After nearly 20 years in the industry, Karine Vanasse has had a great variety of roles, from French and French-Canadian characters in Canada and in the U.S., and in drama, as well as, in comedy. Despite her alluring lifestyle, with her love of nature and everything minimalist, ethereal, and bucolic, it was only right that we photograph her in a rural, picturesque setting. Get to know the radiant, multi-faceted, and very intuitive woman behind the camera, as she talks about her creativity, dualities, and Cardinal.

 

By Mayillah Ezekiel

 

Being one of the rare actresses with the freedom to move back and forth between the English and French worlds, Karine Vanasse has also demonstrated her versatility by colouring outside the lines with her recent fashion collaboration with Elisa C-Rossow and by being the spokesperson for the Contemporary Art Fair “Papier.” This year marks a few firsts, from being in her first comedy movie to the challenge of playing a mother in her latest French film “Et au pire on se mariera,” and Cardinal, which is her first major English-Canadian TV series. Playing Cardinal’s Lise Delorme is also a new and rare opportunity for the charming and eloquent actress to showcase her Quebec heritage.

 

 

You are one of the rare actors able to balance your career in both French and English. You also seem to harmonize gracefully with opposites, whether it be combining high fashion with local designers or keeping yourself grounded with nature while living what would seem like a glamorous life. Have you always been attracted to opposites and does keeping your life balanced come naturally to you? What seems a conscious balance is the genuine trajectory of my life. On a superficial level, there can be pressure to conform. By embracing the “opposite forces” and allowing myself to be enriched by what I am naturally attracted to, is something that I didn’t do enough of when I was younger. All of the contrast in my life is a true reflection of myself and what inspires me.

 

When you work on a new project, whether it be a movie or a new season of a TV show, how does it feel to see countless hours of work come to life, and have your project available to the public? Seeing the final result is something that fascinates and satisfies me the most. The idea that a concept is strong enough to develop into a story, which will hopefully resonate with an audience, is something very special. On a day-to-day basis, working on a set is equally fulfilling for me. Knowing on paper what we have to do and then seeing the vision of the director take shape, along with the collaboration of a cast and crew all sharing a common goal is when that magic happens.

 

An interesting part of being an actor is walking in someone else’s shoes. Having a career like yours, you must be strong-minded and have an amazing work ethic. Where does it come from and has your character in Cardinal,Lise Delorme,” ever taught you something about yourself? Some roles really force you to explore areas of human nature that you would otherwise never have to, or at the very least, with the same intensity. I often find myself speaking with a voice and walking in a way that I didn’t think I could. Accomplishing this is to let your body explore what this story and these words bring out from the depth of who you are as a human being. Staying open and receptive. That’s the biggest work ethic I can offer to my characters.

 

You have been in this industry for a very long time. Is there something that you would have liked to know when you were starting out? Or in other words, what would you say to your younger self? Regardless of what I could tell my younger self, I think some experiences have to be lived through in order to grow. Yes, I could tell my younger self to trust her instincts more, but looking back and learning from those moments is something I value very much.

 

You have a discernible sense of style and you’ve collaborated with Elisa C-Rossow on a recent collection. Does fashion play an important role in your life and career? Design plays a more important role in my life than fashion, per se. When it comes to clothes and style, I am proud to support the work and vision of different designers. For example, to me, a red-carpet look is less about having the most beautiful or trendy outfit, and more about embracing the abstract and unique idea of an artist.

 

 

You like to share some pieces of art on your Instagram. What inspires you? It’s hard to put into words and articulate why or how a certain piece of art or image moves someone. When I see something that inspires me, I don’t question it too much, I simply let it have its effect on me. What I find interesting about Instagram is that sometimes you can see a pattern emerge from the photos on a profile, and looking at a broader chain of images can actually reveal more about what inspires someone than looking at each and every image as a single entity. 

 

What captures your curiosity when a new role comes your way? What factors are the most important when you consider accepting a new role? Right now, I would say that it’s the director who is the biggest influence in my decision to pursue or accept a role. Of course, the script and subject matter is important, but the director can really make all the difference.

 

Do you have any special rituals before getting back to work or before doing a scene? When I’m working, I like to arrive early and it’s important to me to feel close to the crew. You will rarely see me sitting in a cast chair or in my trailer away from everyone – I am usually perched somewhere close to where everyone is getting ready for the next setup.

 

What would you consider being your biggest accomplishment to date? Being part of the development process for Polytechnique and juggling work in Quebec, English Canada, and the U.S., with the help of a great team around me, is something that makes me very proud. I can’t tell you how genuinely happy I was to land the role of Lise Delorme on CTV and Super Écran’s Cardinal. Playing a French-Canadian character on an English-Canadian series that has crossed into the U.S. and is now available internationally, is a first for me. So, my biggest accomplishment is really a combination of everything I’ve been able to accomplish and tackle in my career to date. 

 

What’s next for Karine Vanasse? Aside from starring in both Cycle 2 of CTV and Super Écran’s Cardinal, set to premiere in early 2018, and Cycle 3 of the hit serialized drama, you will see me in the Season 3 release of the French-Canadian series Blue Moon and Malek, a French feature film that I shot in Montreal last year. Other than that, I actually don’t know what is next, which is both frightening and exhilarating! I’ll just do like I’ve always done, I guess – stay open and trust what I have sowed along the way.

 

 

Season 2 of the hit serialized drama CARDINAL premieres in early 2018, on January 4th, on CTV and Super Écran. For more details, please visit CTV.ca.

 

Photographer DONAT

Art Director & Makeup and Hair Artist MAYILLAH

Stylist TINASHE MUSARA (FOLIO)

Assistant Photographer MATHIEU LÉTOURNEAU

 

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