Last year I was at a Christmas party and Stacy-Ann Buchanan gave me a copy of her 2013 show “The Mystic Effect”.
I was so impressed with the production quality and content that I had to connect with Stacy to talk about her journey in the world of acting, and what keeps her going through all the ups and downs.
How old were you when you got into acting?
Born and raised in Clarendon, while living in Jamaica I was always fascinated with Miss Lou.
And now you are on stage with Ms. Letna, who does Ms. Lou skits as well.
I was 14 when I first came to Canada, and I had a very thick Jamaican accent. People called me a freshie (laughs) So I started taking drama classes, not only to overcome my shyness, but also to help me assimilate into the Canadian society by learning the nuances of the Canadian vernacular.
What I really loved about drama was that I could be anybody on stage. My high school drama teacher mentored me, and I ended up winning the best actor award in high school. I knew this is what I wanted to do with my life.
Where did you go to school for acting?
George Brown for Theater, and Humber college for Film & Television.
Who would you credit as the greatest influence on your career to date?
Marcia Brown is my Canadian mother. She gives me advice on everything, from business to personal matters. Marcia was the one that encouraged me to set up the JCA scholarship, which is financed by proceeds from The Mystic Effect.
How did you come up with the concept for the Mystic Effect?
In 2011, when I was living in Vancouver I suffered from anxiety, severe depression and had suicidal thoughts. I didn’t feel as if I was achieving my personal goals. I wanted to be like Halle Berry, and things were not going to plan. I felt like a loser coming back to Toronto and feeling like I didn’t attain what I had set out to do. I believed things would happen on my time, but really things happen on God's time.
On the day before my 30th birthday, I was praying and asked God for direction. I was on vacation in Mexico at the time, woke up the next morning, and there was a story on E-News about actors who made it doing their own thing. Ben Stiller/Zoolander was on the show.
Then when I got back to Canada I was asked to co-host a show. The owner of the venue asked me if I would be interested in putting on a show myself. At the time I still wasn’t sure but knew that I wanted to produce a show that told a story of my personal journey, using different art genres; spoken word, acting, dance, fashion, music and art. This is the real secret to The Mystic Effect, using the arts as a vehicle to tell my personal story. The first show I did focused on the 15 year period of my life from age 15 to 30.
The event is only for emerging artists; no “famous” people are on the bill. I stalk out people and look for talent to perform. (laughs).
What can people expect in the show this year?
In this years show the new elements are that we have all female models, a beauty bar so that women can get touched up for free, and vendors; local artisans and businesses. This year's show is hosted by my friend and co-star of I Need to Know My Father, actor Damian Brown. We only have one host this year.
Random question: who are you planning to vote for as mayor of Toronto?
Olivia Chow is the frontrunner for me, being a woman and all, but there is still something fascinating about Rob Ford. I feel he has disloyal people around him, and people have been judging him mostly on his personal life, and not based on his effectiveness on the job.
Back to the Mystic Effect, what are you looking forward to the most about this year’s show?
Every year I go on stage and share the story about the show. This year the show is focused on women’s empowerment, and I can't wait to share that aspect of it.