TASYA TELES

 

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Actor Spotlight — Tasya Teles

Story by Ashley Dawson

 

Actress and entertainer Tasya Teles has graced the screen as Echo on the CW’s hit TV Show The 100 for numerous seasons. Her success as an artist has brought her acclaim and attention, and her prowess for the art has taken her far in the industry. From studying theatre in Quebec at a young age to her current rise to fame on some of TV’s hottest shows, Teles sits down to tell all to Composure.

When did you start acting, and when did you know you wanted to make acting your career?

Well, I was always a bit of a nut. As a kid, I was deeply creative with a particular amour for theatre, but I drifted away from it in high school and always wanted to go back. After I graduated high school, like most kids, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I decided to pursue a finance degree because it seemed practical, and I wanted to see more women in business, so I applied and got in. There was also a third reason lurking around in my head. I told myself, if I end up acting one day, Ill be an artist with a finance degree – so Ill be twice as strong!

I thought that finance would help me be a balanced artist that didnt go broke because I didnt understand money management. So in my mind, acting was always the end goal. I just did not want to face it because I didnt believe it was a real option. Towards the end of my degree, I realized that I hadnt explored acting at all during my college years. So, in my final year of business school, I finally took a theatre class at my university, and I was immediately turned on. I just knew after that first acting class that I needed to pursue it further. I decided to finish my finance degree, and then I gave myself three years to see what happened if I went into the arts and pursued my passion as an actual career. Giving myself the three-year limit pushed me to do everything I could in that time to achieve my goal. I wanted to know that I did everything in my power over those three years so that if life had different plans for me, I could say to myself: Well Tas, you worked your butt off for your goal, and nothing happened… Maybe acting isnt your path.” Fortunately, the opposite was true. I started working pretty quickly, and the rest is history, as they say. But that whole story just really helped me understand the importance of goal setting. Its everything.

How do you keep yourself grounded and balanced every day, considering the large amount of traction you get on social media and online?

Its honestly really tough to balance all the craziness. At first, it was really difficult to not be on my phone constantly, but I put little things in place to help me so I dont get sucked into social media tornadoes too often. Its not good for my mental health, and it keeps me disengaged from real life, so I have protected myself with little tricks. A few of us on the 100 created a shortcut on our phones, so when you click the side button three times, the screen becomes a grayscale, which helps reduce the hits of dopamine you get every time you look at your phone. I always have my phone on silent, all notifications are off, and I just try not to use it as much as possible, except lazy weekends, or if I miraculously have a bunch of time, or theres an event. Im kind of known in the group as the person whos the worst at responding to text messages, and sometimes even weeks go by. But I dont really care because it just means my real life is moving and shaking so much that I dont have time to be on my phone. But yeah, I have to force myself to do things that slow me down and ground me, so I dont lose my mind because of all the internet and clicking all day. Things like yoga, meditation, music, working out, and cooking are all things that chill me out and bring me creative freedom to stay balanced. Part of that is making sure to eat well. I use supplements to make sure my adrenals and hormones are supported and eating as healthy as I can. But as far as social media is concerned, you just have to be smart about how you use it and what you allow into your life. Perusing Instagram or Twitter can be stressful, addictive, and toxic if we arent careful. The internet is as lovely or awful as we allow it to be, so I try to ensure that I keep away from any negativity and just put out as much positivity as I can. I also limit how much news I ingest for the same reason. It can be very taxing on our nervous systems to engage in or digest these tiny pieces of negativity daily. I put a stop to it where I can and surround myself in barriers of positivity, good friendships, and humor when Im online.

Entertainment and Acting

What was it like when you first landed your role on The 100?

After my first few days at work, I fell in love with the entire show almost immediately. I loved the atmosphere on set, I loved the cast, I loved the story, and I loved the grandiosity of the costumes, props, weaponry, and set décor, etc.. Everything was so elaborate and gritty. We werent just wearing everyday jeans and t-shirts. We were dressed in leather, chains, fur, and then covered in dust, bruises, blood, and armed with swords, bo staffs, bows, guns and arrows, the whole nine yards. It was so fantastical and surreal at first, but very quickly, it felt strangely familiar. Like, maybe I actually was Echo in a past life, haha. Or perhaps I just have a thing for bo staffs and chains. Either way, it was definitely an exciting time, and I felt like I was meant to be there for any amount of time. The fact I got to portray her for five seasons was such an unbelievable joy. Ill miss Echo, and the whole 100 world, with all my heart.

After seven seasons, The 100 is now on its Final Chapter.” How does this make you feel, and how has the show and playing Echo changed your life?

I honestly havent emotionally confronted the fact that the show is ending. I think 2020 has been bleak enough. Im just going to sit in denial until the bitter end of the show, then likely have an emotional breakdown during the series finale. And yes, Ill have to watch it alone, so I

dont embarrass myself. But honestly, the show has changed my life in so many ways. Its difficult even to understand them all. Playing Echo, and being on The 100, has challenged me in so many different ways; it has made me a better person, a stronger actor, and solidified my belief that anything is possible. The many lessons Ive learned over the last five years are innumerable. I mostly feel gratitude for portraying such a complex character on such a boundary-pushing show, with such an involved fan base. The show allowed me to explore things like tribalism, survival, trauma, mental health, leadership, and identity, amongst many, many others. Its an experience I will always hold dear to my heart and something Im infinitely proud that I was a part of.

Youve posted about how the show wrapped during quarantine – how else has the pandemic affected your ability to be on set, work, and see your coworkers?

Well, the pandemic pretty much extinguished our ability to be on set. Some productions are starting up again, but it will be challenging as we all try to figure out how to navigate this new covid landscape in film production. Just like the rest of the world, we are all waiting eagerly for the moment we can get back to normal,but its a very fragile situation, especially with colder months ahead. Ive been particularly cautious since the pandemic hit. I dont take any chances, and I dont take my health or anyone elses health for granted. On set, we have to work very intimately with a large group of people, so Im all about wearing masks when I go out into the world for my daily errands. I still use hand sanitizer religiously and wash my hands frequently. I think its a really small inconvenience in order to protect everyones safety (and everyones livelihood). The more people uphold these standards, the faster we can all get back to work. Seeing my colleagues has been challenging since March. We occasionally get together in small groups and stay in contact. It sucks that in our final season, we werent able to celebrate the end of our show with one wrap party for the ages, but were all very close still, and I dont doubt a party is on the horizon once its safe. I personally love throwing parties, so when things get back to normal,’ Ill definitely be organizing a little fiesta. I have too many lonely party dresses that are just begging to be danced in. It would be rude not to.

Any big projects in the works now that The 100 has wrapped? What can fans and audiences look forward to in 2021?

I am always toiling away on different projects, so yes, there are things baking right now that people can look forward to in 2021. I guess youll just have to wait and see!

COVID-19 and Social Issues

How have you been maintaining your overall physical and mental health during quarantine? Any tips or suggestions for readers struggling?

Yoga yoga yoga. Then more yoga. Whenever I stop doing yoga, things always get weird. I get weird. You dont want to be around me when yoga isnt in my life. I dont want to be around myself when yoga isnt in my life. Its something that I do for myself, something that I practice daily, and I am totally addicted to it. Besides that, Im still developing a better mental health regime, if Im honest. I didnt anticipate how deeply the pandemic would rock my sense of security and my general mental health. Its been a really difficult year for many of us, and many times I didnt know how I was going to get through the deep emotional pitfalls that I found myself stuck in for days, or weeks, at a time. One surprising gift that covid brought is that it truly forced me to sit with all my crap, my patterns, my cycles, and to learn how to get unstuck. Its literally a daily practice of observation how am I feeling today? Why do I feel weird?” and exploration, I want to eat junk and stare at a screen until Im numb, but maybe getting outside and going for a walk will help. And if it doesnt, maybe I just need a nap, not a screen.” Thats how I discovered my solo dance parties for mental health! I just tried a bunch of things when nothing else was working. We intuitively know what is best for us, but our intuition gets drowned out by all that noise when we are distracted. One thing I would suggest to readers who are struggling is that when times are tough, dont get lazy and resort to mindless screen-staring. Its too easy and doesnt help. Be curious about why youre feeling the way youre feeling. Whats behind the sadness, anxiety, or discomfort. Develop a vocabulary to describe it. Then actually try things to get yourself out of it. Write mantras on your mirror, do some art, write in a journal, try a new recipe, give yourself a project, become a minimalist, or just permit yourself to be silly! One day when the world was feeling particularly serious and stressful, I really needed to bring some levity to my life but didnt know what to do to shake those yucky feelings. Then it dawned on me: I needed to dance. I turned on some music, and I danced around my apartment by myself for about forty minutes. Singing and dancing bring so much joy to our lives. I think we all need to be singing and dancing as much as possible right now. Actually, try dancing like nobodys watching. I did, and it was glorious!

Youve been very vocal about the Black Lives Matter movement and about justice for Breonna Taylor on your social media. Do you have anything youd like to touch on when it comes to that topic?

To me, its straightforward. When people suffer in our community, we come together to support those who are suffering, and we push to make change. We push to make the government listen to us. If we dont fight for everyones human rights, we cant expect our own to be safe –

no matter what demographic you fall under. As a millennial in Canada, I grew up taking a lot of things for granted. I didnt know what it was like to truly fight for anything. I didnt understand how much pain is behind a human rights movement. But if this year has shown us anything, its to not take our jobs, our health, or our freedoms for granted. Thats why Im particularly vocal right now. There were people before me who fought for my freedoms. Trailblazers who fought for my right to vote, to have a voice, to earn my own money, and to be a strong woman in society. Im going to honor their sacrifice, their fight, by doing the same for others when they need it. I believe that change is good. Progress should help people to feel supported and inspired to live their best lives and give back. When people feel limited, abused, ignored, crippled, enslaved, or exploited, nobody wins. There is social unrest. The government should listen, respond to us, and our demands, to uphold and value as a society. If no one is talking, then the government thinks everything is cool. No change happens. If we dont show up for our neighbors, how can we expect them to show up for us when we might need their help in the future? I dont want to be the passive generation that messed it up in the history books. I dont want to be the generation that people in the future read about and think, Why didnt anyone do anything?” We are better than that. We are too loving, too smart, and too compassionate as humans to watch our neighbors suffer alone. No matter what the crazy politicians say, no matter how much fear and confusion they create, I know in my heart what that the right thing to do is help those who are suffering. So Im going to do it.

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