Written by Kelley Keehn
Tuesday, June 15th, 2021
A few moments into my interview with Alice, I knew I was talking to someone who's on a mission to change the performing arts world.
Incredibly empathetic, tenacious, and armed with a razor-sharp sense of humor, Alice Rose quips about one major benefit of her coming out journey, "I just saved a bundle on my car insurance by switching to female."
The Start of Her Journey
But her story has been anything but humorous. Fiercely driven, Alice left home at sixteen to escape a difficult home life.
"I hurried up adulthood for independence," recalls Alice. "I wasn't worried about supporting myself or finding ways to earn an income as a white male. I anticipated barriers as I came out, like the difficulty of finding work or a new apartment. Job security is food and shelter security, and I no longer had any of those safety nets. But I was extremely fortunate to not have faced as many barriers as many other trans people."
Building a Career During Tough Times
Not one to rely on others, Alice poured her energy into what she could control; a self-directed career in acting, producing and as a comedian. "Moving to Toronto also presented its own challenges, and it pushed me to finally become a full-time independent artist," says Alice. Then COVID-19 hit.
For many people in the arts, COVID-19 presented impossible challenges. How can you perform if you can't get in front of people? Alice wasn't going to let this roadblock hold her back. "COVID was actually a blessing of sorts. I used the government money and time as a positive excuse to finally invest in my production company. I anticipated funding roadblocks and I didn't have a lot of experience with money or a foundation in finance from my parents, so it was a steep learning curve."
Alice has grown her idea and desire to lift up other marginalized performers with an exciting new initiative.
"I'm working on incorporating my smaller production company into a non-profit organization and am now the CEO of Comic Sans Productions. It's not small anymore! I'm really proud of what I've built. It's stand-up comedy for everybody. I wanted to build a comedy production company that believes in inclusivity and accessibility. We specialize in promoting the diverse, eclectic, intersectional voices of LGBTQ+, BIPOC, and feminist performers."
Giving Others a Voice
Not only is Alice changing the lives of these artists by giving them a platform to express their gifts, but Comic Sans Productions also goes so much further to support them as individuals and elevate their businesses.
"We teach financial skills to our performers. We provide extensive workshops and education on tactics and strategies such as incorporation, how to file their taxes, balance their books, apply for grants and so much more. I used the time and resources that COVID afforded me to really level up my game as an entrepreneur and to create a larger vision for myself. Now, I'm able to promote and amplify the brand of other marginalized performers. It's amazingly gratifying!"
Learning from her Partner
Alice's relationship at home is equally rewarding and stretches her financially.
"My girlfriend works in the financial services industry. We also talk about money and have never had one fight about finances. She grew up middle class and me in poverty. But we use those lessons to balance each other out. She teaches me about investing and I teach her about cooking on a budget."