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Cinqque5tion interview with Actor, Host, Producer and Consultant Angelica Alejandro We discuss paying it forward and #AttitudeofGratitude. Fun fact: I am not sure if people know this about me or not, but at one point in time, I wanted to be a cop. One evening, I went down to an open house downtown to find out more about what it would take to be a police officer. I realized at that very moment that guns weren’t really my thing, so I had a change of heart. However, while I was there, I networked with a few officers and they suggested that I pick up a police exam book just for fun. Oddly enough, I still read this book today and I developed a skill I thought I would let you know about today. I’m referring to “observation/detection”. There are tests in this book where you look at a situation/scene for a few moments than you turn the page. Once you turn the page, you can’t go back and you are asked to describe the situation/scene. In the 1997 movie Metro starring Eddie Murphy and Michael Rapaport they showcased this ability. Go check out this movie if you haven’t seen it yet. Maybe…pick it up at your local Blockbuster…oh wait…too soon? Maybe…you can stream it. If not, I have it on VHS.
Anyway back to our story. I officially met Angelica for the first time at the Open World Toronto Film Festival (OWTFF). Before I approached her, I put the above skill to the test. I watched as Angelica socialized around the room. Her personality was so positive and friendly. You can learn a lot about someone if you pay attention to non-verbal communication. Watch a person’s through their gestures, facial expressions, body movement, timing, touch and other means. It was amazing to see how everyone gravitated towards her and couldn’t wait to go say hello.
I finally went over to talk to Angelica and I was so glad I did. If it weren’t for Angelica, I probably wouldn’t know anyone in the room. Angelica went out of her way to introduce all the directors, editors, musicians, producers and actors all around the room. It was such a sensational experience to meet everyone before watching the magic on the big screen. However, I must add Sabine Mondestin was also very welcoming at the show. But, we will save that story for another day.
Today, I would like to introduce you to my good friend Angelica. Angelica is an award-winning producer, accomplished presenter, reporter, and host. Her work has been accredited and awarded within North America, while also receiving acclaim in Barcelona, India, Amsterdam, Nice and Cannes. You can catch her in Amazon’s “The Boys”, Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale”, New Line Cinema’s “It: Chapter 2” and Netflix’s “Let It, Snow”. Through my research, OWTFF wrote: “Angelica is also a member of various Acting Unions internationally, however particularly active in the Toronto Community. Angelica is a member of various Committees within the union, hosting workshops at the union Member Conferences, working as an OSLO (On Set Liaison Officer) to do set visits for Background Performers, Minor Performers and engaging with Intimacy Coordinators, she is also a facilitator for ACTRA’s Respect on Set Training. Angelica also participates as a juror for the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television.”
Did I mention Angelica’s musical, dance, sports and weapons background?
1. Good morning Angelica Alejandro, can you tell us about some of the projects you have participated in so far?
I have been fortunate enough to work within Canada, the US and overseas…and in more than one language. It feels weird to list what I have done because to me all of it is simply living to “Do what you love and love what you do”. I live a life of #AttitudeofGratitude. Projects include film, television, voiceovers, commercials, hosting, reporting, speaker and presenting. Trying to figure out if I missed anything (laughing). Truly it has been such an honor to work with so many great people both in front and behind the camera. I feel almost guilty to consider it work because I really love what I do.
2. What has been your favorite and why?
You probably get this a lot, but really it’s hard to choose one. For me, all hold a special place in my heart for different reasons. Take this one project we filmed overseas, it was special to all of us that worked on it because our director was very eager to share his vision but, really wanted our input to take the project to a whole other level. It was based on a true story. He had interviewed the people and then shared his experience with all of us. It was a great collaborative process and we owe a lot to the director who created such a great safe space for our cast and crew on our set. It was important especially when basing the story on a real person, to be authentic to honour the person and do the story justice. As a Canadian performer it was such a great experience (and not because they let me do some stunts). But to have such a great mix of people on the project from various parts of the globe was so important because each of their experiences really brought something special to our production. Some of our crew was from the UK and flew in with us, we also had the pleasure of working with the local crew and actors. I can’t say enough how amazing everyone was, it is not easy to film in a jungle.
3. Talk about paying it forward, can we discuss #AttitudeofGratitude
I believe that the people who surround you and you meet are important in your journey as a creator. They play a part in who you are today. I am grateful for where I am. As much as it is the hard work that I put in, I honour that it is the cumulation of many people, places and experiences. Each person and experience brought me here. How wonderful would it be to then be able to do that for someone else and play a part in their journey?
4. You are very active in the community, can you speak about the importance of working with others in the industry?
When I first started I thought, being part of a community is important especially when you are new, to keep that community strong and supporting each other is important to me. Production of any kind is so many moving parts, you meet so many people in the industry that wear so many different hats. I think the hat thing is something you can relate to Jovin. Working together means we may do different things that can vary from project to project. We each have who to us is our film family, that great group of creatives who we collaborate, create with and also celebrate and cheer one another on.
5. What has your experience been like on the Film Festival Circuit? How was your Cannes Experience?
Film Festivals are such a great place to meet people who share your passion for storytelling. I have been to many great festivals and made some dear friends, but I think even more important you get to see films and speak with people who inspire you. Sometimes you are even lucky enough as I have been to come back to a festival to be a juror, speak as a panelist or host the awards night, you give back to the festival and other emerging storytellers. I think being on the festival circuit you fuel that pilot light in you, which is your creative fire. Speaking of fire, being at Cannes it such an overwhelming time, it’s hard to describe but it’s like a spark is lit within you. I honestly can say it will always be an experience I will treasure, because I was fortunate enough to share it with people who mean the world to me both personally and professionally. It is such a humbling feeling to be with so many talented people. That spark that I mentioned earlier, you feel so empowered to tell your story. We each have a responsibility as a storyteller to ourselves and one another. You meet people from all over the world and though cultures, beliefs, languages and so on are different, what is clear is that each story and voice is a gift to the world and we need to keep encouraging them.
6. You are a Councillor, VP and National Councillor for ACTRA, but that is not all you do. How do you make time for all while still being a working actor?
Well yes…I just got elected to that in the fall and started my term this year. Before that I was (and still am) active on our Committees, On Set Liaison Office (OSLO) where I get to visit sets to ensure safety for minors, work with Intimacy Coordinators, check that our Background Performers and I am also a Respect on Set Instructor. If you ask me how I juggle it all, I don’t think I have an answer honestly. I have a very supportive family and friends who are the greatest, they understand that it is important to me to be there and do what I can for our industry. It really helps that I am not the only one in the family in the business, so we all work crazy hours together.
7. Lobbying is one of your favorite hobbies, why?
Well..speaking to the MPPs at Queens Park is important so that they can help us keep our industry growing and thriving. They like watching film and television as much as we all do, sometimes they don’t know the show they love films here or how many studios we have or what productions want to come here. They want to see our local business do well too and productions that come here bring such boost to our economy. If I can do my part to help bring awareness, then I am more than happy to.
8. Tell me about the Canadian Star System
This is such a great but tough question but I am happy you asked. I think I have to start by thanking you Jovin, for all that you are doing to help promote and showcase all the amazing and talented folks here. Work like what you are doing is something that I also bring to light here. We have a lot of work to do to promote the Canadian Star System. This in turn has the potential to bring more work up here. You see there are so many talented folks and the work they do is simply brilliant. Everyone should know them, love them and celebrate them because they support and encourage the work done here. Hence why if you Google it, you’ll find passionate articles about the development of a system. Also important is that we should celebrate that we have great homegrown talent across the spectrum in all performance categories and in all areas of production and crew too…we have a great industry that is thriving and growing. I am excited about what the future holds for Canadian Film and Television and all the people within it, in front and behind the camera and can I mention crowds. We can put together the greatest crowd scenes ever. Seriously it’s like the best type of organized chaos you could ever witness, performers and crew everywhere, it’s simply beautiful!
9. Just for fun. Angelica Alejandro, you are a foodie, any resto recommendations?
How much time do you have, I really like food! Hmmm…if I had to make a recommendation I would say Sanremo (lineups around the corner each holiday, everything is yummy) and Descendants (Best Detroit Style Pizza)…but now that I told all your readers and the secret’s out, I hope they’ll save me some.