Featured Guest is the section of my website where I interview actors, musicians, artists and various cool people I have crossed paths with over the years. Tonight I had the wonderful gift of catching up with the beautiful and brilliant Isabelle Stephen. A Montreal based actress, photographer, model and more: Isabelle is one of a kind and always shines in whatever pursuit she follows. We discussed a wide, wide range of subjects from her love of modeling, stand up comedy, books, films , photography and her recent activism work.

 

1.Bonjour Isabelle, how are you ? Good to speak with you today.

I'm doing very good! I'm working on a lot of awesome projects and I'm very happy!!! It's great to talk to you!

2. You too thank you. Tell us a little about your background, did you grow up in Quebec?

I'm a french Canadian and grew up in the country not too far from Montreal City. I was a happy child, always trying to make people around me laugh. I have no siblings but I never felt alone. I had my imagination to keep me company!

 

3.Yes, great. I remember your modeling and acting work from the past. When you were growing up what inspired you to become an actress or model? I know earlier on you were very into horror movies?

 When I was a kid I was really into horror movies and B-Movies. My favorite movies at the time were 7 in Heaven, Cleopatra Panther of Kung Fu and I Spit on Your Grave. I was also very much into female super heroes. I always identified with girls who kicked ass! Ha ha ha! So these were my first role models. When I was a young adult I discovered the independent cinema scene, I became a big fan of Julie Strain, Misty Mundae, Ruby Larocca... For years I wished I could do what these girls were doing, photoshoots, movies and at one point in my life I thought the hell with it! And I started to do what I really wanted to do. I seized all the opportunities I could, I build my model portfolio and I started to get hire in independent movies in the US and in Canada. I was mostly hired to play in horror movies. At first I played the victim a lot, but more and more I got bigger parts. I really had a great time working on all these films!

4.Did you like certain artists, musicians or actors that inspired you and in what way?

In the past I was very inspired by Julie Strain but right now I'm very inspired by Derren Brown, who's a fantastic mentalist. As I grow up I became fascinated with the unknown, with the paranormal, and when I was in my thirties I read a book who changed my life; Paranormality, an amazing book from Richard Wiseman in which he explains how paranormal claims are actually not paranormal at all... I wanted to know more and more about what's real, so I started reading books like : The Believing Brain from Micheal Shermer, lots of books from Joe Nickell, and I got into science. Once you understand how the brain works you can let go of all those supernatural beliefs. I was always an atheist, but at the age of 36 I also became a skeptic. I got very interested in stage magic and mentalism and I discovered James Randi, Pen and Teller and Derren Brown. I also have to mention the podcasts; Set Andrews from The Thinking Atheist , Noah Lugeons, Heat Enwright and Eli Bosnick from The Scathing Atheist, Tom and Cecile from Cognitive Dissonance, Jonathan Jarry and Christopher Labos from The Body of Evidence, Brian Dunning from Skeptoid, to name a few...  All these people are a big source of inspiration for me. They inspired me to focus on the truth and to think critically.

5.I remember at one time you were focused on your photography work and now you have been more interested in modeling again. Always great to see you behind or in front of the camera and being creative. What’s been going on with your modeling?

I always love modeling, I stopped for a while in my late 30ies, but got back to it again when I turned 40. I always have fun in front of the camera! I love playing different characters! It feeds my artistic side! I pretty much quit doing photography as a photographer. I still do some paid gig, but I don't want to spend more times on photography anymore, I decided to spend my time writing for my stand up comedy and working on new magic and mentalism trick. I just couldn't keep doing everything I had to make choices so I went with what was making me the happiest!

 

 

6.Of couse, that is great. A few years ago you were exploring the concept of being demisexual, and now you are teaching about asexuality. I know you founded the asexual community of Montreal, can you tell us about your journey to these life concepts and work in this area?

I discovered pretty late in life that asexuality was a possibility. Asexuality can be define as someone who doesn't feel sexual attraction towards anybody. All my life I was in different relationship and it was always the same pattern, I fall in love with someone and I force myself to have frequent sex with the person until I can't force myself anymore and then the relationship crumble. I thought having sex with the person you love was the only way to be in a serious relationship. I thought something was wrong with me for not feeling like having sex. One day I ended up watching the documentary A. Sexual and it really resonate with me. It wasn't totally accurate but I recognize myself a lot in it. So I started doing a lot of research about asexuality and discover that there's a spectrum of sexual orientation under the asexuality umbrella. When I read the definition of demisexuality I immediately realized that this was me! A person who's demisexual can fell sexual attraction towards someone only when a strong emotional bond is formed with the person, but even when you feel a strong emotional bond with someone it doesn't mean that you will develop sexual attraction. So in my case usually I don't feel sexual attraction towards the people I fall in love with but sometimes I do. So I identify as demisexual panromantic. Panromantic means that to me the sex of the person I fall in love with is not an issue. I can fall in love with a guy or a girl, it doesn't make any difference to me. I have no preferences. When I realized that I was demisexual I wanted to meet other people who are also asexuals, I tried to find a group of asexual in Montreal, but couldn't find any so I decided to create one! I created The Montreal Asexual Community. We meet once a month and we're always having a great time!

7.You’re also doing magician/stage magic these days?

I started learning magic and mentalism after I interviewed a great mentalist called Vincent Mentalo for my podcast "Le Monde Merveilleux du Scepticisme", a french podcast about skepticism, the title can be translate as The Wonderful World of Sketpiscim. So last year I interviewed Vincent Mentalo and got even more fascinated about mentalism and magic. Vincent took me under is wing and showed me the basic of magic and mentalism. I'm not ready to do stage show just yet, now I'm doing close up magic and mentalism but I keep learning more and more and eventually I hope to do a stage show.

8.Great, great. How did you get into stand up comedy? You must be having fun with so many creative outlets.

I've been writing stand up comedy for quite some times now but got the guts to start performing only three months ago! To me this was a revelation! Stand up comedy is what I want to do there's no doubt in my mind! My type of comedy is pretty offensive. I wasn't sure it would work out well but so far the response I got is very good! So I'll keep doing it!    

9.Are you still doing any acting or film work?

Sometimes I do small parts in short films here and there, but I don't want to spend too much time in acting anymore. I have to concentrate on what I enjoy the most so for now movies is not a priority.

 

10.What is Montreal like these days with artistic community and activity? Are you happy there?

Montreal is an awesome city! The artistic community is very active and the comedy scene is incredible! It's the best place to be a stand up comedian! I'm very happy in Montreal!

 11.Do you have any favourite books?

My favorite book is Paranormality from Richard Wiseman since it's the book who opened my mind and made me a true skeptic!

12.Favourite films?

My favorite film of all time is Bitter Moon! An amazing twisted film from Roman Polanski!

 

 

13.What about favourite music?

Music wise I like a lot of different style. It's hard to pick a favorite. Music from Bollywood films always have a soft spot in my heart. Not one day pass by without me listening to an Indian song! I discovered lately a lot of Italian music and I can't have enough of Adriano Celentano. Right now what's playing the most in my iPhone is those three songs: Be Mine from Ofenbach, Smile from Lily Allen, and Rock Me from Mel C.

14.Yes that's right, I remember you really love the Bollywood films. Have you ever experimented with singing or playing in a band?

I would love to sing but unfortunately my brain doesn't differenciate tones so I can't sing well. I still sang a few song during live shows and for a videoclip or two, but it's only for fun!

15.What is one life skill you think every person should have?

The one life skill I think every person should have is critical thinking! If everybody would be equip with the tools or reason the world be a better place... No more conspiracy theories, no more irrational beliefs... That would be amazing!

16.If you could explore any creative outlet you haven’t tried yet what else would you like to try?

Well... It's not totally new, but I would love to do some more dancing.

 

 

17.Do you have any lectures, performances or other events coming up you’d like to tell us about?

During the Montreal pride week of 2017 I will be performing a live show about Asexuality and I will be part of a conference, again about asexuality. I will be performing stand up comedy here and there, but I can't give you exact dates and places... People will have to add me on Facebook to get all the details! He he!

 

 

18.What advice would you give any artist starting out today?

The only advice I would give is keep doing it! Whatever you do, don't give up. Hard work always pay!

 

19.Great advice and very true. Do you write poetry or stories? I know at one time you were writing some film ideas?

I write a lot for my stand up comedy, but I don't write stories or poetry. I'm not very sensitive, so poetry is not for me! Ha ha ha ha!

 

 

20.Cool Isabelle. Any last words for your fans and audience?        

I want to tell everybody that I'm always happy to hear from them! You can add me on Facebook, follow me on Instagram... Don't hesitate to contact me! If you have questions about asexuality, or just need to talk I'm always there!

Really awesome, it is great to speak with you tonight. You are involved in so many interesting and creative projects as well as educating others on lifestyle paths. It's really cool to hear all you've been doing lately. Thank you for the interview and wishing you well in all your creative work. Please stay in touch and keep me updated on all you're doing. Rock on Isa!! - G

 

 

 

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