Storytelling as a tool itself can manifest in a variety of forms specific to different cultural experiences. As an artist and audience member, I find it inspiring to see the many ways a message, experience and feeling can be communicated through the visual medium. Simply put… I believe it’s important because it adds richness to our lives and connects us to others.
As a part of our series about creating a successful career in TV and Film, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Rakhee Morzaria.
Rakhee Morzaria is a comedian and actress who stars on the hit CBC comedy Run the Burbs where she also served as season one writer. An accomplished actor, Rakhee has been featured on many hit shows including What We Do in the Shadows, My Spy and Private Eyes. She also voices Tall Girl among other characters on the Family Channel’s animated series Summer Memories.
Rakhee is an alumni of The Second City Toronto’s Education Company, has performed on the stages of Second City, Hart House Theatre, Bad Dog Theatre, the CBC Music Festival and the Toronto Sketchfest. Her writing and comedic sketch-based shorts (Note to Self, Be Right Back) have been seen in Kevin Hart’s Just for Laughs short film competition, screened at the Atlantic Film festival, been nominated for a Canadian Screen Award, and have upward of a million views.
Rakhee’s latest film project features her in dual roles as actor and director in a comedic romcom-gone-wrong and was supported by the Toronto Arts Council.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
I grew up in the Greater Toronto Area in Canada, in a fairly multicultural setting and did Indian dance when I was young. Then, like, a million other things happened including getting a degree in environmental science, moving to a different country, moving back, working at a golf course and then eventually doing comedy.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
I don’t know if there was an exact moment, but I do recall when I was younger enlisting my cousin to perform the song, “The Boy Is Mine” by Brandy and Monica. She kept messing up and I was taking it way too seriously. That was probably an early indicator.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
I was working a joe job as a server while doing comedy and acting and had written and shot my web-series, Note to Self. I didn’t have enough money to finish editing it, so I was sitting on it while I saved up. One night, someone from CBC Comedy came to one of my stand-up shows — they loved my set and asked me what else I was up to. I showed them a rough cut of one of my episodes and they agreed to co-produce the series and pay me to write and make more! It was a great example of opportunity meeting preparation.
It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Oh gosh. I remember being asked to “slate” before an audition, and totally not knowing what that meant. Usually when they ask you to slate, you say your name, height and where you’re based. Well, this was one of my first auditions ever, and instead of asking what they wanted me to say in the slate, I thought I’d wing it, and I gave wayyy too much info. I told them the colour of my eyes, I told them my exact address… I think I also stated the name of their show, but got it wrong. Yeah. Brutal. Learned that day that that mantra, “fake it till you make it” isn’t always on point.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I’m really excited to finish editing a comedic short that I wrote, directed and starred in this year that was supported by the Toronto Arts Council. I’m also looking forward to performing in live shows again, like Theatresports at Bad Dog Theatre this February. Other than that — keeping my Pilea plant alive!
You have been blessed with success in a career path that can be challenging. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path, but seem daunted by the prospect of failure?
Failure isn’t so bad. It helps you learn, so, get comfortable with failing.
We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?
I’ve always been interested in watching stories and content from communities that have not historically held space in the film and tv world. Maybe that’s because I identify or relate, and in a sense, feel seen.
I believe representation must actually start in the writing room and within the production team, so it’s not just who you see on screen, but rather the experience of the storytellers and the team that can be infused into all aspects of production.
Plus, storytelling as a tool itself can manifest in a variety of forms specific to different cultural experiences. As an artist and audience member, I find it inspiring to see the many ways a message, experience and feeling can be communicated through the visual medium. Simply put… I believe it’s important because it adds richness to our lives and connects us to others.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
1 — Ask questions if you don’t understand something
2 — If you have to pee, you should pee
3 — Not everyone is your audience and that is A-OK
4 — Embrace what makes you unique
5 — Find ways to invest in your mental health and well-being
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Look at trees on the regular.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Housing for all.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
The hilarious Daphney Joseph. We were hired by Second City to perform on a show together and became instant best friends. She’s the funniest person I know and always champions me. She’s one of the first people I go to when I have an idea and need feedback, but more than that, she’s a great friend and a remarkable person.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Work hard, play hard, but most of all, have lots of fun.
We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.
I’d love to have lunch with Oprah with some veggies from her garden!
How can our readers follow you online?
@rakheecola on twitter, insta and tiktok
This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!
Rakhee Morzaria On The 5 Things You Need To Create A Highly Successful Career in TV and Film was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.