Canadian-born Jani Lauzon is the embodiment of free-thinking artistic expression. The multi-disciplinarian Lauzon is a puppeteer, an actress, a singer, and a songwriter.
But it has not always been smooth-sailing for Lauzon. Considering where she is now, it is easy to overlook the adversity she had to go through in her personal and professional life to get here.
In this list, we look at seven facts about Jani Lauzon and her journey.
Jani was born on September 29, 1959, in Kimberley, British Columbia, Canada. She is of Métis ancestry. The Métis are aborigines who can be traced back to Europeans settlers who arrived in Canada as part of the western colonization of the 1500s.
Being of aboriginal heritage, Lauzon understands the importance of inclusivity. Her experiences as a woman of Métis origin who struggled to find substantial work makes her sympathetic to the plight of other marginalized groups.
Lauzon is an advocate of multiculturalism and a proponent of inclusivity on Canadian film and television. She is the Diversity Advocate of the ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television, and Radio Artists), a post she has held for over a decade.
The organization lobbies for equal opportunity for performers across all cultural and racial backgrounds.
Jani's refusal to speak ill of her ex-husband demonstrates that Lauzon is a lady of class. But she has been outspoken about her struggles as a single parent to her daughter Tara. She waitressed on the side to make ends meet while trying to get a foot in through the door in entertainment.
She has also said her struggles as a single parent made her a better actress and a better person.
If talent was hereditary, Tara must get her artistic flair from her mother, Jani. The duo started the Paper Canoe Projects in 2013 to help foster up-and-coming creative geniuses by giving them a platform to hone their craft and provide employment.
Jani has an impressive resume of studio albums to her credit. She debuted her album Blue Voice in 1994 via her independent label RA Records.
Following the success of the album- including a Juno Award nomination- she has released the albums Hearts of the Nations (1997), Thirst (1998), Heartbeat 2: More Voices of First Nations Women (1998), and Mixed Blessings (2007).
Jani dabbles in the physical arts as a puppeteer, mime artist, and a masked actor.
Jani considers herself a "Jack of all Trades," and contributes her talents in physical acting to her career as a singer-songwriter.
In her interview with Intermission Magazine, Jani said:
“I think being a musician, singer-songwriter, and vocalist makes me a better actor. I understand rhythm in text. That’s why I love Shakespeare so much, because of the rhythm of the language. All of my acting work makes me a better singer, because I understand how to tell a story. All of my puppetry, mask, and mime work has made me a physical actor. So, I love physical comedy as a result of that. But I understand the strength of and power of stillness on the stage, which I also learned through doing that same mime, mask, and puppetry work. The command and knowledge I have of my body has been very helpful for me. I feel that all of these things help each other."
Her most notable puppet work includes the characters of Grannie of the Mr. Dress-Up Show, Seeka on Wumpa's World, and Pa Foly in The Big Comfy Couch.
Her love for the performing arts extends to the movie and TV screens. IMDb lists her acting credits at 23 appearances in various TV shows and movies.
Most notably, she has appeared on the TV shows Conspiracy of Silence, The Big Comfy Couch, Longhouse Tales, Saving Hope, and Groundling Marsh.
Her movie appearances also include A Windigo Tale and The River You Step In.