Derick Chetty is the fashion reporter at the Toronto Star. Covering both Toronto and international shows, he also reports on the local society scene and compiles the Star’s annual Best Dressed List. He was formerly the fashion editor at Flare Magazine, has a weird obsession with Pride & Prejudice and never gets tired of watching 1980s sitcoms.
Photo by Randy Risling.
Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon?
No. When I was younger I had grandiose plans to be a designer. But the first year pattern drafting class at Ryerson pretty much steered me clear off that career path. I learned I have little patience for mathematical calculations.
Where would you like to be five years from now?
I feel we are living at warp speed.
Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
The newspaper industry is at a crossroad now. You might be embarking on the most thrilling ride of your life or a death plunge off a cliff.
But if I haven’t deterred you, start getting some experience by interning somewhere. It might not be paid but treat it like a real job that you absolutely love and where no job is too menial. I once cleaned an editor’s office.
What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own?
Wall Street Journal and Financial Times – weekend print editions only. Love any newspaper that still consider art direction something to be treasured. And I have a lengthy list of guilty-pleasure blogs I love.
Best interview you’ve ever had?
Donna Karan. Even though I was plunged into a panic when I realized my tape recorder was not working. But looking at my notes at the end, I noticed she did not waste a single word – every answer was precise, measured and directly to the point.
Any when the subject wants to conduct the interview via email or the questions to be presented ahead of time. If you’re that busy, why bother agreeing to the interview?
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
No one tells you the truth.
What rule(s) do you live your life by?
Do the right thing.
What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
I like a touch of professional formality. Perhaps social media has made us all too casual. I don’t respond well to people who reach out to me with Hiya, Hey dude, Happy Monday! How was your weekend?
And my name is not Shinan Govani. He’s the shorter one.
Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
Any that operate without fuss or delay.
Depends on time and day. But that should tell you I don’t harbour hatred.
Time to myself.
Re-reading The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.
Best place on earth?
Barcelona. My happy place.
I’ll start with The Golden Girls and then move on to any other quartet of funny ladies – Designing Women and the Sex and the City girls.
Anyone that overcomes adversity in pursuit of their dreams.
Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?
I got 20 apps when I first got my iPhone and I haven’t downloaded any since. That tells me I probably don’t have a need for more.
Pool or ocean?
Voicemail or email?