Tag Archives: Workin’ Moms

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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Link: With Workin’ Moms, CBC raises the bar for Canadian TV

From Michael Fraiman of The Canadian Jewish News:

Link: With Workin’ Moms, CBC raises the bar for Canadian TV
I never thought I’d say this, but CBC-TV is on a roll. It began in 2015, with the debut of Schitt’s Creek, a quietly amusing sitcom by Canadian Jewish father-son duo Eugene and Dan Levy. In 2016, CBC introduced Kim’s Convenience, a fluffy story of Korean shopkeepers that has proven to be, if not gut-busting comedy, at least a cute, polished family comedy pushing minority representation across the country.

Then came 2017, when Workin’ Moms walked in the door, and elevated CBC-TV to a whole other level. Continue reading.

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Link: Why Canadian Comedy ‘Workin’ Moms’ is Seeking the ‘Netflix Effect’

From Amber Dowling of Variety:

Link: Why Canadian Comedy ‘Workin’ Moms’ is Seeking the ‘Netflix Effect’
“This isn’t just a show about flawed women trying to reclaim their ambition. There’s a repression against mothers where we’re expected to be full-time workers and pretend we’re not mothers, and then expected to be full-time mothers who pretend we’re not working. Simultaneously, within the hours of the week that exist.” Continue reading.

From Laura Youngkin of Forbes:

Link: Catherine Reitman Proves That Women-Led Production Leads To Netflix & Success
It’s a success story perfectly suited for this era. Frustrated with the roles available to her in Hollywood, Catherine Reitman, a self-described “largely out of work actress” created, pitched, and sold her original series Workin’ Moms to one of the top networks in Canada, the CBC. Continue reading.

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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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