I had the opportunity to chat with Leanne Noelle Smith about her role in Fak Yaass and some of her other upcoming projects. This series is a perfect watch during quarantine. Thank you to her for answering all of my questions.
Could you tell our readers a little about yourself?
Well, what can I say, I’m a bit of a rebel, a sucker for dance parties, and couldn’t imagine life without my German Shepherd Kali. On a more serious note, I’m from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Canada, some people may not know where that is, so shout out to all my prairie fires. Right now, I’m in Toronto focusing on acting and I work with an amazing team at Bulldog Productions. This past year I have been a part of an all women’s collective named Counterbalance Collective to help Canadian talent have a louder voice.
How would you describe Fak Yaass?
Fak Yaass for me is a heartfelt entertaining story that hits home for so many people. No matter your gender, race, background, or beliefs this story of love and acceptance is universal and relatable on a number of levels. Toss in some gay greek realness with these characters and you’ll find yourself laughing and crying at the same time.
You play Torri, what is she like and what is her role in the series?
Torri is such a fun character to play. Having come from a smaller city I really felt like I was going back to my roots with this role. She’s quirky, fun, and a little naive all while having her own underlying problems. Playing her was such an honour because I knew her character had a lot of meaning and history with the creator/lead Vasilios Filippakis. On the surface she helps show the small town life and what it feels like to be held back from your environment. On a deeper level her character represents that best friend, the one who always supported someone, when they first came out as being gay. I know quite a few people who have been this for someone, myself included, when perhaps their family or other friends didn’t accept them. In the series it was my job to make sure she embodied all the support that Vasilios personally had from his girlfriends when coming out.
What were some of your favorite on set moments?
There are SO MANY! Being on set for Fak Yaass was unlike any experience I’ve had, supportive, thrilling, and just downright fun. I’d say if I had to narrow it down, watching the backyard dance party and filming the coffee spill scene all in one take were definitely memorable. Nothing beats watching everyone twerk with wigs or Vasilios and Shadrack making dance choreo on the spot. For the coffee scene it was actually the very first take we ended up using but I almost ruined it because I just knew the writer Anthony Filangeri was probably losing it laughing. It was a lot of coffee.
Do you feel there are any similarities between you and your character?
I may have answered it above already, but for sure. Although Torri is very different from me I can relate to her on certain levels. Being that confidant for someone, feeling like you’re missing out by being in a smaller town/city, or the fear and sadness she feels in growing apart from a close friend. We definitely both share having a love for the LGBTQ+ community and all that it stands for.
Are there any other projects you’d like to discuss?
How’d you know?! In this business it’s non-stop. Even though life has come to a halt with Covid-19 now is the time to develop. So, besides trying to keep a healthy active lifestyle up, I’m buckling down to create, learn, and develop so our team can hit the ground running. There are some projects, sorry lips are sealed, underway with Bulldog Productions. I can tell you though that it may include a feature and more content supporting the LGBTQ+ community. I have a short film called The Dating Game that’ll be put into film festivals once everything starts moving again. I am also helping with post production for the launch of 9 short films that were shot in 9 days with the Counterbalance Collective I am a part of.
Where can our viewers keep up with you online?
I’m mostly on instagram, but Vasilios has me going down the rabbit hole of TikTok. All my usernames are below.
Instagram – @leannensmith_
TikTok – @leannensmith
Facebook – Leanne Noelle Smith
Twitter – @leannensmith_
Website – www.phatfitness.ca