Media, Darling: Randi Bergman

Randi Bergman is a Toronto girl through and through. She grew up in North Toronto and graduated from Ryerson University’s Fashion Communications program. A girl who loves fashion almost as much as Rufus Wainwright, Randi’s first internship was at FASHION Magazine in the now-defunct Entertainment department. She then relocated to New York City, interning at both Teen Vogue and Interview Magazine (where she continues to write for web). As if you weren’t jealous enough, Randi also covered NYFW for Fashion Week Daily. During this stint, she had the good fortune to interview Liza Minelli, Marc Jacobs, Alexander Wang, Michael Kors, and the inimitable Grace Coddington, to name a few. 

Randi has previously freelanced for: National Post, Page Six (where she got to pick clothes for the Chloe Sevigny), V Magazine, Dazed & Confused and Refinery29. She is currently the Online Editor for FASHION magazine.



You can also find Randi and FASHION Magazine on Twitter


Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon?

Always, actually. I think I might have been the only one at my high school that knew exactly what she wanted to do when she left. I sometimes fantasize about being lost in the archives of the Costume Institute, but this way I get to live in the present, too.  

Where would you like to be five years from now?
I would still love to be working with magazines, not exactly sure of the capacity, but writing, editing, getting to talk about fashion and fashion history in some way. 

Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
You have to really commit to doing everything you possibly can—take every internship, make every connection—that’s the only way you’re going to make it in the fashion industry. It’s not the kind of industry that will let you take the easy way out, at least in my experience.

What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own? 
I’ll always have a soft spot for Vogue, but lately I’m totally bewitched by Nowness. Its the only site that I check every day, aside from of course, my own.

Best interview you’ve ever had? Worst?
Best interview I’ve ever had is probably anyone that I leave feeling like I’m best friends with, whether it’s in my head or not. I really wanted to make friendship bracelets for Proenza Schouler’s Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez. Also, Liza Minnelli will be cemented in my mind forever, just because it’s Liza Minnelli, and also because she was the closest I will ever be to Judy Garland. 


Worst? Probably anyone who knows nothing about the subject they’re supposed to know about. Riley Keough was pretty rough.

Best advice you’ve ever been given?
Be a mix of the workhorse and the show pony.

What rule(s) do you live your life by?
Put yourself first, most of the time.  And never buy heels that you can’t walk in.

What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Always personalize your pitches. And it also helps to make yourself very familiar and top of mind.

Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
I would just say that I like becoming friendly with PRs. Wining and dining aside of course, it’s not really necessary. Just a warm smile and genuine personality is nice. 

I hate?
People who don’t try.

I love? 
Old movies, old people, museums (old art), old music, fashion history (old designers), the southern US (old traditions).

Reading?
The History of Love by Nicole Krauss.

Best place on earth?
Haven’t been everywhere yet, but so far, Israel.

Dinner guest?
Edie Beale for entertainment and Jim Morrison for…you know.

Hero?
Tie between Andy Warhol and Patti Smith.

Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?
Can I use this space as a big ups to BBM? Never leave me!

Pool or ocean?
Probably pool actually, with a slide and waterfall. Or the ocean with the promise of no sand between my toes.

Voicemail or email?
Email one thousand percent. 







Media, Darling: Tiyana Grulovic

While stretching her sartorial muscles in Ryerson University’s Fashion Communication program, Tiyana Grulovic fell in love with print, an affair that landed her at Globe Style, The Globe and Mail’s weekly glossy fashion and design section. 


As Globe Style’s fashion editor and trendspotter, Tiyana styles fashion features and writes a weekly Runway to Real Way column. You may have also seen her laying down style smackdowns on ETalk’s Fashion Fix.

In her spare time, she watches reruns of the Simpsons on cable television and makes strong Old Fashioneds. She lives in a Toronto apartment with lots of shoes.



Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon?
I briefly flirted with the idea of being an actress. But since my greatest theatrical performance was a lead in my high school’s production of The Odd Couple, Female Version (actual title) maybe the fact that this didn’t pan out is for the best.

Where would you like to be five years from now?
I’ve always imagined that right here, right now, is where I wanted to be forever. I can’t think of a next step that would take me somewhere more fun – personally and professionally – than Globe Style.

Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
Assist, intern and write for whoever you can. Listen to people you respect and learn from them. So much of this business depends on connections and getting an education from people you look up to. Don’t give up, either. You really have to love fashion and media because at times it can be tireless. For writers, you can learn so much from a helpful editor and it’s important to check your ego at the door when you’re starting out. Same goes for styling.

What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own?
Locally, I always read the Grid, Now, the Toronto Standard, Toronto Life and the Toronto Star. Plus Flare, Elle and Fashion. And it’s not just because some of the people I like and respect most work there. I also love the New York Times, The Guardian and New York Magazine. I read Vogue religiously and am obsessed with the Elle Collections book because it’s the most beautifully designed publication out there. 

I also love my friend Sandra’s blog Superfora, Frank Ocean’s Tumblr and this site called The Clearly Dope that my friend Maggie introduced me to.

And let’s not forget World Star Hip Hop, possibly the greatest and most educational site on the Internet of all time. 

Best interview you’ve ever had? Worst?
I do very little writing because I’m usually producing visuals. That said, I had one amazing interview with Jason Trotzuk, the founder of Fidelity denim about the Canadian Tuxedo that I will never forget.

I’ll include my best shoot, too. It was actually three stories that we shot in Miami earlier this year with the greatest team ever: Stylist Corey Ng, photographers Raina + Wilson and our genius art director Kate LaRue. It was a full week of getting dirty and totally creative in an amazing setting without sleep. Plus, we shot in the fancy Herzog & De Meuron parking lot on Lincoln Road, which was an experience in itself.
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
It’s not so much about the advice, but surrounding yourself with people who believe in you and that you can learn from. I’ve taken so much in from people who inspire me and have, for some stupid reason, helped guide me. Sometimes those silent gestures and lessons just mean more.
What rule(s) do you live your life by?
Try to understand and sympathize with people and also hoes before bros.

What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Know who you’re talking to and make sure it’s the right person you’re pitching. You don’t know how many calls I get asking for the Globe’s fashion editor from four years ago. Look at the masthead, the info is often right there. Keep those phone calls and follow-ups to a minimum, too. There is nothing more uncomfortable than calling someone 14 times to make sure you got that email.
Spelling is also key, especially with a complicated name like mine. You have no idea how much mail I get addressed to a Tiyanda or Tigawk.

Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
I’ve had so many great experiences, but I can generalize them into a few key points: Answer questions and requests quickly, offer to help as often as you can, understand our readership and what we’re looking for. It’s as simple as that.

I hate?
Cargo shorts and vodka waters.

I love?
Bourbon, foods containing pork, nail polish, sheer things, my friend Natalia Grosner’s illustrations, salty beach hair, Globe Style‘s production editor Maggie Wrobel.

Reading?
The Chairs are Where the People Go by Misha Glouberman with Sheila Heti. 


Best place on earth?
A boat at sunset in Dubrovnik, surrounded by friends, family and $6 “champagne”.

Dinner guest?
My friend Miguel Pacheco. He can talk your ear off about anything from X-rated Chinese cinema to music you’ve never heard of to the hottest cognac being name-dropped in rap songs (Conjure).

Hero?
I have three: my mom, my dad and my brother. They’re all incredibly supportive and hilarious people.

Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?
I think the only app I use is What’s App. As for downloading: A bunch of music illegally.

Pool or ocean?
Ocean. See: salty beach hair

Voicemail or email?
 Email, followed by a follow-up email to ensure that I got that email.

Media, Darling: Christopher Frey

Christopher Frey grew up in Toronto, and got a degree in Religious Studies from U of T. After graduating and earning money through medical experiments to finance short films, he lived in Osaka, Japan for almost two years; then came back to Toronto to co-found and edit Outpost Magazine (for more years than he cares to mention). 


Frey is a two-time National Magazine Award winner. Since 2006, he’s been freelancing for the likes of The Walrus, Azure, Canadian Geographic, the Globe and Mail, CBC Radio and Monocle. All this was done while being mostly itinerant, traveling abroad and researching his non-fiction book Broken Atlas, which will be published next year by Random House. Frey is currently the Editorial Director of the Toronto Standard and Toronto correspondent for Monocle. Toronto Standard has earned 5 nominations and the Canadian Online Publishing Awards, more than any other online-only publication. Winners will be announced in late October.



Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon?
First, I wanted to be a writer. Then I realized what really appealed to me more broadly was telling stories and sharing concepts or ideas or other peoples’ experiences. Which also meant figuring out that writing isn’t always the best way to tell a story or idea, that depending on the particularity of the subject matter, another medium might be more suitable — say, a photo, film, a song, a poem instead of prose, an illustration or graphic.

I got into magazines and became an editor because I felt it was the best way to combine most of these things. And I loved collaborating with other people in creating the package it all comes in. Now because of hypertextuality, and the ability to embed sound, video and animation, it’s the web, minus the tactility and portability. I guess the next thing is to see where tablets take us… But I still do love print magazines dearly.


Where would you like to be five years from now?
Writing and making documentaries, dividing my time between Toronto and Brazil — probably Rio, but Sao Paulo has better food and my friends there are comparatively more sane. Or Istanbul.


Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
Write something every day, develop a routine. Read as broadly as possible. Learn another language or two. Travel. Or at least walk a lot, and learn to observe.


What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own?
The New Yorker, The Economist, Monocle, BLDGBlog, Design Observer, Foreign Policy magazine, Q and Ideas on CBC Radio.


Best interview you’ve ever had?
Tie: David Byrne and artist Vik Muniz.


Worst?
Henry Rollins for The Varsity at U of T. This was twenty years ago, long before Rollins became a talk show host. I was a huge Black Flag fan as a teenager but figured he’d be difficult. His best friend had just been killed when the two of them were ambushed outside their home. When the phone interview started I was getting nothing but angry, monosyllabic answers. 

Then I noticed a handbook to depression on the desk I was using and it contained a depression questionnaire — a checklist to determine how clinically serious one’s depression. I asked Henry if I could give him the questionnaire and he agreed. So I still got single word yes or no answers, but at least I was able to shape the article into something revealing based on what he gave me. It turned out that he was moderately optimistic after all.



Best advice you’ve ever been given?
As for something someone said to me personally, nothing comes to mind. But there’s this bit from a George Saunders essay: “Fuck concepts. Don’t be afraid to be confused. Try to remain permanently confused. Anything is possible. Stay open, forever, so open it hurts, and then open up some more, until the day you die, world without end, amen.”

What rule(s) do you live your life by?
Oy vey, I could use some rules.


What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Think like a journalist.


Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
I’ve been mostly focused on international reporting for the past four years, so I hadn’t had much recent experience with PR pros until we started the Standard. I can say honesty goes far — both in terms of being up-front about whether an interview request can be accommodated, or when asked to describe off-the-cuff what it is they’re promoting. 

It’s not about decoding whether they themselves like something or not, just whether it’s a right fit for us. Having said that, I’ve liked working with Virginia Kelly, Debra Goldblatt and Rebecca Webster all of whom are not just charming but very knowledgeable about what it is they’re representing.

I hate?

A lack of generosity and openness.



I love?
Haruki Murakami, being in a canoe, playing hockey, the movie Reds, mountain biking with my friend Lorne Bridgman, Japan and Brazil, JG Ballard, William Eggleston, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Caetano Veloso. Improvising in the kitchen. The core writers who have bought into the vision we have for the
Toronto Standard. The last few pages of the James Joyce short story The Dead which pretty much says everything that will ever need to be said. I should probably add my parents and friends because I don’t see any of them nearly enough. I am a bad man.

Reading?
Simon Reynolds’
Retromania, Luc Sante’s Low Life (for the third time), Rebecca West’s Black Lamb and Grey Falcon.


Best place on earth?
I haven’t found it yet. But right now I’m missing this record store-cum-live performance space in Rio’s Lapa neighbourhood called Plano B.


Dinner guest?
Filmmaker and video artist Chris Marker.


Hero?
Ryszard Kupisinski.


Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?
I use apps, but I can’t think in terms of one being my ‘favourite’.

Pool or ocean?
Lake.


Voicemail or email?
Normally, when I think of people communicating with me, I’d say email. But these days, as an editor and journalist with deadlines, I often find myself hectoring writers to just pick up the damn phone and call somebody already.

 

Media, Darling: Sarah Casselman

Sarah is a Queens University graduate, as well as an International Academy of Design and Technology diploma recipient. This self-proclaimed magazine junkie is the Senior Editor of FASHION News. She has also appeared as a style expert on  ET Canada, The Marilyn Denis Show, Steven and Chris and MTV among many others.

During her studies, Sarah worked at Augustina Boutique where she “spent the majority of [her] paycheques on Me & Ro jewellery, bags and scarves.” Upon graduation, Sarah moved to teach ESL in Tokyo, Japan for two years. She loves being part of the FASHION team.

Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon?

I am a magazine junkie (always have been) and a serious fashionphile, so it seemed like a natural fit. Either that or a vet; when I was little I had a very successful stuffed animal practice in our basement. My alter ego at age seven? Dr. Christine Longington.

Where would you like to be five years from now?
A smart woman never tells all.

Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
Internships are worth their weight in gold. Treat everyone with respect, it’s a small industry and you never know who you’ll be working for some day.

What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own?
Anything and everything fashion-related and the tabloids at the grocery store check-out. I love a good Us Weekly fix, it’s my guilty pleasure.

Best interview you’ve ever had?
All of them! Whether I’m interviewing a local designer or Lady Gaga I’m always fascinated by the interview process. The challenge is finding (and asking) that key question; the one that unlocks the subject’s true personality. From that point on, it’s smooth sailing.

Best advice you’ve ever been given?
Make a plan (courtesy of Dad and Mom Casselman). I’m a big believer in making a plan before forging ahead.

What rule do you live your life by?
Fear is not an option.

What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Don’t send 12 attachments in an email unless I actually ask for them. Somehow, the rest of the circus doesn’t matter as long as I can still send and receive. 

Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro?
Having a handsome senior associate pitch me on Tiffany & Co.’s holiday collection. I covered the jewels and then got a sparkly one of my own a few years down the line. This past June I became a Mrs. #PRWIN.

I hate?
Spiders and spicy food.

I love?
My family, friends, baubles (fine or faux) and any fashion ad/editorial that includes animals (preferably anything fluffy and small).

Reading?
The Windsor Style by Suzy Menkes.

Best place on earth?
Any place with my husband. (Ok, Nantucket.)

Dinner guest?
Anyone who brings a great bottle of chilled chardonnay.

Hero?
Make that superhero. I always loved Wonder Woman and her fabulous statement cuffs!

Pool or ocean?
The ocean for walks on the beach, the fresh sea air and my sail cloth bag. The pool for lounging, the occasional dip and a really glam cover-up.

Voicemail or email?
Email, it guarantees a same-day response from me.

Media, Darling: Norman Wilner

A lifelong Torontonian, Norman Wilner became the senior film writer for NOW Magazine in early 2008. Previously, he reviewed films for Metro newspapers across Canada, and covered every video format imaginable (yes, even Beta!) for the Toronto Star column from 1988 to 2006. These days, his DVD column appears Tuesdays on MSN Canada.


His byline has appeared in Cinema Scope, Montage, Marquee and even The Hollywood Reporter that one time. You may also remember him from his appearances as a critic and commentator on any radio or television program that will call him.

In 2008, he was elected secretary and vice-president of the Toronto Film Critics Association; in 2009, he was a member of the features jury for Canada’s Top Ten. A member of the international film critics’ organization FIPRESCI, he has sat on festival juries in Toronto, Montreal, London, Vienna and Palm Springs.

He lives in Kensington Market, just a short walk from any of 14 coffee shops. He’s on Twitter as @wilnervision, and blogs most days at WilnerVision.com.

Photo credit: Michael Watier



Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon?
I’ve always wanted to write about film – it wasn’t until my last year of high school that I figured out a way to do it in a fashion other people would want to read. And even that feels like a humblebrag; I still can’t believe my opinion is given any weight beyond “Oh, he liked that? I’ll probably hate it.”
Nah, this is what I had to do. I’m trained for nothing else. And my brother Mike has claimed all sports for himself, so it’s just as well.
Where would you like to be five years from now?
The glib answer would be, “that assumes print will still be around in five years.” But I’m lucky enough to write for NOW, which has only grown stronger as the newspaper industry has declined, and will probably be just as healthy and as essential to Toronto’s arts culture as it was when I joined the staff in 2008. I’d be more than happy to still be doing what I’m doing right now in five years’ time… maybe with a little more television on the side.
Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
Cultivate your masochistic side. It takes a long time to establish one’s voice, and longer still to build a reputation that will draw people to said voice. Whenever anyone asks me for advice, I tell them to start a blog, and maintain a regular publishing schedule; whatever else you do, it’s good to have something that’s exclusively your own. Facebook pages don’t count.
What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own?
I follow Torontoist, BlogTO and Spacing pretty religiously, both on their websites and their writers’ Twitter feeds. Jonathan Goldsbie, who used to write for Torontoist and now contributes to the National Post, has pointed me to more local news in the last year than any old-media organ.
It’s a rare day when I don’t end up on the websites of The New York Times and The Globe and Mail, and I check The A.V. Club whenever I’m near the Internet — which is, like, always. The radio’s always tuned to CBC, and I occasionally watch CityTV news just to laugh at their hyperbolic intros and general sense of impending doom.
I also keep up with Toronto’s film critic community (after I’ve filed my own reviews, of course); Jason Anderson and Adam Nayman are dear friends as well as excellent writers, so I read them wherever they turn up.
Best interview you’ve ever had?
I’ve had some great interviews in the past. I’ve talked to Danny Boyle and Edgar Wright several times over the last few years, and they’re always invigorating. When I was 23 and in full Cassavetes worship, I got to sit down with Gena Rowlands, Peter Falk, Seymour Cassel and Al Ruban at a Los Angeles press day celebrating the re-issue of his lost films; that remains one of the best days of my career.
I was lucky enough to get half an hour with Rod Steiger when he came to TIFF with Guilty As Charged in 1991, and an hour with Arthur Penn a few years after that. TIFF’s great for those unexpected opportunities, and for getting to sit down with directors as they come back over the years. I got to knock around with Peter Jackson when he was here with Dead-Alive and Heavenly Creatures, and Terry Gilliam pulled me into his elegant but rambunctious orbit more than once. Richard Donner gave me some invaluable training advice when he heard my obnoxious dog barking in the background during a phone interview. Steve Coogan’s been a great interview every time.

Worst?
The worst interview I’ve ever done would have to be Mike Leigh, whom I interviewed for Global TV’s Entertainment Desk in 1996, when he came to Toronto with Secrets and Lies. I asked what I thought were halfway intelligent questions – I’d seen all of his films, and wanted to engage him in a genuine conversation about his approach to drama and to casting – and he did everything he could to render the footage unusable, answering in monosyllables and even picking his nose on camera. I was gutted, both personally and professionally. Apparently he just doesn’t like doing television.
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
“It’s almost never personal,” which my producer, Bonnie Laufer-Krebs, gave me immediately after she watched the Leigh footage. A close second would be “Never apologize for the things you love,” which the late John Harkness was fond of saying – usually after telling me he’d just ordered another boxed set of Japanese gangster movies from Amazon’s U.K. site.
What rule(s) do you live your life by?
This sounds incredibly lame, but I just try to be honest in everything I do. That means giving my genuine opinion when I’m asked, for good or ill. A critic who’s worried about offending people by going against the grain or making a controversial argument is already worrying about the wrong things.
What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Sometimes, you have to take no for an answer. And if you describe every new project as the greatest and most important thing in the history of ever, that just means you’re utterly mercenary and we can’t trust you to be straight with us.
Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
It comes back to honesty. I’ve been doing this for a while now, and over the years I’ve worked with plenty of good people – Maria Manero and Anna Perelman at Allied Advertising, who set up a terrific TIFF lunch date with Danny Boyle last year on very short notice; Victoria Gormley at Warner Bros., who comes up with opportunities I’d never expect to get from a major studio; Angie Burns, formerly of Maple Pictures; Suzanne Cheriton, Dana Fields, Debra Goldblatt.
I hate?
Pandering. (See above re: “greatest and most important thing in the history of ever.”)
I love?
I love that I get to be a champion for movies that people might otherwise miss, and I love that I work for a newspaper that encourages me to do so at my discretion. I love that I get to talk to filmmakers whose movies I’d be lining up to see anyway: Boyle, Wright, Gilliam, Steven Soderbergh, Kelly Reichardt, Olivier Assayas, Jia Zhang-ke, David Cronenberg, Bruce McDonald, Denis Villeneuve, Denis Cote, I could go on, and that I don’t have to fight for space when those interviews run.
Wait, did you mean actual, tangible stuff? Then the monkey bread at Wanda’s Pie in the Sky in Kensington Market. And now I’m hungry.
Reading?
I recently finished Jennifer 8. Lee’s The Fortune Cookie Chronicles, about the history of Chinese food in America. I’m currently reading John Bradshaw’s Dog Sense, which looks at new perspectives on canine behaviour.
On deck: Jon Ronson’s The Psychopath Test, which he told me about in an interview a couple of years ago and I’ve been waiting to read ever since, and The Erotic Engine by Patchen Barss, which argues that every major technological advance has been in some way motivated by a pornographic purpose. Groovy.
Best place on earth?
I’ve been to Cannes just once, in 2008. If there is a better place for a cinephile, I haven’t found it. I also have a twisted love for Times Square in New York City. Stand in one spot for half an hour, preferably with a latte and a couple of black-and-white cookies, and the whole of humanity will flow past you.
Dinner guest?
Either Terry Gilliam or Billy Connolly. They’re the only two people I’ve met whose charisma cannot be measured by conventional means and they’re both tremendous storytellers.
Hero?
Jon Stewart is my spirit animal.
Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?
I’m a big fan of comedy podcasts, so when Earwolf and Nerdist release versions of their apps for the Android platform, I’ll be all over them.
Pool or ocean?
Ocean, absolutely. I’m mildly allergic to chlorine.
Voicemail or email?
Email. Compact, concise, not prone to garbling when you walk under a bridge… it’s just easier for everyone.

Media, Darling: Bonnie Laufer-Krebs

I have been working in the entertainment/news environment for more than 25 years with extensive experience as an interviewer, executive producer, writer and reporter. Before taking a job at Tribute, I ran the entertainment department at Canwest/Global Television for 10 years.
I have been employed at Tribute Entertainment Media Group as executive producer, writer, interviewer and coordinator for Tribute TV since August 2000. For most of my career I have spent a great deal of time in airports. I travel the world (OK – mostly Los Angeles and New York) to interview some of the biggest stars in the entertainment business. When I am not traveling, I oversee production of weekly entertainment/movie segments, interviews and features for tribute.ca. I conduct all one-on-one interviews for exclusive web content and produce weekly entertainment radio spots for Z103FM radio. 
I am also a senior writer for all Tribute Publishing properties, which includes lining up interviews with some of the world’s biggest stars and directors. In addition I write, edit and produce promotional spots, produce and write numerous half-hour and varied length movie specials for web/ broadcast. Plus, provide interview content to various websites like msn.ca and Tribute affiliated sites.
I also coordinate, set up and conduct interviews every year for the Toronto International Film Festival.
I’ve been married to my husband Jeff for 23 years.We have two boys, Jared (15) and Ethan (19) who is just going into second year at Ryerson in the Radio and Television Arts program, following in my footsteps.

Bonnie with Andy Samberg.



@movi_boni


Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon?

It’s funny. Throughout high school, my sights were set on was becoming an entertainment lawyer. When I went to university, I started taking media and television courses and changed my mind thinking a career in the media was my real destiny.

Where would you like to be five years from now?
After winning the lottery? On a beach somewhere. Really? Running my own freelance company – supplying interviews for my award-winning entertainment website.

Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
Intern, intern, intern and be willing to WORK HARD. So many young adults come in expecting to meet Brad Pitt and George Clooney after working for two days. Be open minded, offer your help in any way you can. The more initiative you put in, the better the opportunities. Be open to criticism and never burn bridges! Learn how to create, design, develop a website. There is no doubt in my mind that having that experience under your belt will be invaluable.

What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own?
There are some great entertainment websites like IMBD, Variety and The Hollywood Reporter for research and movie info. I find the Internet the best place to look when I want to know what’s going on, or for research. Still, there’s nothing like a good magazine. I can’t live without my Entertainment Weekly and Vanity Fair

Best interview you’ve ever had? Worst?

So many great interviews over the 25 years I have been talking to celebrities. Favorites that come to mind are Colin Firth, Matt Damon, George Clooney, Gary Oldman, Clint Eastwood, Colin Farrell and my very favorite has to be director Joel Schumacher. Having the opportunity to interview Joel for 90 minutes at a Toronto Film Festival over 10 years ago has to be one of the highlights of my career. He is just so honest and real. I still want to pen his biography if he’ll let me!

Worst: Chevy Chase for Christmas Vacation. Arrogant, pompous ass. Enough said. I’ll take Tommy Lee Jones any day.

Best advice you’ve ever been given?
You work to live, you don’t live to work.

What rule(s) do you live your life by?
Don’t get stressed out (ha ha). Family is my NUMBER one priority. And count to ten before responding to emails that piss me off.

What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Please – I beg you – return my emails or phone calls. Even if you can’t help me out, just RESPOND!!!!

Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
As I mentioned above, I have been producing and conducting interviews for 25 years. There are still some PR folk that I have been working with for the same amount of time, so it’s a comfort zone because we know each other so well and know what to expect from each other. 

The best PR pros (and YOU know who you are) are the ones who are honest with me. If they can’t accommodate a request, they are straight about it. No BS! The best PR pros are the one’s that will bend over backwards to help you out, call you back or return your emails. The best PR pros are the ones who understand what I need and know that I will do my very best to help them in return.

I hate?
When someone asks me for my information (what’s your circulation, where does your stuff air, etc.) over and over again. I gave it to you already. Can’t you keep this information in a file? If anything changes I will make sure you get an update. Sheesh!

I love?

My family. And, when I get upgraded on long flights for work. And, watching one of my favorite TV shows like Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Reading?
Haven’t really had the time lately to dig into a good book, but I’m just in the middle of Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon and The Journey of a Generation by Sheila Weller. Before that I finished reading ROOM.

Best place on earth?
In Mexico, on vacation with my family during Christmas break.

Dinner guest?
Tough one, but I think having Jack Nicholson, Dustin Hoffman and Al Pacino over for dinner would be amazing. Can you even begin to imagine the stories?


Hero?
Wonder Woman. I can relate to her. 🙂

Favourite app? 
Google Sync, a great invention. And Blackberry Messenger.

Pool or ocean?
Pool.

Voicemail or email?
Email. No doubt about it.

 

Media, Darling: Barry Hertz

Barry Hertz is the National Post’s Arts & Life editor. Prior to dreaming up pun-happy headlines and planning stories on summer blockbusters, he was conjuring straightlaced display and copy editing pieces on Middle East strife as a member of the Post’s night news desk. He is currently trying to co-ordinate TIFF coverage, and can be found breaking into panic sweats in the office foyer. 


Twitter: @HertzBarry, @nparts

Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon?

I’ve always wanted to make a living writing, so journalism seemed a natural fit when deciding what to study in university. (This was about two years before everyone decided to collectively wring their hands over the future of print. Timing is everything.) While I always considered the media as a backup to my real plan (screenwriting, another easy-to-enter industry), it wasn’t until midway through my four years at Ryerson that I began to give journalism some serious, this-could-be-a-career consideration.

Where would you like to be five years from now?

On a beach in Thailand, flush with riches from the gutsiest Casino Rama heist of all time. Or, you know, editing while working on a book or TV show on the side.

Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
Never burn any bridges and always, always, always be sure to spell people’s names correctly. Plus, it never hurts to be open to criticism and know your way around a press conference.

What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own?

Every morning before heading up to the Far North (a.k.a. Don Mills), and throughout the day, I check out New York Magazine‘s Vulture website, New York TimesArts Beat blog, The AV Club, Hollywood Elsewhere (run by the cranky yet lovable Jeffrey Wells) and The Hollywood Reporter.

Best interview you’ve ever had?
Director Terry Gilliam is one of my idols, and getting the chance to speak with him for almost an hour (up from our scheduled 15 minutes) was one of those clichéd dream-come-true journalism moments. 

Worst?
Well, a certain sci-fi icon who shall go nameless once gave me one-word answers for the better part of 10 minutes. In short, I’ll never wear that franchise’s pajamas again.

Best advice you’ve ever been given?
Proofread your story twice before filing. Then proof it again.

What rule(s) do you live your life by?

Never check email after 10 p.m. But, it’s always 10 p.m. somewhere…

What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?

I think this point has been echoed by my Post colleagues, but please make sure you’ve actually read the publication you’re pitching to. I’ve yet to publish anything in the Post’s Arts & Life section on dog food, RV shows or how to pick up women at a chicken wing bar. It’s unlikely I ever will.

Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.

I’ve dealt with a large number of PR reps who go above and beyond — rushing to get last-minute photo requests filled, sneaking me in a few minutes early for extra interview time, etc. PR reps and the media are both here to make everyone’s lives easier, and for the most part, Toronto’s PR community gets that.

I hate?
15MB emails. And commuting. Two usually unrelated things.

I love?
Quiet nights filled with Breaking Bad and breakfast burritos.

Reading?

Too many magazines. Maybe I’ll get around to Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom, which is gathering dust on my nightstand. Or maybe not.

Best place on earth?

Trinity Bellwoods Park with a greasy bag of Chippy’s and mushy peas.

Dinner guest?
The New Yorker‘s David Grann.

Hero?
Batman. You meant comic book hero, right?

Favourite app?

Rdio.

Pool or ocean?
Pool. I like to see what’s lurking underneath.

Voicemail or email?

Email. Always.

Fashion-able: Summer hair

With humidity, chlorine and the dreaded bike helmet, summer can be a hard season for hair. #badhairday.


We turned to beauty expert and John Frieda ambassador, Bahar Niramwalla for a little ‘do Q-and-A.


On the Fourth Floor: Days by the pool are making our hair dry and damaged. What to do?


Bahar Niramwall: To fix your ‘fro, use a quarter-size amount of hydrating smoothing cream over the whole head to give moisture to the hair. Next, grab the John Frieda® Volume Curls 1 1/2” Curling Iron and wrap hair around it, holding the ends in your fingers. The heat from the curling iron will seal the cuticle and help the hair to lay flat, which will reflect light better and give the hair a smoother appearance. Also, you’ll end up with a fab beachy look, a la Kate Hudson.
Use this: 

To get this: 
Image source.
OTFF: We like to bike, which results in sweat and the unflattering “matted down” look. What’s a quick fix?
BN: With summertime heat comes sweating, but a dry shampoo (such as Ojon’s Rub-Out Dry Cleansing Spray) and the John Frieda® Full Volume Dryer can offer a quick fix after biking. Apply the dry shampoo on your roots, brush gently and use the Full Volume Dryer on the cool and medium speed settings, flip head upside down and dry for five minutes. Voila, ready for a post work event.
Look like this:

 Image source.
With this: 
OTFF: How do we fight the summertime frizz?
BN: Curly- or wavy-haired gals should give their hair a break and go au naturel as much as possible in the summer, like Sienna Miller. Let curls run wild, but first apply a frizz-taming product. After, flip head upside down and gently scrunch hair from the ends to the roots. Finally, use John Frieda® Full Volume Dryer with the diffuser attachment and flip head back upside down. Blow dry on medium speed, alternating warm and cool settings and, again, move from the back of the head to the front (using a cooler setting will help reduce any further damage). The ionic conditioning from the dryer will also help to reduce frizz and seal the cuticle so hair won’t take on a frizzy life of its own.

 Image source.
What are your go-to do’s for the summer? Tweet us @rockitpromo.

Media, Darling: Lisa and Wendy from Hip Urban Girl

Wendy graduated from the University of Toronto with a B.Sc. Honours degree. Prior to co-founding The Hip and Urban Girl’s Guide (HUG), a women’s lifestyle website, Wendy spent eight years in marketing, event planning and project management for both private and public sectors. She recently retired from her corporate job to fulfill her startup dreams and is now juggling the blogging life with her role as Director of Adfluent Media Inc.
 
When Wendy is not pulling rank on Google or shamelessly being entertained by Facebook and Twitter (she does unplug!), you can find her at the Biography section of Chapters, dining out, jetsetting around the world, or getting involved in community service. Wendy has lived in Vancouver and New York City but currently calls Toronto home.

Lisa is the Editor-in-Chief, and co-founder of The Hip & Urban Girl’s Guide, a lifestyle website for busy women in the city. She can usually be found hunting down the best cupcake for her food features or going on her next getaway to bring back the best travel tips. Her passion for food, travel, style and events led her to launch The Hip & Urban Girl (hug) in June 2010 with Wendy.


The beautiful minds behind The Hip & Urban Girl’s Guide: Lisa and Wendy.


Twitter: @HipUrbanGirl, @BossLadyWendy, #hugTO

Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon?
Wendy: At 16, I wanted to be a psychologist but after my first year at U of T, I got a summer job at a publishing company and was introduced to advertising. I fell in love immediately and figured that I can always be a shrink in my next lifetime. I’m really lucky that I’ve never had to think twice about what I wanted to be when I grow up. I’ve been blogging for a year and have been in the marketing/advertising industry for eight years now. I still have the same passion as I have since day one.
Lisa: I seriously thought I was going to pursue a career in musical theatre and sing and dance on Broadway. I did a lot of community theatre when I was a kid and even attended a theatre arts high school in Mississauga. I also started DJ-ing weddings and events while doing my political science and cinema studies degree at U of T. The DJ-ing turned into a full-time job (company is called hello DJ!) that I have been running for over six years. So really, it was a smorgasbord. I’m really happy to be working in media now because it ties up less of my weekends in the summer.

Where would you like to be five years from now?
Lisa: I would love to see the readership of The Hip & Urban Girl grow and expand into a few other cities.
Wendy: +1 for what Lisa said above. Right now so much of my life is online, so I’d like to balance it out with an offline component and give back to the community. Ideally I hope to be financially ready and have gained enough business knowledge and experience to start a venture capitalist company. Plus, I’ll be a mommy then!

Any advice for people getting started in your industry?

Lisa and Wendy:
For anyone looking to run a successful blog, be consistent and re-evaluate your editorial direction every two to three months. We wrote about everything and anything we could get our little hands on when we first started out. Install a good analytics program such as Google Analytics (it’s free) and constantly check your data to see what’s working and what isn’t. Talk to other bloggers, read books about the business, and pick a niche to focus on. 

We also find it funny when people think we’re going to steal their ideas. The way we’ll become successful could not possibly be the same path as someone else who finds success in the same industry. There’s enough to go around. Stick to your guns and do what you do best. Don’t worry about other people and what they are doing – what works for someone else may not work for you.

What are your favourite media outlets?
Wendy: Toronto Life, the Globe and Mail, One Degree, Mashable, Daily Candy, CNN, History Channel and A&E, 99.9 Virgin and Z103.5.
Lisa: I read the Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail, and watch CP24 for quick updates on the weather and news. I never go to bed before catching Lloyd Robertson on the 11 p.m. news. Love that Lloyd. I’m a magazine addict and rotate through Toronto Life, InStyle, Nylon, Glamour, Style At Home, House and Home, Real Simple, Lucky, Lou Lou, Shape, Self and many, many others.

Best interview you’ve ever had? Worst?
Wendy and Lisa:
Josie Dye of 102.1 The Edge and Oh-So-Cosmo is incredibly down-to-earth and had some great advice to share from her own life lessons. She spoke with such conviction and passion from her position as a successful hip and urban girl.

Wendy:
HUG has never had a bad interview, but I did have one in my other career that I can share. I don’t want to mention names, but during a public interview, someone I worked with was the worst while being interviewed. All team members were there, but this person hogged the microphone, answered on behalf of everyone, and at the end, she thanked all the clients and people in her professional circle, but forgot to mention her own support team and family (who were all present)! Yes, she did achieve a milestone in her career, but sadly, she forgot about her roots. Obviously what got her there won’t get her here.

Best advice you’ve ever been given?

Wendy: Be true to yourself. This means following your instincts and passions and not falling for temptations or short-term gains. Much easier said than done!

Lisa: Never overestimate others and underestimate yourself.


What rule(s) do you live your life by?
Wendy: My golden rule: don’t seek to be validated. 
On a professional level, conduct business with integrity and transparency. At the end of the day, all you have is your reputation. Define success in your own terms and let passion drive you. The money will follow. 
On a personal level, surround yourself with people who have a positive energy. Don’t wait for special occasions to light that candle or wear that cashmere sweater, the present really is a gift. Work hard and play hard but don’t forget to smell the roses along the way.

Lisa: I wrote a whole post on rules I now live by, but the biggest one is not to be a doormat. I was raised by my shy parents to be nice, not to ruffle too many feathers, or be overly assertive. I definitely got taken advantage of because I was always more worried about being liked over what I really wanted or cared about. I would get stuck doing crap I didn’t like because I thought it was the stuff I should be doing. Yeah, never again.

What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Wendy: Blogs should be treated as seriously as any other type of traditional media.

Lisa: Please don’t make it seem like you’re doing us a favour by inviting us to an event. I also won’t write a story for a linkback on your page or review a product I have never tried. 
Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
Wendy and Lisa:
We love working with the rock-it promotions team because they are always organized and responsive. They know who everyone is and you know it’s not going to be some sort of frenzy when you arrive. They also have a great roster of clients, are innovative and they get the online space. (Ed note: Thank you very kindly, ladies.)
I hate?
Wendy: People that fake it ’til they make it. Also close-mindedness and self-centredness. The world doesn’t owe you anything.

Lisa: Entitled people who are rude to waitstaff or those working in customer service. I worked in retail for most of high school and university and you wouldn’t believe some of the jackasses you get. 

I love?
Wendy: My family and friends because they help me become a better person. I also love food and New York City. I used to live there and a part of me has never left.
Lisa: My husband, Paul. We’ve been together since high school. Runner up? Exploring new cities, trying new foods and travelling to new places together.

Reading?
Wendy: I just finished The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I got a lot out of it, it’s an easy and fun read.

Lisa: The 4-Hour Work Week (again). It reminds me to work efficiently and not to get sucked into bad habits like constantly checking email and mindlessly surfing the web.

Best place on earth?
Wendy: In my husband’s arms… is that cheesy? I travel a lot and have shared so many unique experiences with him. At the end of the day, no matter where we are in the world, it can’t beat the comfort and safety I feel lying beside him.
Lisa: Monterosso Al Mare, Italy. It’s as beautiful as it sounds.

Dinner guest?
Wendy: Is this a dead or alive question? My beloved grandmother who passed away two years ago.

Lisa: Oprah Winfrey.

Hero?
Wendy: I don’t really have one hero per se but I greatly admire women in general who have been struck by some catastrophe (cancer victims, suppressed women in war-torn countries, wives who lost their husbands in 9/11) and manage to keep an optimistic outlook in life.

Lisa: My grandmother. She was lovely and had a need to feed everybody.

Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?
Wendy: Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and the Weather. I keep things simple.

Lisa: Urbanspoon lets you find cool restaurants in major cities across North America. It’s great when you’re travelling.


Pool or ocean?
Wendy: Ocean. I lived in Vancouver for a bit and there’s just something about being surrounded by water and the mountains.
Lisa: Poolside with bar service.

Voicemail or email?
Wendy: Email. People still make calls?
Lisa: Email, please. I’m a night-owl and I like to work late at night. Email is much more convenient.

Media, Darling: Richard Ouzounian

Richard Ouzounian is currently the theatre critic at the Toronto Star, Canada’s largest daily newspaper, as well as the Canadian theatre reporter and critic for Variety, “the bible of show business”.

Richard has worked in the arts professionally for 39 years. In that time, he has written, directed, or acted in more than 250 productions, served as artistic director of five major Canadian theatres, been an associate director of the Stratford Festival of Canada for four seasons, and was Harold Prince’s assistant on the original Toronto production of The Phantom of the Opera.

From 1990 through 2004, he hosted CBC’s weekly radio program on musical theatre called Say It With Music and from 1995 to 2000, served as creative head of arts programming at TVOntario.

Ouzounian has published six books, including a collection of his celebrity interviews, titled Are You Trying To Seduce Me, Miss Turner?. He has been married for 34 years and has two children, Kat and Michael.

Twitter: @TorontoStar

Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon?

I was always fascinated by the thought of being a theatre critic/celebrity interviewer from an early age, but not a lot of jobs for teenagers in those ranks, so I went into theatre and worked successfully as an actor, writer, director and artistic director for 20 years before shifting into media.

Where would you like to be five years from now?
Exactly where I am now. Okay, 10 pounds lighter.


Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
Learn as much as you can about the art form you’re interested in covering. Don’t just soak up media reports about it. Get out and meet as many people in the business as you can and don’t just live behind a computer screen. Network, network, network.


What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own?
The New York Times,  BroadwayStars.com, Variety, The Daily Show, Q (big Jian Ghomeshi fan).


Best interview you’ve ever had? Worst?
The best: Richard Harris, shortly before he died. I interviewed him on a day when he just felt like letting his hair down and discussing everything he’d been through. Kind of a “let’s clear the slate” sort of thing.

The worst: Katie Holmes, after Dawson’s Creek, before Tom Cruise. She was very sweet and polite but she answered every question I asked her about Pieces of April (the movie she was promoting) or Dawson’s Creek (which had just ended its run) with monosyllables.

Best advice you’ve ever been given?
Do TONS of research, and then don’t bring your research notes into the interview. Memorize them. Make the subjects think it’s a conversation.



What rule(s) do you live your life by?
Don’t do anything in print (or on the air) that you wouldn’t want done to you by someone else.


What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
No means no. Once I’ve told them I can’t or won’t do a piece, I hate being nudged.


Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
Matt Polk at Boneau Bryan-Brown (major New York theatre PR company) has worked miracles for me time and time again getting me lengthy 1:1 interviews with the likes of Antonio Banderas, Kristin Chenoweth and Kiefer Sutherland when all others were being denied. He just asks me to be patient and keep as many avenues of time open for him as possible and he then makes magic happen. It’s a great example of a collaborative relationship.


I hate?
Rain. Duplicity. Negativity.


I love?
Great food, Stephen Sondheim’s musicals. My family.


Reading?
Historical biographies. Just finished Edmund Morris’s trilogy on Theodore Roosevelt.


Best place on earth?
Perth, Australia.


Dinner guest?
William Shakespeare.


Hero?
Walter Kerr (New York theatre critic from 1951 to 1983).


Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?
Rocket Radar.


Pool or ocean?
Ocean (Atlantic preferred).


Voicemail or email?
Email, email, email. Or texts.