Kwantlen Program: B.A. (Psychology)
Grad Year: 2010
Employed as: Registered Clinical Counsellor, Actor, Teacher (Native Education College)
Employer website: www.kokoska.co
What are your primary responsibilities at your job:
I divide my time between three occupations – counselling, acting, and teaching – but they share numerous responsibilities. The primary responsibility, in my view, is to provide people with a new experience of something familiar: a counselling client feeling a sense of safety while sharing something that’s normally scary, an audience member empathizing with a character, or a student connecting with subject matter that used to seem lame.
What is your favourite part of your work?
The ability to toggle back and forth between public and private pursuits. My creative process and, of course, my therapeutic process are both very private. I protect them as much as possible. My performances and my teaching, on the other hand, are the outcomes of my private life. They are high energy and public facing, but they could not exist without the work I do in private. I’m always trying to strike a happy balance between the two.
How do you like to unwind/handle stress?
Lately the first thing I’ve been doing when I notice I’m stressed is ask myself, ‘Does this anxiety have any excitement mixed in with it?’ Often times it actually does. If it’s mostly stress, though, I will make sure I’m breathing properly (into my belly, not my chest) and/or scroll through an ever-growing note I keep in my phone that contains things that make me laugh.
Who is the most famous person you've ever met?
Fei Ren. She’s an actor on CBC’s The Romeo Section (she’s also the director of my play, The Mirror Test) and while she’s not technically “famous” yet, she definitely will be. Write her name down.
If you had a time machine and could have lunch with anyone living or dead, who would it be?
Louis CK. He’s made a major influence on me. One of his beliefs is that leading an audience to an uncomfortable place and then making them laugh while they’re there is a helpful thing to do. I agree.
Where does your inspiration come from?
I try not to worry so much about where my inspiration comes from. Instead, I try to position myself to a) notice it, and b) do something about it.
Where do you see yourself in one, five or 10 years?
I work well with one-year goals, but am historically awful at estimating anything outside of that. This time next year I will have written a new one-person play and will be preparing to take it on tour.
What are you most proud of?
I think I am most proud of my ability to find (or at least try to find) creative solutions to life’s obstacles. Growing up my mom would tell me, “You can’t always have your way, but you can always have your say.” Back then I would apply that wisdom by writing very serious letters of grievance when, for example, my elementary school book order sent me the wrong edition of Goosebumps. Today I apply it differently, but the sentiment is still the same.
Greatest advice for life?
Favourite Kwantlen moment?
I played on the basketball team during my time at Kwantlen and I once signed up the entire team for a KPU Speed Dating event in the Grassroots Lounge on Valentine’s Day.
What's the last book you read?
Sam Harris’ “Waking Up”
What's currently on your iPod?
The new albums by Frank Ocean and How to Dress Well.