Alyson Renaldo was born in Toronto, Canada to Guyanese parentage. While Toronto remains home, a good deal of her professional life has been in Los Angeles. Alyson is a film and theatre producer, actor, as well as a writer. Her work as a journalist has appeared in The Toronto Star, Metro National, The Root and The Huffington Post. Alyson recently launched her own production company Tache De Naissance Productions (French for birthmark). Virgin., is Tache’s first original production. She holds a BFA from the University of Southern California’s Film & Theatre schools as well as a master’s degree from Columbia University in history and cultural anthropology. Alyson is a partial load English professor at Humber College.
My first job ever was… As a babysitter of a newborn. Even as a child I loved babies, it never felt like work!
I chose my career path because… As a teen, I saw an old Barbra Streisand film rerun on television. She worked behind the camera and in front. Something in my subconscious latched onto the fact that a woman made this picture happen and I thought, just maybe, I could do so as well.
My proudest accomplishment is… Finding the courage to undergo the surgery to donate a kidney to my mother. The donation to my mother didn’t cause the apprehension, but reconciling myself to undergoing surgery when I was healthy, did.
My boldest move to date was… Wearing a bra without padding on a crisp fall day. It was bold! It was courageous! It was chilly that day…apparently ‘padding’ has practical applications which I will never take for granted again.
My best advice to people starting their career is… Know that whilst you will require help and advice to succeed, you, embracing all of your gifts, is what will move you forward.
My best advice from a mentor was… Allow your passions to inform your professional decisions. Do not outsource your dreams.
I would tell my 20-year old self… To breathe…explore more and worry a bit less.
Allow your passions to inform your professional decisions. Do not outsource your dreams.
My biggest setback was… Recognizing that many of the professional spaces I’ve sought to occupy, did not have the success of someone who looked like me in mind. It can initially be shocking and troubling, particularly since it’s often veiled (albeit thinly).
I overcame it by… Remembering that ‘gatekeepers’ like mean bouncers at the door of a wicked jam (ask someone of West Indian descent to translate if this nomenclature is throwing you) are a temporary hold up. Be polite and roll your eyes in your mind as you ultimately pass them. If they continue to try to feel powerful at your expense, throw a house party. Invite the circumstances of the party that appealed to you, to your house. The proverbial house party may be ten times better than the jam you were trying to get into.
If I were to pick one thing that has helped me succeed, it would be… Staying the course, even though large patches of ‘the road’ have yet to be paved.
If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know… I’m not sure, um, I should probably google myself. Maybe that I’m an avid racquetball player. My goal is to win the provincials next year.
I stay inspired by…sincerity and kindness.
The future excites me because… It provides the space to do more and do better, within every area that matters to me.
My next step is… To step strong! An old West Indian expression, which means to move forward with confidence. It sounds easier to do than it is, but is more rewarding than it appears.