Diversity has become a major topic of discussion in the entertainment industry in recent years. It’s no secret that audiences are looking for more diverse representation in the Film and Television industry.
A large part of Canadian principle is our cultural diversity, and Toronto has one of the most diverse populations in Canada! A large number of the artists that represent our city are visible minorities, so you would think that incorporating diversity in Canadian content would be easy.
But sadly, visible minorities, women and LGBTQ+ individuals are still too often given the short end of the stick.
Now with the CRTC ruling allowing more international-based productions to be considered “Canadian”, Canadian voices are being quieted even further.
“Our major Canadian cities are very cosmopolitan,” says Alexander Wong (who plays Alex in IRL), “Having diverse voices both behind and in front of the camera would be an accurate representation of our society.”
Diversity was never a question for IRL creator and showrunner Bobby Del Rio who declares, “our writing room is one of the most diverse writing rooms in the history of Canadian television!”
“The show is another push to breaking barriers,” adds Franck Fon, who has worked as an actor on multiple Del Rio projects.
Quartz reporter Sonali Kohli states, “Writers may be less visible than actors, but they can determine whether a show will promote an understanding of cultural differences, or perpetuate racial and gender stereotypes.”
With women, visible minorities and LGBTQ+ individuals accounting for 100% of the IRL writing room, Del Rio doesn’t have to work hard to prove his commitment to diversity. The IRL cast also consists of almost 90% women, visible minorities and LGBTQ+ individuals.
“I’m so proud and incredibly fortunate to be on a show that represents REAL people,” states Melinda Michael who plays the relentless Manager, Angie, “IRL is the most transparent and pro-diversity show on any network right now…. Kudos to our director and showrunner Bobby for opening up a non-judgmental, unbiased forum for free unfiltered conversation and showcasing what the world needs to see more.”
“I really enjoyed that [the episode Sharing] was diverse because it showed that people of all backgrounds do indeed have sex – despite what the mainstream media may tell you.” shares Gabe Grey who also plays Lovely in the 2015 film Beeba Boys.
“The stories that we’re telling in the series [are] all of our stories,” says Del Rio.
The stories IRL tell are Canadian stories.