Today we raise our fists high and put our hands together in celebration of our Feature Girl Warrior, Canadian actor, producer, director and writer Cindy Myskiw, the co-creator of the lively and entertaining talk show Big Talk which airs on Shaw Spotlight TV and YouTube. Cindy and co-host Sophia Trudzik talk about all the things that need to be said and heard. It’s about life in general and the way things affect us, whether on a personal level or otherwise. It’s about entertainment, humanity and opening up conversations. In addition to co-hosting Big Talk, Cindy also directs and produces the show. She just finished acting and directing her first short film, A Prairie Christmas. Cindy played Mrs. Karen Grimsley on the award-winning television series Millworth, which airs on Shaw and can be viewed nationally across Canada. Millworth won first place for a Narrative at the Real to Reel Film Festival in 2016. She directed two episodes and produced several, as well as, being in charge of hiring and placing all Background actors in eight episodes. In 2018 she landed her first paid union role in the Hallmark movie, Love in Design where she played the waitress, Carol, in the local diner. Not one to shy away from a new challenge, Cindy took up writing a few years ago. This led her to create the comedy TV series, Peg Style about four women vying for the same acting roles in the booming film industry of Winnipeg. Although Cindy had a difficult childhood, with divorced parents in her early teens, she feels all her trials and tribulations have helped her become the person that she is today. She began acting in 2005 with a community theatre group and it was there that Cindy fell in love with acting. She enjoys learning and improving her craft while honing her techniques. Cindy invites us all to enjoy the journey with her. And to that we say YES!
What makes you a Girl Warrior?
What makes me a Girl Warrior is the fact that I will fight for anyone. I will stand beside you if you’ve been wronged. I’m not afraid to voice my opinion about something. I try my best to be an honest, caring and loving woman no matter what. That no matter what I will rise, I will not be defeated by anyone anymore. I do my best to stand my ground and help other women do the same.
How did you get into acting?
I got into acting when my husband suggested I try out for an audition for a local community theatre. He said, “You’d be good at this.” So I auditioned and got the role.
What was holding you back from pursuing your dream sooner?
The answer to this question is a long one. It started when I was in my early teens. After my parents split up I became a very insecure and quiet person. I let others stand in the spotlight, like my sister who was in all the drama productions in school. I thought why bother trying, when she is already so good. No one will think I’m good enough, because I certainly didn’t think so. As I got older my insecurities and lack of self-confidence got in the way of really pursuing anything. Then I got married and had children. They were my primary concern. My husband was a big reason for me pursuing my dream eventually. After running my own home-based business for seven years I had to close it down because I shattered my right elbow. But through the years my husband always encouraged and reassured me that I could do and be anything I wanted. He was my rock and helped my self-confidence grow. So by the time I did audition for a play I was ready to finally follow a dream that had been waiting to unfold. From that day I never looked back. I just kept pushing myself for more and more. Making myself a promise and making goals so I had something to really push towards. My husband is my biggest supporter and FAN.
How did you feel landing your first paid union role? And congratulations!
I felt over the top when I heard I got the speaking role in my very first union paid production. I was crying and laughing all at once. I couldn’t believe that my dream was coming true.
Why does “size” matter in the film industry and how did you confront that issue?
Size matters in the film industry because it is all about your looks. Unfortunately. There are people in the industry that are really trying to change this but it is still all about your looks. They can’t discriminate about color, race, religion, disability and so many other things but they can still discriminate about your weight, if they choose too. Which is so very wrong. I know so many actresses who are not small but are fabulous actors but can’t get a role because of their size. I haven’t had to confront this issue as of yet, except in the Background roles. Because many times they ask for FIT and SLIM, SLIM and ATTRACTIVE people for a lot of these positions. So many times I haven’t been in the Background of certain movies because they can still make this request. My question to this is, who says a person of a larger size isn’t FIT? Just because they are larger than a size zero doesn’t mean they aren’t HEALTHY and FIT and they can certainly be ATTRACTIVE.
What’s the big idea behind Big Talk?
The idea behind BIG TALK is to open up conversations that are still considered TABOO or just not really talked about a lot. It is to help make conversations happen. To encourage people to have the conversation that is a lot of times still only done behind closed doors. It is to help people to open up and have healthy conversations with their children, family and friends. It is to help inform people about certain subjects that people are still very uninformed about. We hope to really push the envelope here and really get people talking. Make them aware of everything around them and that we all have a voice.
How has your life changed since you took the plunge and stepped on stage in 2005?
My life has changed big time since I took the plunge and stepped onto the stage in 2005. I have gained so much more confidence in myself, and how I look at things. I have learned so much about the industry here in Manitoba. I have so much more to learn too. I love learning everything I can about the film/television industry. But really the biggest change is just in myself. I live and breathe this work. I am not happy unless I am involved in a project of some kind. Whether it’s behind the scenes or in front of the camera. I just need to be PLAYING in the field of this industry. I have learned a lot about how I look at myself and what Acting means to me. Most importantly, I have learned that I need to be doing this. I don’t just want to be doing it, I NEED IT. Like I need air to breathe, I need to be involved in the industry in any capacity.
There has been so much heartbreak in the world in recent times. Tell us about your mission to “Heal the World One Hug and Heart at a Time.”
My mission to “Heal the World One Hug and Heart at a Time” is about Healing Humanity. We are in very troubled times. We have lost our touch and faith in HUMANITY. But it is never too late. I believe we are all born good and it is our raising that creates the evil we see in the world. There are so many people that go without love or human touch on a daily basis. How do you expect someone to know and show empathy or sympathy when they have never seen or felt it in their lives. We need human touch as much as we need air. When we are first born, there are two things as Humans we need – one, is air to breathe, and two, is human touch and connection. When we are deprived of air we will die. Well, when we are deprived of human touch and connection we die in a different way. We fail to thrive in the world where people are in constant contact with each other. But when you have never experienced this you can’t function in society. So I think if we start very small, by just reaching out and hugging each other more, and even hugging strangers, it can slowly start to create a change. Because if you can change just one person by either smiling into their eyes or hugging them and making them feel that someone actually ‘saw’ them, then we slowly start changing the way we interact with each other. We all affect each other. That is something we have forgotten along the way.
What has been your most memorable experience on set?
My most memorable experience on set thus far still goes back to “Heaven is for Real” with Randall Wallace directing. He treated everyone so wonderfully. The Background actors were just as important as the cast. He spoke to everyone he came in contact with. I was a featured Background on this set and he made me feel so special for being a part of the movie. It was like magic working on that set, for me at least.
Who would you love to work with and why?
This is a hard one to answer because I have a very big list. One person I would have loved to have worked with was Robin Williams. He was such a joy to watch on screen and off. He made me laugh and I always felt connected to him. Aside from him, there are several women I would love to work with: Jodi Foster, Meryl Streep, Sally Field, Diane Keaton and Goldie Hawn. They are all so talented in so many ways. They are Directors, Producers in their own right, and are such strong women who have come a long way in this industry. They also stand for a lot of the things I stand for, like the Rights of Women. They are caring human beings and it shows when you look at what they do when they aren’t working in front of the camera. There are a lot of men I would love to work with as well but there are just too many to choose from.
You’re also a writer and a director. What’s it like watching your words come to life?
As a writer and director it is amazing to see your words come to life before your eyes. It is an inexplicable feeling. It is like giving birth to a child. There is joy and pain all at once. Pain because now it is done and there is nothing more to do with it. The joy is in seeing it all come to fruition; that you created this and people can see your heart.
What have been the biggest challenges or obstacles that you’ve overcome – personally and/or professionally?
The biggest challenge is trying to get enough auditions here in Manitoba. We are still growing, so we have a lot of people up for the same roles. My biggest obstacle is the fact that I live two hours from the city of Winnipeg. So I do a lot of traveling. But we are trying to sell and move back to the city so there won’t be all the traveling.
What do we need to know “for sure” about the Film and Television Industry?
The thing you need to know “for sure” is that you never ever pay for someone to represent you. Only after they have gotten you work, do you pay someone. There are a lot of people who want you to pay them first because they say they have to promote you and pay for pictures and such bull. If they want you, they pay for that stuff up-front and they sell YOU. When you get the role then they get their commission and can pay for the work they did to promote you. So if someone is asking you for money up-front, run the other way!
What would you say to your younger Girl Warrior?
I would tell her to stand tall. Don’t let anyone tell you, that you can’t do what you want to do, no matter what it is. Always try and never give up. You have to be ready to live your dreams if you want them to come true. You are worthy and lovable.
What would you say to future Girl Warriors looking for inspiration?
I would tell future Girl Warriors the same thing I tell them now. If you can dream it, you can do it. Never let anyone say you can’t. Because we all can, sometimes it just takes a little longer for some people then for others. We are all worthy of love and compassion. We all have the right to speak and don’t let fear stop you.
Who is/are your Girl Warrior hero(s) and why?
This is a tough question. I don’t know if I really have one. Or if I do, there are many because they all have something that I admire. One of them is my grandmother Alma Durocher. She helped raise us when we were young and my parents split. She was such a tiny person but man she was strong. Strong willed, determined and strong-minded. She taught me a lot. She was always willing to listen and could talk to us about anything and everything. Her stories made me want to be like her because she had survived so much and was still this beautiful, loving and caring person. I think that is why I care so much about people now.
Blue Sky it. No boundaries here, just limitless opportunities. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself with two different shows running. First, I see Big Talk being a success and having a lot more to say. I see the second TV show that I’m getting off the ground, up and running, on a major network with a lot of my fellow Manitobans working with me. I see me landing a role in a major motion picture and I see myself giving speeches for a lot of the things I am passionate about, like mental illness.
What makes you laugh uncontrollably? Cry out all the tears?
My husband can make me laugh uncontrollably, and cry. He is just my other half no matter how I look at it. We are two sides of a whole. He will say the silliest things and cause me to laugh so hard I cry and my belly hurts. But he can also make me cry because when he gets hurt it is like I am hurt as well. When I think of him being in any kind of accident (which he has had) I am in great pain and have a hard time controlling the tears. Something else that causes me to cry uncontrollably is when I am deeply hurt by a friend.
What has been your biggest disappointment/triumph?
My biggest triumph is my children, which can also be my biggest disappointment. It is disappointing when they don’t push themselves as hard as I know they should. When they let their lives just slide by instead of taking life by the horns and going after what they want. But at the same time, I am so darn proud of who they are because they stand up for what they believe. They stand up for their friends and family. They treat people with kindness and would give the shirt off their backs to help someone. They are just very kind human beings that I am very proud of.
If a play were written about your life, what would it be called?
It would be called “Keep on Climbing.”
To learn more about Cindy head over to her website at:
And on IMDb at:
Subscribe to Cindy’s YouTube channel:
Follow Cindy on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/cindy.myskiw
And Twitter: https://twitter.com/CinRoseQ
Check out the “A Prairie Christmas” movie trailer: