had an audition for this really inspiring biopic on an astronaut. The girl auditioning me was convinced she had met me before, and we had a nice little chat about Montreal before I did the scene twice, hopefully taking their note and giving them what they wanted.

On Thursday I tried some Pilates at La Femme Strong. This was the second time I worried I wouldn’t be able to do another rep. It was also the first class where we worked on one limb for a really long time rather than combinations or things that work out everything and switching it up. Still, it shows you that you can’t make assumptions, because yoga and pilates were the two classes I would have called the easiest. And in the scheme of things, they probably were, and they were obviously the least scary, but that isn’t to say they don’t hold their own. While Pilates wasn’t my favorite class, I loved the studio. The wall when you walk in is covered with inspiring words, and there is a board in the classroom with students’ reasons why they come here, and while you find some about the price or location or the workout, most of them are about the support and the inspiration they get from the other people in class. So not now, but this is also a studio I would like to come back to when the time is right.

That night we did a bit of a roommate movie night, including some mystical intention setting. I have never lived with roommates before, and so far, there has rarely been a dull moment, but hugs and support are never hard to find.

On Friday I went to the last class of my week trial at Primal Movement + MMA, kickboxing again, and it was the first time since NOGI jiu-jitsu weeks ago where I was paired with a guy. I can vouch that there is a weight difference between the black and the red pads, and I am pretty sure that he was hitting less hard for certain things because he didn’t want to hurt me. Like with acting, where it is up to the actress to give the actor permission to touch her, I discovered it is the same with boxing, because he struggled through a round of knees until I told him it was okay if he needed to hold on to me. Other than that, no big difference. And every time I finish one of these classes, I feel exhausted, but more awake, stronger, but like I’m going to be sore…I feel awesome.

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J.F., a friend from Montreal drove over that night, so we got to catch up, then spent Saturday at the Toronto Tea Festival with Amber. I had expected to just sample the teas and spend time with friends, but couldn’t resist the pumpkin spice shortbread or the amazing Chaiwala Masala Chai.

We walked around the city afterwards, stopping by bookstores where I made sure his book, A God in the Shed, was front and center of the Horror Section, then had some food at The Assembly, which is kind of like a Hispter food court. And delicious. We spent the evening knitting and watching movies.

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On Sunday, JF made us crepes before heading back to Montreal, while I headed into town for an audition. It was really interesting, because they are considering using the same actress to play the lead in her twenties, as well as twenty years later. I am not sure what it says about me that I related more to the middle aged version of the character, but I would love to be the one to play her. I did stumble once and call line, but other than that I am pretty happy with my performance.

Let the classes, the auditions and the visits continue 🙂


“Be stronger than your excuses.”

-The wall at La Femme Strong (which is very important, because I am so good at making excuses)

And the Scary Stuff Continues

Last Tuesday I headed out to 4 Points Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu, a gym that came highly recommended to me, for my first ever jiu-jitsu class. It was NOGI, for those who know what that is, and for those who don’t, it means without a uniform, which is called the GI. When I showed up there were some girls practicing their boxing, but by the time class started, I was the only girl in a group of guys who all looked like they know what they’re doing, and work out. Needless to say, I felt way out of my league.

We started with warm ups, which I spent a lot of my time laughing through, because I felt like I must be terrible at the front, back and side rolls, and…basically everything we did. But I made it through.

When we got to the Jiu-Jitsu stuff, I was paired with a guy and learnt foot locks, arm locks, kimura…all kinds of things. Though I think I got the technique, it was really not easy to get my partner to tap out. Which is good, in the sense that I really don’t want to be hurting anyone, but bad in the sense that I had to go longer, until I managed to reposition and have extra space to get to a point where he felt like tapping out.

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I was feeling pretty accomplished and proud of my progress, up until David, our teacher, started pairing us up for the sparring. My first round was with the same guy I had been practicing with all class, so it was pretty familiar, and I ended up getting him in a headlock (which we hadn’t learnt yet) which lasted almost the entire round.

The other rounds were with different guys, who all could have gotten me to tap out within the first few seconds, but instead they each sort of let me lead, and once I was in a position where I could use a move, they would tell me about it. If we had learnt it tonight, they would be patient while I went through the steps to get there, and if we hadn’t learnt it yet, they would teach it to me. So I ‘won’ because they let me, but it was way cooler that they taught me all kinds of new techniques.

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When class was done, I didn’t only have that pride and feeling of accomplishment from earlier, I felt absolutely badass and strong and confident. I knew that if any of the rounds had happened out in the real world I would be dead, but I learnt so much in that small period of time, and although I knew I would be bruised the next day, it felt great. I had a friend who once wrote me a long description of all their aches and pains after a jiu-jitsu class, and thought he was crazy when he ended it with how great it felt, but I get it now. It’s empowering.

I had a nice conversation with the teacher after class, then went home and packed my bag for set in the morning.

On Wednesday and on Friday I was on set for a feature film. It was a CIPIP (Canadian Independent Production Incentive Program), so while it was a professional production, it still had an indie feel, in the sense that the director/writer/producer would talk to us between takes, the actors would strike up a conversation in the lunch line…and we got treated to a musical number on Friday. I’m not going to name the film, so no spoilers, but it’s a good day at work when you get paid to listen to talented women singing live while dancing around you.

On Thursday, I woke up early to go to a 6:30 am boxing class. I was seeing these adds for class pass, and they were having a special of 5 free classes with a 2 week trial, so I decided it would be a great way to try some things that scare me or interest me or sound really cool. Normally I would hate the fact that they charge 15$ if you cancel less than 12 hours before the class, but this time it was excellent motivation to actually brave the cold and get out of bed. I was surprised to see the class had more women than men in it, and I had an amazing partner who showed me the ropes. The hardest part was when the teacher would come over to adjust my position every time I was on pads, because (although he had no way of knowing) my wrists were super bruised. Most likely from me holding them for all the locks I had done on Tuesday. Still, it was a really fun class, and really close to my house

I was walking out as the sun was rising, ready for a day of work, coffees and networking. The Film Mercenaries have been hosting events every month since I moved to Toronto, and I keep intending to go, but this time I actually went, with friends. I met a whole lot of people with various positions in the industry, from actors to producers to directors to sound engineers to music supervisors and entertainment lawyers…it was a great night.

This weekend, I tried my first ever suspended yoga class, which was amazing. It started out simple, with just the feet suspended, working our way to the arms, to sitting in the slings, to standing in them, to being upside down. The inverted positions were really cool, so once class ended, I asked the teacher to take a picture for me, and he not only obliged, he also walked me through doing it properly, in sequence, rather than just recreating the pose. He was also under the impression that I do lots of yoga, because I followed along with the non-modified versions of the inverted positions that his regulars were doing. Probably not the humblest of brags, but I was really excited and proud of myself.

Since I had signed up for a week of free classes at another gym that was on the same street, and they had a Muay Thai class starting just as that class was ending, I decided to go and check it out. The online schedule implied that there were 2 classes, one after the other, Fundamentals, then Mixed Level. I figured I would try the first one, see how I was doing, then decide if I wanted to stay for the second one as well.

It wasn’t until 15 minutes after the first class was supposed to have ended that I realized they weren’t so much 2 separate classes, as one long class. It was interesting, because the warm up was similar to the jiu-jitsu class, but the rest of it was basicaly different combos with the same moves I had done in boxing. Mixed with the kind of ab work I did years ago with Vas’ Fit Team/ Sweaty Sundays 😉 By the time I got home, I felt awesome. Not like my body felt awesome, although maybe it did, but I felt like after the week I’d had, I was awesome. Which is so much more than I could have hoped for when I started doing all of the things that scare me or make me nervous.

On Sunday, I decided I would take it easy, because there were a lot more things I was signing up for and I want to be ready.


“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along’.”

-Eleanor Roosevelt