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24 Sep 2017


By Gracie Carroll

Release Your Inner Joan of Arc: How to Slay in 2018

By Nina Gilmour

joan of arc - albert lynch

In honour of the #MeToo movement, and to better tap into my inner Amazonian warrior, I’ve decided to make a checklist of motivational, self care actions for 2018. You feelin’ me? Keep reading:

Self care is so important to me right now because I happen to be a theatre actor living and working in Toronto (read: not easy) and have dedicated myself to an industry that is not only demanding, but thankless too. Currently, I’m gearing up to perform a new adaptation of Les Miserables for the next two months, and by the time we premier in March we’ll have been working on this show for 3 years! 

nina gilmour - les miserables - toronto - threatre smith gilmour

Nina Gilmour on the set of #TSGLesMisérables 

If that isn’t dedication, then I don’t know what it. I’m sure anyone who has worked in theatre can attest to the fact that creating a new show can be just about the hardest, head-down work you can do. 

Plus, I’m in my early 30s and I’m pretty sure you know what that means; hangovers turn into existential crises, junk food makes me want to laugh-cry, and lack of sleep makes me want to flip a table. But don’t worry, this isn’t another lesson on diet and sleep; this is about taking actions. I want to slay in 2018 and the only way to do that is with self care, motivation and a like-minded sisterhood.

So here’s my checklist to be braver, calmer, stronger, and to channel my inner Joan of Arc in 2018. These are 6 tips to help all of us slay this year:

Find a Mentor

Find a fabulous lady friend who will be your mentor. I have a few women who are a bit older than me who I always turn to for advice. They give me a different perspective and this way, instead of making my own mistakes, I get to learn from theirs. This woman can be someone who works in the same industry as you, a cool aunt who’s crushing it in her own field, or any ol’ bad bitch in your life who you think you could learn from. This is a humbling act because you are saying to yourself “Hey, I don’t know everything and that’s okay.” I know you’ve been thinking about doing this already, but now is the time. DM that lady and buy her a coffee, you will be rewarded.

meryl streep - taste of streep instagram

My dream mentor? Meryl Streep, Obviously. P.S. You have to follow the @TasteOfStreep Instagram account.

Be a Mentor

On that same note, find yourself someone to mentor. Take a young woman under your wing; introduce her to your friends, lend her your favourite book and tell her she’s great. There are so many lovely young ladies who don’t necessarily have as much experience as you slam dunking job interviews or putting together the perfect outfit. I want to advocate for other women in 2018 because if another woman is successful then I’m successful. Sharing your piece of the pie is good for everyone. This act is also empowering because it will force you to remember all the great things you’ve accomplished in your life, and, in turn, make you realize how absolutely fabulous you truly are.


Find a Community

Community is rare in our world of technology and being overworked. I say get together with your female, male, non-gender conforming friends, colleagues, recreation centre acquaintances and bitch, laugh, and blow off some steam. I’m making more of an effort to surround myself by actors and actresses who I can talk to about my experiences and hear about theirs. We get together once a week with the goal of each working on a new scene and getting critiqued. We often spend an hour laughing, recounting the latest crazy audition, bitching about our day jobs and then we get down to business. It’s cheaper than taking acting classes and connects me to my peers. This act also makes me feel less alone, it gets me out of my head and pushes me to see things from other perspectives.

spice girls spice world movie

Get off the smartphone

I don’t need to tell you why this is so important, BUT what I can recommend is a great book about the value of boredom: How to be Bored by Eva Hoffman. This book really resonated with me and provided a helpful reminder that boredom creates space in the mind and is very important for creativity. You want to come up with your next business idea or write your next screenplay? Let yourself get bored or the creativity will not flow!

Do What You Want

A very close person to me was recently diagnosed with ALS and this is a difficult time for some of the people I love the most. One of the many doctors she has seen over the past month has told her that from now on, only do what you want to do.

Amen to that.

I spend way too much time doing things because I feel obligated or guilty. No thank you, no more of that. This act is great because it forces you to prioritize your time and really think about what makes you happy.


Stop Putting Yourself Down

Last item on my checklist and most important. This is a difficult one because I love being self deprecating. I like to joke around about how shitty I look, how fat I am, how dumb I sound, etc. I don’t mean any of it but after repeating them for so long they’ve seeped into my inner thoughts and now I even put myself down when talking to myself. I have learnt to be self deprecating because I don’t want people to feel threatened by me so I put myself down to say “Hey, don’t worry I hate myself too.” Well you know what? I don’t hate myself. I actually really like myself and I’m done making myself smaller so that you can feel more comfortable. I do not care about your comfort because I’m a bad bitch, now out of my way!

adams family meme

The reality is, no one will ever love you the way you do so here’s to a new age of being good to yourself. Now we can go into the big, bad world and slay all day everyday. I am on a mission this year to carry out this plan, so please, if you are on this mission too, reach out and let me know how it’s going. And If you’d like to come see me in Theatre Smith-Gilmour’s Les Miserables, we run from March 16-April 1, 2018 at The Theatre Centre on Queen west.

For more info or to buy tickets please click HERE. 



(Story contributed by Nina Gilmour)

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