This week’s person to know is actress Lara Jean Chorostecki.
How did you get started in acting?
I saw Les Mis when I was 8 at the Royal Alex. I went home, drew a storyboard of the show, and performed the show, lip-synching for my family. I never looked back.
Best moment of your career so far?
It’s an early moment: My first professional job was as an apprentice at Stratford. I was in the chorus of The Threepenny Opera. Susan Gilmore was starring in the show. She also played Fantine in that production of Les Mis I saw 9 years before. I had a picture of my “lip-synched” performance in which I was singing Fantine’s Death, in a bathrobe, with a bonnet and blanket, reaching out to the invisible Cosette. Sharing that picture with her, and being able to speak, in my first professional job, to the woman who inspired me to be an actress: that was pretty special.
Your major career influence?
Too many mentors over the years that I am grateful to, and that I admire and respect. Martha Henry and the late Richard Monette greatly influenced the beginning of my career. I also have huge admiration for the career and work of Amy Adams. But ultimately, my biggest career influence is my insane and wonderful support system of friends, family, and my agent. Without them, I wouldn’t survive this business.
Best advice you’ve received?
Ask questions, listen, but don’t be afraid to trust yourself and throw out any advice that doesn’t help or improve you. Not all advice is good advice.
If you weren’t an actor, what would you be?
A psychotherapist perhaps. The human psyche fascinates me, and I’ve always been drawn to psychology. But honestly, if I wasn’t acting, I’d probably focus more time on poetry and writing. Another passion filled yet unstable vocation!
What’s up next?
A few more episodes of BBC America’s Copper, the Toronto theatre release of the romantic comedy film Please Kill Mr Know it All during the May long weekend, and a summer trip to Poland (my ancestry, and I’ve never been so I’m very excited).
A place in Toronto you’d be proud to take people to?
The islands. In fact, when I’ve had international visitors, I’ve made a point to take them to the islands. Watching the skyline from the docks on Ward Island, or the boats walking down the boardwalk, I think is a favourite Toronto moment for locals and visitors alike.
What’s your favourite restaurant?
Live at Spadina and Dupont. It’s a vegan restaurant with raw and cooked food. I have a terrible sweet tooth, and their black forest raw cake is divine. Really anything chocolate there. Or anywhere for that matter.
Your favourite Toronto neighbourhood and why?
I’ve lived in various areas of Toronto since 2008, and there is something to love about all of them. I’ve lived near Forest Hill Village for a few years now and I really like the area. As I love the outdoors, I am partial to the Belt Line that runs midtown. It’s a great place to escape from the city and you can follow it through to Mount Pleasant Cemetery (which in itself is beautiful), all the way to Don Valley Brickworks.
Least favourite thing about Toronto?
A Toronto resident, other than yourself, who’s making a positive impact on the city?
Anyone who is working tirelessly to support the arts in our city. We have such a vibrant community of artists here, and I am always in awe of the work of those who promote, attend, maintain, inspire, and create art in Toronto, in all its forms.