Canada's newest rising star...Isabelle Giroux!
22 September, 2011 - Alumni
Canadian Actress Isabelle Giroux graduated from AMDA in the Fall of 2008 in Los Angeles. Isabelle has been working steadily in Canadian Theatre, Film, TV, and Commercials. We asked her about her experience at AMDA and what it is like for her working as an actor in Canada.
Was there a specific moment when you knew you wanted to be a performer?
I think I've always wanted to be a performer, but I was shy about it. When I was 13 years old, I made my first appearance on stage, in a Spanish Choir at school. I was the only one who could hit the notes in “Besame Mucho”, so I became a soloist.
Why did you choose to go to AMDA?
My choosing to go to AMDA was an interesting process. I had studied Music already in college in Canada and I wanted to train as an actor. I was trying to get in a reputed theatre school in Montreal, however enrollment is limited to 12 students a year. Musical Theatre wasn't necessarily my first interest, as I had a limited knowledge base. I was intrigued when I saw a poster of AMDA while in a dance show in Montreal. I went online to get the package and couple of months later I decided to go to the Open House in L.A.
Ultimately I wanted to know if it would be worth it to invest my money in AMDA, because in Quebec, the education system is free. Initially after the Open House I decided it wasn't for me, but then I couldn't forget about it. I kept asking myself "What if?" So a couple of months later, I drove all the way to Toronto to audition and I was accepted. Three months later I was in L.A. to begin my studies at AMDA!
What do you think is the most important thing you learned while at AMDA?
Discipline!!!!! And I learned a lot about how the business works!
What did you do when you first graduated?
I had gotten my F1 Visa, which is a Visa for international students who graduate in a US school, and it lasts 1 year. So right after spending Christmas/New Year's in Canada, I came back to L.A. to audition and landed my first short film one month later. It was the lead role of a Chapman University graduate short film, called The Devil of Inch Cape Hill, directed by Adam Fox.
What is the difference between working in the States and Canada?
In Quebec, we have our own Cinema (Cinema Québécois) and our own National TV (in French) and we also get what's going on in the rest of Canada. Similar to L.A., Montreal is where things happen for the Province of Quebec. However Montreal is a smaller film world than L.A.: fewer actors, casting directors, agencies and less competition. When I got back from L.A., I researched all casting directors and agencies of Montreal, and I must say that there are about 15 big Casting Directors, and about 20 good agencies. It's generally easier to make contacts in Montreal.
And now you are working quite steadily in Canada on some really wonderful productions. Tell us about what you have been doing.
Well I landed my first role in a musical two months after I moved back to Montreal. We ran the show in the city during the festival of the "Francofolies" and then toured around the province for a year. It's called Le Nouveau Big Bazar. Then I got a lead role (co-star) in a series called "Prozac". I also got a small part in another series called "Trauma".
Recently I landed a part in a new musical called Le Petit Roy; I auditioned for the lead role, and got to understudy it, adding that to my supporting role. It is produced by Just Pour Rire (Just For Laughs) which usually produces comedians but have been doing a lot of straight plays and musicals recently. We opened this passed summer in the Saint-Denis Theatre in Montreal, which is a 2219 seat theatre. On my birthday, I had the opportunity to play the lead role in front of an almost-full-house.” It was amazing, and as a cherry on top of the sundae, the director had the whole room sing Happy Birthday during the applause. Oh and I've also landed four commercials in the last month!
You have been working in all mediums—commercials, film and theatre. What has been your favorite work thus far?
I consider myself a film actress first, but theatre is awesome simply because of the direct feedback you get from the audience and the adrenaline rush it gives you. I also like working in commercials because it's usually funny, fast and pays well.
What is next for you Isabelle?
Next is the Kino Kabaret in October, which is a filmmaker’s event in Montreal. I've been approached already for three different short films. I'm also working on a pilot project, partly animated, in which I have a lead role and I'm also a voice for one of the animated characters.
Do you have any tips or advice for current students or recent graduates?
I'll stick to that phrase I've heard a lot, which isn’t necessarily fun to hear: "If you are thinking about a plan B, go do it." Being an artist can be the best job in the world but at the same time, it can be the toughest. Gifts come rarely to you but if you work hard, you'll earn them! Believe in yourself, but listen to what people have to say. Don't be scared, and just go for your dream if really you want to reach your plan A.
I personally only have a plan A. Side jobs are there if I need them, but they'll never keep me from achieving plan A.