2016 Hero: Tatiana Maslany
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2016 Hero: Tatiana Maslany

Nominated for: speaking out for her sisters, and her native country's industry.

Torontoist is reflecting on 2016 by naming our Heroes and Villains—the people, places, things, and ideas that have had the most positive and negative impacts on the city over the past 12 months. Cast your ballot until 11:59 p.m. on January 5. At noon on January 6, we’ll reveal your choices for Toronto’s Superhero and Supervillain of the year.
Tatiana Maslany
Tatiana Maslany has been a Torontoist Hero before. After her first season starring in Orphan Black, we lauded her performance for portraying multiple unique clones in the sci-fi thriller. (We even predicted the show would make her a star, before it aired.)

After four thrilling seasons, the Emmys finally recognized her tour de force performances this year with a Best Actress award, making her the most talked about winner of the night.

But we aren’t giving Maslany another Hero nod just because she’s finally being recognized in mainstream entertainment circles.

Winning a leading role Emmy, coupled with the buzz that has built over the past few years, could have been a fast track ticket to more mainstream Hollywood roles and exposure. Instead, Maslany has continued to work with emerging Canadian directors, filming the Nunavut-set Two Lovers and A Bear with Kim Nguyen, and co-starring with her off-screen partner Tom Cullen in the Toronto-based The Other Half.

Maslany has also used her spotlight to speak out about the lack of gender equity in the film business, a still risky subject for actors to loudly criticize. She’s also been adamant about openly discussing the feminist and LGBTQ issues that Orphan Black raises.

Orphan Black‘s fifth and final season will wrap production (and air) in 2017, leaving Maslany free to pursue whatever she wants. In an interview with Peter Mansbridge, she hinted that she may be interested in more comedic work; she popped up in several surprise shows in Toronto this year, exercising her old improv comedy chops. Whatever she decides to do, Torontonians (and Canadians) should be proud that one of film and television’s top talents chooses to continue to live and work in our city (and country), and speak out for equality rights that are still not secured.