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When Michelle Thrush won a Gemini Award for her portrayal of a troubled alcoholic Gail Stoney on 'Blackstone', APTN's gritty drama about corruption, desperation and redemption on a fictional Alberta reserve, no-one was surprised. Michelle gave a full-force performance, inspired by people that were all-too-real to her: her parents.
Growing up in Calgary, Michelle practically raised herself, avoiding going home so she wouldn't have to see her mom and dad getting drunk. It wasn't until she won a small part in a high-school play that she discovered a place to escape to. And with a little encouragement from a friend's uncle (the late actor and activist Gordon Tootoosis) Michelle soon started landing roles, even sharing the screen with Johnny Depp in the cult-favourite 'Dead Man'.
Now we're about to see a lot more of Michelle. As well as 'Blackstone', Michelle appears in the new series 'Arctic Air', on CBC. But she hasn't forgotten where she came from: Michelle works with groups like the Dreamcatcher Foundation, to mentor aboriginal youth in drama and the arts, and to teach them something she knows first-hand: That no matter how rough life can be, you can make your own second act.