Member Spotlight: Activist and Actor Alyssa Scott

Photo of Alyssa Scott, interview. Text reads Line 1: "Alyssa Scott" Line 2: UFCW 1518 Member Line 3: Vancouver, BC

Alyssa Scott is an up-and-coming actress and UFCW 1518 member who is originally from Terrace, BC, but currently calls Vancouver, BC, home. A Gitxsan wolf from the Niist house of the Gitsegukla Band, Alyssa’s roots also extend to the Kispiox Band through her mother. Her journey has been marked by her passionate pursuit of the arts, with a drive to reconnect with her heritage.

Embarking on her debut film role, Alyssa embodies the captivating character of Princess Delta Dawn in an upcoming documentary chronicling the life of the legendary Indigenous BC wrestler.

Can you tell us about your journey and how it led to acting?

My upbringing involved a lot of moving around which exposed me to different places, people, and experiences. This meant that from a young age, making new connections became second nature to me. 

Eventually I settled in Terrace, BC, where I started exploring various interests, one of which was acting. Joining a drama class there, I quickly realized it was something that I loved. I was surrounded by people who were engaged, passionate, and excited about the same thing as me – they built a safe space which allowed me to explore my passion. My first real play was in middle school – I saw my family show up to support me, and in that moment, I decided ‘ok, this was what I want to do with my life’.

While you’ve been pursuing acting, you have also been reconnecting to your Indigenous heritage. 

Can you share how you started down that path?

I didn’t really grow up at home – constantly being on the move meant I didn’t have the opportunity to connect to my Indigenous culture as others had. As I’ve started learning more about my heritage, about the struggles my family went through, generational trauma which extends all the way from my grandparents to myself, I have become more passionate about making change for my community. There are many barriers Indigenous youth my age face which makes them feel like there’s a lack of opportunity.

Alyssa Scott wearing a graduation gown. Her sisters are standing on either side of her.

My sisters are also such an integral part of my life. I am really driven to care for and support them, so that has played a big role. When they moved in with my grandmother, I started taking a more active role in helping support them. That was when I started to see the discrepancies between the education Indigenous youth had access to, versus the education others were receiving. Seeing their experience and the shortcomings of the system when it comes to Indigenous youth was what drove me to get more involved.

You also recently took on your first role in front of the camera with a documentary about legendary Indigenous BC wrestler Princess Delta Dawn. 

Can you share your experience and how it helped you reconnect with your roots?

The Princess Delta Dawn documentary was one of the most amazing experiences of my life thus far. Working on the project was intense, especially since I had no prior wrestling background, unlike most of the others on set. I was so fortunate to have a supportive crew, and my director, Asia Youngman, who was not only encouraging but was also able to help me strike a balance between creativity, while still staying true to Dawn’s story.

Dawn is an inspirational figure who made waves for Indigenous women like me, so that made my first film experience even more meaningful. The highlight for me was when I was honored with the opportunity to wear her grandfather’s headdress, an artifact which is so important to Dawn’s family and community, and a symbol reserved only for Chiefs in my own culture. I feel so privileged that she trusted me to help share her memories and will treasure it for the rest of my life.

What drove you to join and get involved with UFCW 1518?

I was very fortunate to meet (UFCW 1518 Executive Board member and Shop Steward) Chris Holowka and be exposed firsthand to all the advocacy she is engaged in, and ways she is vouching for Indigenous peoples. Chris was so open to share her story, and so accepting of mine – that when she suggested I get more involved with the Union, I knew I wanted to participate. She is so driven to involve more young people with Union, particularly those who don’t often have the opportunity.

What advice do you have for those who want to get more involved with their Union?

It just goes back to speaking your mind – feeling comfortable to share your thoughts and ideas, while also speaking out about the change you want to see. I think that really applies to every aspect of life. You never know who’s listening, and whether that person can play a pivotal role in your journey, so it’s important to be outspoken and engaged. The communities I grew up in were so involved, impactful, and supportive of new ideas and initiatives that participating in the Union was just a natural fit for me.

With so many achievements already under your belt, what’s next for you?

My passion lays in my career, in acting, and continuing to be exposed to more of my own, and other cultures, moving forward. I really want to start building my own foundations in a literal sense, settling down into my own place, etc., but also laying down a solid foundation for my sisters so that they have an easier path as they grow up.

Alyssa Scott speaking with crew members on set.

A few years ago, I made this list of goals for the next 10 years of my life starting from 20 years old, and I’m very fortunate to have already checked off many of them. I’ve finished three years of college, written and directed my own short films, and am pursuing my dream career. I also want to keep reconnecting with my heritage and incorporating my culture into every aspect of my life – I’m passionate about starting my own businesses in skincare, makeup, etc., and incorporating my culture into it, whether it be involving the traditional artists in my family within the design process, making it accessible to my community, or many other ways.