Morgan Holmstrom is a performer based in Vancouver. Initially, she wanted to pursue a medical career, and ended up pursuing a science degree in college, but now counts successes such as Skymed and Shadow of the Rougarou among her professional performance experience! Holmstrom got her start as a model at 19 when her agent recommended she attend an audition for a movie in Winnipeg -- which she booked! She studied at various studios for acting, including A.M.A.W. in Vancouver, and took up private coaching with Andrew McIlroy. Her experiences have led to her flying to the U.K. for a role, performing fight scenes, completing EMT training, canoeing on gorgeous rivers (and of course, shooting hoards of zombies), and is currently working on a script to “highlight the journey of growing up poly-racial” as a Red River Métis and Filipina woman. She advises young artists to understand that stability does not come with a performance career, but that they should “get involved” by “[taking] classes, [reading] books, and [having] fun while [they’re] doing it.” Read on to learn more about Morgan Holmstrom and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Name: Morgan Holmstrom
Heritage: I’m Red River Métis (Indigenous group in Canada) and Filipina
Hometown: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Current City: Vancouver
Current project: Skymed
What are some of your favorite credits/projects:
Shadow of the Rougarou was one of my favourites to work on, which will be airing next year!
Any advice for young people getting into the arts?
Get involved! Take classes, read books, and have fun while you’re doing it!
How did you get your start?
I started modeling when I was younger and when I was about 19 my modeling agent told me there was a movie shooting in Winnipeg at the time that I should audition for. I had no acting experience so they told me to get a private coach for the audition. I ended up doing that and booking a very small one liner on the movie and I was hooked since then. I did do a few years in university taking science but ended up leaving and moving to Vancouver to pursue acting.
Do you have any favorite moments in your career that you'd like to share?
I’ve had so many amazing experiences so far. I’ve done really fun fight scenes, flown to the UK for a role, canoeing on a beautiful river, met some of my closest friends, had EMT training, shot hoards of zombies… The fun never stops!
What have you found is the biggest challenge in your career?
I think the biggest challenge is you’re always just waiting for what’s next. If you’re going to book another job. If you’re going to get another season. It’s always waiting for the phone to ring. If you want stability, this is not the job for you. It’s still hard to adjust to a lifestyle that is all over the place. But it’s starting to get a bit easier.
What are some interesting facts about yourself?
I played violin growing up, classical and Métis jigging! I went to university originally to become a doctor (that obviously didn’t happen lol), and I can say the alphabet in 3 languages and counting!
Who do you admire?
Anyone who has the guts to go after their dreams.
Did you always want to be in the arts or did you have another path before you got here?
I wanted to be a doctor first actually. That’s what I was studying in my first two years in university, but that didn’t last very long! After my second year, I left school and moved to Vancouver to pursue acting full time.
When did you know you wanted to have a career in the arts?
I knew when I was about 19 years old, and took it very seriously probably when I was 21.
Did you have any interesting “odd jobs” you worked at between gigs to pay the bills?
Many… I worked in a retirement home and was a manager in their kitchen, I worked as a receptionist at an agency, I served for probably 5 years at different bars and restaurants, I was almost a princess for parties but I couldn’t face paint well enough, I worked for Dyson in their hair department, I did a bunch of those paid online survey things during the pandemic to make a little extra cash and did modeling gigs when those came up!
Do you have any side projects you’d like to highlight?
I’m working on a script at the moment to highlight the journey of growing up poly-racial.
If you come from parents who aren’t in the arts, what parts of them do you see in yourself that have helped you succeed in the business?
Both my parents didn’t grow up in the arts. So I feel like my mom and dad's work ethic helped me, and my dad's excitement for storytelling.
If you could go back in time, what would you tell your younger self?
You don’t have to change yourself to fit in.
What skills did you find to be the most helpful in your career?
Not caring about other people's opinions!
Where did you study at?
I studied at a few different studios for acting. Mainly at AMAW in Vancouver and private coaching with Andrew McIlroy.
What are some goals you hope to achieve?
I hope to eventually write and produce my own projects!
What do you love most about what you do?
I love storytelling, the people I meet, bringing characters to life, learning new things all the time, traveling, the list is endless!
What helped you most to rebound from what you considered your biggest failure or mistake in your career?
I had an awful audition one time where I completely froze in the room and couldn’t remember a single line I learned. I ended up leaving the room in tears and cried my eyes out in my car in the parking lot. That was in 2017 and I honestly thought it was over; even just from one silly audition. I thought I ruined my reputation. But I got back up and tried again. And that’s all you can do.
Do you have any self care practices you do to stay focused and sane? What was your self care routine before the pandemic and how has that (as well as your views of self care) changed throughout the pandemic?
To be honest I could be much better at self care. But I try to make sure I have alone time, take myself to coffee shops and listen to music, zone out and watch YouTube videos. Those are the times where I can sit and breathe outside of this crazy industry. Before the pandemic I was definitely not prioritizing self care, I was working way too much and burning myself out. But during the pandemic I realized it’s incredibly crucial to slow down and take time for yourself.
How do you prepare for a role you consider difficult personally, whether it hits too close to home or goes greatly against your personal beliefs?
I prepare for these roles the way I would prepare for any other. I try not to attach labels to the projects I’m preparing for as it’s my job to find the purpose behind each character. I also have to remember that there are parts of me put into every role but it is not “Morgan” that I’m playing. Finding that separation/creating boundaries is important.
If you could name one point in time when everything changed for you, what was it?
There were a few major moments but a big one was when I booked Day of the Dead during the peak of the pandemic and my life basically did a full 180.
To find out more about Morgan, please visit her at:
Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok: @shmorgee
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