Meet Lory Mpiana
Lory Mpiana is a Congolese Canadian Actor, Writer, and Creative Consultant. She studied at Armstrong Acting Studios with Dean Armstrong, Andrea Runge, Amos Crawley, and trained at the Cindy Tanas Acting School. Lory is a 2020 graduate of the Pathway 2 Industry Filmmaker Program.
Her ambitions are to become a successful Actor, Writer, Film & Television Director, and Produce content. Lory was a Story Co-Creator and Actor on a film called In Her City and has been working closely with director Carl Bessai. The film is screening at the Whistler Film Festival and Lory is on a virtual panel discussing story and collaboration Saturday 2pm.
He is definitely an actor’s director. He trusted me enough to have as much creative control as I needed in order to bring truth to the work. Shooting with Carl was a beautiful experience and I can’t wait to see this film!Lory Mpiana on director Carl Bessai
Read Lory’s full Bio HERE
Breaking Into The Industry
How did you get involved with the Sloppy Jones series?
Breaking into The Acting Industry is hardly simple. I signed with my agent Teri Ritter back in December of 2017. I went to numerous auditions. I’ve lost track of the number of times that I’ve been rejected but I can tell you it was definitely a lot.
I met Jamie Hart auditioning for an LGBTQ+ fantasy series called Spell Bent. I booked the Leading role of Halley Highcroft who is a very powerful witch that struggles with dark secrets and forbidden love. Sophie Nation, who had attended Rosedale Heights with Jamie and acted with her in several shows, was also in Spell Bent. We all loved working together so Sophie and Jamie made sure to create a part for me in their new series, Sloppy Jones.
Who’s your favourite character on Sloppy Jones and why?
Sloppy Jones’ lead is Deborah Jones, played by Canadian Actress Linda Kash. Deb is a ruthless, beautiful, feisty woman who has sex with who she wants and whenever she wants to. She is my favourite character in the series because she is not afraid of speaking her mind and everything about her screams Alpha Female. Hollywood needs to represent women after 40 as complex leads. Women are beautiful beings and we are capable of many great things regardless of our age.
There is a double standard in Hollywood regarding middle-aged women. If a man is 40 and over, he is socially accepted as the “older sexy man” but if a woman is 40 and over, she does not receive the same fate. Instead, she is replaced by a younger “beautiful” actress. She loses all of her sexuality and power within it. This message is damaging to everyone. It teaches a woman that her worth is solely determined by her youthful appearance. It teaches men that a woman’s worth is only as good as her looks and those looks have an expiry date. Yet beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but that is a discussion for another day. We have lost perspective of what is truly important.
Acting is the study of life. When you age, you gain life experience and become more grounded in your work and become a better actor. That is what should determine whether or not an actor gets the part.Lory Mpiana
There is nothing wrong with ageing, it is part of this beautiful journey we call life. Deborah Jones gives me hope that later on in my career, I will still be a working actor. I can and will play powerful, fun, sexy, and dynamic roles.
How was working with Sloppy Jones Director Winnifred Jong for the Sloppy Jones trailer?
Winnifred Jong is a phenomenal person to work with! A little over a year ago as I was going back and forth between auditions (still am). One evening, I stumbled upon a web series on YouTube called Tokens. I saw familiar faces on screen, and I thought that it was hilarious how I could relate to the lead Sammie. I remember specifically thinking about a time in my career where I wasn’t going out for “real” auditions. I was on a set, but it felt like I wasn’t truly there. I also remember thinking that Tokens is a cool and funny show and that I would love to work on a set with such beautiful direction. And a year later I got to work with the same director whose work I admired!
Director Winnifred Jong has given me fruitful advice that will continue to guide me in my career. Sloppy Jones has been selected for the Venice Shorts Film Festival and the Prague International Monthly Film Festival for Best Trailer Category. We couldn’t have done it without Winnifred Jong’s brilliant direction and our entire talented cast and crew. She has an eye for detail, and I can’t wait to work with her again! Thank you to our supporters such as Canada Media Fund, Ontario Creates, CMPA, ACTRA, DGC and WIFT.
The Sloppy Jones team is proud to have you as a Creative Consultant. How do you feel about working with a predominantly female-run team?
In a male-dominated world, we must elevate Women. Sloppy Jones does that on-screen and off-screen. Both our producers, 90% of our creative team and mentors, over half of our actors and our director are all women. I am thrilled to be working with industry veterans such as Amanda Walsh, Jill Golick, Carrie Cutforth and Judy Croon. Plus of course, talented female actors like Linda Kash, Isabel Kanaan, Jamie Hart and Sophie Nation. It is imperative to have women sitting on the decision-making seats. Only then we will see a shift in equal pay and opportunities for women in the Film & Television industry. There is still a tremendous amount of work to be done to elevate women in our industry but a series like Sloppy Jones is a step in the right direction.
It is a heightened, campy look at millennial life but representation and authenticity are at the core of Sloppy Jones. Do you feel that is important?
Women, members of the LGBTQIA+, and BIPOC communities must be represented on screen and portrayed authentically. Sloppy Jones is written by an LGBTQ+ and majority female team. We have worked really hard for many months to create interesting characters, often blatantly breaking stereotypes, so that we can all see ourselves on screen (admittedly often in an exaggerated way). The characters are not judged for their sex, sexuality or skin colour. They are not tokenized. The fact that they are queer or of a certain ethnicity does not drive the main narrative. Some of these characters you will want to be best friends with, and others you wouldn’t be caught dead with (or maybe you would as there is a murder mystery). I believe that audiences will find our show hilarious and really relatable and that’s important.
Can you share about your role as Creative Consultant and how you contribute to the series?
I was invited to join the Sloppy Jones team as a Creative Consultant in June 2020. I am very excited to work both in front and behind the camera on this project. I work closely with our producer Susan Nation and the show’s creators/writers. My job consists of helping craft the characters and their story arcs further to make sure they are authentic and well-represented, especially my own character Cassie Ley.
Nothing beats a passion project. I love working with my friends. Knowing the amount of time and hard work that is put into Sloppy Jones makes me extremely passionate about it. I appreciate that the writers are actors as well. It gives us one more thing we have in common; the struggle of an artist.
I also took on the responsibility of managing the Sloppy Jones Twitter account and working with the team on YouTube, Blogging, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. Susan Nation is mentoring me in this area of the business and also helping me build my own presence. She has over 20 years of experience in marketing and advertising. It is so important today to have a good understanding of audience development and branding, including personal branding. We have managed to grow extremely well organically in a short amount of time following best practices and testing different tactics. This has really expanded my knowledge about social media, discoverability, analytics, and marketing.
What would you say to someone who’s interested in getting into the industry?
Now is the time for you and your friends to get together and create, because you are the next generation of filmmakers. I mean just look at Berry Jenkins. He hired his film school friends for his Oscar-winning feature film If Beale Street Could Talk. Success is no accident. It is hard work, long nights, and many sacrifices. We are the masters of our fate, so let’s take initiative!
What have been your top moments so far breaking into the acting world?
I travelled to Los Angeles, California in February of 2020 to attend the 28th Annual Pan-African Film Festival. I was fortunate enough to connect with industry professionals, some who are commencing their careers, others at the cusp, and some prominent figures that I have recognized from Film & Television shows.
I attended the FOX Soul panel (FOX Soul is a new interactive streaming channel dedicated to Black American viewers). There, I met Actress, Director, Writer, Producer and TV Host Tammi Mac. Tammi had spoken about industry connections with top Directors such as John Singleton. I proceeded to ask her “how could an actor get their material in front of these Directors?” She asked me, “Do you have an agent, headshot, resume, demo reel, and website? Are you auditioning, booking, working on sets?” I said “Yes” to all of her questions. She then replied “Then you are doing everything right and you just have to be patient. Your time will come. I’m not going to be one to convince you that you have to do an extra ‘thing’ to get your break.”
From that moment, I looked back at my journey as an Actor and how far I’ve come. From the 8-year-old girl catching the “acting bug” to the 12-year-old who was scammed by an agent full of empty promises. To the 19-Year-old young adult working 46.5 hours a week in The Corporate Industry to make enough money to pay for acting classes, private coachings, books, headshots, industry casting services and more.
Here I am today, getting into rooms I could only dream of! Auditioning for Directors whose work I grew up admiring (Thanks to my agent Teri Ritter). At that moment I realized that I am living my dreams.
Now, in 2020, I am eligible to join ACTRA thanks to Sloppy Jones. I am very excited to join because I know that I am joining such a talented group and will have access to many more top quality industry productions.
What’s next for you? Any projects to keep an eye out for?
I love writing! It has always been a secret passion of mine that I’ve worked on since I was a child. I started off writing fairy-tale stories, diaries, monologues, and scenes. Now I am focusing on short-form and the Sloppy Jones Series. I am also just starting a short-form kids project that loosely reflects some of my own early experiences coming to Canada and starting school with producer Susan Nation.
A wise friend once told me “do not stress and just enjoy the actor’s journey”.
I am enjoying my journey and I am excited to see what the future holds.