Realist: Mia Kirshner: actress, one-time Degrassi hopeful,apprentice escort

Saturday Night Magazine.
“Don’t even get me started on Degrassi Junior High. When I was a
little kid, I wanted to be on Degrassi so badly. When I got a letter saying
that they wanted me to audition, I was beside myself. I thought, `This is it!
This is the start of my career in Canada!’ About two weeks after the audition,
I got another letter, saying, `Thank you, but we’ve decided not to use you.’
Even now, thinking of how upset I was…. It was just heartbreaking. I cried
and cried and thought, `Well, that was my only shot. I’ll never be an actress
in Canada.’

“In my upcoming film, Century Hotel, I play a woman who’s an escort. She falls
in love with a man but never tells him. Their love affair continues over
thirteen years. I did research for this film in a way that I don’t do a lot. I
met with escorts in Toronto, and they taught me so much about sex and the
etiquette of taking the money. I also went through a lot of the pictures that
photographer Nan Goldin took of prostitutes in the mid-eighties. I love the
way the women have their eyeliner smeared and frizzy bleach jobs and that you
can see the lines in their faces. That seemed like what my character should
be. In fact, I had really bad skin at the time and I begged the director,
David Weaver, to let me show the acne and he said, `No, I think it’s a little
too much.’ And I was, like, `David, this is the only time in your career that
you’re going to have an actress begging you to show her acne.’

“I’ve changed a lot in the past year or two. For me, the movie business has
become secondary to my own life — my travels, the books that I read, and my
friends and family. The hype doesn’t mean anything. The defining moment for me
was when I was doing publicity for a film at the Ritz-Carlton. I was in this
majestic suite filled with champagne and chocolates and flowers and I thought,
`Wow, I would love to show this to my friends. But none of them are here and
none of them can be here. I guess this is what it means to be successful.’
That’s when I thought, `Okay, it’s time to re-evaluate what’s important.'”

Mia Kirshner co-stars with Tom McCamus, Colm Feore, Chantal Kreviazuk, and
Raine Maida in Century Hotel, which will premiere at the Toronto International
Film Festival in September. She will also appear in Not Another Teen Movie, a
comedy that opens this winter.


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