Abigail Winter is best known for her role as Jess Geller on the television series Mary Kills People, but her creativity doesn’t end with acting — Abigail has also written four short films, and she’s a singer/songwriter with an EP coming out this spring. She and I had a great conversation recently in which I got to know more about her and how she found her way into her various artistic pursuits, and by the end of our chat I realized that I found a kindred spirit in Abigail, as we had so much in common, having a shared interest in cooking, a mutual love of reading (we spent a good amount of time swapping book recommendations!) and we even have a mutual acquaintance in common. Abigail is a lovely person with depth of soul and it’s a pleasure to introduce her.
Abigail’s introduction to acting was a bit of a fluke — when she was 6 years old she accompanied her mother, a music teacher, to an audition for The Sound of Music and ended up getting a role in the production. She was cast in several productions following that one, and though at first acting was something that she just did for the sake of it, by the time she was aged 10, and performing in productions such as To Kill A Mockingbird at the Stratford Festival, she became consciously aware that acting was something she was sure she wanted to do as a career going forward. By age 16, Abigail had transitioned from theatre to film & television, a medium she really connected to. Her acting role models are fellow Canadians Megan Follows and Sarah Polley, and she especially looks up to Ellen Page, ever since seeing her portrayal as Juno in the film of the same name. Abigail appreciates her style of acting, but also respects her as a person and how she uses her voice in the world. Abigail’s ultimate dream role would be to one day play a character like that of Juno, that is to say, a very distinct character cast in a quirky, coming of age movie. I half-joked that since she’s already written screenplays, perhaps she should write her own movie to star in! Writing, like acting, wasn’t something Abigail planned on getting into but it’s something she loves doing. She got her start when a friend had a great idea for a story that she wanted to submit for a contest, but no time to write it, so Abigail took on the challenge. She loves writing because sorting her thoughts and ideas allows her to make sense of the world, and as much as she loves acting, finds that writing is a more sustainable endeavour.
Closing the loop on Abigail’s trifecta of artistic talent is her budding singing career. Her first single, Electricity, has a folksy vibe with pop notes and a hint of a celtic, east coast sound. Abigail enjoys blending genres and she nailed it perfectly with this song. It’s fun and upbeat, and will be released on her EP along with 5 other songs this spring. Abigail is clearly a true creative full of artistic talent, and I’ll be watching closely as her star rises.
Want more? Here’s what #WeWantToKnow about Abigail:
I can't start my morning without...coffee! So cliche but true. Oh and a crossword.
I have a weakness for...anything that has to do with travel and adventure. I dream of the day that I can convert a VW van into a temporary home and drive to all the best surf beaches.
Most people don't know that I...was trained in Russian Ballet. It feels like a completely separate part from the rest of my life. I find that my dance training has given me a really good foundation of respect for my body but could never imagine putting on those pointe shoes again!
Currently reading... “Two Steps Forward” by Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist. I’m still in the first chapter so can’t give an accurate idea if it’s good read, but so far it’s got a lot of great humour, which I love.
An important lesson I learned from a challenge I faced... I recently went through a couple years where it seemed like everything that could go wrong, did, and what I learned from that period of time is that everything (people, circumstances etc.) is sent our way for a specific reason. Sometimes these things are awesome and sometimes they make your life fall apart. I started to realize that the harder you resist the uncomfortable bits of life, the more intend they will get. So that’s why I try to approach everything as an opportunity to learn something. It may not be the lesson I want, but every time I get to the other side of something difficult, I see the necessity of why it needed to happen.
I want... to live by the ocean some day. I feel like life immediately becomes simple by the water. I also want to start a production company specifically for first-time female screenwriters—kind of like a guide through the overwhelming process of taking an idea and putting it into action.
Thanks Abigail, for participating in #WeWantToKnow!