Halifax-based model and actress Sarah Ainsley Harrison is more than just another pretty face. A sure blend of style and substance, Sarah is pursuing her life-long dream of becoming Miss Universe Canada. Recently she took time from her busy schedule to take our Proust Questionnaire.
AE: What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
SAH: To have no companionship. If you think about all the things we work for in this life – be it money, power, possessions, or otherwise – the end goal almost always comes around to having loved ones. With the love and support of friends and family, we can endure almost anything and enjoy more of everything.
AE: Where would you like to live?
SAH: I love living in here and will always come back to a home base in Canada. I appreciate the quality of life and cultural mosaic here. Sure the winter weather can be cold but we have beautiful spring, summer and fall, and we can’t have it all. A perfect example of that is that in warmer weather there are more arachnids and larger insects; one of the hardest parts of my international development work term in Central America was dealing with scary spiders and insects – which is one of my biggest fears (“irrational” in Canada, practical in when in the rainforest!).
AE: What is your idea of earthly happiness?
SAH: To feel a sense of accomplishment, be in good health, and have the love and appreciation of family and friends.
AE: To what faults do you feel most indulgent?
SAH: I love food. Cuisine is was one of my favourite aspects of travel and experiencing new cultures. It has always been a point of comfort in times of distress and celebration in times of happiness – luckily I am also highly indulgent in my fitness.
AE: Who are your favourite heroes of fiction?
SAH: Batman is pretty suave with his gadgets and dark mystery.
AE: Who are your favourite characters in history?
SAH: Tomoe Gozen was a rare female samurai warrior in the twelfth century, known for her bravery and strength. “Tomoe was especially beautiful, with white skin, long hair, and charming features. She was also a remarkably strong archer, and as a swordswoman she was a warrior worth a thousand, ready to confront a demon or a god, mounted or on foot. She handled unbroken horses with superb skill and rode unscathed down perilous descents.” – The Tale of the Heike
AE: Who are your favourite heroines in real life?
SAH: Coco Chanel revolutionized the world of fashion. One of the most innovative fashion designers, Chanel was instrumental in defining feminine style and dress during the 20th Century. In particular she often took traditionally male clothes and redesigned them for the benefit of women.
AE: Who are your favourite heroines of fiction?
SAH: My favourite hero of fiction is Wonder Woman. She’s based on Amazons of Greek Mythology and I feel like as an actor I should get to play her at some point in my career!
AE: Your favourite painter?
SAH: My favourite painter is Salvador Dali. I am a fan of Surrealism as I think arts greatest beauty is its subjectivity. It is unique to each person’s experience. I find his extensive use of symbolism fascinating and his expressions imaginative. I’m also intrigued by his passion for luxury and excess, and his struggle with desire and guilt.
AE: Your favourite musician?
SAH: John Legend – I saw him perform with Sade at Montreal Jazz Fest last summer. I’d really love to see him perform with The Roots sometime!
AE: The quality you most admire in a man?
SAH: Confidence and self-awareness.
AE: The quality you most admire in a woman?
SAH: Confidence and self-assurance.
AE: Your favourite virtue?
SAH: It’s hard to say one virtue is most important but if I had to narrow down my favourite would be between curiosity and perseverance.
AE: Your favourite occupation?
SAH: I get bored easily and have always moved on quickly from jobs that are monotonous, but modeling and acting make me really happy because each job is different in some way. I’m a well-travelled, multi-experienced person with a lot of random trivial knowledge, so I find that helps me adapt with the ever-changing nature of this industry; I can model a range of styles and play a variety of roles.
AE: Who would you have liked to be?
SAH: I would like to be a younger version of myself, while knowing what I know now. I’m a true Sagittarius – I think it’s important to think outside the box and explore. When you find your passion, go after it with every bit of enthusiasm you have. I’ve always had an adventurous spirit but for a few years I followed the beaten path out of assumption that it was the right life to live; however I feel that a Masters degree and 2.5 children is not “the dream” for everyone. I have a college diploma and am in my third year of a degree but I’m taking time off so that I can pursue my passion full-time. I’ve modeled for years as additional income to pay for university but I’ve had to turn down many opportunities because I was tied down by my courses. I will resume my degree when I rejoin the Tourism Industry in the future but for now I’m seizing the day and jumping in with both feet to acting, modeling, fitness, and Miss Universe Canada in May.