Emily Piggford Knows How to Party

For most of us, getting cast on That’s My DJ would be a dream come true. The hit web series, now in its third season, is a thumping, loud, unapologetic look inside the world of rave culture. Which means that a day of shooting includes dancing, partying, dancing some more, and looking like you’re having an amazing time. But for the show’s star, Emily Piggford, working on That’s My DJ wasn’t as easy as it sounds.

“I’m such a homebody!” laughs Piggford. “I actually saw this role as a challenge whereas it would be so accessible for many other people. I essentially had to be taught how to party, which is plain ridiculous.”

Luckily, Piggford found a sort of party tutor in the show’s creator D.W. Waterson, who took the actress to parties all over the city and pushed Piggford out of her comfort zone. It must have worked: earlier this year Piggford was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award, and she recently nabbed a nomination at the 2017 LA Webfest as well.

“I’m quite introverted, but something about this character really drew me in because she’s the complete opposite,” says Piggford. “It almost feels a bit more like doing theatre for me, with a community of rave vibe. I come home feeling the way you do after you have danced all night. I’m tired, but happy and satisfied.”


What is your favourite music to dance to is?

My favourite music to dance to usually comes down to the Top 40, and I dance around a lot to Taylor Swift. Also, Beyonce’s Lemonade album, I listen to that start-to-finish and dance and cry.

What song are you listening to on repeat?

Right now I’m listening to the whole La La Land soundtrack on repeat. I really like the film, I saw it at TIFF and something about what I was going through on that day made me break down and cry afterwards. I was very moved by La La Land, I watched it again and again. I even bought the soundtrack on vinyl, but it’s also on my iPod so I can listen to it on the move.


Who would you want to take to a rave?

Take to a rave? D.W., because we would just cut loose and have so much fun together. I’d trust her to be my guide and show me the ropes.

What would be your rave survival kit?

I would have water, my phone charger, and lip balm, because I’m probably going to get dehydrated and I hate dry lips, and then my wallet. Whatever happens after that just happens!

What is your favourite thing about your job?

I just love the variety. I love that I can get an audition request, spend the next week getting into that world and researching the character, then the next day be a completely different person. The constant opportunity to try and understand different characters, different aspects of myself and also kind of analyze the functions of every project that’s in front of me. That’s what I love.


What is your least favourite thing about your job?

I really don’t have a least favourite thing about this business. Even the short notice might be what could come up as a least favourite thing because you prep your lines, you get on set, you are about to block rehearsal, and then the lines change, which can be like frustrating or scary upfront, but I also really love that because it just means I have to throw all of my anxiety out the window and just be present. That’s a terrible answer, but honestly, there’s nothing I don’t love!

What do you think you would be doing if you were not acting?

My plans A, B, C, through Z are all arts related and would probably include performance in some shape or form. But let’s say, in a completely different, parallel life I would want to be a holistic nutritionist.

Do you have a secret hidden talent? And if so, what is it?

I’m quite good at origami. My mom is Japanese and taught me how to do it and I love it. I’ll leave little napkin cranes at restaurants. [Laughs.] One year, when I was just starting out and had no money, all my family and friends got paper crane mobiles for Christmas. And watercolour paintings. I started painting in high school, I found it really soothing. Both mediums are meditative and meticulous and you get something beautiful in the end.


Photography: Dixie Gong / David Leyes