Q&A with Nancy Denis of One the Bear

Hot Chicks with Big Brains are incredibly excited to be partnering with La Boîte Theatre Company for the duration of their 2017 season. This year’s performances promise to be as engaging as they are diverse, with a whole bunch of incredible women helping to ensure their success.

Ahead of Black Honey Company‘s One the Bear, which runs from the 10th to the 21st of October, we caught up with performer Nancy Denis.

Image via La Boite Theatre Company

Please can you tell us a bit about who you are and what you do?

My name is Nancy Denis. I’m a Haitian woman born on the Eora Nation of the Gadigal people. I’m an artist, and a lover of all people. 

How did you begin your career?

I began my career at the age of 8, playing Tessi in Gordon Frost’s production of Annie. Since then, I’ve been in David Atkin’s Hairspray, The Great Gatsby, and Cleverman. Apart from stage, TV and film, I love to paint, sing, and write and perform poetry.

Image via StarNow

What are some of the greatest challenges you’ve faced since starting your career?

Systematic racism within Australia. I honestly never thought that I had experienced racism; I was in denial for a long time. I excused my experiences and just believed that because I love what I do, it would love me back. Looking back at rejections from agencies or directors and remembering their words such as “You do not fit the demographic”, I’ve come to realise that it hasn’t mattered how talented and skilled I am because I don’t fit the whitewashing of Australian programming.

I honestly love this country, but being told I’d have more opportunities overseas is annoying and heartbreaking.

This is my home, but being part of the Arts here is a continual battle.

I’ve gotta work so much harder all the time, and I’m tired, and I’m 25 years old, but I still have hope that it will change—it has to. 

Can you tell us a bit about your role in One the Bear and what it means to you?

I play the role of Ursula, One’s best friend, as well as that of Hunter Manager and Hunter Journalist. It means a lot to me that I am able to use my skills and talents, and really exercise them. Playing alongside Candy has been life changing.

What’s been your favourite part of working as part of the One the Bear team so far?

My favorite part of working on the One the Bear team has been the amount of fun it is working with Candy and Black Honey Company.

We laugh a lot, and it’s just so much fun playing with another unicorn lady.

Image via StarNow

Who are some of the women that most inspire you?

My mum, very simply. She is my divinity in motion, and I am her rising sun. I wouldn’t be who I am without her. She is the strongest woman I know. She is tough, stands up for what she believes in, and doesn’t take crapola from no one. And she loves and supports me.

What’s next for you?

What’s next? The world. Even though Australia is a racist country, I have every hope that it will change and heal, and will acknowledge its bloody history in order to move forward.

This land mass is a black country and I shouldn’t feel uncomfortable here, so I won’t.

I will continue to stand up for myself, my fellow people of colour, and intersectionalities, and I will continue to do my art forever.

Get your tickets to One the Bear here!


Answers by Nancy Denis

Images as individually credited

Questions and Edits by Emma Kate Lewis

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