Queen’s student balances life as an actress

Despite her bustling acting career, Zoë Belkin still manages to fit student life into her busy schedule

Zoë Belkin has worked with the likes of Julianne Moore, Abigail Breslin and James Van Der Beek and will be appearing in the upcoming film, Carrie.
Zoë Belkin has worked with the likes of Julianne Moore, Abigail Breslin and James Van Der Beek and will be appearing in the upcoming film, Carrie.

For many, deciding which universities to apply to is the biggest challenge of stepping into adulthood. For Zoë Belkin, aspiring actress and Queen’s student, this was only half of it.

For Belkin, who was in the well-known TV show Degrassi: The Next Generation, skipping university was never an option.

Education, she said, is incredibly important, even if it comes second to her acting career.

“I had to decide if I was going to stay in Toronto and pursue acting or if I was going to go to school,” she said. “I know I want to do acting for the rest of my life … but at the same time you should always have that sort of back up.”

As a film and media student, Belkin, ArtSci ’14, said her time at Queen’s has only enhanced her love for the arts.

“I took a production course last year, but I’m sort of more into media and film theory,” Belkin said. “It’s always helpful to watch movies and watch other actors. That’s how you learn … from watching other people.”

But let’s go back to where it all began.

While many childhood stars, like Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, have been pushed into the spotlight since day one, Belkin took a different route.

Her first introduction to acting was through her grandmother who, at the time, did makeup on Second City Television for the likes of Eugene Levy and Martin Short.

“She used to bring me to her movie sets when I was little,” Belkin said. “I think the first set I went on I was four … I still remember it.”

From that day on, Belkin knew she wanted to be an actress, but due to time constraints she waited until she was 11 years-old to begin acting classes.

At 12, Belkin got an agent and began auditioning for roles, earning her first role on the TV show The Latest Buzz at the age of 13.

Although she has worked with big name stars, Belkin, who appears in the upcoming remake of Carrie alongside Julianne Moore and Chloë Moretz, said she’s never butted heads or had any issues while filming.

At the end of the day, she said, acting is part of her career path.

“Everyone is nice and everyone’s down to earth — everyone’s there to do a job,” she said. “It’s a fun job, but … I’m just there to do what I have to do.”

A film and media student, Belkin said she leads a normal student life, full of social activities, friendships and academics. However, balancing her university life while pursuing an acting career, she said, is quite a challenge.

“It’s really hard. I am always sending tapes to my agents,” she said. “I have my two friends who film me and read for me and [I] put myself on tape and I send it off.”

Clearly, her hard work and dedication has paid off.

Although her future plans are unclear, Belkin said that, come ten years from now, she’ll still be auditioning for roles to do what she loves.

For her, this is more than just a hobby.

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