Rave: Where Are They Now?

Our love of popular culture began long before we were
adults. Since the majority of us on the fourth floor are
80s babies, we often reference lines or moments from our favourite television shows like
Step by Step (bonus points to whoever can hum the theme song), Saved by
the Bell
and Full House. Which brings us to the question: where are some of
our fave stars now? We did a little digging and this is what we found.

Mara Wilson 
First up, Mara Wilson. This actress was best known as the
magical Matilda, the adorable little girl in Miracle on 34th Street and the
sassy youngest child in Mrs. Doubtfire.


Remember this precocious, adorable little girl?
Image source.
Matilda basically looks the same.
Image source.

No longer acting because “film
acting is not very fun
,” Wilson attended New York University and is still a performer. She currently works as a playwright and thespian in NYC.
Jodie Sweetin
Any 80s child grew up watching Jodie Sweetin as Stephanie
Tanner in Full House. “How rude,” was a catch
phrase long before #YOLO entered our vocabularies.


All smiles and curls.


STILL all smiles and curls. 

Meth addict turned author, Sweetin wrote a memoir called unSweetined,
which chronicles her downward spiral of alcohol and drug abuse that began with
the ending of Full House.
Andrea Barber
While on the topic of Full House, let’s talk about Andrea
Barber, best known as the love-to-hate, mullet-coiffed character Kimmy Gibbler. 


That hair…
Image source.

…didn’t get much better.
Image source.

After graduating college with a degree in English and a Master’s in women’s studies, Barber is now out of the spotlight and married
with two kids and a normal
(with more than 45,000 followers).

Dennis Haskins
Saturday mornings weren’t complete without a bowl of Lucky
Charms and Saved by the Bell starring Principal Belding, played by Dennis


Mr. Belding!
Image source.


Did you know he appeared on Mad Men? We do now! (Thanks, Mr. B)

Besides partying with younger, better looking women at a 2009 paid public appearance,
he released a karaoke album called 
With Your Favorite Principal
 on which he sings “Mustang Sally” with Brooke Hogan. He had a brief stint as a professional
wrestler, with the stage name of, you guessed it,
Mr. Belding. For updates (they are riveting), follow him on Twitter.

Dennis Haskins took to twitter to update to our original post (featuring an older photo):

Haley Joel Osment
As a boy who communicates with spirits, his role in Sixth Sense led Haley Joel Osment to an Oscar
nomination for Best Supporting Actor at age 11.


Image source.


Still cute!
Image source.

In 2006, Osment was charged with drug possession and a DUI after hitting a brick mailbox and flipping his car. According to IMDb, he’s set
to star in
Wake the Dead, a modern-day retelling of Frankenstein.

Jonathan Lipnicki
He stole our hearts as the cutest bespectacled kid in Jerry Maguire and as friend to the furry in the Stuart Little movies. 


From chubs…. 


…. to RIPPED.

Oh. My. Gawd. Little Jonathan definitely grew up! Now a self-proclaimed gym rat, Lipnicki is currently starring in a show called MotherLover (no description provided on IMDb). Hopefully it’s based on this

Who do you want to see in our next edition of Where Are They

Media, Darling: Chris Perez

Chris Perez has been working in television for over a decade – and for the last five years as a producer for CTV and Canada’s top rated entertainment magazine show, etalk. Chris is usually found immersed in hours of tape, interviewing famous types or on the phone pushing publicists for “exclusive access.” He covers a wide range of beats, but his current focus is on special projects, the most recent being a backstage prime time special featuring Lady Gaga. 

Twitter: @lespanman , @eTalkCTV

What was your favourite class in high school? Why?
Grade 12 English. This is probably thanks to a certain Dead Poets Society/“Professor Keating” type named Mr. Geddes who gave me my first flash of passion for the arts and social science. From there on life outside a lab didn’t sound so bad.

How did you get your start as a producer?
I began my career as a hobby. An occasional co-op placement at a local community television station turned into a part-time volunteer ‘gig’, which evolved into actual paid work, which grew into an unexpected full-time job. I know people say it’s good to have a separate job and hobby. I say life is pretty awesome when you’d do your job for free! Just don’t tell my boss that.

If you weren’t a Media, Darling, what would you be doing right now?
Probably pursuing my side interest in Human-Computer Interaction and Sociology.

Pitching or follow up: Phone or email?
Emails give me time to think of ideas and speak to the ‘right people’ about making a story happen, so I prefer them for the initial pitch. Follow-up emails are good too, but once in a while it’s nice to put a voice to a name.

We know irrelevant pitches, calling you the wrong name and eight follow-ups are no-no’s; what else should publicists avoid doing?
It’s easy to dismiss a pitch because it’s too dense, doesn’t get to the point quickly or is too broad and doesn’t target me.  

An ideal publicist is direct, considers my audience and respects my objectives. Also, publicists who act as ‘middle-men’ and aren’t empowered on behalf of their clients are hard to work with. I prefer to deal with publicists who are organized, effective and are tightly connected with their clients so they can speak on their behalf.

Sunrise or sunset?
Mid day. 🙂


Yes, please.

Leaf? Mint. It’s gum, it’s tea, it’s anything you want it to be.


Shower or bath?

Lost In Translation.

My fiancée, followed by Alicia Keys.

First job?
A half day of telemarketing when I was 16. The room was smoky and filled with cranky 40-year old men. I took an executive lunch and didn’t go back.

The idea of learning something new and experiencing something new as often as possible.

We’re Not Just Pretty: Marissa Headley

I like long walks on the beach, candlelit dinners and dancing under the moonlight. Oops – wrong profile. Okay, here we go. Just a bit about me…

I am a Torontonian who loves living in Toronto but also thrives on seeing other parts of the world. I like to travel because it opens my eyes to new things, new ways of thinking and provides a source of inspiration.

In the past, I was interested in fashion design and art, but at the same time showed proficiency in science and math. I’ve fought a lifelong battle between left and right brain thinking.

Most people don’t know that I graduated from Ryerson University with a degree in Commerce and IT. After working in the IT field for three years, I realized that I needed to exercise my creative side and was fortunate enough to transition to marketing and PR.

This is one of the best decisions I have ever made. This industry allowed me to create harmony between my creative and analytical sides, which together can be a very powerful force in the workplace. I now work in the beauty category at Marc Anthony Hair Care as the Manager of Marketing and PR and it is an absolute delight.

Twitter: @MarcAnthonyHC

How long have you been in your current position? 
Six years.

How does your company leverage PR? 
Our biggest point of leverage is our reputation as the go-to salon for celebrity styling. Marc Anthony and his team of stylists are great hair experts for lifestyle stories, beauty features and makeovers. Our high-calibre styling talent, product line and Toronto salons give the media an easy one-stop shop for hair advice, celebrity stories, celebrity, trends and products.

What qualities are most important to you when hiring a PR team member?
In addition to outstanding social skills, I never underestimate the ability to be organized, to pay attention to detail (almost to the point of being obsessive) and a willingness to learn.

Who is your mentor or professional in the industry you admire?
My boss, the Senior Director of Global Marketing & PR. She is class all the way. She shows the people who work for her the utmost respect, which goes a long way when it’s crunch time.

What are your feelings about how PR has been positioned in the media in more recent years, on popular TV shows?
These shows have definitely created more awareness about the industry, and I’m sure a lot of young people are becoming more interested in the field. However, as with most TV shows, they are only able to touch on the “glamorous” part of the profession. I doubt we’d ever see Samantha Jones and her team packing up press kits, updating press databases, sourcing materials or negotiating with agencies.

What’s your biggest piece of advice for PR pros, both junior and senior?
Love what you do and do it with passion. The best ideas come from those who are emotionally invested in what they do.

What do you love most about your job?
I love that no day is every the same. I also love the fast pace – the days when you think you won’t get everything complete but somehow pull a rabbit out of a hat.

A little more from the fourth floor:
Website: style.com, rachelzoe.com
Designer: Michael Kors, Tory Birch.
Store: Winners.
Book: The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill. 
Snack: Tostitos and hummus.
Season: Spring.
Sexy: Big hair.
Inspiration: All of the women in my family.
Drink: Coffee or anything hot.
Motto in two words: Don’t worry.
Idea of perfect happiness: A million-dollar shopping spree on accessories!
Indulgence: Accessories and anything shiny.
Celebrity crush: Leo.
Favourite tweeter to follow: @miss_marilisa

We’re Not Just Pretty: Carmite Cohen

Carmite Cohen knew from a young age that she’d somehow do something in the entertainment industry, because she was always filled with useless pop culture trivia and seemed to know everything about movies and TV shows.
She grew up in Israel, and spent her childhood in various countries, including Iran, Haiti, Rwanda, Niger and finally, Canada. Movies and TV shows were always a fascination, no matter what language they were delivered in.
After graduating from The University of Western Ontario with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a minor in Film Studies, Cohen moved to Toronto and completed the Seneca/York joint program for Radio and Television Production. 
Working (for free!) on commercials, TV and film productions in order to gain experience, she was hired at Alliance Films in 1997 as a production assistant. By 1998, she moved to Licensing and Merchandising, and secured and developed book, toy, apparel and video game deals.  
In 2001, Cohen transitioned to the Home Entertainment department as director of Marketing & Promotions (DVDs were just entering the market – exciting!). She was promoted to vice-president of Marketing, Publicity and Promotions of Home Entertainment in 2005, then joined the Theatrical Publicity and Promotions department as vice-president.
Some of her favourite things: hanging with family and her two awesome kids, travelling, good friends, magazines, The Biggest Loser, a good burger, shoes, New York, and going to the movies, of course!

Alliance Films
How long have you been in your current position?  
Just shy of four years.

How does your company leverage PR?
Alliance has a very diverse slate of films, from commercial fare to smaller art films, so we approach each one as if it’s a product launch and assess its needs. The question we always ask is, “how do we start the chatter and generate as much awareness pre-release as possible?”

Depending on the film, we try to generate opportunities for awareness with tastemaker and word-of-mouth screenings, stunting events, grassroots efforts and promotions, on-campus programs, strategic third party partnerships, and now, more than ever, engaging with our audience through various social media opportunities.

Access to talent and content is the easy way for us to generate press for our films; building a PR campaign that will get everyone’s attention (including media) is always the challenge. But, that’s what makes it fun and if we’ve done our job well, the proof will be in the ticket sales on opening weekend.


What qualities are most important to you when hiring a PR team member?  
Industry experience is a given, but as important: confidence, passion for what you do, the ability to think on your feet, a great personality and a sense of humour. Because, lets face it, when you’re wrangling talent at 3 a.m. on day five of the Toronto International Film Festival, if you can’t laugh about it on some level, you’re in the wrong business.

Who is your mentor or professional in the industry you admire?
I’ve been fortunate throughout my career, having worked in various parts of the film business, to have met some incredibly talented and creative people – marketers, publicists, filmmakers and studio execs. I’ve learned something from all of them. I’ve learned to really listen, be a sponge, and absorb as much of their expertise and advice as I can, and hopefully use it to benefit my own personal and professional growth.

What are your feelings about how PR has been positioned in the media in more recent years, on popular TV shows? 
It’s fun to watch, but I think it’s a little misleading because most times, the job is glamorized and perceived to be one big party after the next. You never really see the grunt work it takes to put together that event. PR has many perks, but the reality of it is that most of the time it’s highly stressful and not glamorous, it’s hard work and long hours, but if you’re committed, you’ll succeed.

What’s your biggest piece of advice for PR pros, both junior and senior? 
No matter what the situation, always be professional and remember that it’s not personal, it’s business and “crazy and unreasonable” come with the territory.

What do you love most about your job? 
I love that I get to go to work everyday and my job is to promote movies! I still get giddy with excitement when I see a new trailer for a film that I’ll be working on. After all this time, it’s still fun, I’m still learning something every day, and I get to do it with a great group of people.

A little more from the fourth floor (a list of your favourite things):
Website: Deadline Hollywood Daily, Huffington Post, InStyle, and for my trashy gossip fix, Perez.
Designer: Michael Kors, Calvin Klein, Stella McCartney.
Store: Want, Kitsch Boutique, Zara and anywhere that sells shoes.
Book: They Can Kill You But They Can’t Eat You by Dawn Steel (first woman to run a major U.S. movie studio), Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.
Snack: Apples with loads of almond butter.
Season: Summer.
Sexy: The look and style of the women of Mad Men.
Inspiration: New York City.
Drink: A really nice Malbec.
Motto in two words: It’s all about convenience (that’s four, I know!).
Idea of perfect happiness: Glass of wine, stack of magazines and a quiet house (even if it’s just for a little while).
Indulgence: Boots.
Celebrity crush: Bradley Cooper.

Favourite tweeter to follow: Denis Leary, Eat This Not That, Dr. Oz, Skinny Jeans, Funny or Die, OMG Facts.

TIFF ’10: Theatre Yoga

We heart TIFF. Really, what’s not to love about this fabulous Toronto institution? Three hundred films shown over 11 days, red carpets, parties and celebrity sightings galore – sounds like our kind of fun. The thing is, by day two we’ve usually ditched the heels, by day six we’re speed dialing our RMTs, and by day 10 we’re yearning for a quiet night in.

We asked our favourite yogis, Sari Nisker from Spynga and YuMee Chung from Passport to Prana, to give us their top moves for staying limber, energized and feeling our best at this year’s fest. Om(g)!

Pre-fest: Downward Dog
Starting with a quick pre-fest downward dog is a perfect way to get more oxygen flowing to your star-crazed brain and getting your body ready to move. Begin on your hands and knees, with hands and knees positioned shoulder and hip distance apart. Curl your toes under and lift your hips back and up towards the stars. If you feel much of the weight in your shoulders or hands, bend your knees a little and draw your chest towards your thighs. Take 10-15 deep breaths, which will allow the blood flow to reverse and will instantly lift your mood. Being upside down is the secret celebrity youth potion, don’t ya know?

In line: quads and hips
Excitedly waiting in line for a film (and hoping to catch a glimpse of a celeb)? This is a great opportunity to stretch your quads and hips. Stand tall, shift your weight to your left foot and begin to bend your leg up from your right knee. Draw your foot back, reach down and grab your right ankle, and slowly bring your heel towards your right glute (butt). To intensify the stretch, allow the right foot to draw back into your hand to create some resistance. Take a few deep breaths and lift your chest as you hold the position. Remember to get an even stretch and repeat with the other leg. Ladies: please move with caution if you are in heels that are more than one inch in height.

In your (coveted) seat:

Close your eyelids and move your inner gaze along four points (holding each for one slow, deep inhale and one slow, deep exhale through your nose): (1) up towards your forehead, (2) down towards your chin, (3) over to the left ear, (4) over to the right ear. Then, do three slow clockwise circles with your eyes before doing three counter-clockwise circles. Finally, rub your hands briskly to generate some heat between your palms and cup them over your closed eyes. Breath deeply a few times, allowing the heat to relax the muscles and calm the mind.

Your eyes need some stretching too.


Sit up straight in your seat, and lower the right ear towards the right shoulder until you feel a gentle pull on the left side of your neck. If you’d like a deeper stretch, place your right hand lightly on the head to encourage the movement. Enjoy for five deep breaths before turning the nose to point down towards your right underarm, until you feel the stretch move a little closer to your spine. Stay for five breaths and repeat on the left. Inhale deeply, and lower the chin towards the chest with an exhale. As you inhale, roll the right ear towards the right shoulder, and as you exhale, roll the chin back down to the chest. As you inhale, roll the left ear towards the left shoulder, and as you exhale roll the chin back down to the chest. Repeat four to six times.

This will feel amazing.

Sitting forward in your seat, place your right hand on the back end of the right-side armrest and place your left hand on your right knee. Inhale and grow tall through your spine, and then exhale as you twist to the right, letting your hands give you some leverage. Look over the right shoulder and keep your seat grounded, resisting the urge to let your hips turn with you. Take five deep breaths in this simple twist before switching sides.

Like this! Only…cooler.

Nourish and stretch
Eating and drinking during TIFF is vital. Waiting in line for water and snacks, open and stretch out your shoulders. Bring your hands behind your back, interlace your fingers and imagine that you have Brad Pitt’s hand on your upper back and you never want to let it go. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and stretch the arms straight down towards the red carpet. Breathe and smile brightly.

Practice these stretches daily while watching the hot lineup of films at TIFF this year. Your body will thank you on September 20, when it’s all over!

Photo credits:

TIFF ’10: A visit from…Leesa Butler

It’s on! The Toronto International Film Festival officially starts tomorrow. Every year, TIFF brings celebrities, great films, parties and swag, and with it, the annual Tastemakers Lounge. In its sixth year, the most-hyped swag lounge of the festival wouldn’t be possible without co-founder Leesa Butler. She’s made many trips up to the fourth floor as of late, to plan and execute the details of this year’s (fantastic) Tastemakers Lounge. We were able to catch some stories from the past six years – here they are.

Debra Goldblatt and I met when she was doing publicity for Canadian Idol (my husband Jake was a judge), getting the judges seen out on red carpets and events. Jake didn’t like to go without me, and Debra and I quickly hit it off. I was new to Toronto, and overwhelmed at the lack of vision behind event gifting in Canada, given the popularity of gift lounges everywhere else celebrities gathered. Quite simply, Debra and I had lunch one day to get to know each other better and ended up brainstorming Tastemakers.

Film festival was barely a couple of months away, but we made it work, and launched the first-ever swag lounge at TIFF in 2005. Since then, we have hosted Tastemakers Lounges at every major celebrity event in Canada. Our biggest event is during TIFF.

One of our crowning moments was HGTV filming the Green Lounge episode we did, when The Designer Guys designed our lounge in entirely eco-friendly materials. During TIFF, I spend 10 days making celebs and VIPs smile with all kinds of great products and services that we bring together in the Tastemakers Lounge. As the VP of Operations, I work on logistics and sponsor relations, and Debra and her rock-it promotions team work the media. We both secure sponsorships and develop the vision.

There have been some truly hilarious moments, like when Shirley MacLaine, who would allow us to photograph her but refused to pose, was so curious about what was in the lounge that she nearly tore it apart. She was poking through boxes in the storage room like a child, “What’s in here?”, and nearly walked off with a sponsor’s purse, saying “This is nice, you’re giving THIS away?”.

The year Slumdog Millionaire got its rave reviews in Toronto (putting it back on the map for global domination), the director Danny Boyle and top cast members were in the lounge. And the very moment Danny is checking out a tie, one of the key songs from his movie (with Ewan McGregor) Trainspotting came over the stereo. Danny turns to us, cocks his head to listen and says, “Cool, guys”.

Sometimes, they get a little silly, like Jeremy Renner posing with a patent leather and plaid Joe Fresh Style purse. You just never know what’s going to happen.

I love it when they come back after having been to Tastemakers years before, and remember how much they loved something they got from us. Those stories are priceless. That’s why we do this.

Butler’s knack for marketing appeared almost as early as her love of fashion. After growing up in the United States and working in advertising, public relations and online marketing agencies, Butler relocated to Canada.

Here, she created Divine Lab, Inc. with a focus on marketing consulting and event planning for companies like Kontent Publishing, the Fashion Design Council of Canada and Luminato Festival of Arts & Creativity. Butler teamed up with a publicist friend in 2005 to launch Tastemakers Lounge, the first-ever Canadian gift lounge. These swag lounges promote brands and products to media and celebrities at high-profile Canadian events, like the Toronto International Film Festival, JUNO Awards, Gemini Awards and Genie Awards. In 2006, she created The F-list, a web community for fashion lovers in Canada. The F-list was born out of a desire to embrace Canadian fashion designers the best way she knows how – by promoting them. 

With designer profiles, sale and event listings, plus a monthly newsletter (The F Word) with news stories from the front lines of fashion, The F-list champions the Canadian fashion scene. With the advent of social media, her consulting focus has turned to teaching corporations and independent businesses how to engage customers and build their brand using Twitter, Facebook and other social media tools. Butler sits on the board of Fashion Group International, a global fashion industry organization based in her former home, New York City. Butler’s fashion advice and knowledge is regularly published in various magazines and websites, and she often emcees fashion or marketing events. In her spare time, she reorganizes her massive shoe collection.

Twitter: @theFlist