Check out our interview with talented producer, writer, and actor Perrie Voss who can be seen in the second and final season of the queer, female-driven original dramedy AVOCADO TOAST THE SERIES, which just launched on OUTtv.com, froot.tv, and more.

Season 2 of the intergenerational sex comedy tackles some of life’s toughest hurdles with humour, touching on themes of female friendship breakups, physical health with Molly’s endometriosis/adenomyosis diagnosis (mirrored after star/creator Heidi Lynch’s own journey with the illness), and mental health and burnout, which is based on Voss’s experience with her own mental health.

The season has already won a number of awards on the festival circuit in categories such as Best Pilot (New York International Film Awards), Best Production (Tuscany Web Fest), Best LGBTQ+ Series (London Movie Awards), and Best Web Series (Red Movie Awards).

Follow Perrie @perrievoss

Hi Perrie, please tell us a little about you?

I was born and raised in The Beaches in Toronto. I’m always trying to find different ways to express myself creatively. I’m an actor, screenwriter, producer, and editor. I’m also a visual artist but just by way of hobby and expression. I love animals and I love being in nature so when I’m not on set filming, you can find me by a lake, the rocky mountains, or somewhere in a forest.

Describe yourself in 3 words?

Tenacious, funny, creative.

How did you get started into acting?

I started in extra curricular classes when I was eight, I think? Since I could breathe I knew I wanted to be an actor and my parents resisted getting me an agent before graduating school so I was able to learn improv and the basic techniques from those acting classes and just be a kid and play. After high school, I went to George Brown Theatre School, which is a three-year classical conservatory program, so we learned all the classics. I did theatre for the better part of a decade after graduating. In 2016, I was feeling restless and had a fantastic experience on a short film that ended up going to TIFF. A lightbulb lit up in my brain and I realized that film and TV and that type of acting was where I wanted to commit my energy, so I switched into film and TV full time.

How has this changed your life? 

I can’t remember a time where I didn’t want to be an actor, so that has been consistent throughout my life, but I would say the biggest change was committing to putting my career towards film and TV because it’s also around the time we decided to start writing our series. It’s also around the same time that I went to night-school for editing. Getting into film as an actor opened up a whole new universe of career paths that all convened. I felt really limited for full expression in theatre because my brain is so visual. So it’s also great for my creativity, which loves having a multitude of avenues.

What is the best and worst part of being an actress?

I think the worst is the doubt that creeps up between jobs sometimes, wondering when my next role is coming, or if it ever will, or if work has just dried up forever, even if it’s only been a few weeks. I’m working on not believing that inner voice because it hasn’t been right once, it’s such a drama queen (no pun intended).

And the best part is digging into the meat of a new character. I also love how much I learn from other actors every time I’m on set. People come from so many different walks of life and there is such a fluctuation of experience levels. Every single time I wrap a project I think, “Wow I learned so much.” I’m a very practical learner so being on set is like a master class every time.

How do you prepare for a role?

The biggest thing for me is to get off book (memorized) as soon as possible. I want the words in my body. I usually move with them or just recite them so they’re totally a part of me. Then I do the basic stuff like, where is the character coming from, where is the character going. But the biggest thing is getting the essence of them. So that changes from role to role, but it always involves movement of some kind. And then I like to come with all of that ready on the day and just be ready to play with my co-actors. When all the prep is done that’s where the magic happens for me, within that chemistry and play.

Tell us about your work on the queer, female-driven original dramedy AVOCADO TOAST THE SERIES?

Heidi and I created the concept for it based on our real-life experiences. We had just met that summer doing a play and my parents were splitting up really suddenly in the middle of our rehearsals, and Heidi had realized she was bisexual shortly before we met. We were crying and laughing through some very tumultuous times in our lives. But we realized that we can’t be the only people who have felt these huge experiences in their late 20s and early 30s so we decided to write about it and make our chemistry come to life on screen. We were really cutting our teeth on the first season, all we really knew how to do professionally was act, but we wrote it, produced it, and then I also edited it with Anna Catley (who also worked on Season 2). More practical learning for me but, wow, was it useful. We stuck to our big visions of our story and with the incredible help of a great crew and especially our epic director, Sam Coyle who was with us since the very beginning, we made the thing we had been dreaming about.

What can we expect for Season 2?

Our characters have taken a huge divergence from Season 1. We still wanted to tell stories that meant something to us and that we had real-life experiences in, so our protagonists went with us. Molly and Elle are still dealing with some big learning curves and have had a falling out. Molly has been diagnosed with endometriosis and Elle’s mental health got the better of her and her overwork and burnout lands her looking for help in a wellness community that turns out to be a cult. For Elle’s storyline, I again used experiences of my own life. The cult is a metaphor, but I wanted to talk about dealing with panic attacks, anxiety, and breakdowns. I also wanted to use the allegory of a cult leader to talk about bullying and manipulation, which I have experienced from people I thought I could trust, and I’ve finally learned the difference between healthy and toxic relationships. So I wanted to bring those hard stories out of me and share with our audiences, again by way of connection and continuing the ever important mental health conversation. We also have Alexander Nunez who had a smaller part in Season 1, but returned as a writer and third lead actor for Season 2. He ended Season 1 as Elle’s assistant but now he has a beautiful story arc trying to navigate work and dating. We also have some incredible new actors joining our cast, Clare McConnell and Prince Amponsah. It’s a rich tapestry of comedy and tears.

What other projects have you been part of?

I have kept busy since Season 1 with both acting and editing in film, short films, digital series, and network TV series. I’m very excited about a short film called Alex that Aisha Evelyna directed, wrote, and co-starred with me and I edited it. It’s a beautiful and important short film and it’s getting some great recognition at festivals right now. I also had a lot of fun on The Boys in Season 2, Letters to Satan Claus, and Murdoch Mysteries.

What kind of roles do you like or would like to play and why?

I’m always drawn to comedic and character-driven roles because improv and comedy are my roots, but the more I work in film, I recently have loved the more subtle naturalistic characters and the nuance that slowly reveal themselves throughout the story. Some quirk or weird secret is also a lot of fun to play. I love a mystery and I’m also a sucker for a period piece!

What’s your advice for the newer actors? 

Keep going, just keep going. Find a joe-job that puts you in line with your acting goals while you’re waiting for the next part. Take screenwriting classes or something else that interests you but that keeps you making money but in the field. Also! Actors are treated like royalty on set but we’re not. It’s so important learn your crew’s names when you’re on set and what their position is and why it’s important to the whole production. Be as kind as you can to them as well. They’re working harder and longer hours than any actor on that set and the production wouldn’t happen with out their hard work.

What would you say are the greatest lessons you learned so far in this business?

You never know why you’re cast or not cast. Just keep showing up, and remember casting isn’t personal, even when it feels like it is. Casting is a huge puzzle piece and from my experience of being on the other side of the table it’s incredibly difficult to choose one person over another sometimes but that person just “fits” better than the other. That was a huge eye opener from me.

What’s next for Perrie Voss?

I just finished filming a couple projects coming out later this winter and mid-2023. I’m also in the last three episodes of the CBC show Strays, Season 2, which are going to air by mid November. I’m playing one of my favourite roles ever in that series and had the absolute best time on that set. I’m also hoping to start filming my next digital series Stories from my Gay Grandparents in the spring of 2023, and I’m so excited to make this big queer series with my co-creator, Scott Farley! We’re just getting a few things in order. I’m also developing a narrative feature film based around horses (my favourite animal) and those projects are feeding my heart and soul. I’m also really focusing on my mental health and making that the forefront of my decision making, so projects, plans and people need to feel 100% aligned with my goals and general well-being.

If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?

I wish I could have met my maternal grandmother when she was younger. She was creative, resourceful, a prodigal piano player, epic cook, and had to quit school at 16 to provide for her three younger sisters and brother. A complete badass, tomboy, beautiful, life of the party. I’m still in awe of what she accomplished with such incredibly limited means and I wish I knew her before she was in her demise. I might write a film about her one day.

Best advice ever given?

“If you don’t ask, you won’t get it.” And “You have to look out for your own best interests because no one else knows what those are unless you tell them.”

Where can we follow you?

You can follow me on Instagram @perrievoss

Favourite:

Book: I can’t pick just one! I absolutely love Hot Milk by Deborah Levy (which is being made into a film right now!), Fight Night by Miriam Toews, Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood, and Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie McDonald.

Quote: “You may have to die as a small being in order to be what you could possibly be” – Professor Eric Dodson. And “Burnout is a form of redirection. Trust the reroute.” – Lalah Delia

Tv Series: This changes every time I’m asked it I think, haha. Right now it’s Succession. I’m on pins and needles for the next season to drop.

Travel Destination: Portugal and Greece are currently on my list to visit/never been.

 


 

Photo credit: Sam Coyle