Toni Francis is a woman who will hustle until the day she dies. A mix of Oprah and Cardi B, she has an impeccable resume and has been one of my muses for years.
Born and raised in Scarborough, ON Toni graduated from Centennial College with a diploma in Broadcast and Film. I first met Toni at Centennial and there was nobody who shined as bright as her. Toni’s drive, black girl magic and clear vision for whatever project she works on is undeniable.
As a single mom she hustles her ass off refusing to live in mediocrity; she’s worked on short films, features, television, music videos, co-founded and was co-editor-in-chief for IVI Magazine. As an aspiring TV/Film Producer Toni started her YouTube channel having real conversations about things that affect us millennials.
Toni Francis always makes a statement whether it be in her opinions, her direction or her sense of style; and don’t let the skinniness fool you, she likes to eat.
What did you want to be when you were a kid?
I think I wanted to be a doctor and I have no clue why because I despise hospitals and bloody stuff. I think I chose doctor because it was the thing to say and made me feel smart. I also think I wanted to be an actress which makes more sense to me. I always rehearsed my scenes with Denzel Washington in the shower. (Sadly, Denzel was never in the shower with me
Who is the person that inspires you the most?
Oprah. Yeah I know it’s cliche but I don’t care. When you see a person who looks like you, both a woman and black, that is successful and doing everything you’ve dreamed of, things start feeling possible.
What’s your favorite movie?
Sister Act 2. LMAO I actually have no idea why and I hate admitting that.
What’s your favorite television show?
I watch an unhealthy amount of TV and I could never choose just one. Right now, It would be Power.
What’s the best advice you’ve received?
It might be from my old internship position at a film and television production company here in Toronto. I was a part of the marketing team and my boss came over one day to go through some work and she said, “Look, it doesn’t matter how great the work you produce is, if no one ever sees it”. I took that with me and apply it to my work now. If I ever start a marketing company that will be my slogan, so no one steal it please, thanks.
What’s the worst advice you’ve received?
Give him another chance.
Who is someone from your past that has made an impact on you, but you’ve never told them?
My grandmother. She passed away when I was 11 years old and so I never fully realized how impactful she would be. She is the closest thing that I have to a mother and her home was the only place I lived in that actually felt like home. I’ve been searching for that again my entire life and once I’ve found that, it’ll be like she’s back with me again. I miss that woman.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In 10 years, I’d be 39 years old. Ew. I hope to be wildly successful in my career, like annoyingly successful, with a couple of tv/digital shows under my belt and a movie or two. I would want to have traveled a lot and be married to the love of my life. I want to have made a difference in the world and be a source of inspiration to little girls that look like me. It may sound cliche but again I don’t care. I think a lot of people act like they don’t want these things because of how “normal” it sounds. But I’m cool with normal, more importantly I’m cool with just being corny ol’ me.
Would you rather go back to the past and change one thing or have the chance to see your future?
That’s a good one. I don’t think I’d go back because everything that I’ve been through makes me who I am today as complicated as that may be. I guess it would be to see the future so that I can know that everything will be okay.
What is something people assume about being a freelancer that isn’t true?
That shit just lands in your lap. Because it doesn’t. You’ve got to be constantly on your grind, making connections, following up with people, going to events and continuing to add value to your name. Shit ain’t easy, people.
What advice can you give to someone starting their own brand?
Understand yourself and your brand through and through. Yes, you can evolve and change things up but the core of your brand should always remain the same.
What’s the hardest obstacle you’ve had to overcome in your career?
The hardest thing for me so far, is trying to do it all. People are always surprised when I say I have a child because not only am I a really private person and don’t like that type of attention but I also don’t like to use him as an excuse as to why I can’t deliver. So it’s an ongoing thing of trying to make everything work. Thank God, I have family members to help out without any complaints but its finding that strength at 2am to finish an edit or type that email. There’s still so many things I want to do in my career and I get a bit scared thinking I might not be able to because of my responsibilities but I also have to have faith that if I want it bad enough and put in the work, it’ll all work out.
Jesse mother-fing Williams. He’s smart, fine and woke?? Like, I can not.
If you could go back and give your 20 year old self advice what would it be?
What a co-inc-i-dink, I recently made a YouTube video about this very thing.
How do you want people to remember you?
That I never gave up and that I really like wine, but I’m not an alcoholic but like mmmm wine. White wine specifically, that’s really important.