MY LOOK: Tommie Amber Pirie

This article was originally published in the April 2015 print edition Ottawa Magazine

By Di Golding

Tommie Amber Pirie. Photo by Miv Fournier
Tommie Amber Pirie wears Value Village finds — a pair of vintage high-waisted Gap jean shorts and an orange top. Purse and belt, also form Value Village, are wardrobe staples. Figure skates replace a pair of Sorel leather Slimboots; on hanger, a green blazer from H&M. Photo by Miv Fournier

You live in Toronto now, but the CBC comedy Michael: Tuesdays and Thursdays was filmed in Ottawa. Did you enjoy filming here?
Generally, it was pretty low-key. The hustle and bustle is a little bit less in Ottawa. That’s why I live in the Beaches district in Toronto. It’s calm and near nature, close to the water.

Your first time performing for people wasn’t on the stage. You were a competitive figure skater from the Minto Skating Club. Skaters are known for being flamboyant. Did that impact your style?
I was always the weirdo in high school wearing five different eyeliner colours at the same time and wearing mismatched tights with big sweaters. I don’t have any fear when it comes to style. That does come from skating. Being wrapped in spandex for 15 years of your life changes something in you.

You recently starred with two famous Zoes (Zoë Kravitz in Pretend We’re Kissing and Zoe Kazan in The F Word). Both have really distinct styles. Did you take anything away from them?
Kravitz is so eclectic, so bohemian! I love her style, especially the red carpet stuff that she’s been doing lately. Kazan is quirky and weird and amazing; she has some really awesome conservative pieces and funky pieces too. I want to be influenced by the people around me, but I want to find my own vibe. Everybody’s style is a version of somebody else’s style. So it’s about finding your uniqueness within that and bringing your part into it.

What are your style must-haves?
I have to have a blazer — a good fitted suit jacket. I like dressing androgynous. I love suits but in a modern way. I like a good pair of black boots that go with everything, like skirts and dress pants. I love baggy generic T-shirts. I always mix super-casual with super-dressy.

You play the witch Paige Winterbourne in the second season of the Space channel series Bitten. Was that a chance to relive your teenage goth years?
I didn’t really go through a goth period. Maybe a goth week or a vampire weekend. On Bitten, I was wearing these high, kick-ass-crazy John Fluevog boots all season. They felt about eight inches tall, and they were so sexy and bad-ass. I was running up hills and fighting people in these boots for 3½ months, so now I can tell John Fluevog that his boots are witch-proof.

Speaking of the supernatural, you were in The F Word with Harry Potter himself. What was it like working with Daniel Radcliffe?
It was one of those pinch-me moments. It was only about 10 years ago, and I wanted to be an actress. I’ve always wanted to be an actress, but I had closed the chapter with skating, so acting became my number one focus. Anyway, I had been watching Harry Potter movies in my living room in Ottawa. Dan’s so down-to-earth and willing to connect and talk like a cool, normal, average dude. All this, despite the fact that he’s walking around with three bodyguards. I learn from everyone I work with — from him, it was about humility and always reminding yourself where you came from.