North York Post : 2018-12-01

Inspired : 22 : 22


T.O.’S MOST INSPIRATIONAL WOMEN OF 2018 DOMEE SHI TANYA TALAGA An investigative journalist and the 2018 CBC Massey lecturer A friend of mine had been telling me about his friend Tanya for a few years. He said we would get along, that we had a lot in common. He said she was a journalist, a writer, Indigenous and was born and bred in Toronto like me. It took a few years, but we finally met. It was after her critically acclaimed, award-winning book was released and she was becoming a household name. I was told by our mutual friend that she wanted to explore a business relationship and consider me as a director for a documentary about At our first dinner together I immediately felt like I was in the company of greatness. Our conversation seamlessly shifted from politics and Indigenous issues to personal struggles and identity crises. While I knew it was a business meeting, I was left vibrating. I felt so lucky to have shared a few hours with a woman who I believe to be one of the most critical voices in our country. The dialogue her storytelling provokes is paradigm shifting, and I have no doubt that the imprint she leaves will last throughout time, and people will look back and remember Tanya for breaking barriers and changing the landscape of Canadian/Indigenous relations. The thing I feel most lucky for is that we did work together on the documentary of We’ve spent a lot of time together, and I’m grateful to have the opportunity to create with someone who inspires me. Our mutual friend was right, we are similar and we do understand one another, and beyond working together, I’ve found a lifelong friend. Seven Fallen Feathers Seven Fallen Feathers. The first woman to direct a Pixar short with her film Bao For animation students, storyboarding is an intermediate process they need to learn to finish a film. Domee Shi’s work stood out in my first story class at Sheridan in 2008. For one thing, her draftsmanship was outstanding — the result of learning to draw at age five with her father Shi Li, an outstanding painter and educator. As the class went on, Shi continued to impress me. But when it came time to put together the final story reel, I was a bit discouraged when she told me that she was making a story about two students. It seemed so ordinary. The final product, however, was anything but. Shi developed a hate/love story between a couple that gets their hair stuck together with chewing gum. The plot builds until they are airborne with a flock of birds and cats stuck to peanut butter that was supposed to get the hair “unstuck.”The acting and story were so crazily original that it became part of her portfolio that landed her an internship at Pixar, which turned into a full-time job. Shi continues to develop complex characters in her work at Pixar. Her short film is a love/hate relationship between an overprotective mother and her child, using a dumpling as a fantastic surrogate. It provides a shocking twist midway and ends in a moving surprise. Shi succeeds amazingly with and her upcoming projects, which now include a feature film, will continue to surprise audiences. I’m so proud to see her bring a feminine perspective to Pixar and become the second woman to direct a feature film there. She will do them good. Seven Fallen Feathers. BY JENNIFER PODEMSKI ACTOR The Athlete REBECCA QUINN The highest drafted Canadian woman in the NWSL Some would say Rebecca Quinn is a natural, that awards and accolades have followed her most of her life, and they wouldn’t necessarily be wrong. The 23-year-old, all-round talented athlete and honours scholar has already had an outstanding athletic and academic career. Rebecca is an Olympic bronze medal winner with the women’s national soccer team. She’s received myriad top honours throughout her time with the Duke women’s soccer program, and most recently, she was drafted third overall in the 2018 National Women’s Soccer League college draft — the highest drafted Canadian in NWSL history. Without hesitation, I would say Rebecca’s influence on the game of soccer is far reaching, but it’s her conviction and strength of character that are most remarkable. Rebecca has earned every ounce of her accomplishments thus far. At six years old, she asked me (her first soccer coach) how old she had to be before she could join the women’s national team. Most children asking that question have the dream but aren’t prepared for the work associated with it. Rebecca is different. She is relentless and unapologetic, when it comes to her preparation, resilient in the face of crushing setbacks, the epitome of what a true teammate is and humble almost to a fault. Next summer Canada will compete at the Women’s World Cup in France — Rebecca was part of the team that qualified. With her sights set on the sport’s largest tournament, I have no doubt she will continue to inspire young athletes and, who knows, maybe even a six-year-old up-and-comer. Bao Bao, BY BREAGHA CARR-HARRIS BY NANCY BEIMAN FORMER COACH SHERIDAN PROFESSOR JESSICA PLATT SAADIA MUZAFFAR KARENA EVANS Toronto Furies player Jessica Platt became the first openly transgender woman to play in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League in January of this year. She hopes to help other transgender athletes feel comfortable with who they are. Saadia Muzaffar is a tech entrepreneur and advocate for the prosperity of women in STEM areas. She is the founder of TechGirls Canada and an ambassador for GEM, a mentorship program for high school girls facing socio-economic barriers. When Drake dropped the video for “God’s Plan,” his music video director Karena Evans was pushed into the spotlight. She has since directed his videos for “Nice for What,” “I’m Upset” and “In My Feelings,” and she’s not slowing down. Toronto is full of outstanding women who are blazing new trails. Here are a few more. 22

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