They grew up on film sets, in rehearsal rooms or backstage at theaters with their famous parents. Then, sometimes by chance and often by sting of the trade from an early age, they in turn chose to try their luck in the artistic world.
Being part of a second generation of artists from the same family certainly comes with its share of challenges. Were they encouraged or, on the contrary, were they put back on the ground by their known relatives? Are they tired of being seen as "the son or daughter of"? Do they suffer from comparison or do they manage to chart their own path? Did they have privileges or do they rather have to prove their worth more than other new artists?
Le Journal discussed it with actor Henri Picard (son of Isabel Richer and Luc Picard), multidisciplinary artist Émile Proulx-Cloutier (son of Danielle Proulx and Raymond Cloutier) and singer and musician Elizabeth Blouin-Brathwaite ( daughter of Johanne Blouin and Norman Brathwaite), as well as with host and actress Rosalie Bonenfant, actor Fayolle Jean Jr, singer Ludovick Bourgeois and columnist and coach Delphine Morissette. Bright and sensitive artists who have each had their own experience and who have not hesitated to open up on the subject by sharing their story.
Daughter of Mélanie Maynard, host, actress, producer
It is to her mother that Rosalie Bonenfant says she owes her lit and curious side. By stimulating her and bathing her in the arts since she was very young, the presenter, now 50 years old, has allowed her daughter to dream of a career in the arts.
"My mother made this dream of making television something accessible to me," said the co-host of Two Golden Men. It is thanks to her that I did not have to dream of this job from my country house as she did. Because my mother left L’Ange-Gardien at 16 to go and live her dream.”
This girl with character and not letting herself be walked on the feet she wanted to have, Mélanie Maynard had her by raising Rosalie and offering her a host of tools to lead the artistic life of which she dreamed.
“Now I have to prove myself and prove to my mother that her expectations were justified, but afterwards I feel like she offered me a certain detachment too, which serves me enormously.”
Her famous mother, she believes, helped her above all to accumulate the necessary baggage – including a rigor at work – to be able to nourish this part of her who wanted to play and become an actress.
“She made me want to do it too, continues the one who obtained – and interpreted with great sensitivity – the role of Inès in the film of the same name directed by Renée Beaulieu. My mother is still as passionate as ever and she has been doing this for 25 years. I find that remarkable! I never told him that I wanted to do this job, but we always had this very complementary duo dynamic, so I think that fueled my desire to fuel that.”
Son of actor and director Luc Picard and actress Isabel Richer
Henri Picard accompanies his parents on film sets since he was very young. If he first wanted to become a musician, the one we saw in the film Maria Chapdelaine explains that he also loved the atmosphere found on the sets. Slowly, his father introduced him to classic films, then around the age of 14, Henri began to feel an interest in acting.
It was when his father was about to direct the film The Mongol Kings – in which there was the role of a 15-year-old to play – that Henri expressed the wish to audition. His father reluctantly agreed, believing it would simply be his son's first audition experience. It was the casting directors who convinced Luc Picard – who did not want to choose his son – that Henri had been the best in the audition and that he deserved the role.
The work with his father, whom he had often seen directing shoots and with whom he wanted to keep a certain professional distance on the set, went well. Enough to make Henri want to play more.
“At the beginning, my parents advised me to register with their agency and were there to guide me in my choices, he explains. When I was younger, they didn't discourage me from doing this job, but they didn't encourage me either. For three years and after four projects, they let me go. I do everything with my agency without necessarily talking to them about it.”
“I want to make my own way, that we forget that I am the son of, continues the one who does no coaching with his actor parents. But yes, it made me someone who wanted to be an actor and I know it was a gift to be able to go so young on the sets, because that's what gave me the sting.
When asked if being the son of actors is sometimes hard to bear, he insists: as he has never experienced anything else, it is impossible for him to compare his life to that of a child of doctors. or any other worker.
“Anyway, I can't do otherwise, says the one who landed the main role in the film The Diver, adaptation of the award-winning novel by Stéphane Larue, which will be released later this year. And then, I also receive super nice comments that have nothing to do with my parents.
He also explains that he does not compare himself to his father and, when others do it for him, does not really listen to what people say. By taking care to do things without thinking about the rest, Henri managed to put aside the fear he had when he started out: that people would say that he “had it easy” thanks to his parents. Which was never the case.
"I'm super proud of him, but I was proud of him before that," said Luc Picard. I am very proud of the fact that he is whole in his work, he really wants to do great things, beyond wanting to become a star or not, he really wants to do great things. It makes me proud.”
"The Mongol Kings was a film I was making, so I didn't want it to feel like an impostor," he continues. I really wanted him to feel like he had earned it, and he had to earn it, his audition. That was my responsibility in there: make sure he knows he got it because he's good."
►Henri Picard will be found in the films The Diver and The Shoemaker as well as in the Cerebrum 2 series.
Son of Patrick Bourgeois, singer and musician member of the group Les BB, who died on November 26, 2017.
Ludovick Bourgeois now owns all of his famous dad's guitars, some of which he in turn uses on stage.
"I don't have the talent of my father who started playing the guitar at 6 years old, I know it and it's fine", candidly launches the one who was elected big winner of the show La Voix en 2017.
One might think that music was a natural path for this son of a musician, but he explains that it happened rather by chance in his life and unrelated to his famous father who did not even know that Ludovick could play and sing.
If he knew his father little when he was a child and lived with his mother, Ludovick admits having been able to make up for lost time in the summer of 2017, when after his victory at La Voix, he left for tour with Les BB.
"My dad was starting to get really sick and wasn't able to do the whole show anymore," he said. These were unforgettable moments that brought us closer.”
If he felt a little comparison when he started out, he always saw more positives in having had a known father.
“Being compared to a guy who has been making music for 30 years is fine with me and even flattering,” he says joyfully.
"I've never acted like it didn't exist, so in shows, I do my father's songs to please people who come for that," he adds. It's family. But otherwise, the radios don't play my songs because my father was famous. I think I make a good compromise keeping his work close to me and doing my stuff.”
►Ludovick Bourgeois is on the road in shows this summer. The release of his third album is scheduled for October.
Daughter of TV and radio host Véronique Cloutier and actor, author and producer Louis Morissette
At 19, Delphine Morissette keeps a cool head when it comes to a career in the arts. A legacy from his famous parents; his father, in particular, who has never hidden from his three children that the environment can be difficult and merciless.
"It's a difficult environment, whether you're known, 'son or daughter of' or not known", says the one who delivers chronicles to the program Bonsoir bonsoir. “It is difficult at every level. My father is tough, but that's what we need. He taught me to be who I am, to understand that it is a job that is not always rosy and I am grateful for that.
The young woman explains that she has been so used to being referred to as "daughter of" that she no longer notices it. She never gave importance to the fact that her parents were famous, seeing what they did as jobs, quite simply.
“Around the age of 12 or 13, however, I asked the question: are you ashamed of us, do you want to hide us? Because we weren't seen anywhere. It started to change, but they never asked: do you want to be filmed? It happened naturally, and even today, if they don't push us to be in the middle, they don't slow us down either. It's really our choice."
The one who likes to act as a coach with children playing in the shows of December and Annie has developed several interests. She is studying cinema, would like to go into production, might want to take over her father's company – KOTV – one day and... is interested in everything related to criminology and law!
“The more it goes, the more I hope to be recognized as having my own personality, my own habits, without being told: oh, you have the personality of your father and the gestures of your mother, continues the one who has just signed with a new agency, without even telling his parents. I don't have a pass because I have known parents and I have to go through the same audition process as everyone else."
She brags about the humility of her parents who had ups and downs, which she believes makes them better.
“These are my models, adds the one who also has to juggle the sometimes derogatory and nasty comments on social networks. For my part, I think I would like to keep the artistic side as a side-line and not as the main discipline, because it is too unstable a job. For the moment, doing chronicles excites me more than playing characters. We will see."
Daughter of host, actor and musician Normand Brathwaite and singer Johanne Blouin
Elizabeth Blouin-Brathwaite grew up in the public eye. The one who sees herself a bit like “the granddaughter of Quebecers” explains that the best gift that her famous parents could have given her was to believe in her and in her talent.
"They also allowed me to meet and get advice, from the start, from experienced people to show me the job like Dan Bigras, Lulu Hughes and Patrick Bourgeois", says the musician who can be seen on stage in Quebec and Ontario. “I was able to blossom with advice from high caliber people. My mother told me that she always knew, deep down, that my voice and my talent as a musician were going to come out of me one day and it happened when I was a child.
It was in the company of her singer mother – who is still her vocal coach and guide in the profession today – that she began to sing to release a first album entitled A wonderful world at the age of 8. . Then, a Christmas album that would launch his career. Her mother gave her a lot of advice on the job, including how to have confidence in herself, to move, to shine and to take your place on stage.
“Both my parents have always made sure that I am well, continues the new mother who saw only positive in the fact of having known parents. They constantly asked me if I liked it, if I was okay. They supported me and were very proud of me. They showed me everything, even at the level of the attitude: to know everything by heart, all the time (the scores, the lyrics), the respect with all the people, I really took all their advice”.
From her father, she retains the recommendations of rigor, good energy, respect and listening to colleagues to demonstrate at all times on the sets. Elizabeth actually sees herself as a perfect amalgam of her two parents.
“It paid off in my life”, launches the one who mentions having never heard bad comments according to which she was “the daughter of”. "I've never known anything else, so for me, that's the normalcy of things. With my father and my mother, the doors opened for me and now it's me who asks if my parents can come to my shows (laughs). My father, for example, comes to play with me with the Eli and the All Stars Girls Band.”
Elizabeth is happy to have parents who are very present in her life. Inevitably, their family dinners are full of anecdotes of shows and music; it's all part of their way of life.
“Elizabeth was 4 years old and I knew she was going to do this, confided Normand Brathwaite to the Journal. She was putting up curtains in the basement and she wasn't singing with her hairbrush, she was singing into a real microphone! There are people like that, you don't say anything, it goes without saying, you let her go and you encourage her. I watch Elizabeth today, she's comfortable on a stage like that doesn't make sense! I am very proud of her talent and I am especially proud of what she does with it.”
Son of actors Danielle Proulx and Raymond Cloutier
If Émile Proulx-Cloutier became an actor-singer-musician, in short a creator and an artist in his own right, it is among other things because he grew up in a family of actors who applied themselves to showing him that with hard work, anything was possible.
The one who can be seen shining in music and texts on stage (most recently with the wonderful show À mains nues) as well as in cinema and television explains that it is the fact of having always seen his parents work at fund their various projects, despite the successes that motivated him to do the same.
"I have parents who have done all kinds of business," he explains. As much auteur cinema as shows in an experimental theatre, as soap operas, TV series and summer theatre. They touched on everything and everything is done with the same heart. For them, there is no hierarchy of projects. Everything is important. They say to themselves: I will do what I have been entrusted with with all my heart. For me, it was a deep learning experience.”
He explains that he was never really attracted to the “glitter” side of the job; a job for which his parents worked hard, free from the magical side that many imagine. Like them, Émile was rather attracted by the creative process behind each work, each achievement.
“My parents each have great experience and a certain know-how, but I have never seen them be above that, continues the actor who we saw in the series Les moments parfaits, Get me out of me and miscellaneous facts. Never say: it's beautiful, I know how to do this business. This is where I am deeply grateful: to have seen people at work, with the same precision as someone fixing a seam, a car or a precious stone.
It is by looking at work ("searching, searching, coming back from auditions that had gone badly, coming back from shootings or shows that had been more difficult, having confidence knowing that everything is not in your pocket") famous parents that he understood that being an actor or creator also meant knowing how to deal with doubt and uncertainty.
“I remember my mother who was still looking, a month before a premiere at the theater, despite her decades of work, I see her looking and she was going to look until she found, he says. At some point, it gets into your head: I'm always going to be searching and facing challenges. That's the beauty of the business: being faced with things you don't know how to do."
If he made creation and performance his profession and his life, it is largely because his parents believed in him and in his talent. The actor remembers a specific moment when, while he was doing theater in CEGEP, his father told him: "Know that with what I see, you can do it, you have what it takes to do this in life, if you feel like doing it. You are capable, if ever you doubt.
“Everything I did when I was young is what I do now: music, theater, films, adds Émile. I don't think my parents fell out of their chair when they saw what I was becoming. They wondered rather what I would do; and in the end, that's all (laughs)."
►Émile Proulx-Cloutier continues the tour of his solo show À mains nues across Quebec
Son of Fayolle Jean, actor, poet, writer, director, radio host...
“We each went our own way. There is no comparison as such, explains Fayolle Jean Jr., who we saw recently in the series Entre deux sheets, Le pacte and Sans rendez-vous. Rather, I see my dad as a pioneer in early black acting, which is inspiring and paved the way for my generation and generations to come.”
Sharing the same full name as well as the same passion for gaming and creating, it went without saying that Fayolle Jean Jr. and her famous dad would go down similar paths.
His jack-of-all-trades father being well-known in the Haitian community first, then in the Quebec community, Fayolle Jean Jr. insists: he must behave well and do honor to this name and to this father having been forced to leave. Haiti in 1979 because he created a Creole version of the play Waiting for Godot; a project that never saw the light of day, because some people there didn't like it...
His father, this great dreamer for whom everything is possible, showed him never to impose limits. It was he who helped his son create his casting sheet. Then, over time, it is no longer just the father who helps his son rehearse for his auditions, but vice versa.
“He is a go-getter who bequeathed me an artistic flair, a passion for art and the possibility of doing what I wanted, says the one who plays the role of the Doctor in the play Sainte-Marie-la-Mauderne, the theatrical adaptation of the film The Great Seduction. I come from a family of five children and we all live from our passions, I find that very beautiful. My parents always encouraged us by saying, 'Take classes, work well and do everything with respect.'”
Is being "the son of" hard to bear, especially when you share the same name? “No, I take it well. There is always the side where people say to me: “I worked with your father, salute him!” I have always taken this as a source of pride and we have a great bond. It is a rarity that immigrants who had a job in their country can continue to do so. I'm also on my way. It allows me to remember where I come from too, and the work done.”
OTHER LOCAL ARTISTS WHO HAVE FOLLOWED IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF THEIR KNOWN PARENTS
SOME ARTISTS FROM ELSEWHERE WHOSE PARENTS ARE FAMOUS