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Carin Smolinski – Getting the job done


She grew up wanting to be an actress. And given her bountiful energy - and can-do attitude - it wasn't a bad choice for the young West Coaster. "I attended a special arts and sports program at North Van's Handsworth Secondary," explains Whistler photographer Carin Smolinski. "It was a great program." She laughs. "But given that I'm not working in Hollywood now, I guess you could say it didn't work out for me."

She stops talking. Chuckles. "I kind of burned out on acting," she explains. "Method acting is sooo intense." Another giggle. "So I dropped out of the course and ran away to Europe..."

There's no doubt about it. Smolinski is a force of nature. Lively, passionate and nearly always bubbling with laughter, the mother of two boys admits she has a borderline ADD personality. "I like to make things happen," she admits. "I get easily bored."

Indeed. And that can only mean good things for the Whistler community. You may have heard of Smolinski's latest photography show. Called Living The Dream (now displayed at Creekside's Southside Diner), her show offers a warm-hearted, surprisingly enticing visual look at the myriad ways young people devise to provide shelter for themselves while living at Whistler. "I've learned so much working on this project," she says. "Mostly I've learned just how fanatical people are about living in this place."

But I'm getting sidetracked. We'll come back to the show later. Back to Carin's story.

Her escape to Europe was everything she had hoped for. "It was a huge education for me," she says. After a year on the road, the young traveller came home to Vancouver just long enough to raise more travel dollars and immediately set off for Southeast Asia. "Where I stayed for 13 years, "she says.

And she bursts out laughing yet again. "I was living in Japan working at a bar to raise more travel dollars when I met my future husband," she explains. And that was that.

She contends it was a happy time for her. But by the time Carin had given birth to her first son in 2004 she was certainly ready for more. "I went kind of business crazy at that point," she admits. "In addition to the international preschool I had going, I launched a magazine and started an indoor playground for kids." She smiles. "The playground was a bust," she says. "It was beautiful - a total wonderland - but it never paid for itself."

The magazine, however, took off in a big way. Called Tokyo Families , it's still a going concern today. "You know, there are a lot of bored North American housewives in Japan," she says. "And this magazine was directly targeted at them. It de-mystified Japan for them. Allowed them entry into this very closed society." She pauses. Laughs again. "Besides," she adds. "these bored, over-educated women all wanted to write stories for me and see pictures of them and their kids in the magazine. So content was never a problem."


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