BY: ALYSSA MAHADEO
Maliaka Bryce is no stranger to bringing laughter and smiles to the faces of every audience she greets. Born here in Toronto, raised in Scarborough by both her parents and her grandmother, Maliaka learned a lot about being an entrepreneur from an early age. Her grandmother was one of her biggest role models, a matriarch of the family, raising seven children and teaching her about hard work and patience, dedication to the hustle. Like most people, her family always wants to enjoy all that life had to offer, pursuing the nicer things of life and doing whatever it takes to have that. Her grandmother taught her how to cook some of her favorite Jamaican dishes, and always staying in contact with people, as you could never be too busy for your friends and family.
After graduating from high school Maliaka went to Humber College and initially was accepted into their Liberal Arts program. Originally Maliaka thought that she would become a nurse. She came from a family of caretakers, from her grandmother to her aunts, almost everyone except her mother had been a nurse. During her college experience she met a girl who really left an impression on her. After a few conversations with her and getting to know a bit about her personality, the girl suggested to Maliaka that she would be really good in Public Relations. Maliaka didn’t think twice about it. Although she didn’t have much interest in PR, she decided that this girl had to know what she was talking about. Maliaka barely knew what PR was, but a gut feeling told her that this was something she was meant to pursue and it ended up changing her life.
Maliaka switched programs, and one of her courses included Broadcasting. Her first day in studio she found herself behind one of the mics and when she spoke into it upon hearing her voice echo throughout the room she knew that this was something that was guaranteed to bring her happiness. She decided that she wanted to go into the entertainment industry, where she could always have that same control over a microphone.
Maliaka was presented with the opportunity to do an internship in Jamaica, through an aunt who was working at a PR company there. It was another life changing experience for her, to find herself with real life experience working in Public Relations in Jamaica. She was able to meet so many influential people, and celebrities, working on radio as a host on her own radio show and then moving to TV and also working as an actress in plays and movies. She gained so much valuable experience working in the Jamaican media and entertainment industry and she stayed in Jamaica for eleven years before coming back to Toronto in 2011.
Her Jamaican experience had spoiled her and when she came back to Canada she found it a little difficult to find her place here. Back in Jamaica there had been so many opportunities, skin color didn’t matter, it was all about whether or not you had talent enough to hold your own. Four years had passed since she had come back to Toronto and she hadn’t been able to book anything, and it was starting to get a little discouraging for Maliaka. She had caught the acting bug, and so everyday that she wasn’t performing for people, she felt that she wasn’t living her best life.
Her turning point came after a friend introduced her to stand up comedy. They told her about Second City, where they held improv and acting classes and could also show you how to write comedy so you could put together your own shows. She took some of their classes and was able to use what she learned by writing shows and then performing them at open mic nights throughout the city. She no longer had to wait for people to book her, and she could perform at her own leisure!
Comedy was still new to her, but she wasn’t about to give up. Maliaka started writing and producing more shows, hosting events and having other comedians perform as parts of various acts. Over time she got more comfortable, and the more exposure she got, the more people took notice and booked her for more shows and events.
Maliaka’s passion in life is to make people laugh, her warm bubbly and larger-than life personality demands attention, and she has brought to life many characters on and off screen. Over the years she has faced many ups and downs, include times of self-doubt, but she has found that if you believe in it you can achieve it. As an entrepreneur and a woman, she advises other young women to, “Create your own legacy, always be mindful of how you carry yourself in your relationship when navigating and maneuvering through your relationships. As a woman the smallest things can make or break your success, just keep a good head on your shoulders.”