Sunday November 28, 2021 | LANGFORD, BC
by Mary P Brooke, Editor | Island Social Trends
The career playground of real estate marketing and putting herself in front of the camera doing public relations ultimately led the blonde fair-skinned Darlene Tait into a commercial acting career that lately seems to be blooming in a new direction.
Now 63, the roles for women such as daughter of an older mother, and now the President of the United States, are landing on her actor’s plate. This latest role in Coming Home of heading up the most powerful nation in the free world was apparently ‘written just for her’.
Tait took acting classes with the Victoria-based Screen Actors Studio back in the late 1990s, before the 2008 economic downtown that put real estate into the tank.
Already with a flair for the dramatic — including a lifestyle with a home in Mexico — the mother of three grown children (men with now careers in commercial development and the film industry) who despite her outfront marketing profile was in a way overshadowed by the might of big business and her high-profile connections.
She now seems to now be emerging as a standalone force in her own right, through the creative lens.
Of course, a website address bearing her own name DarleneTait.com is part of the promotion.
But Tait’s also out there in the industry’s top actor-profile website IMBb with a filmography that leads with actor but also includes credits in the industry’s back end such as producer, casting director, assistant director, art department, production manager, and set decorator.
In 2019/2020 she served as President of the Board of the Cinevic Independent Film Society.
She attended the BC-based LEO Awards in 2019.
West shore angle in social media:
Locally here on the west shore Darlene makes her way around on Facebook, with friends in her already-established network and “being a cheerleader” for others along the way (both local and those in the limelight — like Ryan Reynolds recently being honoured with the Governor General’s award).
She is well-embedded in the Greater Victoria and west shore wealthy and influential real estate and business community. But she seems to enjoy the interface of taking moments in social media to ‘be personal’ with posts such as #luckiestgirlintheworld for being greeted with a cup of coffee in bed every morning.
Tait seems at home on Facebook, but struggles with Instagram. She does it because it seems to be a social media film industry expectation, but she seems to be all about personal interface, which the maximum 60-second format of Instagram somewhat curtails.
Real estate and housing design:
Tait is associated with well-known real estate projects such as the Bamberton lands, Westhills and Spirit Bay, having worked on those and other projects over the years with the development leadership of the Stewart family, Jim Hartshorne of KeyCorp, and also David Butterfield.
The commonality of those three projects could be seen as a theme of trend-setting, originality, and creativity with different types of housing and an interface with the surrounding natural environment.
Darlene was a Realtor for a while, based in Oak Bay (back in the day at Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate), but the job was not creative enough for her, she says, and the hours too long while raising a young family.
Tait in her interview with Island Social Trends this week spoke proudly about having brought forward a design for a unique type of housing floorplan where a blended family (two adult partners each with kids from a previous marriage) could have separate living areas but share a kitchen. A few of those were built in Westhills in the early phase.
She says housing development today is “missing out on some opportunities to tailor real estate to today’s family situations”. Certainly the cost to build homes (which includes a time-saving of reusing existing designs) is a driving factor in today’s real estate market which works hard to keep up with the sheer force of demand.
Darlene takes pride in being part of what she describes as “the height of the green movement” in real estate, which she pegs at being around 2005. Westhills was on track to being a LEED neighbourhood before “the market shuttered in 2008” as a result of the global financial crisis.
The Spirit Bay project on seaside rock cliffs in Metchosin still uses a buzzline of ‘Happiness by Design’.
Darlene’s husband Ed Tait is associated with major Greater Victoria real estate developments like Shoal Point, Harbourside, Dockside Green, and The Pearl (133 condos at the foot of Fisgard in the Victoria core, that are now selling).
To Mexico and back:
Darlene’s real estate connections doing sustainable development led her to living in Mexico “for the better part of 10 years”, working on launching Loreto Bay in 2002 on the Baja Peninsula.
Just this past week she posted a photo on Facebook of her memories from her time in Mexico (making Thanksgiving dinner in 2011 for 75 people at the restaurant she owned), and in her interview with Island Social Trends she spoke about it with fond memory.
She and her husband returned from Mexico in 2012, due to Ed’s health which required the level of care that the Canadian health-care system can provide. And their grown children were already ‘back here’ on Vancouver Island. She and her husband first met in Vancouver, in 1985. She had lived in Kelowna but was “ready for island life”, so they moved here in 1986.
Though she says that to the degree Greater Victoria has grown, it’s not really a small community anymore. But she enjoys the “bonded community” that the film industry provides.
There’s that theme again — out in the limelight but searching for fresh interpersonal connections.
The big shift:
For all her business career success in marketing and public speaking, for all her travel and hanging out with the rich and famous, this does seem like a time where the light shines on Darlene herself, in front of the camera for a display of her own creative expression.
She was President of Cinevic and vice-president of the Victoria Film Commission and was on the board of Women in Film and Television in Vancouver. But now she is increasingly highlighted in front of the camera for viewers of modern lifestyle entertainment.
Last year two short films came out in which Darlene Tait had roles: In the End (she played Debra, and has high praise for writer-director Susan Ko) and A Long Weekend with May Blossom (she played May). Previous to that (2018 releases) there was the role of Annette in Pity Party and as Agnes in Super Bingo.
Her filmography at IMDb also lists appearances in two films released in 2017: a short called Pearly Nights where she played a therapist and a TV movie called A Rose Parade for Christmas in which she played a hotel manager.
Coming Home comes out in 2022:
Heading to a January 2022 release in the independent film festival circuit is Coming Home, in which she is the lead actor playing the US President: with a world-ending crisis facing the planet, US President Lori Madden has to determine what the end of the world might look like — for the planet and for herself.
But she’s also the producer. She’s already done some local promotion about that film on Facebook, which is how Island Social Trends found out about it.
The film is in the final editing stage, and she’s taken on the marketing for it, including a Facebook page featuring the cast and crew.
Bringing life to the screen:
Tait describes herself as being “a people person”, saying she’s had “a high level of interaction with people… in different venues” through her career.
She has traveled the globe, both as a child and as an adult through her business connections and for leisure travel.
Darlene describes her childhood growing up as an ‘army brat’, which she says she hated at the time. That’s not an uncommon sentiment from children who have moved frequently as their parent(s) followed a military career. But now she appreciates the ability it gave her to readily connect with people. “It helped me step into new situations and build relationships quickly,” says Tait.
A common thread in the roles she plays on film seems to be that ability to show compassion and connection with people, and to generate a sense of immediacy.
Darlene is still planning to continue auditioning for the various roles that come up in Hallmark movies; many of the Hallmark TV movies have a Christmas and/or romantic theme.
But when the Coming Home 2021 opportunity came along Darlene “jumped at it in a nanosecond”. The plotline and character have the potential to take the impact of her dramatic roles to new heights. // IST
===== ABOUT THE WRITER:
Island Social Trends Editor Mary P Brooke has been active in the business community in Greater Victoria and the west shore for decades.
Her company Brookeline Publishing House Inc has published books, magazines, newsletters, catalogs, and newspapers, produced real estate marketing for many years, and delivered online IT training to government clients.
Since 2011 Ms Brooke has delved deep into coverage of local, regional and BC news through a socioeconomic lens (on business, politics, government, health, education and sustainability), with a knack for fresh angles and insights. That was first publishing news in the quarterly colour glossy MapleLine Magazine (2008-2010), then weekly in print as Sooke Voice News (2011-2013), weekly as print/PDF as West Shore Voice News (2014-2020), and now fully online (since March 2020) with the daily news portal IslandSocialTrends.ca and Twitter stream @IslandSocTrends as well as hyper-local for the west shore on Facebook at IslandSocialTrends.
In 2021 Ms Brooke launched the Island Social Trends Journalism Scholarship, available to graduates of SD62 in the west shore. Mary mentors young writers at the high school and university level. She first launched the MapleLine Journalism Program in 2010.
Mary Brooke holds a B.Sc. in nutrition science and community education, and a Certificate in Public Relations, all of which she did in parallel with a freelance journalism career. She received the McGeachy Prize in Journalism at the University of Saskatchewan.