Newfoundland actor visits the Trailer Park this fall

J.P. Antonacci
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Just one of the Boys

Barbara Finn had one major concern with her daughter starring in the upcoming Trailer Park Boys special.

"Well, the first thing my mother said was, 'I hope you're not swearing!'" Christine MacDonald remembered.

"I said, 'No, mom, I'm just wearing a skirt that barely covers my butt!' I had to put it on over my head, actually. She said, 'Oh my goodness, oh my goodness.'"

Actor Christine MacDonald of Grand-Falls Windsor with Robb Wells (Ricky) and Bernard Robichaud (Cyrus) on the set of the upcoming Trailer Park Boys TV special, scheduled to air in November.

Barbara Finn had one major concern with her daughter starring in the upcoming Trailer Park Boys special.

"Well, the first thing my mother said was, 'I hope you're not swearing!'" Christine MacDonald remembered.

"I said, 'No, mom, I'm just wearing a skirt that barely covers my butt!' I had to put it on over my head, actually. She said, 'Oh my goodness, oh my goodness.'"

Ms. MacDonald bursts out laughing, something this Grand Falls-Windsor native does often when talking about her life and acting career.

And why not? She just won an all-expenses paid trip to a luxury Mexican resort at a Yellow Pages corporate conference. Her daughter just turned four, and her son will be seven in November. She and her kids recently moved to Halliburton Hills, a suburb of Halifax, to be closer to their family.

Starring as one of Cyrus' girls alongside Ricky, Bubbles, and Julian in the hour-long TPB special-due to air later this fall-is but the cherry on top.

Ms. MacDonald, 32, has come a long way from playing Louisa Von Trapp in The Sound of Music at St. Michael's High School.

"If you ask anyone who knows me, I've never been shy," she said over the phone from Halifax.

"It started out with me moving the coffee table over in the living room and making everyone who entered the house watch me dance to the Mini Pops. Like my mother wasn't busy enough with seven kids to watch me dance!"

After high school, Ms. MacDonald went to St. Mary's University and loved it, deciding to stay in Nova Scotia to start a family and pursue her acting dream.

She mainly did commercials, but also appeared in a music video for east coast hip hop artist Classified, the TV hit Made in Canada with Rick Mercer, and a TV series called Liography, which starred Leslie Neilson in a spoof of biography shows. Lately, she has acted in Lexx, "a crazy sci-fi show" filmed in Halifax.

Her love of performing also led Ms. MacDonald in other directions: to pageants - as Miss Nova Scotia she represented the province at the 2000 Miss Canada Universe Pageant in Edmonton-and, more of a stretch, fitness.

Thanks to a strict training and diet regimen, Ms. MacDonald toned up and was named Miss Fitness Atlantic Canada. "It was a lot of work," she said modestly. "When I look back, I'm like, how did I do that? I'm lucky if I get to eat at all anymore, never mind stand in the kitchen and make a dozen egg whites."

Though she has given up the intense fitness lifestyle, they can't take away the title-and she still has the pictures of her muscled self to show off to friends.

"I don't regret any of it, but looking back, it was very consuming-that was my life," she said. "I'm happy I got to do that before the kids came along."

Motherhood demanded the time and energy usually spent on acting, so Ms. MacDonald took a few years off to raise her two children. But the limelight beckoned.

"My kids were getting of age where I could get back out there," she said, so while working with Yellow Pages as an advertising account manager, she got an agent and joined the actor's union.

Before she knew it, she was sent to audition for a role in the Trailer Park Boys.

"And I got it!" she said, still amazed by her good fortune. Her role as Cyrus' girl is non-speaking, but she is featured prominently on screen throughout the one-hour TV special.

"I'm more doing silly things," she said. "It's not exactly a classy role that you'd call your mom about!"

Classy or not, the show-which just finished its seventh season-remains a hit across Canada and around the world. Before she got the part, however, Ms. MacDonald had no idea what the fuss was all about.

"I'm a single mom with two little kids and more than a full time job. So I watch Treehouse," she laughed.

Once she got the part, she took a Trailer Park crash course, quickly coming to appreciate why the show had such a cult following. Seeing the boys-who are from Nova Scotia-around Halifax helped her get into their particular brand of humour.

She was a fan of the three stars on set as well.

"Filming this show was a great experience. Really funny-it was hard to keep a straight face, because they have a script, but after they get a good cut of the script they're given some flexibility to ad lib. So that's when it gets really interesting, because you don't know what to expect. Somebody could throw this silly, outrageous line and you're just thinking, Oh my god, keep your composure! I mean you're already doing ridiculous things on there, but..." she breaks up into laughter.

Mike Smith, Robb Wells, and John Paul Tremblay, who play the infamous friends, were a big hit with the crowd-especially her nieces and nephews-at last year's Salmon Festival in Grand Falls-Windsor. That visit aside, Ms. MacDonald doesn't get to town very often.

Her job at the Yellow Pages keeps her busy, but allows her the flexibility to work at home-at all hours of the night, usually-and do auditions while being a full-time parent.

"I have a very supportive family that always helps out if they're needed," she said. Her sister will often come to her suburban home and take care of the kids while Ms. MacDonald is acting or away on business.

How does she balance work with family and all her performing? It's a time-tested philosophy, she explained: "I said, okay, I want to get involved in acting, I want to do the fitness, the pageants. These are things I always thought about doing growing up, so I just set some goals for myself and tried to achieve them."

Next up, she said, "I would love to get a big part in a movie, for sure." With the character of Cyrus set to appear in the upcoming sequel to the 2006 Trailer Park Boys film, she's hopeful that she'll land her first part on the silver screen.

Her big screen debut would be only the next in a series of blessings for Ms. MacDonald. "I'm thankful for happiness, health, and all the things that are really important," she said. "My goals are for my children to reach their goals."

In their mother, those children have the perfect model of how to seize opportunities and live out their dreams, one at a time.

Organizations: Trailer Park Boys, St. Mary's University, Miss Canada Universe Pageant

Geographic location: Halifax, Newfoundland, Grand Falls-Windsor Nova Scotia Canada Lexx Edmonton

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Recent comments

  • justin
    June 28, 2010 - 14:49

    hey i love the trailer park boys i watch there show every night

  • Tony
    June 28, 2010 - 14:49

    Trailer Park Boys kick ace!

  • Annette
    June 28, 2010 - 14:49

    Chrissy...I remember singing along to the mini pops with you quite a few times myself...Mostly unwillingly..LOL But you..you were born to be in the spotlight and I could not be prouder of you my SISTER ....you will go farther yet my love I KNOW IT!!!!

  • justin
    June 22, 2010 - 16:05

    hey i love the trailer park boys i watch there show every night

  • Tony
    June 22, 2010 - 16:05

    Trailer Park Boys kick ace!

  • Annette
    June 22, 2010 - 16:04

    Chrissy...I remember singing along to the mini pops with you quite a few times myself...Mostly unwillingly..LOL But you..you were born to be in the spotlight and I could not be prouder of you my SISTER ....you will go farther yet my love I KNOW IT!!!!