Dan Levy was honest and open when tackling tough questions from students. Photo credit: Jose Mandojana

Although Canadian writer and actor Dan Levy is now a household name and a media darling across North America, the adoration and acceptance that Levy has received since his hit show, Schitt’s Creek, swept the Emmys in 2020 is a welcome change after working for decades in the industry.

On Oct. 5, Levy sat down with his former MTVCanada co-host, Canadian television personality Jessi Cruikshank, to connect with college and university students across Ontario, fielding questions on topics that ranged from bullying to fashion, Levy’s work as an LGBTQ+ actor and activist, and, of course, Schitt’s Creek.

Students from several schools were given an opportunity to participate in the Q&A-style interview, including Algonquin’s own Carlos DoVale, a student of the esthetician program, who posed this question to Levy – Do you think you would be the same “you” as you are now if you hadn’t been bullied?”

Levy shared that although he may not have enjoyed every difficult experience in his past, he also wouldn’t change them because they had an impact on his life.

“The negativity of others can really drive us in a really major way,” said Levy, “Take a second the next time something or someone makes you feel bad and try and use it as an exercise…how can you harness that experience into something makes you a better person.”

Levy was also asked to suggest ways that people who themselves are not part of a marginalized community can still support and be an ally without overstepping boundaries. He was clear that inclusion and sensitivity were key.

“Get some friends together that are part of the community to help you, and collectively so that you can help them, to implement something that makes people feel better.”

Cruikshank and Levy riffed and entertained attendees for over an hour, taking the event into overtime. Levy was charming and funny, but more importantly, he was thoughtful and considerate with every comment and answer that he offered.

One of the last bits of advice Levy offered was how important it is to be true to yourself in every situation.

“Authenticity I think is the greatest gift that you have, and you are the only person who has it because nobody else is you.” He goes on to say, “always be yourself…never be swayed by other people’s expectations or what you think people want.”