Morgan Holmstrom

November 5, 2021

Métis Citizen gaining traction on television

Morgan Holmstrom. Photo credit: Luka Cyprian

Day of the Dead star Morgan Holmstrom became interested in the entertainment industry by accident.

"I didn't want to be an actor, but I was modelling at the time and my modelling agent asked if I wanted to audition for a movie that was filming in Winnipeg," she said.

An international model from the age of 14, Holmstrom initially declined the invitation to audition for I Still See You, a supernatural mystery thriller starring Bella Thorne and Dermot Mulroney, but her agent persisted.

"I got an acting coach locally and ended up booking a small role on that movie. Ever since then, I fell in love with acting and the industry and couldn't see myself doing anything else," she said.

Holmstrom recently completed filming for Shadow of the Rougarou, a 19th-century Métis horror series.
Photo credit: Luka Cyprian

The 2018 film gave Holmstrom her start when she was 19, but she quickly realized she needed more training. She had also been studying science at the University of Winnipeg, but decided to make a change and save money to move to Vancouver to pursue acting. By the time she was 21, she made the move - which came with many challenges.

"I was working three jobs, barely paying my bills. (I) didn't book a single job for two years. It was very hard and a big reality check," she said.

At the onset of the pandemic, Holmstrom thought she had lost everything - her apartment and her jobs.

"But the world works in mysterious ways," she said. She booked her first series regular role that year on Day of the Dead, based on George A. Romero's classic zombie horror film. The series currently airs on CTV Sci-Fi on Fridays at 9pm central.

Holmstrom said working on the project was an amazing experience.

"I definitely had a lot of nerves going into it. We filmed 10 episodes in under three months during the peak of the pandemic, which was challenging but very rewarding. All the cast and crew were great to work with and I'm proud of the work we did on that show," she said.

Shadow of the Rougarou follows Holmstrom's character as she returns to the cursed valley that was once her childhood home. Photo credit: Luka Cyprian

If she got into the entertainment industry by chance, it helped that Holmstrom grew up loving the arts.

"Singing, dancing, fiddle - anything like that I was always involved in," she said.

Holmstrom and her younger sister were raised on the east side of Winnipeg by their Métis father and Filipina mother.

"I felt most connected to my heritage when I was younger and my dad would sit me down and tell me stories of our family. He would never let me forget who we are and where we come from," Holmstrom said.

When she was eight years old, Holmstrom was gifted her uncle's fiddle and started to learn how to play.

"That also made me feel very connected," she said. "My great-grandpa was a Métis soldier, but also a fantastic fiddle player. And whenever I pick up my fiddle, I always think of him."

Shadow of the Rougarou will air on APTN lumi in 2022. Photo credit: Luka Cyprian

Holmstrom was able to embrace her Métis heritage further while filming Shadow of the Rougarou, a 19th-century Métis horror series airing on APTN lumi in 2022 that follows Holmstrom's character as she returns to the cursed valley that was once her childhood home.

"Shadow of the Rougarou was one of the best projects I've ever worked on. Not only was it creatively fulfilling, but everyone was so passionate about the project. Also, it's about Métis history, which is obviously very close to home for me, but also for the director and many of the cast/crew that worked on the project," she said.

Left to right: Métis director and writer Jordan Waunch, Métis actors Morgan Holmstrom and Cody Kearsley, and actor Leo Chang on the British Columbia set of Shadow of the Rougarou. Photo credit: Luka Cyprian

The work hasn't stopped for Holmstrom. She's currently filming a 10-episode drama in Winnipeg for CBC, CBS, and Paramount+ called Skymed that will air next year.

"It follows the intense character journeys and high-stakes medical rescues, heartbreaks, and tribulations of budding nurses and pilots flying air ambulances (in the North)," she said.

Left to right: Shadow of the Rougarou director and writer Jordan Waunch, Métis actors Morgan Holmstrom and Cody Kearsley, and actor Isabel Deroy Olson. Photo credit: Luka Cyprian

Holmstrom hopes to keep making her mark in the entertainment industry.

"I would love to continue on this acting journey and start writing/producing my own projects. And hopefully inspire other women and the younger Métis generation to do the same," she said.

The 24-year-old encourages Métis Youth interested in the entertainment industry to work hard and not give up.

"This industry is very challenging but so rewarding, and if you want it, then go after it and don't look back," she said. "There were so many moments where I wanted to give up and I sometimes think how different my life would have been if I did. Nevertheless, if I can do it, you can do it too."

 


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