Tag Archives: Juno Rinaldi

Workin’ Moms: Juno Rinaldi recalls going from shining shoes to a dream role

I’ve spoken to many Canadian actors who augment their incomes—and fill hours between gigs—by waiting tables in a restaurant. Why not? With flexible hours, it makes total sense. But shining shoes? That was a new one for me.

That’s what Juno Rinaldi was doing when she landed the role of Frankie Coyne on Workin’ Moms. The Vancouver native was trying to make connections in Toronto with casting agents—and having zero luck—and was working in the city’s underground mall system when she was hired by Catherine Reitman. With Season 4 of the CBC comedy heading into production for a winter return, we sat down with Rinaldi during the Banff World Media Festival, where she hosted the Rockie Awards International Program Competition.

Catherine Reitman has always had this vision for what the show would be. Did you ever think that you would be beginning Season 4?
Juno Rinaldi: No. Honestly, I feel like the last four years of being on the show has completely changed my life in a way. Before I started the show, I was shoe shining in the PATH, in downtown Toronto …

Wait, really?
JR: I was shoe-shining shoes in the PATH [at Penny  Loafers Shoe Shine Company] in downtown Toronto, and auditioning. Nobody knew me because I’d come from Vancouver. It was a different transition, so I was trying to make some connections. But none of the casting directors would see me because they didn’t know who I was. I had a body of work but nothing that was super splashy.

Then, getting this job, I had to send in a self-tape and then I got to get in the room with Catherine. Then actually booking the gig really changed everything for me. So then I went back to the PATH a year later and they had a big ad of Frankie and Jenny all just in Union Station. I was walking through those doors with my big mug on it, where I would go to shine shoes.

Three women stand, talking.I speak with to so many actors and actresses, writers, directors that are trying to break in L.A., that are from Toronto, and say, ‘I can’t get a break in L.A.,’ so it’s interesting to speak to somebody from Vancouver that was having a hard time breaking in Toronto. But I have learned over the years how different those thousands of kilometres can be for people when they’re auditioning.
JR: Absolutely, very, very, very different. I think, for me, I’ve been doing this since I was a kid. So, in Vancouver I was so supported. They saw me go through theatre school, and they saw me grow up in the business. I had a very clear idea of who I was and what I could do. Then when I moved to Toronto and nobody knew who I was. So that was kind of a nice, sort of fresh start in a way, just change it up.

Being given this opportunity … I love Frankie. I love the writing. I love everything about it.

Did it strike you from the beginning this is something different?
JR: Yeah. From the first read, when I got the sides. I was like, ‘Oh, shit. This is funny. This is good.’ Yeah. You read a lot of stuff as an actor for all your auditions, that you’re like, ‘Yeah. I could make this work.’ Or you’re like, ‘Geez, this is going to be a tough one,’ or, ‘This is really great,’ or, ‘Oh, shit. I think this is amazing, but I don’t know if I’m the right fit.’ But reading those Frankie sides, I was like, ‘This is like a glove. This fits, for me, like what I wanted my whole thing.’

It’s interesting the way that Frankie has evolved over these seasons. The breakup with Giselle, now with Bianca on the scene. She’s been through so much in this short amount of time. As an actor, obviously, you love it when a storyline is shaken up. You get to play with different people in a different sandbox. 
JR: I’ve gotten to play with so many people. Olunike Adeliyi as Giselle, Aviva Mongillo as Juniper, who I love. We have a lot of great chemistry, her and I, and Tennille Read as Bianca. Frankie’s really gotten that option to try and figure out where she fits. It’s all of us, too, trying to find a community or family. When it looks a little different, like after the breakup with Giselle it looked different, so she’s really trying to figure out where she fits. Now she’s got this relationship with Bianca where it has the religious bent on it.

We were talking about this [recently], ‘Would you stay with somebody if you had such fundamentally different beliefs?’ So, that’s kind of the question, I think, for us moving forward. I don’t actually know the answers to what’s happening to Frankie. That would be an interesting thing. Is this something that the two of you can see eye to eye on?’

Season 4 of Workin’ Moms returns in winter 2020 on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.

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Workin’ Moms: Tennille Read reflects on being the new kid (and mom) on the block

In Season 1 of Workin’ Moms, viewers were immediately plunged into the lives of four women juggling motherhood with jobs and responsibilities. What is was like getting and being pregnant was discussed, but not a focal point of the show. It was about life after baby (or babies) had arrived.

That’s changed in Season 3 with the arrival of Bianca. Played by Tennille Read, we’re getting a crash-course in the emotions and doubts that go along with deciding to get pregnant. And, of course, we’re shown the support system Frankie (Juno Rinaldi) can supply.

“It’s a great take on motherhood and starting from the very beginning,” Read says during a recent phone chat. “The fears, the anxiety, the uncertainties, especially showing it through the eyes of a single woman. Bianca is flying solo; she isn’t partnered with anyone and she’s deciding to start a family. I think that is unique to the show and hasn’t really been explored before.” Read teases viewers will see a new side to Frankie as well, because she’s in a place of more stability and can help. (Though, it must be said, Juniper did throw a curve ball at Frankie last week.)

Read, a graduate of the George Brown Theatre School, never expected a lone Season 2 appearance would be expanded. When it was hinted Bianca might become a recurring character, she assumed that meant two more episodes. Instead, it became eight, and the opportunity not just to show growth for Frankie, but all of the main characters.

“The ‘typical sitcom’ highlights those characteristics in the character that makes them unique but doesn’t necessarily develop them and allow them to grow and become something bigger and better,” Read says. “Workin’ Moms does allow for the characters to grow.” She’s right. We’ve seen that for everyone, from Anne (Dani Kind) being over-protective of Alice (Sadie Munroe) to Kate’s (Catherine Reitman) getting into bed figuratively with a men’s group and literally with Nathan (Philip Sternberg).

And though she was a new face to the cast—Read worked with many of the crew on prior projects—she felt welcome right from the start.

“I met Dani Kind in the makeup trailer and we had a 10- to 15-minute conversation because she’s so open and lovely,” Read says. “She wanted to know more about me because we haven’t had that interaction before. It made for an easier transition for me to go from being the new kid on the block to having more investment in the show.”

Workin’ Moms airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on CBC and CBC Gem.

Head shot image courtesy of Dane Clark. Workin’ Moms image courtesy of CBC.

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Workin’ Moms: Catherine Reitman, Dani Kind and Juno Rinaldi talk Season 3

When we last left the Workin’ Moms, things had gone badly, especially for Kate (Catherine Reitman). She discovered that her husband, Nathan (Philip Sternberg), was having an affair with Mean Nanny (Jess Salguiero). And, to add to the emotional moment, Kate discovered she was pregnant.

Viewers were left wondering what Kate’s next steps were. Would she divorce Nathan? What about the pregnancy? Kate wasn’t the only one facing challenges. Anne (Dani Kind) was headed for a showdown with he ex-husband Brad (Christopher Redman), and Frankie (Juno Rinaldi) was juggling new relationships.

Workin’ Moms returns on a new night this Thursday at 9 p.m. on CBC with two back-to-back episodes chock full of the tears and laughter we’ve come to expect from Reitman’s creation. And with folks like John Ralston, Sean Cullen and Emma Hunter on board, we had to find out more. We spoke to Reitman, Kind and Rinaldi at CBC’s recent media day.

There is a time jump when Workin’ Moms returns. Kate is about to give birth. At what point in the creative process did you know you were going to do that?
Catherine Reitman: We went back and forth on this in the writers’ room a ton. And ultimately we always go back to, ‘What’s the most compelling way to watch this character?’ Is it more interesting if she doesn’t have another child, does the child actually drag us back to what we’ve already seen her do?

And then she gets involved with someone else.
CR: She is juggling a little more than usual. Dani, Juno, and I all in real life have two kids, and I think there is something to do when you meet someone with just one child you’re like, ‘Ugh, I totally understand, but just wait.’ Because when you double down on kids there is just a different level of storm, you’ve become so not a priority in your own life. Giving Kate this baby felt like a way of just filling her plate to make her the least important protagonist in her own story.

It just parallels so many working mother’s lives, I think. As far as her season, I think Kate is having an identity crisis once again. Kind of like Season 1. Except for this time she now has to reinvent herself with infidelity kind of screaming at her the entire time. We hear so often about the women keeping the house and the kids. And there’s something just really refreshing, and you really root for someone who moves out. Someone who hits the pavement and starts her own business the way Kate does and so many women I know out there currently doing it. I just think it’s incredibly brave and it’s the kind of story I wanted to get behind.

How did you land John Ralston in a guest role?
CR: I tricked him. He thought it was Murdoch. He showed up, and he was like, ‘I don’t understand, where’s the gentleman with the beautiful lashes?’ And I said, ‘You’re fine, just hold this baby and get in a wheelchair and …

He is a recurring character? 
CR: He is a recurring character. Look, our characters make flawed decisions all the time and having them sort of deal with those repercussions at this magnitude is really, it’s just really fun. It’s a fun ride for Kate. And John made it that way. I think we auditioned every guy in the country for that role. Similar to Anne and Frankie, it was, ‘How do we find someone who can make this character likable? Not a straight up cartoon villain.’ And he brings so much heart, and he’s having so much fun. He’s constantly laughing at what he’s saying. He’s delighted with himself. And it makes him so easy to watch and get on board with.

Had you considered having Kate and Nathan get back together again?
CR: Of course, and that’s not off the table.

Dani, things look pretty tough for Anne right now. The court case being challenged, and the cake being brought in as evidence. What can you say about what’s going on with Anne and Lionel? And there’s something going on with her daughter this season as well, right?
Dani Kind: She clearly hasn’t dealt with things between her and Brad from last season, from their marriage. I think she’s stuffed them away and hasn’t dealt with them. She gets a new job this season helping other people who’ve gone through similar traumas, which is very interesting. It creates a lot of conflict for her. She also becomes extremely possessive of Alice and almost gets into like a manic state of wanting to protect her family and protect herself, I think, from feeling all the things that she hasn’t dealt with.

What about Frankie? I mean things are going great, she’s got these ads where she’s lying on top of money. She’s got an old girlfriend coming back into her life asking for tuition. So what’s going on with her this season that you can say?
Juno Rinaldi: I feel like Frankie is feeling really great about where she’s at. Things have taken a turn for her, she finally feels like she’s got her groove and it’s, she’s able to help Giselle with some financial stuff, she’s sort of in the driver’s seat now. But with Frankie, you never really know where we’re going to go with her, how it’s going to shake down. But it’s really nice to see her sort of feeling really good about things and moving forward.

Workin Moms airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.

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Link: Workin’ Moms Juno Rinaldi on Frankie’s quest for a real connection

From Bridget Liszewski of The TV Junkies:

Link: Workin’ Moms Juno Rinaldi on Frankie’s quest for a real connection
“She’s trying to figure it out. After realizing that maybe Giselle wasn’t the right fit, she’s seeing that she is attractive to other people. She’s trying out all those avenues and maybe is experiencing that for the first time in a long time. When you come out of that phase of being a new mom you want to feel alive and sexual again.” Continue reading.

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