Eva Mendes isn’t the only woman who got one of her first big breaks in a Will Smith video. Back when Joanna Bacalso first signed with FORD Modeling Agency and left Toronto behind to try her luck and talent out in LA, she was hand-picked by Smith to star in the “Just Cruisin'” music video. She’d only been in southern California for a month, but it was a sign of things to come: ads for Budweiser, Gap and Banana Republic; TV appearances on The Jamie Foxx Show, La Femme Nikita, and Ally McBeal; roles in films like Half Baked (with Dave Chappelle), Bedazzled, and Dude, Where’s My Car?.
Although best known for her role in Disney’s Snow Dogs with Cuba Gooding, Jr., Bacalso is now starting a career behind the camera as a director. Poetically enough, she made her directorial debut shooting a music video for her award-winning singer-songwriter sister-in-law, Saskia Garel. Thanks to the success of the venture, Bacalso is now producing/directing a children’s TV show featuring Saskia’s soon to be released children’s album entitled All in a Day’s Play. We caught up with the woman of many hats to find out more…
Tell us a bit about yourself. What should people know?
I was born in the Philippines and raised in North York. Does the term occupational ADD exist? I am mother/wife/model/actress/photographer/producer/director/artist/art collector/real estate investor/manager. I love reggae, surfing, galavanting with friends and family. My husband and three children are all avid surfers.
What are the biggest challenges and best rewards about what you do?
The biggest challenge is that I have a hard time turning down a great project. I overwhelm myself with juggling too many of them, yet I love collaborating with amazingly talented and creative people which inspires me to accomplish a varied slate of projects. For example, in March 2014, I started painting studies in lifeguard towers (acrylic on wood and canvas). I sold nine pieces to various collectors in Manhattan Beach, CA within two months. I was floored!
What are three things you can’t live without?
My family, having laughter in my life, and autonomy.
Finish this sentence: I love Toronto because…
…it has been very good to me in so many ways.
What’s your favourite restaurant and why?
Pho Hung. I’ve been eating there for 25 years. I go especially for their wings and spring rolls. Yum!
What’s one of your favourite go-to designers/brands or accessories lines and why do you sport their fashions?
I love Bottega Veneta bags and anything by Stella McCartney. The fit, creativity, and attention to detail makes me feel hip, cool, and sexy.
What products are always in your beauty/grooming bag?
Nothing adds a glow better than my Chanel lip gloss and eye drops for my dry eyes.
What style trends are you obsessed with right now?
I love trends in furniture design and industrial design.
What’s your favourite spa or service?
Massage all the way, and, of course, a great pedicure.