Community Spotlight is a blog feature highlighting the work of awesome people who spend their time doing the things they love.
I’m an actor and film producer. Right now I mostly focus on impact producing—broadening the social impact of the film, creating awareness, and dealing with community outreach.
I was born and raised in Toronto. I’ve always been an artistic soul and I’m happiest when I’m creating. Writing, painting, acting, producing—it doesn’t matter, I love it all! I studied political science and anthropology at McGill University but dropped out after 2 years when I realized I wanted a career in the arts. I ended up doing a lot of promotional and sales work while I was trying to find my passion.
Despite knowing I needed a job where I could express myself creatively, I actually didn’t take the plunge and become an artist full time until about a year ago. I didn’t even realize it was possible—I was stuck in the “art is a hobby” mindset.
It was my uncle who nudged me in the right direction. He’s a film director. When I mentioned feeling lost, he suggested I take an acting class at this studio he used to attend when he needed some perspective for his work. I audited classes there for 4 months, loved every second of it, and just never left.
I started doing short films but found myself getting self-conscious, image-obsessed, and overwhelmed. I was becoming less fulfilled—it felt like I’d lost touch with my original reasons for getting into acting. I ended up taking a step back from things for a bit, readjusted myself emotionally. The second time around I had more clarity, more self-possession. I knew where my priorities lay and I felt more capable of tackling my issues.
Honestly, I get a high from connecting people and watching them shine bright. My joy comes from empowering others and bringing them together to create something bigger than themselves.
When I’m working on a production, I’ve got this flow state of mind. I can see the big picture and focus with laser-like precision on how each person and element can contribute to that vision. When things start to come together and take shape, it’s unbelievable. Seeing people work in their element is so satisfying for me.
While acting will always be a passion of mine and a huge source of self-fulfillment, I feel like producing is truly my calling.
It’s almost a spiritual thing for me.
A while ago, I listened to this audiobook called The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. It’s all about living in your “zone of genius”—that place where time stands still and you don’t even need to think about what you’re doing. You just feel whole, complete. You’re supposed to find your zone and then organize your whole life around allowing you to do that thing. That’s your priority. Everything should serve that purpose.
Listening to Hendricks’ book completely changed my perspective. I used to waste time on things that had no real purpose, things I didn’t really feel passionate about but I thought were expected of me. Now I spend my time on the things that make me feel alive and I’m infinitely happier because of it.
Michael Flax—the director of A Safe Space, the film I’m currently producing—is a constant source of inspiration for me. He’s incredibly talented and has taught me so much about the nature of producing. I gravitated naturally towards the role but didn’t have any real training, so his mentorship has been invaluable to me.
My acting coaches are another group of people who’ve energized and encouraged me over the years. They’ve really helped shape who I am today.
Every single member of my crew on set is a source of inspiration and insight to me. As a producer, I have to be so aware of each crew member’s role, personality, and mood. I feel deeply connected to all of them and am constantly learning more about them and their work.
The Muslim women that I’ve reached out to over the course of producing A Safe Space have had a huge impact on me, as well. Their stories and experiences are the creative fuel for this project, and knowing that our work will make a difference in their lives gives me all the energy and determination that I need to see this through to the end.
Finishing A Safe Space is a massive goal I’m working towards, for sure! Besides that, I’m always looking to improve my technical knowledge of production. I’m also working on finishing enough paintings to put on an art show.
And every day I work on my own self-growth and betterment—it’s a real priority for me. Each morning I’ll write or paint or listen to inspirational audiobooks.
Art has the ability to reach people in ways that nothing else can because it touches the heart. People are moved by art. It opens up entirely new ways of approaching an issue without the pressure of asking for an answer. There is no “why” needed.
Without art and the people who create it, things become lifeless and mechanical. Society loses its spark. Art is humanity and expression. It’s not always logical or done for a reason—it has intrinsic value on its own. The value of art lies in the act of creation itself, and that’s why artists and creative undertakings are so necessary.