Karine Vanasse was a child lip-syncing to Celine Dion when she knew she belonged onstage.
As the crew adjusts the lights on the set of ABC's "Pan Am," Vanasse recalls realizing that Dion's voice may have been a bit overpowering to be coming out of a girl.
"I did not win much with Celine," she says.
Yet she knew she belonged in front of a crowd.
"I just had so much fun pretending," she says.
She went to an audition, and an agent asked if she could cry on cue. She wasn't sure, but she managed to make herself cry on the way home, and from there her career was pretty much figured out.
Her character, Colette, has the opportunity to speak French, Vanasse's native language, on the show. Wearing her Pan Am uniform, Vanasse says she loves learning about the era in which the drama is set.
"It's funny how this project affected how I dress," she says. "I wear more necklaces, smaller bags, stockings and gloves. Yesterday, I had to shoot a scene without gloves. Gloves make you so much more delicate."
Vanasse raves about the time's elegance.
"The way people were dressed called for that," she says. "No matter how much money you had."
Though Vanasse has adopted New York and loves exploring it on weekends, she drives to Montreal, blasting her music and letting the week melt away.
"I have my car on the 87, and I think about what went well," she says. "My life is there, my home, my boyfriend."Vanasse flashes a grin and seems genuinely happy even if the drama's future is, well, up in the air.
"I am so happy we shot here," she says. "This is such a special experience. We all want the show to work."
Favorite movies: " 'Ponette' is about a young actress who loses her mom. If I could do movies like that," she says, her voice trailing off. "(Directors) Jim Sheridan and Stephen Daldry make movies with that kind of intimate reality, truth and honesty."
Favorite books: " 'Letters to a Young Poet' by Rainer Maria Rilke"
Favorite music: "Feist. I love Judy Garland, Shirley Bassey."