The Handmaid’s Tale actress dishes on being the only Canadian actress in the series, breaking into the biz and the cosmetic procedure she says every actress should save up for.
How did you get into acting?
I’ve always wanted to be an actor. I grew up in a family where my father was vice-president of Famous Players. Do you remember that theatre chain? Every time a new multiplex would open, we would move to a different province, so I spent my childhood in projection booths, basically. That’s where I saw a lot of my first movies. And, I really wasn’t focused on the movies; I would rather watch the people and their reactions to the movies. It was, I guess, my first love affair with humanity—just watching people and how they react differently to the same experience. And from then on I wanted to be an actor.
Is it hard for Canadians to break into the industry?
It’s harder for Canadians to break into American shows. They come here and they use our crews and they use our facilities, but they already sort of travel with their own cast. So, in order to take the job away from an American, you have to really, really push and create a bit of a resume for yourself. Another thing that’s difficult is we don’t have the same star system here. So, I could have the same resume, or could have worked the same amount as an American has worked, but I don’t have street cred like they do because we just don’t have the star system that supports our actors here, or any of our artists, for that matter.
What’s it like being the only Canadian on Handmaid’s Tale?
I’m going to be honest, at first it was hard. I think there’s a certain misconception that people have about Canadians—that we’re shy and quiet and humble. I don’t feel like I was let into the “party” right away. I mean, I wasn’t one of the regulars. So, I felt it took a little bit of time for me to prove my worth, and prove why I got that role over, say, an American or a Brit. But, eventually we became more of a family, myself and the cast and the crew. And now some of the cast members are some of the loves of my life. Like, I dearly, dearly, dearly love them. But it took time.
Has appearing on The Handmaid’s Tale increased your opportunities in Canada?
Oh my gosh, it’s night and day. It’s like my career took a 180. It didn’t start necessarily right at Handmaid’s. Orphan Black was quite a successful show and then that snowballed into Suicide Squad and then Room. Room was nominated for all the Academy Awards and put Jacob Tremblay and Brie Larson on the map, really. And, it was sort of my affiliation with those shows that snowballed into Handmaid’s.
Do you have any tips for somebody trying to get into the business?
I would say, especially for women, don’t try to mould yourself into what you think is the perfect Hollywood starlet. Take care of yourself, but don’t try to be a Kardashian or a Gwyneth Paltrow. Just be you. Younger male actors have an easier job doing that. And women try to mould themselves into being something else. And the only thing that’s going to be special about you, and the thing you can truly sell, is you. I mean, I’m tall. And I have an interesting face on camera. I have all of these things and I tried to avoid them for the longest time. And suddenly, when I stopped avoiding them, I started getting the interesting, strange, quirky, eclectic, more character-type roles. And suddenly, my career opened up.
Are there any beauty tips that you would recommend?
Start a skin care regimen early on. Like, from the moment you come out of the womb. You can try different products, but stay loyal to your skin, because it’s going to thank you forever. Sunscreen for life. And when you’re older, save some money so you can get a facelift. I’m dead serious.
Do you follow an exercise regimen?
I run a lot. It’s the thing that helps me clear my head. I love running. A lot of my friends are into pilates and yoga and that’s centering. Just naturally, I find, actors and artists, we are a little more anxious than normal people. And so anything to get you centered and get balance back into your life is good.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
I have a charity. It’s called Brugs Army. I run it online and twice a year, I raise money for women’s and children’s groups. It’s a different group every time. And we’ve raised close to a $100,000 for survivors of domestic violence, sheltersfor women who are homeless or children’s hospitals. It’s something that I am really passionate about. I think if you’ve been given a platform and you’ve been given a voice and anyone’s willing to listen, you just need to use it for good.
Photography By Richard Sibbald
Styling by Alicia McNamara
Hair by Brian Jarvis
Makeup by Bobbie Schweitzer
About the Author
Dr. Sean Rice, B.A.(Hons), M.D.,M.Sc.,F.R.C.S.C., is a renowned plastic and cosmetic surgeon, a leading authority on age management and is widely recognized for his published articles in Canadian and international medical journals. Dr. Rice is frequently called upon to share his expertise as he trains other surgeons in cutting-edge techniques as well being invited to […]Read Bio Read Posts