Tamsen McDonough: Today’s Notable Young Professional

Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneurs is writer and actress Tamsen McDonough, who you might know from films like The Incredible Hulk and Chloe. We caught up with her to learn about her inspiration and find out what advice she would share with other young professionals…


Describe what you do in less than 140 characters. Go.
I’m an actor and writer, currently one of the series regulars on the hit sci-fi series Killjoys on Space Channel. I’m the lovably sassy AI spaceship “Lucy.”

What was the inspiration for your career route?
I’m afraid it’s not a unique story. I’ve always loved stories, and acting is an incredible way to become a part of storytelling. And, more often lately, I’ve found myself writing stories, which has been really fulfilling creatively. I can make other actors do whatever I want…. insert evil laugh!

What is the most memorable milestone in your career so far?
A close second to being cast as this wonderful Killjoys character, I was asked last year to be on one of Space’s sci-fi panels at Toronto FanExpo with Aaron Ashmore. It was amazing to meet so many fans and see how creative they are and passionate about the shows they love. This experience has really let my (bigger than I realized) geek side soar.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years?
In case I haven’t already hit you over the head enough times with this, I have fallen further in love with the sci-fi genre. I could see myself working on more sci-fi shows, playing amazing characters that are only limited by the endless imaginations of the writers. Ten and 20 years in the future? Hmmm, that’s too far away for me. I’m a bit more of a ‘fly-by-the-seat-of-my-miniskirt’ kinda gal.

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Narrow down what you want to do and then figure out how you can do as much of it on your own, ie. not relying too much on others for your success. Then getting creative about how to achieve that success.

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is it (or they) important to you?
I’m a fan of any of the animal shelters, like the OSPCA and The Humane Society, but mostly all those wonderful small and/or private shelters that basically run on the donated time and money of incredible people who just want to make better lives for animals. I also really like Ignite the Spark that looks at what each child has to offer and helps to nurture whatever that may be. And I’ve been involved in numerous events with Habitat for Humanity (no builds yet… though, with my two left thumbs, that may be wise). I love that they work to ‘teach people to fish, rather than give them fish’.

What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
The limited control over my own career (waiting for the phone to ring). I found that taking up writing has kept the maddening ‘mouse on the wheel’ in my head occupied, making me a more open and connected actor.

What does the word notable mean to you?
To me, it means distinctive and interesting. Two things I’m always hoping/striving to be. Okay, and a superhero… [laughs]


Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
Jacob’s for steak, Gusto for wine, Montecito for Sunday brunch, and Fran’s for strawberry pancakes… any time or day of the week!

What’s the most visited website on your Internet browser? The most played song on your phone?
Yikes, I’m not exactly a hip person so these aren’t going to be pretty. I just moved, so Wayfair is getting lots of action, but otherwise it’s probably Twitter as I’m having tons of fun with all the Killjoys fans there (and I get to post stuff poking fun at my siblings…). Songs on my phone? I play a lot of pop and dance… pretty much anything I can bop around to and scare my neighbours.

Who’s one person you think everyone should be following on social media?
I’m a big fan of The Onion as, for me, it serves to keep people from taking themselves too seriously, and encouraging people to have a laugh while still touching on the current issues.

What’s your favourite country to visit and why? And what’s the next one you plan on travelling to?
I couldn’t pick just one country – that would be like picking a favourite child! The next few places to go on my list are Spain, Ireland, Scotland, and Scandinavia. Pretty much anywhere in Europe.

What gives you the greatest FOMO?
My family is all back in British Columbia and I miss being involved in all their fun (read: nutty) adventures and projects that they get involved with. Anyone heard of FlugTag or the Polar Bear Swim? #NuffSaid

What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
Egad, my dorkiness rears its goofy head again as I have too many of those: minions, watching great drag, romcoms, taking trapeze classes, using ellipses… and the list goes on…

What’s something you wish you didn’t spend so much money on? What’s something you wish you spent more on?
I wish I didn’t spend so much on my designer Barbies…. they’re taking over my place! It’s sad. I wish I spent more money on travel as I don’t make enough time to make it happen.

And finally, what does success look like to you? Work, play, or otherwise…
Hmm, I would love to be original and say something like: ‘unplugging and trekking the wilds of Indonesia and hiking to Machu Picchu’. But, I’m addicted to my cellphone and I’m pretty simple in what I want from life: balance. A balance of work, love, creativity, travel, charity, and time with friends and family… and, of course, creating a yummy lasagna that somehow doesn’t have any calories!