BOLD. BRAZEN. BOLAND.
Interview & Photography by Taylor McKay
Chosen by Elle Canada as one of the three Canadians to watch, Katie Boland is an Actress, Writer, Director and Producer. She has 4 feature films to be released in the coming year. This year Katie also directed the short film Lolz-Ita that she wrote and starred in. She has a production company called Straight Shooters. She is the author of the book Eat Your Heart Out, and has also written a column for the Huffington Post called “What’s Actually Happening with People My Age”. Katie has also been a cultural advisor for the Trudeau government.
While only scratching the surface of the amount of content Katie is creating, you can see from the paragraph above that Katie is truly an inspiring renaissance woman. A dear friend of mine, and also someone who's work I admire, I am fascinated with the unapologetic honesty Katie puts into her work. I got the chance to photograph Katie in her element as she shared some of her artistic insight.
TM: How do you have the courage and confidence to put your personal life out into the world in your work?
KB: There is an amount of reflection that's important for me and I like to be able to write to process my life. If you're not writing about yourself I don't really know where you would start.
TM: How do you have the self-discipline to prioritize and manage so many different creative projects?
KB: It is my personality type. I'm pretty A-type. When I was growing up I was always an actress and in school at the same time, so that sort of set the tone and pace of my life. Then when I was out of school and just acting, I really floundered because I didn't have enough to do and I didn't like being so unstructured. So I think I’ve created this kind of very rigid structure and pace for myself.
TM: If you are setting yourself up for a productive & successful day what does that look like?
KB: In Toronto I wake up and go have coffee with my Dad at the corner coffee shop. We talk about the world. We talk about our days. Connecting with family gives me a lot of perspective. Then I’ll write and try to put pieces together for different projects I'm working on. Do emails. Then I like to exercise. It’s important for my mental state for sure. It’s like an anti-depressant. I like to do a lot of cardio and walking around the city. Then I like to see someone like you, true friends. That means a lot to me.
TM: You grew up immersed in the industry since you were a child. Your mom is a celebrated Canadian Photographer, Director and Producer. Did you ever face challenges trying to establish yourself as a filmmaker?
KB: My mom is so supportive and so proud of me and my brother, it was never about her. Which looking back I'm like "Mom maybe it should have been about you more!". She'll casually tell me things about her 20s that I never knew- like that she was the 3rd woman in the world hired by the united press as a photo journalist. Or "Oh yeah I took pictures for a bestselling book on Terry Fox", or "Oh that picture on the Penny, I took that." My mom is a very quiet and humble person about her accomplishments. Having said that, there was definitely a bar set for me to become a career woman.
TM: What insecurities do you struggle with?
KB: I am always very conscious of my weight. It fluctuates. So I would say my biggest insecurity is being hyper aware of my weight.
I also struggle with impostor syndrome a lot. So emotionally, I'm insecure that I am not smart enough, or talented enough or really anything enough to be in the work situations I'm in. But then there are a lot of moments where I have a ton of confidence in my abilities.
"I think the goal is to leave space for some insecurity because it inspires but not let it dictate your perception of reality. Tavi Gavinson, who I really admire, has a note on her mirror that says, "There is not enough time for hating yourself. Too many things to make. Go." I try and adhere to that. "
TM: What is something you love most about yourself?
KB: I think I am good listener. I also love the beauty mark on my face, because my mom had one when she was my age and my dad has them, too.
TM: If you could change the way the film and fashion industry depict beauty, what would you change?
KB: I wish there was just less discussion of beauty all together. I hate that anytime you read an article about an actress who is an average BMI that that's the first thing mentioned. Her dress size!
I think the self-love beauty movement is good-intentioned but lately I've been reading Why I'm Not A Feminist, by Jessa Crispin, and I'm moved by her writing. Politically speaking, where has the self-love beauty movement gotten us? Has it sanitized feminism, and made it more palatable, while making all of us less angry or less politically active? I don't know, but I do worry that we're missing the bigger picture. I think that being focussed on beauty is what's distracting us.
TM: What changes would you like to see for women in the film industry?
KB: I wish young women were given more opportunity to create. We need more female film makers, writers, producers. I also wish that people saw me for my resume and experience, not my age and gender. As far as roles, I think women need to keep creating roles for themselves. I really think that's the key to creating nuanced female characters. We have to do it for ourselves.
TM: You and I talk about how sometimes we both struggle with taking ourselves seriously. Why do you think it is important to be conscious of this?
KB: Ultimately I don't believe compliments people give me so I'll always reject them in the moment. So I think as you build some self-esteem you can work on just saying, 'Thank you,' instead of, "Oh no, my skin is crazy!" I think it's important to accept nice things people say because then you can internalize them and maybe even start to believe them.
You can read more about Katie's work here: www.katieboland.com