Kristin Booth is clearly a Canadian actress on a mission. With three films premiering at this year’s film festival it seems that not only is her star status on the rise, but so is her passion to promote Canadian flicks. We sat down with the adorable, down-to-earth actress during her busy TIFF schedule to chat about films, her involvement in raising awareness of violence against women, and fashion.
ELLECanada.com: You have a busy year this year at TIFF! Tell us about the films you have featured.
Kristin Booth: I actually have three this year!
Imaginary Lovers. Luckily I’m not really starring in any of them, I’m in the supporting cast of al of them, so it’s easier in that case.
Imaginary Lovers is a film installation piece by Don McKellar. For this piece, it’s about 15 minutes long. I shot it with Don in 2005 as part of this new media inititative. He shot the video with the first video cell phone. He picked different actresses playing ex-girlfriends from around the world and had the characters send a video love letter to her ex-lover. It’s quite moving and the pixilated look gives it a real feeling.
Crackie (a drama about the hardships of living in Newfoundland, directed by Sherry White) I play a hairdressing instructor and she’s basically this inspirational teacher for the main character brilliantly played by
It’s funny actually because in my role in
Defendor (a comedy about a man who believes he’s a super hero, directed by Peter Stebbings), I play a mother figure — I stress figure — to Woody Harrelson’s character, so interestingly enough both characters are actually kind of similar because they are both very nurturing and warm and they both play the role of someone who makes people at ease, someone who is easily trusted. So the characters are actually similar in that respect, but the films are complete opposites. And the characters are in other respects, completely different, but their core is very similar.
EC: What made you drawn to those roles?
KB: I like to challenge myself, so I like to play characters that different form me. With these two characters it was much easier for me to access the things I needed to play them, because they are in some ways similar to me. But really both these roles or jobs were less about the individual role and more about the film and the people behind it. Both films are first time feature writers and directors and both friends of mine, people that I look up to respect and admire. I have no doubt that they (Peter Stebbings and Sherry White) will be successful and will have critical acclaim.
EC: You seem to be very patriotical when picking your roles.
KB: It’s really not a patriotical thing. It’s more about the people I have met and I have worked with. You know, there’s an abundance of talent in this country that needs its home coming of sorts. It needs to be celebrated. There are so many, wonderful, talented people in the film business here and I want to help show that. I want to transcend boarders by doing Canadian films. A lot of people leave and think they have to leave to get work. And I want to disintegrate that stigma. (laughs) Or at least try to!
EC: Are you leaving in LA, or Toronto?
KB: Both. I just bought a house in Toronto. I do love LA, with the beaches and it’s gorgeous, but my friends and family are in Toronto, so I spend most of my time here.
EC: What’s next for you film-wise?
KB: Well, I’d love to have a bay in the next year or so, so we will see. But up next I am in Vancouver with another film called
At Home by Myself with You. It’s a quirky, romantic comedy about a woman who never leaves her apartment who falls in love with a world traveler and the comedy ensues. It’s sort of like
Amelie crossed with
When Harry Met Sally.
EC: You recently became involved with a charity called Shelternet.ca, an online resource that helps women leave an abusive relationship. How did that come about?
KB: I went to this necklace-making workshop where you create your own design and in my workshop we sold our creations. All of the money went to this charity called Shelternet.ca. I was so moved by it and by the founders, that I asked myself what more I could do, and I really wanted to do more. I think it’s so important to give back to your community and this really struck a chord with me. All these women trying to help other women — it was amazing. On a bigger level, I wanted to help make people more aware about violence against women. That’s the goal really, to raise awareness about it and show women where they can get help, like with Shelternet.ca. Shelternet.ca gives women a step-by-step plan on how to leave an abusive relationship and then resources for help and where to find shelters for when you do finally get out. This just really spoke to me; I felt everyone should know about this.
EC: Now for some fun questions! What’s your favourite place to travel to?
KB: The cottage in Muskoka! You’re in Ontario, but it feels like a different world. I do love being anywhere near the ocean though.
EC: Favourite book?
KB: Lori Lansens’ "The Girls". I want to make it a movie one day — (laughing) if I can afford the rights!
EC: Favourite singer or group?
KB: You’re going to laugh, but Gordon Lightfoot. My dad used to listen to him all the time and one of my fondest childhood memories is of him listening to it. It just brings me a rush of warmth.
EC: If you had to choose, shoes or bags?
KB: Shoes! I love YSL, Christian Louboutin, Lamb by Gwen Stefani … don’t make choose just one!
EC: Flats or heels?
KB: Heels, definitely heels!
EC: Favourite designer?
KB: I’ve been trying to wear only Canadian designers lately. I don’t think people realize how amazing things are here and how talented people are. I love David Dixon and Brandon Dwyer.
EC: If you could describe your style in one sentence, what would it be?
KB: Fun, elegant with a twist. I love a twist on something classic. I’m not into trends. I love femininity — lace, ruffles — in the right places. I just wore a great Jason Myers tuxedo jumpsuit to the premier of Defendor. It’s timeless because it’s a black tuxedo, but it’s a jumpsuit and has some lace ruffles and a lace backing. That’s what I love, timeless pieces that are a bit funky.
EC: Do you shop a lot?
KB: I love shopping, but I have learned to only shop for quality. I look for uniqueness, more designer pieces now that I can keep for a long time. I’m like that with shoes too.
EC: What’s your must-have beauty product?
KB: Burt’s Bees lip balm. And a good skin regime, moisturizer, cleansing, drinking a lot of what and a good dermatologist. They do wonders!
EC: Favourite restaurant or bar in Toronto?
KB: Mariachi’s — they make the best margaritas and guacamole.
EC: If you could pass on some words of wisdom to your younger self, what would they be?
KB: Relax! It’s not a sprint; it’s a long distance race. And definitely stop and smell the roses.
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