Today we’d like to introduce you to Ellen Toland.
Ellen, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I grew up in Texas and at eighteen I ran away to NYC. It scared the S#*t out of my parents but I had a blind faith that I would make it as an artist. Acting is all I’ve ever dreamed of doing. I studied at Pace and RADA. Meanwhile, I worked in restaurants and catering. I accidentally spilled drinks on some A-Listers. Some were nicer about it than others. I wasn’t a very good server and got fired a couple of times. Every morning I had a ritual to submit myself to everything possible. I built credits and made things with friends. Work begets work. Now I’m bicoastal with great reps, two supporting roles in theaters and my leading feature debut releasing in the next year.
Has it been a smooth road?
Haha anyone who answers this with a “yes smooth sailing,” good on them. It’s been a journey mixed with highs and lows, but that is the beauty of it all. The reason you pick any creative field is because you don’t want to find yourself complacent. Success is great because it’s confirmation you’re on the right path. Although as I look back on what I’ve achieved so far, what I’m most proud of is getting through the toughest times. You have to love the journey to keep striving to be the best you can be.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I’m an actor whose been lucky enough to work with some badass female directors and play quite the range of parts. You can see me as the most devout member of a millennial cult (Doomsday, Amazon), a 1940s army wife (The Chaperone, PBS), a 1970s college kid in search of a safe abortion (Ask for Jane) and most recently a sex worker navigating a new friendship alongside two academy award nominees (press release coming soon). My mission is to continue to seek parts that don’t rely on female tropes. In the future, I hope to look back on my career proud of the tapestry I created.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I started being bi-coastal two years ago. On my Cali stints, I’ve met so many lovely people in the business in the most bizarre ways. That is the magic of this city. Sure it’s great to take meetings and audition your ass off. But nothing beats making that connection in that cafe you always go to, your friend’s stand up show or that dinner party you knew no one at but walked out with ten new friends. That is the beauty of LA if you’re open to it and genuine about it.
- Instagram: @Ellen_Toland
Natalie O’Moore, Jessica Osber, Jaka Vinšek, Dan McBride, Getty