Describe yourself in 50 words or less.
I always find I’m a little contradictory with these questions because I vacillate between extremes, call it the curse of the artist. This list of words are generally true about my state of being: creative, passionate, practical, curious, opinionated, extroverted, private, generous, compassionate, competitive, spiritual, romantic dreamer, playful, and shy.
Why did you choose New College (be honest) and what were your expectations?
It wasn’t actually my first choice. I hadn’t made very informed choices. My first choice was Trinity, but only because a friend who had started a year earlier was going there. I do remember liking that New College was home of the Women’s Studies program, so it ranked as my runner-up as it were.
What was New College like when you came?
I remember that it wasn’t quite ‘new’ any more (25 years ago remember!) but not nearly as old as the rest of the campus to have that “hallowed halls of Academe” feel to it. I found it a little short on charm – see ‘romantic’ as one of fifty words chosen. That said, I did find it accessible and comfortable. It was my familiar port in the sometimes overwhelming storm of the greater campus.
What are your fondest memories from your time here at New College?
Memories are tricky for me because they are so elusive. The more I try to pinpoint a specific one, the more like chasing butterflies the process becomes. But I do have a memory of what is probably my first New College experience. It was during Frosh Week. There was an orientation event with all sorts of tables and booths from various campus associations and I had collected a bunch of flyers. I forgot all about them after I met the boy from The Varsity. He was just doing his schpiel, but I was smitten. He invited me to come by for the layout of the paper the next night. I didn’t know anything about how the copy was laid out in columns and set for printing. The next night I headed over to the offices of The Varsity as if I was going to this boy’s place for a date – in my mind, he was going to personally show me how writing for the school paper worked. Well, the boy was nowhere in sight but the little white house was a buzz of activity preparing for publication. I met a few editors, some are still friends to this day. I learned about layout and I’m pretty sure I yielded an exacto knife that first night. But most important was that I became a staff writer that night. I went on to write news and features and had many more layout nights. The boy eventually turned up and it was obvious he was romantically involved with someone else on staff but it was the beginning of a memorable chapter of my U of T story.
Tell us about some of the lessons you learned and how valuable they are today.
I learned… then forgot, but recently recalled, the lesson of discipline and procrastination. I remember deferring a paper until the last minute was so painful because after the initial adrenalin rush the process of an all-nighter was excruciating. My work is so much better when I take advantage of all the time possible. It sounds like a self-help card but, I’m the only one who suffers from the short-change of procrastination.
What was important to you then – what is important now?
I think my social life was way too important back then. I was also obsessed with Raisin Bran back then, so we could say starting the day with a healthy breakfast was important. I think I’m still obsessed with health. But seriously, I find community important now. Whereas before I was concerned about simply being in the community (being social), I think now it’s important to know how you impact the community, and by that I mean anything from my actions on set at work, to my impact on the planet. It isn’t always immediate or evident but there is always a reaction for every action. Cause and effect are a constant of life.
What are your major accomplishments and who had the most influence on your Career?
As an actress, I consider having a career at all a major accomplishment. It is not an easy road to be a regularly working actress, which is very different from being a celebrity. I am grateful to have found success both in Canada and the US, which I think is an accomplishment itself. Some random highlights for me would be working on a TV pilot with Larry Gelbart, the writer-creator of M.A.S.H.; the independent film Never Get Outta the Boat was an incredible collaboration; and being nominated for an NAACP award for theater was an unexpected thrill. I can probably go through each credit of my resume and find something special about all of them. They are all accomplishments with meaning, they all contribute to the whole of my experience. I don’t know that any one person had more influence than my mother while she was alive. She didn’t advise or manage my career decisions directly but her influence as a parent informed choices I made. Professionally, I have been influenced by the guidance of several ‘handlers’ over the years. I like that ‘influence’ is such a neutral word, because I’ve had both negative and positive influence, but either way there has been impact and that means growth on a certain level.