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JJ Barnes The Table Read

Written by JJ Barnes

I interviewed actress Mari Sherkin about her acting career in acting and writing, what inspires her creativity, and her latest project.

Tell me a bit about yourself.

I am an actress, model and children’s book author. I live in the country with my husband of 34 years, our two dogs and six chickens. I have a mini fruit orchard with apples, peaches, pears, cherries, plums and grapes. And yes, I make jam.

As well as children’s books, I have been writing a movie script with Shannon Robertson of Georgian Bayou Productions and Lee Chambers of Jetlag Pictures. I hope it is ready to pitch in 2022.

The acting life of Mari Sherkin, actress interview on The Table Read.
Mari Sherkin

When did you first realize you wanted to be an actor?

Although I had performed as a youth, it wasn’t until I was 39 years old that I had that realization. As 40 loomed ahead of me, along with an empty nest, I was looking for something to fill my time.

I decided to audition for a local theater production and after securing a lead role, the opening night performance awakened a passion in me that seemed to have been lost. I haven’t looked back since.

What is your favorite thing about performing?

To me, acting is about telling a story through performance. I think that my favorite thing is how the audience responds to that story. Be it a good response or a bad one, the audience response is so important. To feel that the audience really loves the hero or absolutely hates the villain, to be able to provoke those feelings in the audience, shows that the actors are telling their story well.

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What classes or training sessions have you taken to support your acting career?

So many. I was going to acting classes and workshops right up until the pandemic. I have been incredibly fortunate to study with incredible people such as Gloria Mann in Toronto, Tom Todoroff from New York and Elizabeth D’Onofrio in southwest Florida, where we perform live theater. I also studied The Meisner technique intensely but I honestly do so much better with the Stanislavski method, “the magic IF”.

What was your first professional acting job?

My first professional job in the industry was when I was a teenager, as a professional model.

My first professional acting job was on a Canadian television re-enactment show. My part was cut so it is not listed on IMDB but I still got paid.

The first professional acting job where I didn’t get cut was in the short film “M Is For Madame Kali”, written and directed by award winning film maker, Jazz Virk. Working with Jazz was an incredible experience. He really knows how to make his visions come to life.

What was your most recent professional acting job?

I have just completed filming for an animated children’s film, called Miss Shaguna’s Chickens, with Nicole Russin-McFarland and Lucky Pineapple Films. Miss Shaguna helps children discover life in the country. I love creating content for children. It is so much fun!

Tell me a favorite experience in your career. Something that stands out in your memories and makes you want to find more experiences like it.

As a teenager, I did quite a bit of paid modeling. One day, I was walking in downtown Toronto and came face to face with a huge billboard on a building. I was on it. I had no idea that it was there until that moment. It stayed up for a whole year. It would be fun for that to happen again.

What was your toughest experience in your acting career?

I think it was one year when I just had the wrong agent. I had been happy with my previous agent but after a year of not going anywhere, someone in the industry suggested a change and recommended someone they thought would be good for me. Big mistake. She was the wrong agent for me. I now have new representation and am very happy.

Have your family and friends been supportive of your acting career?

Oh my goodness, yes! I am so fortunate to have an incredibly supportive family, along with my friends who are truly the most special people. We are always there for each other. I am quite blessed in the friends department.

Tell me some career goals. What would you like to achieve?

One day I would love to have my own weekly Children’s show, reminiscent of Mr. Rogers or Mr. Dress Up.

Tell me something you were surprised by, something you never realized about being a professional actor.

It doesn’t pay as much as you think and it is not an easy ride. After deducting costs of classes, workshops, gas and travel to auditions etc., many actors may need a second job to pay the rent.

What are words of advice you have for other aspiring actors?

Always be professional and ON TIME.

I have a friend in the industry who gave me the best advice ever for working in this business: “Early is on time, on time is late, late is fired”. I follow this advice to the letter.

Give me your social link so people can come and find you!

You can reach me on Twitter @marimuffi and on Instagram @HerMuffiness

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