Our #FEMMEFEATUREFRIDAY this week is the incredible Bree Wasylenko. This Canadian beauty has a multitude of skills up her sleeve. Not only is Bree an incredible dancer and performer, but she is also a teacher, choreographer, and a rapidly blooming actress. She is dedicated, passionate, and motivated to be involved in all aspects of the arts, and it was so exciting for us to sit down and chat with Bree this week.
Bree is originally from Calgary, and made the move to Toronto in 2007 to go after her biggest dreams. She always knew she wanted to be a performer, and she dedicated her life to following her passions. Bree has danced and worked with numerous artists including Carly Rae Jepsen, Howie D from the Backstreet Boys, Shawn Desman, Danny Fernandes, Blake McGrath, and Keshia Chante. You may also recognize her from season 3 of So You Think You Can Dance Canada. In addition, she has worked on film and television projects such as “Turn the Beat Around” and “Baxter”. This incredibly talented artist took her acting career to the next step (no pun intended) when she booked the role of Kate, in the hugely successful Family Channel TV show "The Next Step”.
We admire this badass woman for tenaciously going after whatever her heart desires. She is such an inspiration to us and to our YGTGirls, and she is a pure example of what it means to persist and succeed. Bree truly believes in always bettering yourself as a person and as an artist, and her professional career clearly displays the admirable amount of drive and work ethic this woman has. She's made her way through the industry knowing that it's not about comparing yourself to others, but rather it’s about being the best YOU and always evolving. Cheers to THAT. We are so thrilled to share all the wonderful advice she gave us this week. Enjoy!
We know you wanted to be a performer since a very young age. What do you believe has been one of the most important assets to the longevity of your career?
It's so hard to narrow this down to just one thing! There are so many skills you need in order to maintain longevity in a career. But if I absolutely have to choose, I would say it's my desire for growth - always being curious to learn new things. Once I hit a goal, or attain success, I'm always looking for what's next. When I get too comfortable, I don't feel like I'm living up to my true potential. I never had a desire to be an actor when I was growing up. But I was starting to feel like I had reached all of the goals I had set for myself as a dancer. Instead of staying in an industry and career path that I was succeeding in but was no longer feeding my soul, I started venturing out and working new muscles, exploring new ventures. Now, I've discovered an intense passion for acting! It's difficult to start something from scratch, especially after being an expert in a field for so long. But there are incredible things you can learn about yourself when you push yourself outside of your comfort zone!
After picking up your life, moving away from home, and relocating for your career, what do you consider to be one of the greatest challenges you've faced, and how did you overcome that?
I would say the biggest challenge has been carving out time for "me". Whether this means allowing myself to go on a vacation guilt free, or most importantly, taking time to go home and see my family. In this industry there is always the fear of missing out on your "big break" by not being 100% available and ready at all times. I spent the first 6 or 7 years in Toronto terrified of booking a flight home more than a week in advance, because I never knew what opportunities I could be missing. It got to the point where I felt like I had no control over my personal life, and made all of my decisions based on "what ifs". Recently I've realized that in order to be a happy, creative and fulfilled human being, you can't live to work. You have to live to LIVE! Focusing on what I need to do to make myself happy, instead of what others think I should be doing has been a huge shift for me that has made a world of a difference.
In this challenging industry, what has helped you to establish your authentic voice as a dancer and actress?
I've always tried to listen to my gut. I will admit I haven't always succeeded in this - it's tough to do in the entertainment industry! Eventually it got to the point where I was very clear in the things that I would and wouldn't do. If a project didn't fit the criteria I needed in order to say yes, I would say no. Once I began to realize the value of my time, I started saying no quite often. It was extremely liberating! On top of that, the universe rewarded me for it. Once I started stepping away from the jobs that didn't meet my standards, work started flowing in that both met and exceeded my standards. We all have control over our where we are in lives.
What advice would you give to younger females trying to make their mark on the industry?
Don't focus on making your mark. Focus on bettering yourself. Train your butt off - in anything and everything. Create and nurture relationships with people that push you, and don't let you settle for good enough. Feed your soul more than your ego. One day your career will end, and what will you have to show for it? Hopefully a legacy that is admired, but also incredible friendships, memories and great art made along the way.
What is your definition of a YGTGirl?
A YGTGirl is someone who reaches for their dreams. Someone who doesn't take no for an answer. Someone who knows exactly what they want, and will do whatever it takes to get there. But a YGTGirl is also someone who won't put others down to get there - she'll build her peers up, help create a community, and encourage growth in everyone. A YGTGirl is constantly striving to be the best version of herself, and inspires others to do the same!