Lisa Marie DiGiacinto

March 2023

It’s clear to see the same joyful attitude and enthusiasm in the life and career of actor Lisa Marie DiGiacinto. Born and raised in Thunder Bay, DiGiacinto is making a name for herself in the industry one incredible role at a time. She is a natural performer with a sparkling personality, and her enthusiasm for her craft is contagious.

“When I was a child, I told my mom I wanted to be a hairdresser, a lawyer, an actress and Madonna!” says DiGiacinto with a laugh. “As an actor, I get to be all of these things and more! It’s so much fun!” I got to meet this amazing woman in person last year at ThunderCon 2022, and her energy is as dazzling as her smile. She cites local schools C.D. Howe and St. Patrick’s as the beginnings of her storied career.

“I’ve always loved performing, for as long as I remember,” she says. “Dressing up for auditions are a joy for me. My sister and I used to do little musical skits for our classes at C.D. Howe and make our class watch! We did skits (singing and dancing) from Grease, mostly. I love the 60’s. The music, the poodle skirts, I hope one day I get to play a role in this era!”

While she adored the role of ditsy baton-twirler, Bambie, in St. Pat’s production of Knock ‘Em Dead, it was her role as Nina in Anton Chekov’s The Seagull, that cemented her desire to pursue acting as a career.

“I took business at Lakehead University, because there wasn’t a drama program,” she says, “But I saw a posting for actors on the wall for the first play in, like,
20 years and just had to audition! I had the honour of being directed by the late Hubert O’Hearn, and I’d say that experience really solidified that I wanted to be an actor.”

With roles few and far between in Thunder Bay, DiGiacinto knew that she had to move in order to follow her dream and get in on those casting calls. But her willingness to move and her enthusiasm for the industry got her role after role ­after role.

“In my first film role, I played a down and out dancer for a suspense indie film called Bloodline. Then I did a short film and played a southern bride during a zombie apocalypse. It was called DEADWALKERS and I’m pretty sure it’s on iTunes if you’re into that! I actually got nominated for best supporting actress for that one at the ROSIE Awards in Calgary.”

She alternated film, TV, and theatre, from a jazz singing actress in Red Light Winter to Kathleen in The Gourmet Detective, where she got to stay on set with cast and crew at the Bear Mountain Resort in Victoria, BC.

“It made me feel soooo much like I was ‘living the dream’,” she says with a smile.

But it was when she became a recurring character as Ali in DC’s Legends of Tomorrow that things began to click.

“I never knew when I was going to be written back in the show or that it was even going to be recurring spot at all,” she says, “It was such an exciting time in my career, getting the calls from my agent telling me I have another episode! I also think it helped catapult me into the next level as an actor. Kinda like my big break. Besides, who wouldn’t want to play Dominic Purcell’s love interest, right?”

DiGiacinto spent several years honing her craft at Calgary’s Company of Rogues Actors Studio, but there are many branches within the industry and DiGiacinto credits her natural curiosity and passion for ‘the business’ for leading her to some of her most enjoyable roles to date.

“With my business background from LU, plus my curiosity for the biz, I started working as a reader and Casting Assistant/Associate for the lovely, Emmy Award-winning, Jackie Lind,” she says. “What a gift that job was. I learned so much. From there, I ended up being Shirley MacLaine’s assistant during the pandemic, I lived with her for over a month in a mansion in Victoria. We watched all the Oscar screeners so she could vote on them!! AND we rehearsed her lines together, had so many spiritual, deep conversations, and she even helped me with a couple of auditions too! What a dream to know one of Hollywood’s original members! I just love her so much!”

Her most recent work is as Sergeant Bonnie Jennings in The Girl Who Escaped: The Kara Robinson Story, currently airing on Lifetime TV.

“This was such a challenging role,” she says. “It was my first time playing a police detective, which is very different than any of my previous roles. It was also one of my most memorable, because THE Kara Robinson was also one of the producers and I got to meet her on set. She gave so much insight and support to all of us! What a blessing.”

DiGiacinto currently travels back and forth from Winnipeg and Vancouver, and while she misses the energy of live auditions, she admits she loves the freedom of digital auditions, called self-tapes.

“90% of my auditions are recorded in my home studio,” she says, “And call-backs with a director and producer might be via Zoom. But a lot of roles are just booked straight from your self-tape. There are a few drawbacks - I miss seeing friends at auditions, being able to audition in person with cast and directors, and meet them in person and ask questions, etc. Being around it physically really reminds you that you’re part of such a wonderful community, as the career itself can be quite isolating. But overall, I prefer it this way. It means I can be wherever I want and still get all these amazing opportunities! I’m extremely grateful for that because my boyfriend is from Winnipeg, so I’m able to be here with him, while keeping my place and opportunities in Vancouver.”

With all the opportunities on her horizon, I asked DiGiacinto what advice she could give to anyone in Thunder Bay who is interested in a career in film.

“Never give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about,” she says warmly. “Be open, believe in yourself and remember that everyone has a different path in this career. It doesn’t matter where you come from, just go for it, work hard, respect the craft and story. Be curious! About life, about human behaviour, about people of all walks of life, and NEVER JUDGE. And last but not least, be honest. An honest person makes an honest actor.”

And Lisa Marie DiGiacinto is honestly delighted to be where she is, when she is, and who she is, a girl from Thunder Bay who performed for her class and crossed the country for her craft. She is our very own Legend of Tomorrow.

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

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