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A Woman You Should Meet: Elena Juatco

By: Bianca Teixeira|March 20, 2015

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It sounds like you have a very busy career. You act, sing, do theatre and were even a reporter for eTalk at one point.

Yes! Everything I’ve done is its own separate experience where you’re taking the steps towards the kind of career you want to have. Everything I’ve done has been fun and a great learning tool.

Let’s start with acting and work our way through it all! Tell me about your character on the medical show Open Heart.

I play Dr. Scarlett McWhinnie. She’s a medical residence student. She takes her job very, very seriously and she’s very intense. She gets some great quotes too, which doesn’t hurt. She’s also the only doctor who wears high heels in the corridors…running down the hallway and doing CPR in high heels, why not? It feels like it looks hot.

High heels in a hospital. So practical.

We have a real doctor on set who kind of helps us out with all of the surgery details and she’ll look at me and be like, ‘Yeah, we don’t look like that.’ But it makes me feel powerful and it’s perfect for the character.

You also just released your debut album. Congratulations.

Thank you! It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a very long time. It was released on International Women’s Day, which was the perfect day because I was able to celebrate the album as well as all the female musicians who have inspired me. Since it’s also Women’s History Month, for the whole month I’m donating one dollar from each album sold to the Assaulted Women’s Help Line, a free 24/7 help line for any woman experiencing abuse.

That’s incredible. What motivated that?

When I was writing the title single called Beyond This Line – which is also the name of the album – it was for a friend who stared at her front door for hours trying to work up the courage to leave her abusive partner. It took her a whole to cross that line, but she did and she’s a testament to how you can survive abuse.

You toured for a while with your one-woman show Dianne and Me. Tell me about that.

Oh yay! I’m so happy you asked me about that! I’ve always been fascinated by solo shows, they’re so engrossing because they’re one person maintaining an entire show. A one-woman show was on my bucket list of things I wanted to do, so when I found this script I knew I needed to do it. It’s about this young teenager who gets pregnant. I took around Canada and performed at the Fringe Festival and at Stratford just to name a few.

This might be redundant since you’re an actress, but do you ever get stage fright being up there all alone?

I don’t get stage fright, but I definitely get nervous. The first time I performed it I was very nervous because I knew that there were reviewers who were watching. That’s part of the excitement of what I do though. If there’s ever anything in my career that’s not exciting or scary to me then I know I need to do something else. But never have I blanked or anything like that while on stage. I’m knocking on wood!

With all this going on, what do you do when you finally just have time to yourself?

I love watching House of Cards on Netflix. I can’t binge-watch, but I can do at least one episode a night. When I’m not working I just want to be comatose on my couch with wine and Netflix. But I also just love quality time with my friends. Oh, and I knit!

You do not.

Yes, I do! It’s my nerdy thing. No, you know what? It’s not nerdy. It’s super cool. I picked it up when I was doing Les Miz on stage. There’s one part of the show where the main character is singing and we’re all lying behind a barricade and I would spend the whole time just thinking about my knitting projects.

I thought you were going to say that you would lie back there knitting while he was singing!

I wish! It’s so great to just turn off your brain and knit a scarf or socks.

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