Media, Darling: Kevin Naulls

Kevin Naulls attended the school of hard knocks at the University of Toronto (St. George Campus), where he studied English, History and Philosophy. His humble beginnings started with an internship with designer Pat McDonagh (which he did simultaneously with a night job at Sun Media), and sneaking into shows at “the tents.” Around that time, he began writing a blog that would eventually deal almost exclusively with contemporary menswear and dudes with beards named Dressed for Dinner, which led to more pictures of bearded men on the Internet.

After writing for Sharp, The Sharp Book for Men, Eye Weekly, the Toronto Sun, The Block, and more, and still working nights at Sun Media, he was offered a job as Associate Online Editor at Toronto Life, where he lives and breathes today (and sometimes allows him to sleep at a reasonable hour). He very much enjoys it. 


Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon? 
Like any idealistic young lad, I wanted to be a cartoonist, an actor, a lawyer, a criminologist and a philosopher. I gave up on those dreams long ago, but I still aspire to be a television comedy writer, and I’m writing spec scripts on the side. No, you can’t read them (not yet anyway).

Where would you like to be five years from now?
In five years? Well, I like the experience of working at Toronto Life – I am allowed to have a voice that is my own, and I’m learning new skills every day that I wouldn’t have (at least not as quickly) as a freelancer.  But I’d love to be the next Mindy Kaling, because I like fashion shows, fashion shows at lunch.

Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
I didn’t sleep before I got my job at Toronto Life. I ran my blog, worked nights and freelanced for multiple publications. I don’t want to recommend an unhealthy lifestyle, but everyone wants these jobs, and having a take-on-all-comers attitude is a clear sign to employers that you’re willing to push yourself to your limits. And stories don’t just fall into your lap every day, so it is important to get into the habit of fighting for a scoop.

What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own? 
What I read: Fantastic Man, V magazine, Interview, the New York Times, New York magazine, The Gentlewoman, Corduroy, The Awl, Gawker, Workwear magazine (when I can find it (send it to me! Or find me .PDFs!))

What I listen to: to ensure a person’s sexual issues are much more complicated than mine, I listen to the Savage Love podcast. To laugh out loud, I listen to Julie Klausner’s podcast How Was Your Week (I like to pretend she’s my girlfriend when I’m listening). I hate Slate’s Culture Gabfest—if I wanted to listen to lukewarm talk radio that is basically a roundtable of people with convoluted ideas about pop culture, I’d go to Trampoline Hall.

Best advice you’ve ever been given?
“Talk is cheap, motherfucker.” – DMX

DMX may not have said it to me personally, but it resonated. I have no patience for people who do not speak for themselves in a critical way. I work in an industry where the emphasis is on brand building, and I refuse to pretend to care about something for free drinks and VIP experiences. 

Everything should be broken down, illustrating positives and negatives, because no one will learn anything otherwise – you’d tell your children that some things are right, and some things are wrong, and while “right” and “wrong” are subjective, I’d rather someone speak openly and be slightly wrong than lie down and take it, spilling adjectives onto a page that do not rightly reflect the subject. 


What rule(s) do you live your life by?
A couple of good friends once said “there are no rules on girls weekend,” and I tend to live my life that way. I’m not a cat though, so it isn’t all fancy free – I am professional, and stick to deadlines, even when I’m writing jokey captions or living in sewers.  I promise to always love the people I love, even when they sing karaoke better than I do. And like Maestro, I always stick to my vision.

Best interview you’ve ever had?
I had the opportunity to interview Robert Geller, and what could have been a 15 minute interview turned into an hour and 15 minutes. Most of the time subjects are so media trained that they become resistant—there’s this wall that they hit, as if someone is tapping them on the shoulder (sometimes there is someone) telling them it is time to wrap it up. We chatted like old school chums, and his level of candidness helped me with my story immensely. I like when people aren’t in a rush. If it is going to be a media circus, it almost isn’t worth it. I don’t have 2 minute interviews and I feel as if no one really should.

Oh, and obviously chatting with Felicity Jones during TIFF. That was unforgettable, and I thank Alex Thompson from Joe Fresh for making that happen. It might mean nothing to everyone else, but I was a huge Worst Witch fan and we gabbed about it briefly, which made my night. I’m willing to fight for a story, but it is nice when meetings happen so easily, and the other party (celebrity or otherwise) is actually really nice about having a chat.

Worst interview you’ve ever had?
Interviewing Alicia Silverstone during TIFF. It lasted all of 30 seconds, and 20 seconds of it was her trying to sell me her book. It was incredibly disappointing to say the least.

What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
I love PR girls when they relax. So many are high strung, sporting impeccably bleached teeth and a perma-smile. Girls (and guys), I know it is your job to rep your clients (I know). Get off your game once in a while and have a bit of fun with the media you’re working with. Some of my best PR-media relationships are with those who know when to be professional, and know when it is cool to let loose a little bit. 

Also, this is such a small matter because I know a lower case ‘i’ can look like an ‘l’, but my last name is NAULLS, not NAULIS. And I am a Mr., not a Ms. (which, again, usually just makes me laugh). My biggest pet peeve though is when someone follows up on an email the day of sending it. Yes, your email is the most urgent email I’ve received all day.


Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins
My favourite PR person in the world is Steve Sane from Sane PR in the UK, but that has a lot to do with who he represents and how awesome everything is—not to mention his entire staff must work around the clock, because every single time I’ve asked for photos or information, it gets to me in mere moments. I’ve waited days in Toronto. The girls and guys in Toronto know who they are, because they continue to make my life easier by getting things to me on time, and not harassing me by phone. Not everything a PR person represents fits in at Toronto Life, and I’m sorry your job requires you to pitch me toilets, but please learn that I do what I can with what is given—sometimes a turd is just a turd (to be crass).

I hate?
Everything. But really, I don’t care for people who insert French words into sentences because they’ve been to Paris once (or twenty times). I find that I read this a lot in fashion journalism, but a good editor will strike that out and recast it using the English word (or equivalent). I hate walking to the streetcar on a cold damp day, and I hate when I forget to pack my lunch in the morning. I also don’t like when people talk about their jobs all the time, but in this industry, there is so much one-upmanship, that someone is always doing something fabulous (well, guess what, sometimes I eat dinner in my underwear while I watch television on my laptop).

I love?
Brassy women and hilarious men (my friends), beards (hilarious beardos go to the top of the class), meta-jokes, plaid shirts, Happy Socks, Mark McNairy shoes, fried spaghetti sandwiches, Cruel Intentions, Home Movies (cartoon series), Archer, American Dad, Life and Times of Tim, ice water, dark denim, scotch on the rocks, a good IPA, 13 Going on 30 and Aaron Spelling, 

Reading?
I bet you think I’m reading Jonathan Franzen, but I’m not. I’m re-reading Tyler’s Cape by Darren Greer in hopes that my book club Literection (this is real) will re-emerge.

Best place on earth?
Any hotel with a gigantic king-size bed, and a mattress you can just sink in enough (while still being firm). The important part of this scenario is that I have zero obligations while I am there, so I can come and go as I please. This one time I was in New York, my phone died on the first night and I forgot my charger, and it was the best trip ever.

Dinner guest?
Dead: River Phoenix; alive: Brenda Strong.
These require no explanation.

Hero?
Other than Cara Pifko, Tina Fey? Is this as obvious as Rory writing an entrance-to-Harvard essay on Hilary Clinton? Because I don’t care. She has the best comic timing, and everything she does is relatable, no matter who you are or what circle of friends you claim to be part of. I’d also have dinner with her, but with Tina Fey we’d also drink bourbon and shoot pellet guns at stop signs.  

Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?
I was playing Words With Friends pretty regularly with my colleague Fraser Abe (but we are both pretty good and just started to annoy each other—we kept the games going for a long time by only placing two letter words). Now I play Family Feud and Friends and Instagram pictures of my shoes and socks.

Pool or ocean?
Give me a lap pool to myself and I’m a kid in a candy store. I love just swimming and swimming without people bothering me (or fish, or sharks, or octopi). But really, I’ll swim anywhere, especially at night.

Voicemail or email? 
Always email me, unless the matter is urgent (or be like me and annoy your friends by leaving not-so-urgent messages on a Saturday afternoon). But seriously, I prefer emails unless we’re close enough to have each others phone number for not-work shenanigans. 

Teacher’s Pet: Education vs. Experience

Lorena Laurencelle is currently a Public Relations student at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. 

Her Question: What level of education is necessary to succeed in the public relations field? Is education more important, or is experience more valued?
Our Answer: Our team comes from a variety 
of backgrounds, experience and education. We look at both sides of this question by asking some with PR education backgrounds (Amalia and Meg) and some with PR experience (Natalie, Debra and Abby) for their advice.
Debra – President
I didn’t go to school for public relations. I have a degree in creative writing and started working when I was 14 years old and moved out when I was 18. I learned from experience. I took every lesson and like to think I got a bit smarter with each mistake I made. I loved to write, always had an easy time meeting new people and I spent years doing shitty telemarketing jobs where I honed my phone skills. Get good at what you love to do and you can succeed without getting a degree. Spend time in a really good internship or two and that’s going to do you a world of good in the PR world.

Natalie  – Publicist

I attended the University of Western Ontario, majoring in Media, Information and Technoculture and minoring in Comparative Literature and Civilization. While at Western, I also completed a Certificate in Writing. While I think that post-secondary education can be helpful in developing your writing and critical thinking skills, I don’t think that a B.A. is necessary for a career in public relations. At university, I learned more about my strengths and weaknesses and began to think that I wanted to work in PR. It wasn’t until after graduating and completing two internships that I knew that PR was for me.
Ultimately, my advice for anyone looking to get into PR is to volunteer/intern as much as you can. While being a good writer is a necessary skill for a good publicist, first-hand experiences are what make a great publicist. So much of what we do at rock-it involves events and the type of on-the-ground experience you get in a (good) internship is what I believe you need. Learn how to run a door, make a guest list, create a clippings package, etc. – these are the tasks that seem menial, but which are SO important to a functioning PR team. You can read about it in school, but nothing can ever beat real life experience.
Abby – Publicist
Ultimately, a bachelor’s degree of some sort is required to succeed; you need basic levels of writing, comprehension and time management to make it in any career. For PR, it boils down to a combo of natural skills and learned skills. For some types of PR, these skills are best learned in school. For others, they’re best learned in the trenches. If you are willing to work hard, ask smart questions, have great people skills and are a strong writer, you don’t necessarily need a PR-specific education. There are lots of related degrees that will help you out – English, communications, journalism, film, a technology background or even science can be relevant. It depends on what area of PR you’d like to work in. 
Communication skills are a must, so if they come naturally to you, then you’re likely able to make it without a post-secondary PR degree. If you’re not the strongest writer, take a few courses to brush up, or start a blog to develop your style. 
PR education never hurts, but landing a great internship, meeting people in the industry and participating in social media are the alternate route to making it in public relations.
Amalia – Assistant to the President
Having a bachelors degree and a certificate in PR (or something related) is very important. I think that having a PR-geared post-secondary diploma is something that will benefit you incredibly. The things that I learned on the first day of school (Algonquin College) are still getting me through the work day…so pay attention and don’t skip class!
Interning is something EVERYONE should do. I did three internships one summer, and it really paid off. Although the money isn’t great, you need to see it as a learning experience and an investment in your own future. They are paying YOU to learn.
Keeping in touch with former bosses and colleagues is also something everyone should do, especially in our field. Staying on someone’s radar is just as important as your experience, education and skill set combined.
Meg – Junior Publicist
After getting a B.Sc. and working in unrelated jobs for a couple of years, I went back to school for a post-grad diploma in PR. I definitely value that education – it taught me PR writing styles and other basics, and gave me an idea of what to expect in this business. I think a PR-specific education is a strong start to a career in this industry. Writing, editing and style are the base of everything we do, and a PR-specific education will prep you with that knowledge.
That being said, all the education in the world won’t allow you to succeed without real-life experience. Interning is hands down the best way to really learn the biz. I would be nowhere without what I gleaned from my time interning. An education is the foundation for the knowledge you gain from job experience. I continue to learn every day by watching the awesome and experienced pros I work with and listening to their advice and know-how.
In Conclusion: There’s no one right answer as everyone comes into this industry with different skills, education and experience to draw on. However, we all agree on the strength and importance of internships and that some form of education is necessary, even just to hone your writing skills.
Have a PR question you want answered? Send it to meg@rockitpromo.com. We’ll choose the best and answer it on our blog.





Media, Darling: Jason Anderson

Jason Anderson is a film critic and columnist for The Grid (Eye Weekly before that). He also writes about movies regularly for the Toronto Star, Cinema Scope, Movie Entertainment and Artforum.com. He won a Western Magazine Award in 2006 for his music columns for Swerve Magazine in Calgary, and is the author of Showbiz, a novel.

He teaches film criticism at the University of Toronto, programs for the Kingston Canadian Film Festival and plays keyboards in the Toronto band The Two Koreas. You can read his blog at jandersonesque.com

@jandersonesque

Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon?
I always loved writing but discovered in my teen years that scribbling record reviews was a great way to get free music, too. I never really believed that there was a career in writing about whatever art works or cultural ephemera I was most (or least) enthusiastic about – after two decades or so, I still have a hard time believing it. If this all hadn’t transpired, I would have comfortably slid into a life in academia, which is why I’m happy the journalism has led to some opportunities to do some teaching at U of T.

Where would you like to be five years from now?

Hoping to continue to diversify my career with lots of other endeavours beyond journalism (e.g., teaching, programming for film festivals). I also hope to have found the time to crank out a second novel — hell, maybe a third, too.

Any advice for people getting started in your industry?

Don’t put your eggs in any one basket, make sure to cover your bets and… damn, I can’t think of a third cliché. Anyway, my experience suggests that the wisest thing to do is have lots of projects on the go and not be precious about any of ‘em. You never know what’s going to pick up momentum – it could be your most seemingly practical idea or your looniest, most self-indulgent lark.

What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own?
Still loyal to lots of print magazines, especially about film and music (e.g., The Wire, Mojo, Entertainment Weekly, Sight & Sound, Film Comment, Cinema Scope). The New Yorker and the Sunday NY Times, too. Like a lot of folks (young ones, too), I can’t read anything but the shortest items online so my existence is still cluttered with paper.

Best interview you’ve ever had?

I’ve had so many good interviews but I’m proudest when I have pleasant, lively conversations with subjects generally deemed to be impossible or downright nasty (two words: Lou Reed).

Worst?
The worst of all time was an especially bored and sullen Jewel, who entertained herself in between her monosyllabic answers by lighting matches and flicking them into an ashtray in front of us. How charming!

Best advice you’ve ever been given?

Keep your head down and keep moving.

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

What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Please don’t be mad at me if I make an otherwise reasonable request that may deviate from your plans. I don’t mean to be difficult.

Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
Too many positive ones to mention. Always impressed with the professionalism and friendliness of 99 per cent of the PR people I deal with in Toronto.

I hate?
Rudeness, small-mindedness, Maroon 5.

I love?
My wife and daughter, heavy metal, Stevie Wonder, racquet sports, Scandinavian movie comedies, dessert.

Reading?
Lately: Simon Reynolds’ Retromania, Reza Negarestani’s Cyclonopedia, Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad, recent tomes on American horror movies in the ‘70s and Hollywood screenwriting.

Best place on earth?
Negril, Jamaica or my backyard.

Dinner guest?
Dr. John

Hero?
John Berger

Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?
Mostly fresh music.

Pool or ocean?
Ocean.

Voicemail or email?
Email.

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.