An interview with Edie Inksetter

September 2021

“I was ten the first time I saw a movie that really moved me,” says actress Edie Inksetter. “I remember going home and just lying in bed, feeling in my core that I wanted to do that; to make people feel how that movie made me feel. I just didn’t know how to make that happen.”

Well, the Thunder Bay-born Inksetter did make that happen. With roles in television’s Schitt’s Creek, Suits, Reign, Shoot the Messenger, CBS drama Clarice and notably, the award-winning Handmaid’s Tale, to big screen hits like Spiral and It, she is rocking ‘Hollywood of the North’ from her home in Toronto. As the daughter of Bayview’s own Paul Inksetter, I asked her how growing up in Northwestern Ontario helped prepare her for life in the spotlight.

“It was tough,” she says of her teen years spent dreaming of the silver screen. “The only real outlet in Thunder Bay was dance so when I was ten, I started with Margo Hartley’s Dance Studio. That got me on the stage and gave me a chance to perform. Margo also did versions of shows that required acting, like All That Jazz and The Wizard of Oz. I was cast as the Wizard! Can’t say I was too happy about that at the time, but it was a great show! Really fun! In grades 9 and 10, I went to Hillcrest, and we did Guys and Dolls there. I was a Kit Kat Girl, so dance came in handy for that. I was still dreaming of the movies though...”

Inksetter moved to Toronto right after high school, and she admits she did ‘all the wrong things’ as she worked to build her resume. Soon, her best friend Linda invited her to live with her and study theatre at the University of Winnipeg. She accepted, and her time there was a turning point for her, personally and professionally. After beefing up her resume with roles in the Manitoba Theatre Centre, she headed back to the GTA.

“I probably played a dozen waitresses,” says Inksetter. “And I think I said, "What can I get for you?" to a huge number of stars. The smaller parts were getting bigger when I stopped for ten years and raised the girls. It was after that when I went back to ‘see if I could start my career again’ that the work just started coming.” 

With Inksetter’s career in top gear, she is getting good at juggling roles for films as well as US and Canadian television, and she admits it’s getting easier to be a working actor in ‘Hollywood of the North.’

“It’s amazing what’s happening in Toronto, and across Canada really,” she says. “A lot of people ask me why I don’t go to L.A. The most obvious reason is the fact that I have kids in school, and it would be a massive move, but the other reality is I have this amazing resume working right here in Canada. I mean, isn’t it great that we don’t HAVE to go to L.A.?”
Inksetter is justifiably proud of the booming Canadian film industry and knows that she is more than lucky to be in the right place at the right time.

“Just today, The Handmaid’s Tale got 21 Emmy nominations, breaking its own record,” she says as we message back and forth in our cyber-interview. “I’ve been so lucky with the shows I have worked on. A few months ago, I was sitting in the Green Room with Elisabeth Moss, Madeline Brewer, Ann Dowd, Jeananne Goossen, and 14-year-old McKenna Grace – decades of amazing, powerful women, and I thought ‘How did I get here?’ It’s amazing to me to be sitting there among those women and be a part of all of that.”

In the film industry, it’s all about equal parts talent, luck, and connections, and Inksetter has all three. She’s worked with Michael Cudlitz, Jodie Foster, Bill Skarsgard, Jason Priestly, Sophia Lillis, Chris Rock and Max Minghella to name a few, and her working relationship with actor Karen Robinson (in Shoot the Messenger) made her role in Schitt’s Creek so easy.
“Schitt’s Creek was a dream,” she says with a grin. “It was a smaller role and they asked if I would do it. Are you kidding me? It’s Schitt’s Creek! I knew Karen (Ronnie) as we had worked together on Shoot the Messenger, and they made me feel so comfortable and welcomed there. Eugene Levy was just so down to earth and supportive as well. I love that I got to be on that show. I don’t get to do a lot of comedy which is weird because I’m hilarious.”

Inksetter’s talent isn’t confined to acting. She’s a producer, a photographer and a children’s book contributor, and is a very active mother of 2 children, whom she credits as being troopers. Her family is also extremely artistic, with her dad Paul a writer, stepmom Penny a musician, and her brother Jonathon is an artist, filmmaker, and editor.

“I always loved photography,” she says. “I had a dark room in university that I would set up and take down in the bathroom. When I had the girls, I was living in a small town with so much gorgeous country. I would take them on adventures and, while they were playing, I would take pictures. I joined a group online called The 365 Project – a photo a day for a year. After five years my photography had improved immensely. My brother Jonathan is an amazing creator, and we were isolating together for the first year of Covid lockdowns. We had talked about working together many times and this ended up being the opportunity, so that’s when I became a producer. We are definitely hoping to do more projects together.”
With such a busy schedule, Inksetter hasn’t been back to Thunder Bay in a while, and she admits that she misses it. She has fond memories of McVicar’s Creek (which runs through the Inksetter family property) and Boulevard Lake, where she spent a lot of time during her high school days. I asked her if she had any advice for aspiring actors in Thunder Bay.

“There are as many roads into the business as there are actors in it,” she says. “Things are so different now. You can create your own material and post it. You can learn to edit digitally and post on YouTube. Music or dance is helpful, and theatre is a great place to start - you don’t need an agent to audition for theatre. Magnus has many different opportunities and so do the theatre and film communities in Winnipeg. Regionally, there is so much happening in North Bay, Sudbury, and Sault Ste. Marie, but you may need to find an agent to access some of that. Get a decent photo and prep some interesting monologues and start sending your stuff to theatres you can get to. I know there are a few things that have shot in Thunder Bay recently and any background work gives you on-set experience, which is a really great thing to have on a resume. Don’t give up. Sounds cliché, but I wanted everything twenty years ago that I’m getting now, and I’ve just zig zagged all over the place. There is a lot of opportunity – you just need to keep working and stretching yourself.”

From Thunder Bay to Schitt’s Creek, Winnipeg to the Republic of Gilead, Edie Inksetter has zigged where others may have zagged, but that journey has taken her to the very heart of the Canadian moviemaking scene. Michelle Obama said ‘The only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and the willingness to work hard for them.’ Edie Inksetter was only ten when she dreamed of ‘making people feel,’ but because of her willingness to work hard, she is in that room of amazing powerful women.

And Thunder Bay can be justifiably proud.

Heather L. Dickson is a photoshop guru, zoologist and author of 6 novels.

Visit her website at

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