FYIG Chats With Actress/Filmmaker Mariah Owen

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Tell us a little bit about yourself. 
 
Hey there! I’m Mariah. I’m an award-winning actor and filmmaker. I founded my production company, GTE Productions, when I was 21 in 2016. I love movies, telling stories and am grateful I get to play behind and in front of the camera. I’m a retired world champion athlete, have been on Team Canada and represented my country, and am still involved in my previous sports; Skiing & Cheerleading! When not working, I can be found doing something active outside such as hiking, exploring new coffee shops, catching up with my friends and family or binge-watching Grey’s Anatomy. 
 
You started modeling at two and a half days old. Is it safe to say an entertainment career was ingrained in you at birth? 
 
Haha, I never really thought about it like that! However, yes, I think I always somehow knew that I was destined to be in entertainment. I’ve always loved performing, telling stories and collaborating with other people! I’m grateful I have parents who encouraged me however never pushed me into this as a career, growing up my Mom would frequently ask me if I was “still having fun” doing modeling and as soon as I wasn’t (when I was 12-14), I stopped and then found my way back into it. I never felt pressured to do it and I think that is so important. 
 
How did you get into the acting industry? 
 
I always loved performing so I grew up doing improv at The Second City and musical theatre at Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts and when I was 16 I was accepted to Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute. I honestly wasn’t sure if it was a viable career option for me, so I originally went to university for something different and got an agent. I always had the acting door open and a strong desire to act and perform, however, it wasn’t until I was 20 that I decided to make it my full career path. 
 
What can audiences expect from your upcoming film, “Daddy’s Playground”? 
 
I hope they expect to be taken on an aesthetically driven, dark and twisty adventure, lead by our two main female characters – Teddy and Rose as they attempt to overthrow the patriarchy by killing off their sugar mamas and daddies. The film stars and is written by two incredible women – Boni Mata and Ashley Morgan and directed by the awesome Mitch deQuilettes and together they created a fascinating glimpse into the hegemonically taboo culture of Sugar relationships that blur the line of justice, femininity, and power. You can watch it now on NoBudge.com – check it out! 
 
You also have another feature premiering this Fall called, “Dance Together”. What’s this film all about? 
 
It’s completely different than the majority of the content I make which is so refreshing. Dance Together follows two teen girls brought together by a passionate need to express themselves. It explores Deaf and dance culture and is written by young filmmaker Kira Murphy! I’m an executive producer and CMPA mentor on the project. I was 22 when they were filming and it was the first project I mentored through the CMPA (Canadian Media Producers Association) so it is really awesome to watch Dance Together make its way to Super Channel’s Heart & Home and Amazon!. It’s a heartwarming story that I hope families enjoy! 
 
What can you tell us about your character Lily in the upcoming film, “Pamela & Ivy”? 
 
I can’t spill the beans on this project yet but I am SO excited! It’s a new one for me.  Stay tuned! 
 
You also founded your own production company at just 21 years old. What prompted you to take on such an endeavour at a relatively young age? 
 
To be completely honest, I don’t think I realized the magnitude of the endeavour or adventure that has been GTE productions. The need to create content, tell stories and work with people I respected and cared for was the catalyst. I think what kept me on track of starting GTE was out of necessity. I felt like I was craving an environment and production service that we strive to keep with GTE. I want creators to feel heard, seen and supported and be able to grow in an atmosphere that doesn’t make them feel less than or force them to do things the same way, etc. Or maybe what prompted GTE was just my innate stubbornness!
 
How do you approach your behind the scenes roles vs. your on-screen roles? 
 
This is a really great question. I think the biggest difference is that when I’m approaching a role behind the camera, I have to think of everyone and every department to ensure that they have the things they and we all need in order to have the project completed. Versus, when I’m on screen – I still have a lot of work to do, however, it is mostly just my own. So they are both unique processes with lots of moving parts, however, they require different skills and time. 
 
Having already accomplished so much, what’s next for your career?
 
That is very kind of you – thank you! I really, reallllllly want to have projects that I’ve created, not just produced, come to fruition this year.  I have lots of experience with web series however, would love to work on something in television for an SVOD (streaming platform) or traditional TV. There’s so much involved in the process and with more opportunity and audience on a much larger scale. I think I’m ready for that challenge so fingers crossed. 
 
What advice would you have for aspiring actors/actresses? 
 
Stick to it and follow your heart. I know that sounds SO cheesy but I think it’s incredibly true. Even on the days when you aren’t booking things, not seeing eye-to-eye with an agent, feeling like you might be wasting your time because it’s “taking too long” – take a deep breath and remember why you’re doing this. I can’t imagine myself doing anything else and being happy, so if you are like me – then stick to it! 
 
What’s your life like off-set? 
 
I’ve been really working hard to create a life off-set however, I have a life that I don’t really want a break from? So I think my both my life on and off set are constantly intertwined, however, I’m often wearing many different hats so I have to make sure I take time to decompress and be with friends and family. When I’m not working, I love to do anything active, I love being outside and playing sports! Or writing and painting. I guess I never really stop being creative and making things however, I definitely take time to indulge and watch some Netflix and relax… #SelfCare. 
 
Let the readers know where to find you online. 
 
Let’s connect online! 
IG/Twitter: @mariahowen