Wendy German is a Canadian director and theatre and film actress who started her acting career at Windsor Light Music Theatre and has since featured in several live shows.
She has featured in the live shows of Legally Blonde, The King and I, Beauty and the Beast, and Bye Bye Birdie. Wendy has also starred in several TV shows such as Haunted Case Files, Paranormal 911, and so on, and even short films. She has also starred in “Clash” a Nigerian Canadian film that reached #1 on Netflix Nigeria.
At what age did you start becoming interested in performing arts?
I’ve been fascinated by performing arts since childhood. I got a role in my Kindergarten assembly because all the other girls said “no”, and I was ecstatic throughout that whole process. I started seriously dancing at 12 years old, then moved on to community theatre. I really cannot imagine my life without performing arts.
Have you always been interested in both acting and directing or did one come after the other?
The acting was definitely first and directing came after. I was drawn to directing because I knew I had, and still have, many stories that I feel compelled to share. Once I’d been on a few sets, I thought, “I could see myself doing this”.
You have performed in quite a several live performances, could you describe what those experiences were like?
Live performance is so invigorating! The cast and audience have a silent agreement to suspend disbelief and that’s where the magic can really happen. Some moments stand out, where a funny line hits an audience more than usual and they can’t stop laughing, or where something might go askew but, no matter what occurs, you must go on. That’s part of the beauty of it for me: while it’s often the same show, the same show truly never happens twice. It’s the not- the knowing-what-might-happen aspect of live performance that makes it irresistible.
How excited were you when you found out that “Clash” had reached #1 on Netflix Nigeria?
I was elated when “Clash” hit the number-one spot on Nigerian Netflix. It stayed there for 19 days, which is incredible. Our cast included Omoni Oboli, who is a huge star in Nigeria, and our director Pascal Atuma has had international success after success. It made sense because of their incredible work, but it was definitely a dream-come-true moment for me.
How did the pandemic affect both you and your career?
At first, the pandemic shut down filming, so things were much quieter. I treasured the extra time that I had to walk my dog, Paris, and reflect on life. Last Fall things began to pick up again. A lot of American shows have started filming in Canada, as our film industry opened up prior to theirs. That’s been great for “Hollywood North”, as we like to call Toronto and Vancouver.
Are you currently working on any new projects?
I’m grateful to be auditioning for a number of projects right now. I have two episodic shows coming out soon, Homicide Hours to Kill and Paranormal Hotline. The short documentary that I’m directing and producing, Finding Orleen, about my sister Pamela’s search for her birth mother (which has a stunning real-life plot twist), is in its final stages of production. We’ll enter it into film festivals later this year. She just came to me with an idea about a sequel to it, but we are still in the early planning stages of that.
What is the story behind how you first got into acting?
I got into acting through my community theatre experience, mainly with Windsor Light Music Theatre. As a hobby, I loved it, but I had a job, kids, and a pretty regular life. Then, I learned that one of my castmates was an agent at a fairly new talent agency in my hometown of Windsor, Ontario. I was nervous, but I reached out to her and asked how I could get on her roster. Was there an audition? I had no idea. Immediately she said, “Oh, you’re in”. She said she knew my acting from the theatre. She told me I’d need headshots and to be willing to drive to Toronto. I agreed and figured I’d get called maybe once a year. Soon, I was doing the three-and-a-half-hour commute multiple times a month, so I decided to move to Toronto to pursue acting professionally.
What advice would you offer to aspiring actors?
Making sure you get into good acting classes and develop your skills as an actor is the best advice that I received from the first casting director I met. If you’re serious about acting, you’ll also need to find a good agent. Student and independent films are great entryways to getting cast, getting on set, and getting footage for your demo reel, all of which will help you attract an agent and move you in the right direction.
What were the measures you took to pivot your career?
Moving to Toronto was definitely the most important measure I could’ve taken. I was getting more and more auditions, which was really exciting. I started looking at apartments in Toronto and saving money—I couldn’t keep commuting from Windsor. My friend posted an offer for a roommate in her Toronto condo, and that was my chance. I quit my job and started packing. It was a bit daunting, but I knew it was the moment and I had to seize it. I moved to Toronto the next month.
How do you plan on inspiring others to follow their dreams?
If I can turn my whole career around in my mid 40’s, I truly believe that anyone can. Not just in acting, but in whatever secret dreams they hold. Through making films, my hope is that I can inspire others to chase their dreams.
What are the hobbies and activities you engage in during your free time?
I take tons of acting and dancing lessons—I absolutely love them. I also love to soak in performances, especially live musical theatre, ballet, and opera. Stratford, Ontario is a favorite place of mine. Aside from performance, I love reading and going for coffee with friends.
What are the words you live by?
Ava DuVernay said: “Figure out what you need to do to be the heroine of your own story”. That’s what we should all be doing. It took me so many years to stop caring about what others thought of my choices and realize that I’m the only person who can make myself happy. Acting and storytelling are the keys to happiness for me.