In Pictures: A Day in the Life with Rent’s Masini McDermott

Photo by Isabela Stille Curtis.

Masini McDermott knows Rent pretty well.

And no, not just because she’s the “Seasons of Love” soloist in the Stratford Festival’s production of the rock opera. McDermott, making her Stratford debut this summer, played the same role in high school, right alongside her roommate, Nestor Lozano Jr., who’s also making his Stratford debut in Rent at the Stratford Festival this year.

“I feel like I’ve always loved this show,” Masini said in an interview. “It’s an iconic piece of theatre, and I feel like it’s even more revolutionary for me as an adult than it was for me as a teen. I’ve evolved with it as I’ve gotten older.”

Follow along with Masini as she takes you through a day in her life at the Stratford Festival!

This day was a matinee, so I woke up at 10. I usually try to wake up earlier than that, but I let myself sleep in when I have a matinee in the afternoon. 

My skincare is one of my favourite things to do in the morning. I shower, brush my teeth and everything, and then I grab all my skincare. I use aloe vera gel, and the 10 per cent niacinimde gel by The Ordinary. Then I use my toner on top, and then Glow Recipe drops on top. They’re so good. They’re magic, and they smell so good. I finish it all off with a Cerave facial moisturizer.

My go-to coffee order at Balzac’s is an oat milk frappe, extra sweet. I usually go for the sugar-free vanilla flavour.

Photo by Isabela Stille Curtis.

Nestor and I went to high school together, and we were best friends all throughout high school.  Rent at the Stratford Festival was our first gig together. So this is something we do together sometimes before the show — we’ll get coffee. And that’s just convenient since we live together, too!

Photo by Isabela Stille Curtis.

Usually we have to be signed in half an hour before our show, but I got here super early this day, like, 12:30 or so. We have to initial the call board when we arrive.

I keep a personal fan at my station, because I’m a little extra and it gets really hot between musical numbers. And because of the era of the show, I love that I get to use all these colours in my makeup. I use the James Charles palette because it has a lot of vibrant colours, lots of purples.

Backstage selfie with my buddy Andrea!

Photo by Isabela Stille Curtis.

Something I love about Robert Markus is that he’s always bothering me during warmups, in these playful ways. In this photo, we’re just warming up in the rehearsal hall, which is where we do our open warm-up and our physical warm-up, as well as fight and dance call, where we go through the blocking to make sure that everyone remembers what they’re doing.

You can see how goofy Robert is. We’re supposedly warming up, but mostly we’re just laughing.

Photo by Isabela Stille Curtis.

This is where it feels real. As a teenager, I didn’t know much about this business, or how it worked. Everyone in this industry seemed untouchable. They were just so good. But now, I have the understanding of what it means to audition and be part of a process. I know I’m meant to be there now. I’ve graduated to the next stage of my life, and I’m so proud. I’m not only representing myself, or my family, but an entirely new generation of artists. This has been the most inspiring, enlightening process.

Photo by Isabela Stille Curtis.

My girls. We love having a good time. Sometimes we’ll joke around backstage about the show, or about how crazy this process has been. We joke and laugh all the time. It’s catch-up time, you know? We really enjoy each other’s company.

Photo by Isabela Stille Curtis.

Right before going onstage!

After the show, I got to catch Much Ado About Nothing with some of my friends since I’d heard great things — and it was great! — and then headed home. On a normal night I’m in bed by 11:30 or so, and I love to watch kids’ movies before I go to sleep. Something lighthearted, something that makes me laugh.

You can catch Masini in Rent at the Stratford Festival until October 28. Tickets are available here.

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Masini McDermott is the "Seasons of Love" soloist in Rent at the 2023 Stratford Festival, as well as an understudy in A Wrinkle in Time. She is a graduate of Wexford Collegiate School of the Arts and George Brown College.

as told to

Aisling is Intermission's senior editor, a breaking news reporter at CP24, and a former reporter for the Toronto Star. She is former president of the Canadian Theatre Critics Association. She likes British playwright Sarah Kane, most songs by Taylor Swift, and her cats, Fig and June.