The Multi-Talented Creative
What can’t Ingrid Johansson do? When her modeling career gave her the chance to travel to Europe at 18, she simultaneously began developing her talents behind the camera, assisting world-renowned photographers and filmmakers. That is, until she decided to break out and start her own production studio, Miz Monday Productions, named after her positive, embrace-every-day attitude. Since then Johansson has produced, hosted, and starred in her very own photography show called “BandFoto” for Canadian Television, she’s directed and filmed four feature documentaries on high performance Sailing for Canada’s CBC documentary channel, and to add to this impressive list, she’s recently teamed up with the horror film director Marcus Dunstan (Saw) to make a horror comedy called Naked Fury that will shoot in 2017. She’s also written a novel that will be out later this year. Here, we find out where go-getter Johansson loves to hang out in her home city and how she stays so motivated.
Earlier this year, Ingrid photographed the talented musician and entertainer Anna Cyzon, at the Thompson Toronto, in the newly redesigned Lobby Bar and in the Rooftop Lounge. Anna was featured in the Thompson Live series, which occurs every Thursday evening in the Lobby Bar.
You’ve been a model, a photographer, TV host, director, and screenwriter. What art form are you most excited about right now?
Sometimes I pause and realize how fortunate I am to have lived such an amazing life. I was lucky as I found my passion at a very young age and have always managed to make a living while creating and doing things that I loved. I started my career while working in Milan as a model and now own and operate a business in Toronto. I have photographed many famous musicians and models, produced and directed a ton of films, created books, and been on television. I have had an amazing life but it wasn’t always easy, it’s required a lot of confidence and persistence while always keeping an open mind to unexpected turns in the road. If you plan every step you sometimes miss those unexpected turns.Right now, what I am most excited about is my next adventure in writing. I’ve spent the last two years working on a book and I am excited to see what happens next.
How would you describe your artistic temperament? Do you have a life philosophy?
I would describe myself as someone who is happy almost 99% of the time. My happiness is not derived from what has happened to me but how I choose to respond to what happens. I came from a very positive home and I have learned at a young age that not everyone was going to resonate with my attitude.I find happiness within myself, as it is an inside job, so I never let anyone else’s attitude rule over my life. My life philosophy is to grab life whole-heartedly, as sometime there is no next time, no second chance, so you need to live in the now. My life philosophy is to grab life whole-heartedly, as sometime there is no next time, no second chance so you need to live in the now. When I lived in Europe my friends called me little miss positive and it later molded into “Miz Monday.” This was my nick name because I loved Mondays. Most people hate their jobs but I continue to wake up every day happy.
You’ve written a book that will be released in the fall. What is it about and why was it time to write that story?
I spent the last few years collaborating with the brilliant writer Dajan Chuckdong and the editor Tina Gloria Esho. Together, we created a non-aggressive self-help novel based on a true story of a single girl living in New York City, struggling with her career and relationship. Rosie, our main character, has made poor choices in her twenties and did not set herself up for success. Now she has to face the hard reality of being newly single and broke. The story is based around three of her close friends who help her along this journey.
What excited me about this book was the fact that I would make a book that could later be turned into a film. The book touches upon how we can sometimes self-sabotage ourselves. It was time to write this non-aggressive self help novel because it will help woman, while opening up the much needed dialogue between the sexes.
What’s your favorite neighborhood in Toronto and why? Can you share three of your favorite places?
Toronto is such an amazing city, it’s hard to point out my favorite spot but if I had to choose one it would be Kensington Market because of the distinctive diversity of social classes and energy you find there. It’s an artistic neighborhood full of small shops, cafes and galleries…great for a lazy Sunday afternoon stroll.
My three favorite restaurants in Toronto would be Terronis in Rosedale, Blowfish on King, and Josos in Yorkville, known for its amazing food and unusual decor.
You’ve made feature documentaries about the world of professional sailing. Where are your favorite places to sail around Toronto?
My family are all sailing enthusiasts, my brother went to the Olympics for sailing and as a child my father would spend weeks with us sailing on his boat. Sailing everywhere from Antigua, Ibiza, and Hawaii to New Zealand, south of France, and Lake Ontario. When I was in my late 20s, I was hired to document a famous Canadian sailor and sail boat called O Canada. I spent five years travelling the world filming this incredible boat. We produced five sailing documentaries, four of which aired on Canadian television.
In Toronto, my favorite place to sail would be around Toronto Island. It’s a beautiful chain of islands located just offshore across from the city center.
How would you spend your dream day off in Toronto?
My dream day would be in early August, making the most of the warm sun. My day would be spent at an outdoor concert or festival with a bunch of awesome friends.
Do you have any other exciting projects coming up in 2016 that you can share with us?
Every moment in my life has shaped me into the person I am today. I am thankful for all the moments as they continue to make my life interesting and exciting. I’ve been busy producing a bunch of interesting projects and, to answer your question, I have many projects coming up in 2016. Two are feature film scripts, one called Naked Fury and another called Obsession. Naked Fury is written by the writers of Saw—both are very artist-cult-classic type films. If all goes as planned, my goal would be to get these films finally into motion and plan to shoot in the summer of 2017. So stay tuned as I have lots of fun things to come.