We are asking women in the entertainment industry around the world some key questions about their life and career. Here is T.J. Milne based in Waterloo, Canada.
1. In which part of the industry do you work?
Classical Ballet/Contemporary Dancer-Artist-Performer
2. Have you drawn professional inspiration from other women in the entertainment industry? How have they inspired you?
Working with several driven and very motivated woman in the entertainment industry has given me such inspiration to follow my heart in my career.
My first woman mentor was Patti Caplette, who was a former principal dancer with Royal Winnipeg Ballet. After her career as a dancer, she created the first touring children’s musical theatre company in Canada, that brought children’s favourite television characters to life on stage. Never shying away from any challenge, Patti Caplette started from nothing and created a very fun and successful company called Koba Entertainment. Always thinking outside of the box and bringing the magic to the stage for children. She nurtured many up and coming artists, embracing all of us for who we were, as we found our way in the performing industry.
Another inspirational woman that I have crossed paths with in my performing career is Noelle Corner. She plays the leading character role of the Dark Queen in Franco Dragone’s show, The House of Dancing Water. Not only is she a bold and fierce leader onstage, she has also been a mentor off the stage. When she removes her tight corset and high heels, she is often the spokesperson in company meetings, the planner for social club activities, our fitness instructor after hours and a mentor to anyone learning a role in the show. She fearlessly lives her life chasing every goal her heart desires, but also has the courage to follow the path that uplifts woman.
3. What would you tell young women who are just starting out? What would you like them to know?
I would love to tell young woman, beginning their career as a dancer or in the entertainment industry, to always choose kindness with every soul you meet and work with. There may be moments in your career that feel demanding on you, but if you have a great group of supportive friends by your side, you will be able to share all the happy, challenging and in-between moments with them. This support system will always encourage you to keep improving yourself as an artist, and to not give up.
4. What is the best piece of career advice you have ever received?
“Full out and with feeling”- Johnny Kim. My artistic coordinator from The House of Dancing Water would always say this words in our rehearsals. These words have shaped me and I have applied this advice to all aspects of my life. Each time I step on stage, I will always dance “full out and with feeling.” The audience can feel if you are being genuine in your craft and they can sense if you are giving it your all. I have also practised these words of wisdom outside of the stage too. I try to always to be present in my interactions and use all my senses when interacting with others. This is when the magical friendships, mentorships and memories happen.
5. Please share one of your toughest challenges in your career. How did you overcome?
One of my toughest challenges was when I broke my collarbone in 2016. This was a moment that removed me from the stage and halted me from doing what I loved most, DANCING. I learned valuable life lessons in this time such as how appreciative I am of the human body and how it always wants to heal. I found my deep determination to work hard to build my strength to safely come back to the stage. I also learned to deeply love life, without the consistency of dance to bring me joy. The motivational words from friends, and kind moments I experienced in this healing time, have changed me for the better.
6. What is your favorite musical or play?
Phantom of the Opera.
7. What is your morning routine?
Meditation, Oracle Cards, Gratitude Journal and 3 cups of coffee 🙂
8. Drink of Choice?
9. What is a phrase you are known for saying?
…I don’t have a signature saying.
BONUS QUESTION 10. What advice would you give to other women in the industry?
Be brave, be bold, and follow what your heart says. Don’t be afraid to be different and to share with others what sets your soul on fire as you could be that mentor in someone else’s journey.