We had the good fortune of connecting with Caroline Lesley and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Caroline, how do you think about risk?
Risk has been extremely important to me in my life and my career. One of my favorite quotes is “Leap and the net will appear.” Sometimes you just gotta do it. Take the plunge. No risk, no reward. I think people are often afraid of risk, because when you take a risk you are also risking the possibility of failing, and failing is scary. When you fail you learn from your mistakes and grow as a result. Without failure, you stay the same. Stagnate. Safe. As an actor, I fail all the time. I learn from it, pick myself up and start all over again.
Another favorite quote of mine is “One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.” – Andre Gide
I moved to NYC from Toronto back in 2005 and took a leap that I would make it.
I started working in NYC as a red carpet host/producer for Entertainment Weekly/EW.COM.
I also worked steadily as an actor in TV, Theater, Film, and Voice.
Additionally I worked as a photographer and assisted top NYC headshot photographer Jinsey Dauk.
If I never took the risk of moving to NYC, I never would have done those amazing things!
I think I have always been a risk-taker and not afraid to try new things. I’ve jumped out of a plane for a movie, wrote and starred in a one-woman show, and created a startup with my husband (that was the riskiest! – joking! – sort of)
I started my art business – TOO MUCH LUSH – during the pandemic and took up a new medium (resin art).
I had never worked with resin in my life and I began doing large commissioned are pieces.
It was risky and scary, but I am here two years later with a thriving small business.
I am currently working on a custom ottoman for a client. I find it risky, because I am pouring resin on the tray top.
I only get one shot. If I screw up, I ruin her piece of furniture. I have found over the years that I thrive under pressure.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
As an actor I have worked across all mediums. Theatre, Film, TV, Voice, Sketch comedy, Improv, digital, one-woman-show. The only thing I have yet to try is standup comedy. It terrifies me a little bit, but going back to taking risks, I WILL do it one day.
I am proud of all the acting work I have done. You can learn a bit more here:
My recent work on The Boys (Amazon Prime show) is a proud moment.
My acting path has not been easy. It is a tough business and I have been acting since I was 12.
I received my BFA in acting at a conservatory acting program in Toronto: Ryerson Theatre School.
I’ve trained, I’ve hustled. I’ve worked in Toronto, NYC, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
I’ve studied with the best. Groundlings, UCB, to name a couple of well-known training schools.
You have to put in the work. It takes practice, like anything.
During the pandemic, I found resin art. I started with coasters and everyone seemed to love them! Friends and family started placing orders and before I knew it my resin art brand was born. TOO MUCH LUSH.
I haven’t looked back since. Coasters grew to cheese boards, charcuterie boards, trays, coffee tables, wall art, jewelry, and much more!
I have a background in photography and have always had an artistic eye. My mother is an artist and interior designer so I have been around art/color/design my entire life. Having said that, I still work extremely hard to achieve the look I desire. You have to have extreme discipline as a one-person small business owner. I am self taught and my work has grown so much in the past two years. I spend a lot of time learning about different tools, mediums, and art supplies. How pigments work, and how heat or angles affect the resin. There is a lot of science involved in art, especially with resin and the learning curve can be steep. I work hard and I like a challenge. Resin is definitely a challenging medium and I wanted to master it. There is ALWAYS more to learn though. Anyone that says they have got it all figured out is lying to you. Nobody has anything all figured out 100% of the time. Life is about evolving. As a person, at your craft, your art, your business, your relationships. All of it. We continue to grow and change.
I love doing commissioned pieces in my business because it is always new and different! I like variety. Like acting! You go to a different set and meet different people and take on different roles! With my artwork, it is always new colors, and a new project, especially when I do custom wall art pieces or furniture to match a client’s home.
Even if I am pouring a resin ocean charcuterie board with the same colors it is different because no piece EVER turns out exactly the same. Resin takes 24 hours to cure, so the next morning always feels a bit like Christmas! The resin changes a bit during the curing process, so it is always a fun surprise!
I love what I do. I am glad I found a balance between my acting work and resin work. I’ve iterated many times over the years and tried different things and different jobs, but the pivoting helps you find your groove.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Malibu – Nobu | Taverna Tony
Venice – Gjelina | The Tasting Kitchen | The Rose | Venice Ale House
Santa Monica – Ivy at the Shore | Blue Plate Taco | Capo | Huntley hotel rooftop
West Hollywood – Ardor | Chateau Marmont patio
Hollywood – Pizzeria Mozza
Beverly Hills – Crustacean | Sprinkles Cupcakes
Brentwood – Katsuya | Farmshop
Culver City – Public School
Aviator Nation – Malibu | Abbot Kinney | West Hollywood
LoveShack Fancy – Melrose Place
Bottega Veneta (if you can afford it!) – Melrose Place
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My mom and my dad always encouraged me to chase my dreams. My husband always says “I am the smartest person he knows.” “I am the most talented person he knows.”
He is definitely very supportive.
My kids (9 & 11) are super supportive of everything I do. They give me feedback on my art and I bounce ideas off of them all the time.
My entire extended family has always supported each and every one of my creative endeavors! And I’ve had many!
From my YouTube comedy shows, one-woman theatre show, my YA novel, my acting work, photography, and resin art to everything in between!