ANGELICA LISK-HANN - ROLE MODEL & AMBASSADOR
ACTOR / STUNT PERFORMER /STUNT COORDINATOR
MENTOR / ACTRA TORONTO STUNT COMMITTEE CHAIR
Officially Inducted into the “National Wall of Role Models” on June 7, 2014 ( See full list www.BlackCanadianAwards.com )
ANGELICA IS THE FIRST BLACK FEMALE STUNT COORDINATOR IN CANADA
Tell us a little bit more about yourself?
Well I was born in Toronto and moved to my Mothers hometown of Trenton Ontario where there were not any people of colour. My Mother was a model of Dutch descent and my Father was an African American football player. My Father and Mother could not stay together due to many issues regarding race in the 60's so my father went back to the US to play for The Atlanta Falcons in 1968, and that when my Mother made the decision to raise me here.
It was very difficult at times, growing up in a place where no one looked like you. I fought quite a bit.
My Mom was great and kept me busy with modelling, dance and such, but all I wanted to do was beat boys at sports. I excelled at every sport I tried and in High school was scouted to move to Toronto to train for the Olympics in Track & Field.
Once I was in the City I was immediately drawn to the arts and started booking commercials, videos & then a movie called "Half Baked" with Dave Chappell. That's where I met one of the top stunt coordinators- Brancko Racki and the rest is history. I started doing stunts, and had done so for 17 or so years then progressed into being a stunt coordinator.
I was helped tremendously along the way by my mentor Matt Birman, who is an actor, stunt man, stunt coordinator, 2nd unit director and now a full time award winning director.
I have been involved in my community for the most part with our Union-ACTRA Toronto. I have been on the stunt committee and have done workshops, organized classes and hosted events for our stunt membership and was fortunate enough to be voted to Chair our Committee for the next 2 years. I am very excited to see what great things we can accomplish as a community!!
I also have just started a mentorship program in The Cayman Islands where myself and a group of producers from Montreal are helping to bring a film industry there. Starting off by training their local people to be able to play supporting roles to our crews when we shoot there. I have a group of young men & women that I am mentoring and teaching how to take their gymnastic and parkour abilities to perform basic stunts, reactions, safety as well as how to shoot and edit the work that has been shot. I was there in August and these kids are amazing, out of all of the different things that I have my hands in at the moment, this is by far the most exciting to me and rewarding thus far.
Tell us something not many people know about you?
A lot of people might not know that I am a pretty decent golfer, and I am %100 addicted to it. My Husband Chris & his Father Norm have really helped me to improve over the last few years. As I write this I am getting ready to go to Myrtle Beach, SC for our annual family golf trip. Can't wait!!!!
What's your inspiration or how do you get motivated?
When I need inspiration I really just look around on set. I work with and have worked with some of the most talented stunt performers, riggers, coordinators & directors in the world and I am in awe most of the time. The other way is watching movies, I watch them and know how much effort went into that 1 scene, or that 1 gag, it excites me and makes my mind think of what I can do to make myself more dynamic as a performer as well as think outside the box in terms of co-ordinating and problem solving.
How did you get to where you are now and what more should we expect?
I got here with a dream, athletic prowess, a ton of determination and a little bit of luck.
I had no idea what a "stunt performer" was when I was little. One thing I did know was the best place for the Easy Bake Oven my Mom bought me for Christmas was directly under the
Evel Knievel doll that was jumping over it on his motorcycle with 2 matches taped to his handle bars. I would also "interview" our cat into a tape recorder my Mother bought me to sing into. I would ask the cat questions in the voice of Howard Cosell and squeeze the poor thing to make it answer. Let's just say she took the tape recorder away.... *no cats were ever harmed during the taping of my show! :) Also once I saw Oprah on air for the first time it was all about her. A woman of colour on the telly!! WOW! I immediately lost the Howard Cosell interviewers voice :)
What would you like to be remembered for?
I would like to be remembered for hopefully what will be a great body of work by the time all is said and done. But if nothing else, that I was a good person and a giving one.
How do you balance work, family, friends and leisure?
Balancing it all seems natural to me. I don't seem to ever really shut off. I can go from work, to an event then home to clean the litter box. They say sleep when you’re dead and I agree!
What's your favorite food, book, music and movie?
My favourite book I actually just read last month. The Book of Negroes. I had such an emotional connection to Aminata and I cried on some pages, and smiled on others. It was a very hard but incredibly satisfying read. I am trying to convince Clement Virgo to let me be the stunt coordinator as they are making this book a movie. Please wish me luck with that.
Favourite food, that's a hard one. I would take a Lobster or a big juicy steak, both with a large glass of wine.
Music, anything that can make me dance. Love my old school jams, and anything from the 90's. If you have ever heard DJ Spence Diamonds spin, you will understand where I am coming from :)
Favourite movie, now that's a really tough question as there are just too many really. Every Bond movie ever made, The Colour Purple, Star Wars, The Shining, Matrix (only the first one), Forest Gump. I have so many favourites mostly older.
When will Canada have several role models and institutions like Obama, Beyonce, Oprah, Tyler Perry, BET, etc.
I feel like Canada is catching up to the US in terms of hearing about people stepping up and actually wanting to mentor in the community. I use the term mentor more than I would role model as I think we need to see the difference. I am a mentor, and will continue to be as I was mentored and I love sharing anything I may have learned with someone who I feel is going to use this information and energy to better themselves and really appreciate the time and effort. The term role model, well , maybe , but I feel pressure from that term. I feel more comfortable with mentor.
Mention a few of your favorite Black Canadian Leaders, Artists and Role Models?
Lincoln Alexander was one of my best friends Fathers very dear friend and I had the opportunity to speak to him at their wedding. That 5 minute talk meant a lot to me. He was a great man. Michelle Jean is also someone who I respect and showed all of us that being a female and being of colour that we can do whatever we desire to if we educate ourselves, work hard and stay the course.
Grant Fuhr for breaking the barrier in sports & Clement Virgo, Lawrence Hill for their Art.
Dream Warriors, Maestro Fresh Wes, Drake, Socrates, Cardinal, Choclair, Debbie Cox, Tamia, Wade O Brown, Carlos Morgan, Carl Thomas, I could go on and on... I love them all!!
What’s your understanding of Black History in Canada?
Black History in Canada? There is so much of it, but what do we learn in Canadian school? Well when I was little it was American History. Ask a black American who Michelle Jean is? I feel like the word History doesn't always mean 200 years ago. Although all of it is important, and has moulded who we all are today. But I see a whole new breed of folks coming up now that i believe are going to make more history for the world to see. Canada is my home, and I have travelled half way around the world and back and am always proud and happy of my people, my Country and my heritage!!