Media, Darling: Rebecca Tucker

Rebecca
Tucker is the online editor for arts and life at the
National Post. She
graduated from Ryerson’s four-year journalism program in 2009, before which
time she was a
Hillside Festival-attending, hemp purse-carrying resident of
Guelph, Ontario. She is an obsessive Anglophile and culinary enthusiast, with a
collection of cookbooks and kitchen gadgets to rival the best of ’em – and
a tattoo of
Pete Doherty (no foolin’).

She is
awful at Twitter, can play exactly two chords on the guitar and will ride a
bike anywhere so long as she doesn’t have to go uphill.


Twitter: @RebeccaTee @nparts 
Did you always want to be in the
media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon?
Not
always. When I was really little until about halfway through high school I was
sure I was destined for the sciences. But as it turns out I’m pretty crap at
math, which precluded me from all the important chemistry and physics
prerequisites. So here I am!
Where would you like to be five years
from now?
At a point
in my life where I don’t labour for any amount of time over tweeting the
perfect tweet. #twitterfail
Any advice for people getting started
in your industry?
Keep on
your toes and work as hard as your body will allow you, but don’t be afraid to
take time off. If you don’t let your ideas rest, they’ll never get stronger.
What are your favourite media outlets,
not including your own? 
I am a
shameless Gawker reader. I love their snark and always fall so short of the
mark in emulating their witticisms. Vulture and AV Club, and I bounce around a
lot between the Toronto alt-press — The Grid, NOW, Exclaim! etc. I actually
just bought myself a subscription to Toronto Life — 99% of the reading I do is
online media, so I’m excited to give myself a regular reason to power down.
Best interview you’ve ever had?
Actually,
I think it happened earlier this week – I got to talk to Anthony Bourdain
for the second time. He’s a personal hero for his uncompromising approach to,
well, everything. First time around I was disappointed with how starstruck I
was: I fumbled a lot of bad questions and chickened out of asking a lot of good
ones. This time, I swallowed the lump in my throat and approached it as a
conversation with someone whose writing I adore, opinions I value and passion
for food and travel I admire. It felt good.
Worst?
It was a
job interview. I’ll leave it at that.
  
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
“Spend
a lot once and you’ll spend less in the long run.” My nonna said it, and I
think it’s a useful thing to remember in a time when everything we buy can be
disposable: consider your purchases and make investments that will last, and
that you will love forever. Nobody owns heirlooms anymore! Besides, you’ll
spend a lot more time and money replacing that Ikea coffee table over and over
than you might on something that you could end up passing on.
That, and
“you can always add, but you can never take away.” Also from nonna,
but this time about salt.
What rule(s) do you live your life by?
You get
what you give. Seriously — it’s not just a dumb cliché  From cooking to working
to maintaining relationships — the effort you put in will be reflected in what
you get out.
What’s the most important tip you can
give PR pros?
Make sure
you address your email to the right person. Too many times I receive pitches
addressed to, I’m guessing, the last person the pitch was copy-and-pasted to.
It’s an immediate dismissal.
Best experience you’ve had with a PR
pro? We love to hear about #wins
.
Anything
that ends in food or drink samples, I consider a win.
I hate?
Bad subway
etiquette. It always surprises me when someone uses a seat for their purse or
won’t give up their seat for someone obviously in need, but I see it almost
every day. We’re all in this together, straphangers. Come on.
I love?
British
humour and cheese.
Reading?
I’m
actually trying to get through Anna Karenina — I told my boyfriend we weren’t
going to see the film until I’d read the book. Time is running out, though, and
I’m not exactly a speed-reader.
Best place on earth?
London,
England. See: “I love.” I’m also a shamefully rabid BritRock fan and
I fare better in cold and grey than warm and sunny.
Dinner guest?
When I was
a kid, the whole family — there were nine of us in total — used to regularly
get together on Sundays for dinner. I’d like to do that again, only with all
the spouses, kids and pets that have shown up along the way; it’s quite a few
more than nine at this point.
Hero?
Everyone’s
parents are their heroes, and so are mine for their selflessness, steadfastness
and unflappable senses of humour in the face of all the adversity my sister and
I have dealt them.
Favourite app (or whatever you are
downloading these days)?
I’m
hanging on to a very old phone, so apps are kind of out of the question right
now. I just downloaded and marathoned all of Homeland, however — I feel exactly
the same about Season 2 as everyone.

Pool or ocean?
Ocean.
Just no fish, please.
Voicemail or email?
I
literally never check my voicemail. Honest to God. Do not leave me a voicemail.






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Media, Darling: Jen Wilson

Jennifer Wilson is the technology and video games editor
at the Toronto Star. When she doesn’t have her nose in her iPhone, she can be
found hitting the sidewalks for a run, shoe shopping or settling in for a good
brunch with friends.





Twitter: @jenwilsonto @torontostar
Website: thestar.com 

Did you
always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon? 
Two left feet meant that my little girl dream of
becoming a ballerina was out of the question – but I wanted to be a writer from
about the age of seven. Working for a newspaper was my first (and only!) real
career dream.
        
Where would you like to be five years from now?
Hopefully no longer working the weekend
shift! But seriously, hopefully I’ll be in a position where I still get to
inform and entertain readers – and both write and edit.
Any advice for people
getting started in your industry?
Be flexible. When I started out, I thought the only
journalism that was interesting was coming from Parliament Hill. But I also had
student loans, so when I got the chance to edit real estate and home décor, I
took it. And I don’t regret it one bit. While it wasn’t my dream job, I learned
to love it, and it gave me the experience I needed to write and edit content a
little closer to my heart. Plus, I’m now a pro at spotting Ikea furniture with
potential — and think I’ve got a pretty sweet Scandinavian inspired condo as a
result.
What
are your favourite media outlets, not including your own?
New York Times, the BBC, the CBC and the Globe and Mail. I also rely on 680 News for breaking alerts and content shared
by friends on Facebook, Twitter and even by good old fashioned email.
Best
interview you’ve ever had?
The most surprising was when I interviewed Vanilla Ice about his home renovation TV show. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I
hadn’t anticipated him having stitches from an ice dancing TV show! He was so
genuine and down to earth in person – the time just flew by.
Worst?
I was sick and hadn’t prepared as much
as I would have liked for a company profile, and the person I was interviewing
was rather nervous. There weren’t many usable quotes from the conversation, and
I had to follow up by email.
Best advice you’ve ever
been given?
  You can
do anything if you put your mind to it. And, it’s only hair – it will grow back.
What rule(s) do you live
your life by?
Say yes. What’s the worst thing that
could happen?
What’s the most important
tip you can give PR pros?
Don’t send me an email with a billion
attachments. Inbox storage is always maxed out – especially around the holidays
– and big files are the first to go when I need to unlock my messages to
send/receive more pressing emails.
Best experience you’ve had
with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
It’s hard to name just one! But there’s
nothing that makes life easier than when you require a very specific source for
a story and the PR pro already anticipated it and made them available.
I
hate?
Accepting that I have limits and am unable to do
something.
I love?
High heels, hockey, long runs and good food. And, of
course, my family and friends.
Reading?
Constantly! In addition to the latest news, I love
picking up magazines and the latest buzz-worthy novels, as well as works of
non-fiction.
Best place on earth?
My parent’s house on Christmas Eve, when
it’s filled with family, friends and all my favourite food.
Dinner
guest?
That’s a tough one. Having just been the holidays, I’m going to go the sappy route and say my best friends and family over a
massive meal, with a good selection of desserts.
Hero?
I’ve been lucky to have many strong women who have
inspired me, including my mother and my grandmothers. On a broader scale, I’ve always admired Amelia Earhart’s adventurous streak – I feel like she was the
kind of woman who would, perhaps somewhat stubbornly, tackle any challenge
head-on.
Favourite app (or whatever
you are downloading these days)?
I’m still giddy over getting Google Maps
back on my iPhone. I have a terrible sense of direction and was, quite
literally, lost without it.
Pool or ocean?
Ocean, hands down. I’m a Nova Scotia
girl, and nothing compares to the salt air, the waves and the surf.
Voicemail
or email?
Always email. I always have my
smartphone in hand and am always on top of my inboxes. I’m way more likely to
reply to an email than pick up a phone call at any given moment.

Media Darling: Domini Clark

Domini Clark is the Travel Editor of
The Globe and Mail. She’s worked for the newspaper for 11 years, where she’s
worn many hats in news, arts and life, plus had a stint running the Style
section. Besides travelling the world (17 countries, all 10 provinces and 25 U.S. states and counting), her passions include
baking and boxing. She’s also more than a little obsessed with
J. Crew.

Twitter: @saradomini
Website: www.theglobeandmail.com/life/travel/

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

I
always wanted to be a journalist – no dreams of being a teacher or vet like
many little girls. In grade three, my teacher had us write picture books and then
attend an event called the Young Author’s Conference, where we could choose
different speakers to listen to. I obviously attended the reporter’s lecture
and spoke to her afterward, because she signed my book, “Hope to see your
byline some day.” That pretty much sealed it. Then in Grade 11, as I struggled
through math class, I remember thinking, “Why am I here? I don’t need this
credit for journalism school.” I put down my pencil, grabbed my books and walked
out. (Of course, now whenever there are numbers in a story I’m so paranoid I do
the math about five times to make sure I have it right.)

Where
would you like to be five years from now?

I
just want to be happy and healthy. Life has thrown me too many curveballs to
pin my hopes on anything else.

Any
advice for people getting started in your industry?

Learn
how to tell a compelling story on myriad platforms: newspaper, video, social
media, radio, etc. The best journalists today are well rounded and comfortable
in several mediums. And when you get your first job, please, please don’t act
like you know everything. Confidence is great, and new ideas are always
welcome, but you are still going to have a lot to learn. I’m still learning.

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

I’m
a magazine junkie – it’s an addiction I just can’t quit. Obviously Conde Nast Traveler would be at the top of that list. Other than that, I don’t have
outlets I check religiously. I’m always worried I’ll miss something, so I rely
mainly on my Google news feed and people posting interesting stories to Twitter
and Facebook. And I always tune into Friendly Fire on CFRB 1010. (My man is one
of the co-hosts, but it’s still good radio regardless.)

Best
interview you’ve ever had?

When
I had my first interview with The Globe and Mail, I assumed there was no way I
was getting the job. I was still in university and didn’t have a large
portfolio. So I went in figuring I had nothing to lose, and was my usual brash,
opinionated self. When the two interviewers (it was a total good cop/bad cop
setup) asked me to critique the paper, I dove right in. Whatever I said obviously
did the trick. I was offered the job the next day. Just goes to show you should
always be yourself.

Worst?
I
was a little too honest about my prospective co-workers once. (Okay, so maybe
being yourself doesn’t always pay off.) I was asked to interview again,
but this time to play nice. I ended up getting the job, but to this day I resent
having to go through that.

Best
advice you’ve ever been given?

Never
turn down a great opportunity. (Thanks, Dad.)

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

Be
honest. Be yourself. Be informed. Treat others the way you want to be treated.
Oh, and don’t waste calories on grocery-store sheet cake at work parties.

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

Know
who/what you’re pitching to. Read the section and get a feel for the kinds of
stories we run. If you want to grab a coffee some time to chat and get a better
understanding, I’m happy to do that. That’s a better use of my time that
sifting through irrelevant e-mails. When I worked in the Style section I often
got cat food samples, which puzzled me to no end. Where was I supposed to run
cat food stories? Next to the runway shots?

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

When
I worked in the Style section, I’m sure PR folk saved my butt on more than one
occasion. Recently I was on a trip organized by Jared Rodriguez of Victoria King PR in New York. He put so much work into it and was such a dear, dealing
with all my requests and concerns. And then he had to hang out with a disparate
bunch of journos for a week. Some might say that’s one of the circles of hell.

I
hate?

People
who have loud cellphone conversations on the streetcar.

I
love?

Travelling.
Too obvious? How about, standing barefoot on the sheepskin rug I bought in New
Zealand. It’s simply the best feeling.

Reading?
The
Marriage Plot
 by Jeffrey Eugenides. I just want it to be over. I’m about
two-thirds of the way through and I can’t bring myself to finish it but I won’t
let myself start another book until I do. Why I am punishing myself I don’t
fully understand.

Best
place on earth?

That
is an unfair question to ask a travel editor! I am torn between Grenada and
Hawaii. I adore both. And they are both full of plumeria, which I love.
Whenever I smell that scent I’m transported to paradise.

Dinner
guest?

Victoria
Beckham. I suspect she is hilarious. And you know she has some crazy stories.
Plus, if we became friends maybe she’d give me clothing from her fashion line
for free.

Hero?
No
one person in particular. But I have the utmost respect and admiration for
people who have overcome adversity to make life better for themselves and/or
others.

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

I
just downloaded a cool one called Pocketbooth (for iPhone) that lets you take
photobooth-strip-style pictures. It’s perfect for party season.

Pool
or ocean?

Ocean.
No contest.

Voicemail
or email?

Usually
email. But if it’s urgent, call me. I can’t promise I’ll pick up though, but
I’ll get the message.





Media, Darling: Tara Ballantyne

Tara Ballantyne joined Style at Home last February as its resident style and food editor. Tara began her
styling career in Norway and worked for publications like Norwegian ELLE and
French ELLE along with various other European publications. She has had
numerous television appearances on the Marilyn Denis Show, Breakfast Television
and CityLine.



photo credit: Transcontinental Media 

Did
you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the
horizon? 
There are so many things you can do in a
lifetime, and I’m guilty of wanting to do anything to satisfy my creativity. My
schooling is in interior design and I worked in architecture for three years
before I switched to magazines. It was the best decision I have ever made and I
love what I get to do and how creative I can be each day at Style at Home.
Where
would you like to be five years from now?
In a studio with a totally inspired
photographer, great light, lots of beautiful food, great models and a hundred
baby bunnies shooting some wild Tim Walker-inspired images.
Any
advice for people getting started in your industry?
Don’t be afraid to sweep floors, pour endless
amounts of coffee, or even pick up someone else’s dry cleaning (seriously I had
to do this once). I’ve had to learn countless coffee orders by heart and had
design proposals ripped up right in front of my face. It can be a long road of
being humble, but you watch and learn and in the end, it’s completely worth it.
What
are your favourite media outlets, not including your own?
Having spent so much time in Norway, I really
developed an affection for swedish RUM magazine, ELLE Norway and Sweden, and I
love emmas designblogg –
design and style from a scandinavian perspective
. I also adore Canadian blog Bijou and Boheme, and spend entirely too much time selecting fashion
ensembles from the The
Sartorialist
, that my husband and I
should definitely purchase. Fortunately, he is a kind and patient person who
politely nods and says “uh huh” while I involuntarily involve him
in selecting my favourite looks to wear on a vespa, and for braving the
cobblestone streets. 
Best
interview you’ve ever had?
My interview for ELLE Norwegian… it ended up
landing me my first cover, and I was so insanely excited to be part of the
magazine in another country – it was pretty amazing. There is always something
very special about your first.
Worst?
I’ve been super lucky so far, in that I’ve only ever had great interviews. Fingers crossed this continues!
Best
advice you’ve ever been given?
Avoid horizontal stripes and don’t eat a full
meal before you go swimming.
What
rule(s) do you live your life by?
If you truly love something, it’s worth
fighting for. And edit to clarity – fashion, interiors, your words…
What’s
the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Open and honest communication I guess. I’ve
worked with great PR people and I’ve always appreciated when they tell me what
I need to hear, not necessarily what I want to hear. Also I am always super
impressed when they remember names!
Best
experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
Being convinced that the $250 sweater I
bought for a television appearance was not a bad decision and in fact a
worthwhile investment piece for my wardrobe. Cashmere really is timeless, lol.
I
hate?
Subway delays.
I
love?
Butter tarts, and the way Instagram always
makes you instantly look amazing.
Reading?
International design books (magazines); I
love seeing what’s going on in other countries and get a lot of inspiration
from that. Right now I am also re-reading Rebecca for the second time, and am
guilty of choosing my knitting project over my half-finished copy of Infidel
Best
place on earth?
Any place where I’m surrounded by family and
friends, a great glass of wine, and good food and conversation.
Dinner
guest?
Brother and sister, Sibella Court
and Chris Court. I am so astounded with the creativity that they both exhibit
in the work they do with styling, development and photography. 
Hero?
Coco Chanel. 
Favourite
app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?
Instagram, and that
new Christmas app that helps you with shopping and wrapping.
Pool
or ocean?
Definitely Ocean.
Voicemail
or email?
Definitely email.

Media, Darling: Gabe Gonda

Gabe Gonda is the Globe and Mail‘s Arts editor. In his previous post at the Globe and Mail, he ran the Focus section. Before that, Gabe spent 12 years at the Toronto Star, where he worked on every desk as a copy editor, writing editorials, running the letters page, covering city hall, writing features, working as an assignment editor and running the Saturday Insight section for three years. Gabe went to the University of Toronto, where he played a year of varsity basketball, ran a student journal of political theory and dropped out to edit a campus newspaper called The Newspaper. That was before the Internets were a big deal.


Twitter: @GlobeArts

Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon?
When I was a kid I wanted to play for the Blue Jays, other than that I had no career plan.

Where would you like to be five years from now?
Buenos Aires.

Any advice for people getting started in your industry? 
Have a good luck charm.

What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own? 
The New Yorker, TMZ, ESPN.com, the London Review of Books.

Best interview you’ve ever had? Worst?
Lots of good ones. Worst was Jerry Stackhouse of the Detroit Pistons. He kept looking at me like I was birdshit on his shoe.

Best advice you’ve ever been given?
Be curious.


What rule(s) do you live your life by?
The Ten Commandments, at least that’s what I tell my rabbi.

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

Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
The best PR work, like good refereeing or good editing, is invisible.

I hate?
Polenta.

I love?
Pizza.

Reading? 
Whenever I can.

Best place on earth?
At my dinner table, with my wife and two sons.

Dinner guest?
Anyone who asks strange questions, like my friend Ira.

Hero?
My grandfather. He owned a newspaper in Paris before World War II, but had to drop everything to save his family from the Nazis. He wrote for Hearst in Geneva and finished a Ph.D in history before starting over in America at the age of 42. Moved back to Paris in his 60’s and won a prize from the French academy for his book on the Treaty of Versailles a few weeks before dropping dead in 1982.

Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?
Happily app-less.

Pool or ocean?
Ocean.

Voicemail or email?
Text.

Media, Darling: Tara Henley

Tara Henley is the assistant editor at Hello! Canada, where she’s worked for five years. Her celebrity interviews have been published in many of Hello!’s international editions, including Hello! UK. Formerly a regular contributor to The Georgia Straight newspaper in Vancouver and a blogger for XXL magazine in New York, Tara’s freelance articles have appeared in the Globe and Mail and The Guardian
 


Twitter: @hellocanada 


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

I actually planned to be an English professor, but a month into my master’s degree I decided to help out at the student newspaper and stumbled onto a big news scoop. I promptly fell crazy-in-love with media. There’s nothing in the world quite like getting curious about something and then being able to phone up whoever is involved and ask them about it.

Where would you like to be five years from now? 

I’d like to be doing pretty much what I’m doing now, except I’d like to have published a book (or two!) and own a pair of Christian Louboutins.

Any advice for people getting started in your industry? 

If you want to succeed in media, it helps to really love the media. Take in as many outlets a day as possible. Here’s some other helpful tips other people have passed on to me: always go above and beyond; don’t be a clock watcher; do your research; send thank-you notes; always think of how you can best serve your outlet; do what scares you first; it doesn’t cost anything to be nice; and be grateful for every opportunity that comes your way.

What are your favourite media outlets? 

I read Vanity Fair, Toronto Life, Macleans, the Globe and Mail, the National Post and the Toronto Star. I adore CBC, and listen to CBC Radio for at least an hour a day. Fave shows are Q, As It Happens and Metro Morning. And on TV, Strombo. And I love the blog Orangette and the New York Times Dining section.

Best interview you’ve ever had? 

I always enjoy sitting down with Michael Bublé.

Worst? 

Kanye West.

Best advice you’ve ever been given? 

Stay present, be in the moment and focus on what’s in front of you. Also, Beyoncé once told me that when you’re tired or down, it helps to dress up. She’s so right!

What rule do you live your life by? 

It’s better to give than to receive.

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

Customizing your pitch is essential. I often get pitched random events like, say, a boat show. Unless Angelina Jolie is going to be there, we can’t cover it! Another thing: please don’t email us enormous files. We get hundreds of emails a day and a big file can crash our inboxes. Then we can’t send emails from our mobile devices and you can imagine the mayhem that causes. Lastly: we at Hello! enjoy chocolate. A lot. Please feel free to send us some.

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

PRs in this city do a fabulous job. The publicists we deal with know the magazine well and regularly move mountains for us. It’s so appreciated. Plus, they tend to be fun people so it’s always great to have a gab when our paths cross.

I hate? 

Slow walkers, raisins in baked goods.

I love? 

Cookbooks, Purdy’s chocolates, hip-hop, Chelsea Handler, dogs, Mexican food, The Queen, cooking for friends, back issues of Gourmet magazine, romantic comedies, Christmas, strong coffee, interviewing people, The Daily Show, The Wire, vegetable gardens.

Reading? 

Feeding a Yen by Calvin Trillin, The Table Comes First by Adam Gopnik, Boomerang by Michael Lewis.

Best place on earth? 

New York City, Tofino (BC), and my neighbourhood in Toronto.

Dinner guest? 

Larry King would host my dream dinner party with Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Prince William, Kate Middleton, Ryan Gosling, Sandra Bullock, Jamie Oliver, Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Barbara Walters and Nora Ephron around the table.

Favourite app? 

I’m not terribly adventurous with apps. I basically think iPhones were invented to store my photos of food and friends’ dogs. And occasionally the cocktail dresses I want to buy.

Pool or ocean? 

Ocean, preferably Kits Beach in Vancouver.

Voicemail or email? 

How about an actual, live phone call? I’m probably the last person on the planet that still enjoys talking on the phone. I tend to pick it up when it rings. 

Media, Darling: Sarah Kelsey


Sarah Kelsey isn’t quite sure how she got her gig as a Style Editor at AOL/The Huffington Post Canada, but she ain’t complaining. Each day her “dream job” affords her the opportunity to interview Canadian talent about fashion, beauty, entertaining and home. She’s also a freelance writer for various North American publications and she’s been featured in the Globe and Mail, ELLE, Fashion Magazine, Canadian Living, National Post, Sweetspot.ca and SheKnows.com. She previously worked as a producer, assignment editor and videographer for CTV. She blogs about ‘La Belle Vie’ at sarahkelsey.posterous.com  and is a writer for hire at www.sarahkelsey.ca.



Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon?
I didn’t! For years I wanted to be a doctor — I even started off in university studying human biology (my goal was to be a Doctor Without Borders). After taking a first-year political science course, I switched my major and was accepted into this specialized program at the University of Toronto in international relations and peace and conflict studies. The program’s aim was to groom students for careers at the U.N. or in international law. I loved the program, but realized while interviewing people for my thesis, that I really loved the craft of journalism. I completed my degree and then went on to study journalism at Ryerson University. The rest, as they say, is history.

Where would you like to be five years from now?
Interesting question…  I don’t know. This past year has been a year of change and growth for me, personally and professionally, so I’d really love to feel settled. I’d still love to be working at The Huffington Post Canada, having helped build their living sections. Ideally, my freelance writing career will have flourished as well. I’d also like to complete my novel, which has been in the works for about a year. 

Personally, I have a goal of traveling to as many countries on each continent as possible. I have Australia and Africa to go (though I could stand to do more travel to Asia, like Japan and India). I’d also love to own my own home and to have run one marathon.


Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
Ask lots of questions! We (anyone who is working at a media outlet or PR firm) have all been in the same place as you are, just starting out. We know it can feel overwhelming. And, for the most part, we can sympathize with the position you’re in: eager to learn, do, excel. So don’t be afraid to speak up. You’ll likely be surprised with how willing people are to help you find the right internship or a contact to set-up an interest interview with. Work hard. Meet your deadlines. And do your research on the outlets you want to work for/with.

That being said, when you are helped, pay it forward. Help those people around you who may be having a harder time getting their footing than you are. Be nice. Be thankful. Be courteous. And never, for one second, think you’re entitled to anything that’s given to you — internships (and jobs) cometh and very easily goeth.


What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own?
I absolutely adore blogs. I couldn’t live without the MobileRSS app on my iPhone — it’s linked to my Google Reader account. It’s loaded with lifestyle feeds from around the world — Oh Happy Day!, Ah Bon, Style Me Pretty, A Cup Of Joe, Coquette, Elephantine, Not Martha, Orangette… There are too many to list here.

I’m also addicted to NPR (This American Life, Radio Lab, All Things Considered) and CBC Radio. Every day I read a wide array of news sites, too: Salon, Slate, Scientific America, BBC, Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, The Guardian, The Onion.


Best interview you’ve ever had? Worst?
I really enjoy interviewing anyone who has an interesting story to tell. That’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed chatting with celebs. Santa Claus was a pretty memorable interview. There are just so many people doing great things in their day-to-day lives. Like Adam Garone, the CEO of Movember. Or Arlene Dickinson of Dragon’s Den. Or Stephen Lewis of The Stephen Lewis Foundation. 

I think the best interviews are those where I come out learning something new, and am inspired to do more and do better (personally, professionally and for my community). When I was a videographer for CTV I did have some difficult interviews — like trying to get an evasive politician to answer one of my questions or chatting with families who had lost a loved one to violence or crime; I’m not going to lie, I’m glad those days are behind me… at least for now.


Best advice you’ve ever been given?
Never give up and stay positive. Failing is part of the process we all go through to achieve greatness; it’s essential. It’s in those moments when you’re the lowest that you learn the most about yourself and the world around you. No one is perfect and that’s okay. We’re all working toward the same goal of happiness and feeling successful in our own lives, so it’s also important to be nice to anyone and everyone you meet (or to make amends to anyone you may have harmed).

What rule(s) do you live your life by?
I really just try to live one day at a time and to learn as much from all of the situations/scenarios I experience. To quote a line from Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” It’s totally true. I try not to take anything for granted. It’s been a hard year for me. I’ve learned a lot. And, right now, I’m exceptionally grateful.

What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Only one!? I’d have to say know who you are pitching to and tailor your pitch to suit the specific outlet you’re pitching. As journalists, we receive hundreds of emails every day. Pitches stand out when they have a unique tie-in to a larger story, even current events. It’s also incredibly important to include all of the details about a product/event in your pitch, including FTP site links and passwords, product pricing, availability, location, hours, etc. It also helps when you get a little personal — introduce yourself to a new journalist, ask how someone is doing, mention a recent article of theirs you read, never be rude — little things go a long way.

Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
There are too many to count (that makes me sound like a kiss ass, but it’s true). Toronto is home to so many fantastic PR people. I experience a #win courtesy of someone in the industry at least once a day — whether it’s grabbing me a one-off interview for TIFF or images that no one else will have access to. It’s about going above and beyond of “what’s expected.” I feel really lucky to work with the PR folks in this city — for the most part, everyone is super friendly, helpful. There’s a great camaraderie between us.

I hate? 
Cauliflower. It’s disgusting. I shriek a little when I see or smell it.

I love? 
Too many things! Travel. Running. My cottage (in the summer and winter). Red wine. Scotch. Cigars. My dad’s pizza. My mom’s Caesar salad. Sunsets. Yoga (aka: trying to bend). Kawartha Dairy Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream. Baking. Cooking. Reading. Blogging. Rosebud Salve. My iPhone. Writing. Journaling. Adding magazine tears to my “inspiration” binder. Fresh flowers. Painting my fingernails. Dyeing my hair. Learning more about my industry (fashion, beauty, entertaining, home decor). Decorating my home. Filling my closet with new clothes — and developing my own personal style.

Reading? 
I’m reading too many books. Rebel Buddha by Dzogchen Ponlop; The Gifts Of Imperfection by Brene Brown; The Value of Nothing by Raj Patel; Bossypants by Tina Fey. I’m also constantly flipping through my favourites — Autumn of the Patriarch by Gabriel García Márquez and A Tale Of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.

Best place on earth? 
Toronto. I absolutely love living in this city. There are so many things to do and see. If we’re talking internationally, I adore Peru (the people and culture are incredible), Cambodia (it’s the richest, most impoverished place on earth) and Paris (the history, architecture, fashion and food overwhelm me). 

Dinner guest? 
Katherine Hepburn. She was bold, feisty, intelligent, fashionable and not afraid to challenge the conventions of her time — I think I could learn a thing or two from her.

Hero? 
Superhero!? Batman! But if we’re talking about “normal” people, I’d have to say my parents and my brother. Professionally, there are three people (two former bosses and one businesswoman) I hold as role models, but they’re a secret. 😉

Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)? 
ShakeItPhoto — it turns iPhone pics into digital Polaroids.

Pool or ocean?
Lake.

Voicemail or email? 
Email. One of the best bosses I ever had coached me to respond to all emails (whether I could use them for a story or not) within 24 hours. It’s something I still abide by to this day. For some reason I neglect voicemail… I think I just forget it exists.