Dreaming of warmer days, Swift Ones looks back on when we caught up with Degrassi alum, Melinda Shankar this past summer.
What inspired you to become an actor?
My grandmother was one of the first theatre actress’ in Guyana, my great grandfather founded the production company. My mother would tell me stories about them travelling throughout South America performing and it sounded like my ideal lifestyle. I wanted to carry on the tradition.
What projects are you currently working on?
After completing a six year stint working full time, I took a little break to travel and to regroup my energy. Most recently- a film called Filth City, premiering in the Spring. It was my first dark comedy, about the Rob Ford crack scandal. The character (Monica) was tough, caught up in gangs, had a gun.. she was definitely fun to play.
You are the founder of Miss Conception Society. What is Miss Conception Society and why is it important to you?
Miss Conception Society is a lifestyle program. The focus is to empower our generation into understanding the importance of self development as they transition into young adults. From Ottawa Film Festival workshops to coaching delegates of Miss Teen Canada and Miss Universe Canada pageants, the Miss Conception Society’s objective is to help distinguish your personal brand and to guide you through building confidence while defying your misconceptions.
Miss Conception is important to me because as an actress, I’ve had to think of myself as brand before ever getting to discover myself as a person. I grew up in the public eye, and for me the key to staying sane was setting my own standards and creating my own goals. There is something really powerful about knowing every part of yourself, and trusting your own judgement. Show business makes you grow up at a fast rate, I created Miss Conception to contribute my insight and hopefully inspire my audience to focus inward and to create their own destiny!
What song best describes you?
Money Power Glory by Lana Del Rey.
What inspires you?
I grew up obsessing over every and anything Sophia Lauren. I rewatch old classic Hollywood films starring her or Marilyn Monroe before my auditions. Their elegance and charm embodies a tone in career that I admire.
What would be your dream role?
A badass action role! I’ve been a martial artist since I was three, I come from a family of blackbelts. My older sisters and father are third degree blackbelts and were training before I was born. After my brother and I got involved in the family craft, we opened a karate school in Ottawa before my acting career started. Having grown up in a dojo, I feel like I was bread to play a role similar to Angelina in Salt, or Scar Jo in Lucy. (Action roles all over my vision board)
What have been some of your biggest achievements in your career thus far?
My first job ever was in LA, I was 14 and had always pictured a life as an actress in California. It was very surreal and inspirational. My Canadian Screen Award win for How to be Indie, was definitely a highlight in my professional life. I was nominated for a Gemini award the year prior for the same role. It’s the first show ever created with a South Asian lead, so I was honoured to pave the way. I won Best Actress award at the Spain international Film Fest for “Festival of lights”, a film I shot in New York and in Guyana. Getting to travel back to the country my parents grew up in for work, was definitely an unforgettable and humbling experience. Finishing my last press tour for Degrassi in Paris was a dream come true. After eight incredible seasons and a finale storyline taking place in Paris, it was the perfect closure to end that chapter of my life.
What have you learned in your career thus far?
To follow your intuition, and to never stop learning. The entertainment industry doesn’t have one set path to success, or even any logic to how you get there. It’s a very competitive and unpredictable environment. You need very tough skin to handle this business. It’s most important to understand that everyone is on their own journey. Jealousy gets you no where, working hard and listening to your gut instinct worked for me. I still take private acting coaching twice a week and for each audition I get. I’ve worked full time for as long as I can remember, and I can honestly say that i’m always learning who I am through the craft. How did it all happen? I have no idea, it all just sort of fell into place.
What parts of pop culture fascinate you?
The complexity and importance of Pop culture is what intrigues me. It can have a misconception of being easy and sterotypically main stream, but what fascinates me is the influence it can have on a generation. Positive or negative, pop culture grooms their following in whichever way they choose to express themselves. Whether that be generic, or niche, there is always something for everyone. It’s up to the artist to share their values through their work. It’s interesting to see which route pop stars take.
Do you have any TV shows that you are currently binge watching?
I just spent a while in London, and i’ve grown to obsess over British series like Downtown Abbey and Mr. Selfridges. I also just finished Jessica Jones, Billions, and i’m currently on Homeland.
What item can you not live without?
I cannot live without my journal. I have a love/hate relationship with technology and I’m old school/biased when it comes to writing on paper. I have about six journals on the go, each for a different purpose. Writing is therapeutic for me. I’ve been journalling since I could write.
Do you have any guilty pleasures?
My guilty pleasure is anything dill pickle related. I had a pickle themed bday party in gr 4, I renamed my bedroom Pickleslovakia in sixth grade (I was president!). My best snack invention is vanilla ice cream with dill pickles pickles. Pickle back shots are my American obsession. I keep trying to make it a “thing” in Canada, it was my official bday drink last week!
Who is your favourite Spice Girl?
Posh Spice. Albeit being in a girl group, her attitude energy always stood out to me.
What is the most valuable advice your family has taught you?
That happiness equals success. To do whatever your heart and soul desires. I have an incredibly connected family of six. They keep me grounded, real, and focused. Our strict martial arts upbringing instilled us with some core values, which I love and can now appreciate. My Shankars show me unconditional love and support no matter what life throws my way. At the end of the day, what’s the point of success if you don’t have anyone to share it with?
Check out Mindy’s work out playlist on our Spotify!
Photos: Katie Sadie
Creative Director: Trishelle Esposito
Photo Assistant: Kimberley Harkness
Make-Up Artist: Amy Harper
Stylist: Chantalle Lovery
Location: Toronto,The Bluffs
Since becoming the first female to win Much’s VJ Search 2.0 in 2009, Liz Trinnear has evolved into one of Canada’s most loved television personalities. Swift Ones caught up with the music loving, fashionista for a fun-packed day of dancing in heels, good conversation and keeping warm on a cold Toronto beach.
You are celebrating 5 years at MUCH. What has been the most valuable thing you have learned in the past 5 years?
BE YOURSELF. As cliché as this sounds, one of my biggest struggles was to find inner confidence and acceptance of who I am. When you are in your early twenties there is a “self-discovery” period you go through and to be honest, I’m not sure you ever truly know “who you are”. Trying to go through that on television and growing in front of the camera adds a whole new level of confusion. Being pushed and pulled in different directions and having people challenge you to be more like ______ can really mess with your inner confidence. The best lesson in life you can learn is to love yourself for who are and change for no one.
What are your top 5 milestones in your career so far?
-Winning the 2009 VJ search and beating out 4,000 others
-Covering the winter Olympics in 2010 in Whistler, BC.
-Hosting the MMVA Red Carpet special three years in a row.
-Interviewing and hosting a half hour special with Taylor Swift
-Becoming Topshop brand ambassador
If you weren’t a VJ what would you be doing?
Before I won the VJ search, I was an intern at a really cool company called Vapor Music in Toronto, which works specifically with music placement in TV/Film, both composing and licensing. I have dreamt about working in the industry ever since I saw an interview with the music supervisor from the iconic THE O.C. soundtrack It would definitely be something related to music, fashion, and/or comedy.
What disbanded group/band would you love to get back together for a reunion?
My Chemical Romance – There are so many groups over the years that have disbanded that I would LOVE to see get back together, but My Chemical Romance played a big role in my love for music. I know some people are laughing right now, but I’m not even an ounce embarrassed. In high school I played bassin a My Chemical Romance cover band called “Throwing DownRoses” – Okay, now that is something you can laugh about!
Name one item in your closet you couldn’t live without
My black leather/pleather motorcycle coat. Dress it up, dress it down – you can literally pair it with anything and everything. My little black dress is my little black jacket.
What are some of your current guilty pleasures?
1. Watching McMorris & McMorris on CraveTV
2. Buying an excessive amount of coats/jackets
3. Listening to my iPod from high school – so much teenage angst
4. Blasting 5 Seconds of Summer
5. Organic snacks
6. Spending too much money on herbal tea that I never drink
7. Online shopping but not checking out
Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?
I try not to make any new year resolutions because I always break them. Instead, this year I will try to adapt a healthier lifestyle both mentally and physically, eat right with everything in moderation, stay fit, thinking positively, and try to not be such a “Turd Ferguson” sometimes.
You’ve recently began DJ’ing under the name, DJ Lamb. Can you make us a quick playlist to get us pumped up before a night out?
Fifth Harmony – SledgeHammer
Beyonce – 7/11
Vanic X K. Flay – Can’t Sleep
iLoveMakonnen – Tuesday
CHVRCHES – Dead Air
London Grammar – Strong (Loston Rework)
Robyn – Should Have Known
Click here to creep what happened behind the scenes!
Photos: Katie Sadie
Creative Director: Trishelle Esposito
Photo Assistant: Kimberly Harkness
Make Up Artist: Haley Bogaert
Hair: Bailey MW Winter
Stylist: Mirian Njoh
BTS Video by: Mike Tobin
Location: Golden Boy Studio and The Bluffs
Written: Trishelle Esposito
We had the pleasure of shooting TV personality, Liz Trinnear–the most stylish and vibrant face of MUCH. Here is a behind the scenes video of our fun filled day thanks to Mike Tobin of Body Parts Productions. We had an awesome time putting this together with a kick ass team and we can’t wait to share.
Full editorial coming January 2015, so stay tuned.
“I’ve been obsessed with LA ever since I was a kid,” Lyle Lettau says as he takes a bite of his filet mignon. We are having dinner and a chat at the historic Chateau Marmont in West Hollywood, where Lyle has become quite the regular. “Even before I started acting, something always drew me to Los Angeles. There was one thing I knew about the city- all the stars ate at Chateau Marmont. I was 10 and thought I was a star, for no reason, really, and knew one day I would eat here.
The Degrassi star lives in Los Angeles in between filming and is happy to call the land of lights his second home. “Everyone out here has a dream and is fighting,” He says. “And even though there are millions of people fighting for the exact same thing, in the exact same city, people still give everything they have for a chance at their dream. It’s beautiful.”
Who are some of your icons?
Quentin Tarantino is a huge icon to me. Every time I watch one of his movies I get lost. Movies don’t do that much anymore- completely absorb you into a different world. Movies are all about target audiences & what will make a shit load of money- which makes sense, but they’ll never be iconic. No one does it like Quentin. Marilyn Monroe has always intrigued me. I really like her poetry. Also, Andy Warhol. He made pop culture his bitch.
What would be your dream role?
Playing Patrick Bateman would be really cool. OH! Mickey Knox too! Yeah. Make me a serial killer.
What are some of your guilty pleasures?
I watch a lot of reality shows. I feel like reality shows are so simple & you can do other things while watching them because you don’t really have to pay attention. A lot of wedding shows. Oh god. So many wedding shows. I don’t even like weddings. ugh.
What television shows did you grow up watching?
I think one of my first words was “Bundy”. My dad watched “Married With Children” every day. It’s still my favorite sitcom to this day. Also; Buffy The Vampire Slayer (Buffy + Angel 4ever), Three’s Company, & Are You Afraid of The Dark?
What music are you currently listening to?
I’ve been listening to a 90′s girl punk rock band called Bikini Kill, I just got their album “Pussy Whipped” & it’s rad. Speaking of riot girl bands, Bratmobile is really good. When i’m not being an ‘angsty’ teen from the 90′s, i’m listening to Lana Del Rey.
If you weren’t an actor what would you be?
What do you enjoy most about being on Degrassi?
Degrassi will always be special to me. It was the first show i said “i’m going to be on that show”, & i did it. It feels great being a part of a family that has had generation after generation. Not many shows have that.
What has changed the most in your life since being on Degrassi?
Everything has changed. Not just because of Degrassi, but I started the show when I was 16. I’m going to be 20 this year. Those four years feel like a decade. People tell me they don’t even recognize me anymore. I don’t even recognize me.
Photos: Katie Sadie
Creative Direction: Katie Sadie and Trishelle Esposito (SWIFT ONES)
Location: Griffith Park, Los Angeles, California
Interview: Trishelle Esposito