In Race, the story of American Olympian Jesse Owens that hits theaters today, Shanice Banton plays the girlfriend of the fastest man in the world. But in real life, the Toronto native says she prefers a man who is capable of operating at many speeds.

“I like a lot of different things at different times,” she says with a laugh. “Overall, the things that turn me on are ambition, drive, a sense of humor, a love for the world—and it doesn’t hurt if he’s handsome.”

Here’s what else the lovely 23-year-old told us when we sat down with her before the New York premiere of Race this week and quizzed her about her hometown, her new film and, of course, Drake.

“I’m a little bit of a homebody, so it’s nice to have someone who’s willing to say [snaps her fingers], ‘Hey, get out of the house, let’s go do this!’ ”

On playing Ruth Solomon, the baby mama and future wife of 1930s track star Jesse Owens:
“It was really amazing. I couldn’t have asked for a better project to work on, especially this early in my career. Just being in that time period, getting to play a legend’s wife, shooting in Montreal—there’s just so many great things about it. It’s an opportunity that anyone would want, right?”

On Jesse stepping out on her character with a gold digger from LA in the film:
“Well, I don’t think anyone enjoys something like that. Ruth definitely didn’t enjoy it. But as humans, we go through things, we make mistakes. Jesse definitely learned from it, realized what he really wanted and what he needed to do. I think Ruth was able to accept that and forgive him, and at the end of the day they were still able to pull through that situation.”

On why, in real life, she prefers a man who likes to go out:
“I’m a little bit of a homebody, so it’s nice to have someone who’s willing to say [snaps her fingers], ‘Hey, get out of the house, let’s go do this!’ ”

On the best neighborhoods to see if you’re ever visiting her hometown and current residence, Toronto:
“Definitely Queen Street West. It’s got a very hipster vibe. So if you’re a hipster, you’ll love it. It’s got pubs, bars, fashion. That whole strip’s amazing. Yorkville is a little classier. There’s a bunch of great restaurants there. Lake Shore is very calming and nice. Especially in the summertime. Or the beaches as well.”

On whether the beaches in Toronto are ever warm enough to swim in:
“Yes! In… July.”

On where you’ll find her in Toronto:
Joe Mamas is a great restaurant. Everleigh is a good nightclub. And maybe the occasional Raptors game at the ACC.”

On her dream project:
“Actually I did track and field when I was younger. I did long jump and I loved relay a lot. So I’m hoping that maybe I can do a movie or something with track. I’m really into physical activity and staying in shape and staying healthy, so that would be awesome to work and be able to keep fit and do something that I’ve loved to do since I was little.”

On whether she ever crossed paths with fellow Degrassi: The Next Generation actor Aubrey Drake Graham – aka, Drake – while working on the show:
“I wish I was on it with Drake. [into tape recorder] Hey Drake. I’ve actually never met Drake. He’s a lot older than me. So we kind of have that gap. But I think I’ll meet him soon. Or I hope so. That would be great.”

On how guys can win over girls from Toronto:
“I think women from Toronto are really nice. They’re really kind. So as long as you have a pretty kind approach, I think you should score. [pause] Or you could score. [laughs] Yeah one of those.”

On how to stay warm in Toronto:
“Don’t go outside! Stay inside by your fireplace with marshmallows and your dog or your spouse or something. But if you’re going outside, you should probably get a Mackage or a Canada Goose jacket. Or five of them. It’s really cold. So yeah, do that or just stay inside. Be a hermit.”

Photo by Thibault Grabherr/Focus Features