Today’s Notable Young Professional is actress Ann Pirvu, who most recently starred in the film The Masked Saint, out in theatres both here in Canada and the U.S. She’ll also play roles in the new TV series The Girlfriend Experience and comedy feature Total Frat Movie, where she stars alongside Tom Green and Nick Bateman…
Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
If I could describe my job in a nutshell, I would say it is unpredictable. Exhausting. Rewarding. FUN! Acting is the art form of life, of being comfortable being uncomfortable; constantly changing and evolving, and very unique to your personal instrument. I like to think of myself as a perpetual student of human behaviour; a social observer and life experience junkie.
What was the inspiration for this career route?
I’ve been a performer pretty much all my life, immersed in European arts and culture. Growing up in Romania, my mom entered me in national talent competitions that involved singing, dancing, and reciting poetry. I’ve been on the stage telling stories as long as I can remember, which naturally evolved into a love of television and film once I moved to Canada (at age 12). My brother and I both learned English from watching cartoons, so I’ve had a very deep appreciation for the power and profound outreach potential of the cinematic medium early in my life. I wouldn’t want to do anything else; I just love it.
What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The best part is getting to do it. It’s a tough industry, so being a working actor is immensely rewarding in itself. But more specifically, there’s this amazing, unexpected thing that happens when preparation meets opportunity, meets complete trust in yourself and surrendering to a moment. You get to transcend the mechanics of the process and experience a genuine connection with another human being. That’s the job.
For me, that feeling is almost addictive and certainly challenging to achieve. So, being authentic in your work is both immensely rewarding and also most challenging. Even more challenging is navigating the various complexities of the business when you’re not acting. There could be months between projects sometimes, so you have to find creative ways to stay sharp, busy, and make a living.
What is one sign that you’ve seen over the years to suggest that your work/life balance is off?
Work and life are constantly in flux when you’re an actor. It’s always tricky to navigate because you’re never sure when that next project will come. You have to be confident that it will (as it always does) but I’ve learned to manage the constant imbalance by building the foundations of a routine for myself. And keep a positive mindset. I’m least productive when I don’t plan out my day, whether I’m working or not. AND plan vacations for yourself. No matter how busy life gets, you have to carve out time to relax and invest in the people closest to you.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Acting and splitting my time between Toronto, Vancouver and L.A.
What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
I’ve done a lot of work in the last two years. It takes a while to take a project from set to screen, hence why I have an avalanche of projects coming out this year. But that hurry-up-and-wait aspect of the business can be quite challenging; depressing, even, if you let it get to you. Let alone the constant barrage of rejection that comes with the territory and you have to deal with on a regular basis as an actor. I think the biggest challenge is just sticking with it. You have to learn to see difficulty as a positive, as an opportunity to learn and grow as a human being. It’s one thing to have a positive mindset, and another to live that mindset wholeheartedly.
I’ve been through quite the rollercoaster ride of emotions with my career choice, as I assume most actors have at some point or another, but I’ve learned to surround myself with people that build me up and cheer me on. Don’t feel like you have to brave challenges alone, no matter how strong you think you are. That was a big lesson for me.
What does success look like to you? Does Money = Happiness?
For the most part, I think money gives you freedom. To do pretty much anything you want in this world. Quantity is where you have to draw a line for yourself, and learn to be happy with what you have or work harder for what you want.
You need to make money to support yourself and your loved ones, and be a productive member of society. It may or may not make you happy. And if you place too much emphasis on it, it most certainly won’t because in our fast-paced, capitalist society, there’s always more and more and more you can have.
You have to dig deep and be honest with yourself, and figure out what truly makes you happy. Family means the world to me, and I’m most happy when I can share in unique experiences and bank those memories with my loved ones. Success, to me, would be managing to make a consistent living doing what I love, and to share the various rewards of that with those closest to me.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
Landing my first recurring role in the Global television series Remedy was pretty special. I had the opportunity to introduce audiences to a very unique character (Josey, the Therapeutic Clown). I loved exploring a profession I didn’t even know existed, and it was exactly the type of character I’d always said I’d love to play: a mix of kooky comedy and meaningful life experience.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Go after what you want. 100%. Throw yourself in and don’t give up, no matter what. Anything is possible and there’s always a way. Be aware to what extent fear informs your decisions, whether it’s personal fears or well meaning “realism” coming your way from friends and family.
Find positive, creative ways to make things work in your favour, and keep challenging yourself even when you think you’ve accomplished a lot – life is constant learning and growing. That’s what makes it fun.
Where is your favourite place to travel? Why?
I love the Caribbean. Where there’s a beach, that’s where you’ll normally find me. I’ve been to the Bahamas recently and loved it, as well as Barbados (you MUST go at some point). Just got back from Cayo Coco, Cuba over the holidays and had a terrific “sugar, cigar and rum” experience.
I’m actually just looking forward to doing as much travelling as I can in the near future. Europe is next on my list!
If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
I’d love to teach if I wasn’t acting; probably working with young children. Drama, English, Science, History – I was a total nerd in school who absorbed as much knowledge as possible, and I’d love to impart some of that joy for learning and help kick-start awesome futures. I find our human experiences fascinating to navigate.
What to you is notable?
I find striving for quality achievement notable. In any of life’s pursuits.
Ambition, determination, courage and optimism are qualities I always take note of in people that inspire me, and when you can throw in a little sense of humour about life in the mix you’ll always make an impression.