Nanaimo's Sandy Sidhu to appear in film at VIFF, but the actress is still waits for her big break
It took years for Nanaimo's Sandy Sidhu to admit that she was an aspiring actress.Enrolled at UBC for cell biology and genetics- "I'll just go to school and become a doctor," an unsure 20-something Sidhu decided at the time - it didn't take long for her to notice "this gap" in her life.chandigarh Updated: Sep 30, 2014 21:04 IST
It took years for Nanaimo's Sandy Sidhu to admit that she was an aspiring actress.Enrolled at UBC for cell biology and genetics- "I'll just go to school and become a doctor," an unsure 20-something Sidhu decided at the time - it didn't take long for her to notice "this gap" in her life.
Growing up, she was always interested in the arts, constantly drawing and participating in school theatre - but with her demanding university schedule, that fell by the wayside.
That is, until one summer when she performed in a fulltime production of Jesus Christ Superstar, sparking her interest again and leading her to enroll in night time acting classes.
"I never shared with anyone that I was pursuing an acting career because I was a little embarrassed," Sidhu told Vancouver Desi.
"I'd just make so much fun of it (in conversation) to protect myself from people judging me because I was judging myself .I was moving from the life of a guaranteed income and to this career."
"I didn't think that someone like me would follow that career path.It didn't seem like a girl from Nanaimo could do something like that."
But after a couple of years she was in love with the industry and "finally gained the confidence to say, 'I'm an actress in Vancouver.'"
And while she's booked roles in two feature films this year - one alongside Ellen Page, which she can say little about as it's yet to be officially announced, and another Vancouver-based film, Preggoland, which premieres at the Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) on Tuesday her more than five years in the industry have been anything but easy.
"The industry isn't glamorous at all," she said. "It definitely was a struggle when I first started - it was something that I questioned."
She managed to start out with small roles in television series like Stargate Universe and Shattered, until she landed the two feature films this year - but she's still waiting for that big break.
"I consider myself to be just a classic example of what it means to be a Vancouver actor.I'm doing the grind, I'm doing the hustle," said Sidhu. "The rut that you don't want to get into is waiting for the phone to ring."
"But I'm entering this with confidence finally, I trust that if you just stick with it, opportunities will happen - and I love it."
So while she auditions and works with her agent to scout potential roles, she's putting her energy and focus into producing short films with another local actress, Crystal Lowe. Her first short, Fade Out, was awarded a bravoFACT grant and shot in Vancouver with local talent. Her second short, Becoming Sophie, is currently in post-production and was also shot locally with Vancouver talent.
But Sidhu's end goal is still to "carve out a life-long career as an actress."
And while she admits it's an industry where "there are no guarantees," at least she's finally gained the confidence and acceptance that "as an actor, this is just kind of what we sign up for."
"My passion for it hasn't lessened, I'm continuing to push myself to grow as an actor," she said. "You have to keep the faith, you have to trust the process."
Preggoland premieres at Vancouver Playhouse on Tuesday at 6:15 p.m.
First Published: Sep 30, 2014 20:49 IST