Nahanni Johnstone is an actor and acting coach, nominated for a CSA Award for her performance in Booky and the Secret Santa and winner of Best Supporting Actress at the London International Filmmakers Festival for Yellow Fever
Nahanni has over 30 years of experience performing in front of the camera in film and television, print, and on stage.
After studying classical theater in Toronto, she started a modelling career in Paris, France where her acting ability helped differentiate her from other models and landed her monthly spreads in Vogue and commercials for L’Oreal, Diet Coke and her first acting job in the Italian film Summertime. She moved to New York to pursue an acting career and has studied and worked in New York, Los Angeles and Toronto, Canada. She started acting on daytime television, with roles on One Life to Live, Guiding Light, and All My Children, and moved on to primetime series regular roles on CBC’s Liberty Street and NBC’s Third Watch, and guest stars on shows like Law and Order, and Spin City. She has worked opposite actors such as Greg Kinnear on Emmy award winning The Kennedys, Kevin Costner in For Love of the Game, John Turturro in HBO’s Sugartime, Gary Cole in An Officer and a Murderer, and Mark Ruffalo in Eric Bogosian’s Griller directed by Bob Falls at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre. She was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award for Booky and the Secret Santa opposite Megan Follows. Between tv and film jobs she wrote and directed plays with City Lab at Ensemble Studio Theatre.
Television credits include an iconic guest starring role on Netflix hit Orange is the New Black opposite Kate Mulgrew, guest stars on Cracked, The Following, Minority Report and recurring roles on Epitome’s Open Heart and Degrassi: Next Class. She won Best Supporting Actress at the London International Film Festival for her role as Li Bradford, Jenna Ushkowitz’s adoptive mother in indie film Yellow Fever. Recent credits include the season finale of CBS’ Ransom, another guest starring role on the the 20th season finale of NBC’s Law and Order: SVU, and a guest starring role on CBS’ Blue Bloods.
Nahanni started studying acting with HB Studio teacher Walt Witcover in New York. She trained in Method techniques including Meisner with David Kagen and the Playhouse West in Los Angeles and Strasberg with Janine Manatis. As technology and styles of acting evolved, she moved to The Barrow Group in New York with Seth Barrish and Lee Brock, which offers a performance style based on simplicity, clarity and spontaneity. She was mentored by the late Curt Dempster at Ensemble Studio Theatre, where she developed her writing and directing skills and her passion for self empowerment and initiating projects. Working with acting coach Lewis Baumander, focusing on authenticity and the demands of the camera and HD, gave her the insight and inspiration to help other actors adjust their style to this technology, and she began coaching at LB Studios. After 10 years of teaching classes, coaching privately, and taping auditions at LB Studios she left to start The Studio For Working Actors, and is now launching an online version of her courses, from Start to Success, where students learn the business, the craft, and on-set skills & etiquette from an insider!
She works to empower actors to not only book jobs but also to create their own projects, to share their own stories and to make their own work for a fulfilling, successful, and sustainable career in the entertainment industry.