Samora Smallwood, Toronto actor is in tune with her own rhythm and believes a Multipod is “being good at many things but better at discovering what makes you happiest.” Samora’s self assurance is the reason I cast her in my short film ‘On A Break?’ She plays Jill who foils Alex’s (Jason Tannis) manipulative plan of “hooking up when ‘On A Break?’ from his on again off again girlfriend.
Since that chilly January night in 2011, Samora has steadily built her reel acting in independent shorts and features, and landing roles on Designated Survivor, Suits and The Expanse. And as a member of ACTRA Toronto and the Diversity Committee’s Co Chair she is working to further equality and diversity on and off screen. Samora took time out for a quick chat with MPM (MultiPodMotivator) from the set of Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments shot here in Toronto.
“What did you want to be when you grew up? Did you always want to be an actor?” (MPM)
“When I was really little I lied…because my family was full of academics and I was afraid that to them acting was not a “real” profession. So I pretended I wanted to be a doctor or lawyer or occupational therapist to appease everyone, but my grandfather mostly!” Samora added she always loved performing, making up songs, dances, and putting on accents. “So, I suppose that’s a long way to say yes I did always want to be an actor.” SS
“What interests do you remember being passionate about when you were young?” MPM
“I loved art. I would use my babysitting monies to buy art supplies and we’d put on gallery shows in the basement. I always loved coming up with stories to terrify/entertain my brother and sister. Once I took my little brother into the attic and convinced him aliens had taken over our house and we were only allowed to live up in the attic. He had a complete meltdown–howling, sobbing, thrashing…he really wouldn’t be calmed down. I got in big, big trouble for that one.” SS
“What jobs did you do in the past?” MPM
“I worked at a Summer Camp at the University. It was called Dino Dig and we even set up an archaeological dig for the kiddies. That was cool. I worked as a make-up artist for years (this gal loves her glam), and despite how cliche it is, I worked in restaurants also.” SS
“Barbara Sher talks about needing the support system in order to flourish. I wholeheartedly agree. Even if it’s not people who are pushing you on a task by task basis you do need people who are checking for you, making sure you’re happy and loved in the pursuit of your goals.” SS
“Is there an interest or job you have yet to pursue?” MPM
“I would like to have the chance to play a role on an ongoing basis to connect with women globally.” SS
“Is there a piece of music or poetry that keeps you motivated and feeling hopeful about your life and passions?” MPM
“Tell me about your art as an actor. Why is it a passion? Why do you pursue it? What does your art reveal about the artist that creates it?” MPM
“It brings me closer to people. I am ultimately curious about the world and what makes people unfurl. I pursue it because the thought of not doing it is terrifying. Hopefully my art will reveal about myself some bravery that someone can relate to or rely on.” SS
“Can you see a MultiPod/Multipotentialite movement growing to educate young people into diversifying their talents and skills in preparation for 21st century employment?” MPM
“I think that looking outside traditional norms surrounding economy, gender, sexuality etc could very much help the next generation grow into what our present culture can afford them. The most important thing to every person, whether they are an artist or not, is to remain tuned into the rhythm inside you.” SS
I understood the importance of tuning into your own rhythm. Samora’s mindset resonated with a mantra I’ve adopted lately, Shakespeare’s “to thine own self be true”. ‘On A Break?’ was a project undertaken and created in true MultiPod spirit: boldly and impulsively. But since then and until recently I was in a bad groove and out of rhythm with my own spirit. Yes I was doing some amazing things travelling to Kenya and hang gliding in Rio de Janeiro. But there was a disconnect and my life was out of balance. And it took a South American plant medicine, Ayahuasca to deal with my depression and revive my creative passion and curious nature when all other remedies had failed.
But finding that still place or remaining in one spot has always been a challenge because of my restless energy. And, adopting a yoga and meditation regimen has been futile. I recognize the value of both practices I just don’t have a lot of discipline. But, I have found that painting grounds me. I lose all track of time. Mixing colour and creating textures has become a great stress reliever and gives me peace. Becoming reacquainted with painting has unleashed a burst of creativity and helps to managing my energy in my personal and professional pursuits with greater efficiency. And funnily enough, it was researching pour painting techniques that led me to discovering The Putty Tribe and recognizing myself as a Multipotentialite/MultiPod.
Samora had to return to the set of Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments but added that being still helped her step into her heart and soul where no pettiness nor judgment or fear could touch her and within that connection realize her true life goal of being in tune with her own rhythm.
Thank you Samora Smallwood for time and wise words.