Media, Darling: Briony Smith

Briony Smith is the writer and stylist
behind
The Grid’s fashion page. She was previously the fashion editor of
blogTO. Briony has also contributed to publications like ELLE Canada, LOULOU, Toronto
Life
, and glow. She recently appeared as a stylist on MuchMusic, and was named
by
Flare magazine as one of the Top 10 Best Dressed denizens of Fashion Week.


Photo courtesy of Flare, by Max Kopanygin.

Twitter: @TheGridTO
Website: thegridto.com 


Did you always want to be in the media? If
not, what other careers were on the horizon?
I still remember the day my dad told my
10-year-old self what a masthead was—and my immediate obsession with getting on
one someday! (Other careers I toyed with, believe it or not, were cop,
obstetrician, lawyer, and librarian.)
Where would you like to be five years from
now?
Writing, editing, and styling stories and
packages that make people say to their friends, “Hey, I read the best piece
today.”
Any advice for people getting started in
your industry?
Don’t. You will have to work ten times as
hard as everyone else, all the time. Forever. If you can handle that, and still
feel that passion for fashion, journalism, the arts? You’re in the right place.
What are your favourite media outlets, not
including your own? 
Vanity Fair, HBO, The A.V. Club, The New
York Times
, iwantapounddog.blogspot.ca.
Best interview you’ve ever had?
For crush factor (at the time), Will
Arnett. I behaved in a terribly unprofessional manner when I conned him into
repeating a line from a treasured Human Giant sketch.
Worst?
One musician scheduled a phoner immediately
after his dental surgery, while another actress scheduled the call during her
brief limo ride to the airport and kept barking what I should and should not
focus on in the piece. Oh, and Hawksley Workman.
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
A common refrain in the Smith household was
“Life isn’t fair.” My corollary to that might be: “Failure isn’t falling
down—it’s not getting up.” Jesus, that sounds like something on one of those
inspirational posters. This quote from U.S. congresswoman Debbie Wasserman in
last October’s Vogue did, however, strike me recently: “I might not convince
you that I’m right, and I might not always win the day or be successful on
everything I set out to accomplish. But I’m never going to lose because I got
outworked.”
What rule(s) do you live your life by?
The usual things: Try to be kind. Smile
more. Work hard. Dress well. It’s the little things. This, too, shall pass.
What’s the most important tip you can give
PR pros?
We know our fevered, last-minute emails
for products, images, and interview requests can be annoying, but super-prompt
replies are what make me really love some PR people—and loathe others.
Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro?
We love to hear about #wins.
I cheer every time a PR gal sends me a
high-res, off-figure, on-white image just in the nick of time.
I hate?
Leggings as pants. Snobbery. Getting up
early. Sore feet. Bad TV. Bad style.
I love?
French 75s. Kindness. My friends. Work
ethic. Similes that give you chills. Trinity-Bellwoods. Great style. A
well-dressed man.
Reading?
Best place on earth?
Under the covers. Or maybe Thailand.
Dinner guest?
Louis CK. Karl Lagerfeld. Peter Kaplan. And
the Davids: Chase, Milch, and Simon.
Hero?
Roger Ebert.
Favourite app (or whatever you are
downloading these days)?
Flixster, Shazam, and Instagram.
Pool or ocean?
The sea! It’s one of the great loves of my
life. (Full disclosure: I’m from B.C.)
Voicemail or email?
Email. Never, ever voicemail. Don’t call
me. Ever.


Advertisements

Yum yum: Best sandwiches

Sandwiches are versatile – they work for pretty much any meal (kinda like pizza, right?). We’ve sampled at restaurants all over our city, so it was hard to narrow it down to just a few, but check out some of our favourite spots to grab a sandwich in Toronto. If you need further inspiration, blogTO has some additional choices in their recent sandwich round up (we didn’t copy, we swear!).


If you’re looking for variety, this is not your place. But if it’s the best pulled pork and pulled chicken sandwiches in the city you’re after, then look no further. Located a stone’s throw from Rosedale subway station, this sandwich bar is one we often find ourselves craving. They start out with the basics, including beef brisket, pulled pork shoulder, seared steak, roasted pulled chicken or tomato, pepper, arugula and eggplant. From there you can choose from a selection of house prepared sauces and toppings. Did we mention the brisket and pulled pork preparation process lasts five days?

What better place to get a grilled cheese sandwich than a shop that specializes in cheese? Don’t let the name deceive you, they have three locations across the city, all serving up delicious gourmet concoctions. Specialties change by day and location, but we have yet to meet a grilled cheese here we don’t like. We especially love their flavoured ketchups – the balsamic-infused version takes your sammy to the next level.


Bonjour Brioche 
We love a little French cuisine once in awhile, and the fare at this east end hot spot is bang on. While a number of things are droolworthy here (everything baked, for example) we also love the rare roast beef sandwich on a crusty-yet-soft baguette. The garlic aioli and Brie add delicious creaminess. Rare beef + baguette + Brie? No brainer.



If you’re in the market for a beef brisket, get over to Lou Dawg’s. They make all their sauces in house and their smoked beef brisket sandwich shows just how much love and tenderness they put into their menu. The briskets are smoked for 14 hours and then partnered with the Genuine Smokehouse BBQ sauce for unbeatable Southern-inspired flavour. 


The name says it all. If you are a huge lover of sandwiches, this is the place for you. From sliced rib eye to a fancy BLT to “The Classic” PB & J, the selection of sandwiches could have you choosing a different sandwich a day for two weeks, each one more decadent than the next. We especially love the Uncle Phil – a take on a Philly cheesesteak – but it’s best to eat that rich meal when you’re feeling good about your waistline.


Happy lunching! 

Fashion-able: Our favourite moments from LG Fashion Week Beauty by L’Oreal Paris

It was a whirlwind week, full of inspiring looks for spring, hectic schedules, interesting presentations at the new Fashion Environment and the split-second hush before the music starts pounding on the catwalk. This was an amazing season at the ever-improving LG Fashion Week Beauty by L’Oreal Paris.

As the agency of record for the FDCC, we had our hands in blogging, seating, registration, coordinating backstage interviews, calming nerves, bringing bagels and water, and working with some great creative minds. We were everywhere, every day, and had a great time. 

Many thanks go out to the talented designers, the amazing PR teams, both internally and externally, who helped out all week, the FDCC crew, who are incredibly hard-working, the media who help give a voice to our talented designers, and of course, the volunteers. Literally, this week could not have happened without volunteers.

Here are our favourite moments, from the rock-it promotions team:

Debra:
The entire week fuels me with inspiration and energy. I love seeing the massive amounts of people that support LGFW and the fact that the Fashion Design Council of Canada (located in Toronto) produces the second largest Event of its kind in North America. It’s still quite young (only 12 years old, compared to say TIFF, which is 35 years old) and I am really proud that we are part of something that is growing so quickly.

In terms of shows, it’s never easy to pick just one, but I really enjoyed Thomas. I thought they had a really interesting execution to their show in terms of production (music, lighting, etc) and an edgy, but wearable collection. I look forward to seeing more from them. I also really enjoyed Denis Gagnon. He’s brilliant. Period.



TOFW SS 2011: THOMAS from istoica on Vimeo.

Christina:
My favourite moment during any fashion week is the first five seconds before a show begins, when the lights go out and cell phones light up around the fashion environment. The anticipation and energy is fabulous!


During this fashion week, I also had the chance to view the Denis Gagnon show from the Tech booth. It was *amazing* to have a bird’s eye view of the models stomping it out. 


Alana:
My favourite moment was the Pink Tartan show. Not only were the clothes bright, beautiful and summery, but the show was a bit of a family affair, as two of my sisters were there as well. One was backstage helping to dress the models for Pink Tartan and the other was enjoying the show with some co-workers. Fun!

 
Photo courtesy of blogTO
Lisa:
The Dare To Wear Love show – the entire production was fantastic, and it was fun to see Dina Pugliese ham it up on the runway in her Ines di Santo gown and toss her bouquet into the crowd. It was really incredible to see the number of people who came out to support the Stephen Lewis Foundation. What a feel-good way to end the week!

Photo courtesy of Sun Media/QMI Agency
Pssst… if you missed the show, you can still bid on last year’s stunning dresses in support of the SLF.

Rachelle:
The ethereal, barely-blue wedding gowns at Romona Keveza’s show. It made me want to get married again.
Photo courtesy of She Does The City

Abby:
This was my first-ever fashion week, and I thought it was great. The most memorable moment for me was the first show – Holt Renfrew’s opening night. I was dazzled and excited to actually be seeing a show live, rather than on TV or a website. I loved the sneak peek of Pink Tartan, and have been dreaming about the Smythe jackets ever since last Monday night. I am also slightly jealous of the teased, curly hair. It rocks.
Photo courtesy of blogTO



Michelle:
So many good moments to choose from! I loved seeing all my favourite fashion media in one place. And of course, working with Hoax Couture on the Dare To Wear Love closing show was fantastic. This is my second year working on this fundraiser, and it’s so inspiring to work with a charity in the context of LGFW. A great way to close the week – the Stephen Lewis Foundation does important work. Plus, the designs were so fun. 

Photo courtesy of George Pimental

We can’t wait for the next shows (well, after we catch up on some sleep).

Meet Our Client: Katie Boland

Kate Boland was born in Toronto, and you may have heard of her – she starred in Daydream Nation, which premiered at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival, to critical acclaim. She’ll appear in the upcoming film Die (2011). Boland has previous roles in Atom Egoyan’s Adoration, as well as numerous other roles.

She has been nominated four times for a Young Actor’s Award, and won Best Leading Actress for Salem Witch Trials in 2004.
When she’s not acting up a storm, you can find her writing for such outlets as blogTO.

What do you do?
I am an actress, and when I’m bored, I’m a writer/student/filmmaker/overall lover of life!

How long have you worked with rock-it promotions?
I first met Deb on a photo shoot six years ago, and I was taken by her professionalism and grace. I love her so much, and I am so lucky that we’ve floated in and out of each others lives for more than half a decade!!

What do you love most about your job?
I think my defining characteristic as a human being is my curiosity. The world and people in it have always really fascinated me. What I love about being an actress is that I get to live inside other people, to adopt the way other people think, to find answers for all my questions. I love that I get to study people and relationships, while being creative. I also really love the wonderful people I get to meet on an almost daily basis. People in the film industry, actors, writers, filmmakers, are generally so passionate, fascinating, interesting and complicated. I’ve met the most exciting people and I feel I have a charmed life.

What do you like the least about your profession/industry?
Waiting for people to hire me! The waiting is really hard for me because I like to keep busy. I guess ultimately it’s the uncertainty. There are no guarantees that I will ever work again. AHHH!!!

What’s your next big goal?
Well, ultimately it’s to get another job, haha! But I really want to be on an American cable show, like Mad Men. I’d like to get my books published. I also want to find a Canadian novel to adapt into a screenplay. Do a play in New York. Laugh more! Have better hair!

Why is PR important to you (and what you do professionally)?
I think PR is hugely important to any actor’s career. Canada has no star system, so it’s up to the actor to try to create some kind of public awareness. Personally, I wouldn’t have my green card if it wasn’t for rock-it promotions. The American government needs to see press to think you’re worthy of working in their country.

Without publicity, I wouldn’t have been able to expand my career into America and I wouldn’t have the fantastic opportunities I’ve been afforded. Its all thanks to publicity. I also noticed that after working with rock-it, people seemed to be more aware of who I was and what I was doing. Also, it makes the day-to-day behind-the-scenes stuff WAY easier and more fun. I wouldn’t be able to keep everything together, to remember everything I had to do, without rock-it.

Any other thoughts you want to share about your public relations experience?

I think Emily Hampshire said it best, “I’d rather be a prostitute than be without you pimps.” I LOVE HER. Honestly, working with rock-it is one of the best parts of my professional life. I don’t know what I would do without you guys.

A little more from the fourth floor:
Website:  She Does The City
Designer: Cabaret on Queen West.
Store: see above.
Book: A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews
Snack: Tea! And these weird rice/seed crackers. So delish.
Season: Summer becoming fall.
Sexy: Swagga.
Inspiration: Kate Winslet, my family.
Drink: Tim Hortons, 3/4 coffee, 1/4 French vanilla, EXTRA LARGE.
Motto in two words: Keep moving.
Idea of perfect happiness: Working on something really exciting with really inspired people.
Indulgence: Clothes… so bad.
Greatest achievement: That I keep moving.

Rave: My ‘hood: Christie Station

By Abby
 
I live near Christie Station, which is home to Christie Pits Park, Koreatown, Fiesta Farms and is just a quick jaunt from Honest Ed’s. It’s a pretty awesome part of Toronto to live in – close to The Annex, TTC and even close to cool stuff north of Bloor (who knew?).

One of my favourite places is this little Korean restaurant on the corner of Bloor and Clinton. It’s orange, and that’s how I let people know where to find it, since I’m not exactly sure how to pronounce the name, which is Buk Chang Dong Soon To Fu (according to BlogTO).

Anyway, the service is quick and friendly, and the food is fantastic. It’s also pretty inexpensive – around $25 plus tip for two dinners and two drinks. The Bibimbap is delicious, and served piping hot. Fresh veggies (love the pickled daikon), beef and steaming hot rice, with a perfectly cooked fried egg perched on top make this an amazing one-bowl dinner. The stone bowl its served in is hot, so the rice gets crunchy midway through. I’m not a vegetarian, but will sometimes opt for the veggie version of this dish too. Yum.

Another great menu item is the bulgogi – beef served sizzling hot with onions and rice. I have a hard time deciding between the two – it usually has to do with how healthy I want to eat that night. The beef wins a lot.

I love the Korean condiments served with each meal – two kinds of spicy kimchee, pickled bean sprouts and soy beans in a sticky sweet soy sauce. My fiancé and I always get a bottle of the Korean liquor to go with, and leave the restaurant full, warm and slightly intoxicated by good food, smooth alcohol and great conversation.

Photo credits:
blogto.com 
http://icameisawiate.tumblr.com/

Rant: TTC etiquette

How to ride like a lady (or gent)

A subway car broke down while riding home last night and an irate man proceeded to scream at the concerned-looking TTC worker that he “sucked at his job”. Many, many times. Not cool.

We love our public transit. It delivers us to our bright and cheery Queen Street office, drinks at Sky Yard, and our Frisbee games at BMO Field. Sometimes, it’s not so reliable, but hey. They’re working on it. What we do have a beef with are TTC riders who ‘forget’ how to be good riders.

A few friendly reminders:

  • Give up your seat for the elderly, pregnant, frail or anyone who looks like they need a seat. C’mon. This is not a hard one. If you’re sitting on the outside seat, and the inside one is free, move over. We’re not going to climb over your knees.
  • Move back. Even if you are getting off at the next stop. They’ll wait for you to get off, promise. Be aware of your massive bag knocking people in the head, face, back, etc. Please, take your backpack off and put it at your feet. It’s like a whole other person when you’re wearing it.
  • If there’s a delay, don’t yell at the TTC workers. They probably aren’t personally responsible. They don’t want to hang around in the hot and smelly subway station while the door is being fixed any more than you do.
  • Say please. Say thanks. Smile!

If everyone followed these little rules, we could all sip our morning lattes in peace. 

P.S. Did you hear? Now, you can get TTC arrival times on your phone. Check this BlogTO article for deets.