I have this dream to be in a Western movie… maybe it’s because I have spent the last 10 years working in the right time period at the museums I teach and tour at. Maybe it’s because I started to ride horses when I was a kid and grew up to show horses in Hunter/Jumper class or Barrel Races. Maybe it’s because I have been fascinated with archery and single action lever rifles. Maybe it’s because I have always wanted to be a badass woman saving the day. Maybe it’s because I fell in love with Back to the Future part three or Deadwood tv series (because Calamity Jane played by Robin Weigert blew up my heart and mind!)
Whatever the reason, when my friend Ryan Fisher of Rainyfresh Photography wanted to do something other than weddings and I immediately suggest an old Western photoshoot where I could pay homage to the likes of Calamity Jane and badass ladies in general.
The day before I hung out with my brother at the gun range as we both have our license and trained up on bolt action rifles and pistols, I have to be a markswoman if I’m going to duel at dawn in 1847! Turns out I’m a pretty good shot – look at that grouping and target hits below:
And a preview of what’s to come from the photoshoot: here is one of Ryan’s awesome photos of me in my full Calamity Adri costume get up!
I love history, more over I love me some local Canadian history – to be fair I have been immersed in it since 2007 when I got my first museum job as a Historical Interpreter here in Toronto. But wait! I also did Renaissance Faires and a Pirate Festival before that (which were probably the best summers of my life,) so I feel like anywhere from 1790s up to 1914 I have a fair understanding of what was happening in the Western world.
But then I got to play a heroine of mine: Kit Coleman who was an Irish immigrant who came to Canada, Toronto in fact, and was a journalist – the first to be a female war correspondent, and a fantastic feminist who challenged people to judge her work by what she wrote rather than what gender she was or what she wore.
The full episode airs on CBC at 9pm on Sunday April 17, but for now here is a mini-episode with me as Kit!
I’m not going to lie, I love getting cast as an officer. Recently I had the chance to be an FBI agent on See No Evil, coming soon to TV.
There is something about being the authority figure and not the victim in stories that I really dig. Maybe because I am a fan of equality and not just having men in places of power, but dang does it feel great to be a powerful woman in front of the camera.
It’s no secret I’m a huge geek. Nerd? There are times when I am both! Like in my latest photoshoot with Photos by Jo (and make-up by Coral who wanted me to really dive into my geek branding as I’m now hosting Geektropolis and of course I said “Affirmative. Engage.” and quickly had a panic attack about which shirt to wear – I have SO MANY geeky t-shirts!
Here’s my Brady Bunch set:
And the best Captain America I can do without fully cosplaying it in camos:
Next year, our great nation will be celebrating 150 years of Canadian history and culture! Now the history nerd in me is going nuts with all the great programming that I know is coming to the museums I work at – but also that I will be in an episode of Canada: The Story of Us on the CBC is exciting!
PLUS: it has been confirmed that my one-woman play about Mrs. Gibson and the women of the Upper Canada Rebellion will be remounted at Gibson House Museum in August!
I’m stoked to look back at this play I wrote back in… oh man, 2010?! Dust it off and send it back into rehearsal/the parlour. It is a site specific piece that tells the woman’s side of what happened in December of 1837…
“November 1851: In the front parlour of Mrs. Gibson’s newly built home in Willow Dale, a table is set with cake and tea. Mrs. Gibson and her guests: Mrs. Cummer and Mrs. Sheppard, have gathered. Gibson House hosts the three unique women of Willow Dale whose lives were touched by the events of the 1837 Rebellion. Based on letters and journals, discover history through the perspective of the wives, daughters, and mothers of those men who fought for change on Yonge Street.”
So you want to be a gunslinger in the Wild West do you? Well so do I! That’s why I got my PAL complete with a full weekend learning about guns (eep!)
If you scroll through the gallery of pictures you will see the types of guns I learned to handle correctly and safely. I got 100% on my written and 96% on my unrestricted (rifles and shotguns) and a double 90% on my restricted (handguns) tests. This was an intense weekend! The first day was 12 hours and the second was 6 hours – all safety and handling and legalities of guns in Canada. I’m fascinated by guns in movies as part of character development or the time period they live in. Keep your fingers crossed and send good vibes as a Western script is up for funding and should it go through yours truly will be a leading gunslinger lady who is out for vengeance. This character would have an 1850 hip hugging Colt single-action pistol (see, I learned some things!) and she would be a dead-shot marksman. Looks like I will have to hit the range and work on my targets so I can shoot as badass as my character demands!
Next phase is a one-day workshop at Rapier Wit Studio to learn about the actor side of gun safety. This is when I will finally be able to shoot my historic gun and get a feel for just how much recoil/kickback it will have. Nothing says badass like falling on your butt after the gun shoots. I will have to learn to keep my feet planted and look my enemy straight in the eyes 😉