To be named one of TIFF’s Rising Stars is a huge deal—and a potential game-changer. It’s a way that the film festival honours the next generation of leading talent, actors they believe are primed for international success. 

You may recognize Torontonian Jess Salgueiro from her roles on Workin’ Moms and Orphan Black. At TIFF 2017, she was part of the buzz for Molly McGlynn’s powerful debut film, Mary Goes Round, and this year we cannot wait to watch her in Patricia Rozemas’s highly anticipated film, MOUTHPIECE.

In our TIFF Rising Stars series, we’re asking the women honoured this year about their professional journeys so far. We love the wisdom and insight Jess has shared. 

SDTC: What piece of advice do you think has helped you in your career most? Or maybe something that you refer to often?

JS: It’s actually something I learned kind of on my own through A LOT of trial and error: “No one’s path is your path.” I wish I figured that out or someone told me that earlier. I spent so much time emulating other people’s careers, following others’ footsteps and none of it ever worked or felt right because it wasn’t my way. Now when I find myself somehow off course, it’s when I’m not listening to my truth. I remind myself, “No one’s path is your path,” and I immediately course correct and stop comparing myself to others.

What goals (personal or professional) are you currently working on? 

This career can have a lot of highs and lows. I’m learning to take it all with grace.

What’s a lesson you recently learned?

Once when I was on set for a TV show, I was convinced I was bombing. I thought the director hated me and must be questioning why she hired me. That could of very well been the case, but more importantly I felt myself dissolving into an abyss of self-doubt and sabotage. Luckily I caught myself in time and was like, “Jess. Relax. Pretend she’s your best friend and she loves you and just wants to collaborate with you. It’s not personal. You’re both equal collaborators working on making this story as compelling as possible.”

Once I did that—holy crap. Everything shifted. All of a sudden I got out of my own way and was able to receive the direction and it turned out to be a performance I’m very proud of. 

What aspect of your professional life fulfills you most?

I LOVE working with kind, talented people. The vibe on set is electric when there are good people who care about the work and each other. It’s magic. 

How are you defining success these days?

Success is a holistic feeling for me, so I often have to ask, “Am I working from a place of integrity? Am I proud of myself? Am I surrounded by open-hearted/open-minded people? Am I improving in the areas I want to? Is my heart opening wider?” If the answer is yes to all of these then I am living very successfully. 

What excites you about the film industry right now?

Female characters are being written with so much more dimension (generally). This is hugely due to more female writers, directors and producers. This is soooo f@&!$&! thrilling to me. I’ve always felt out of place abiding by a sort of decorum or set of prescribed behaviours as a woman because it was dishonest. Now we can be raw, revealed and honest!

What are you most looking forward to at TIFF 2018?

I’m excited for the films I’m about to see! Especially by filmmakers I’ve never heard of.