Media, Darling: Elio Iannacci

Elio Iannacci is an award-winning journalist and FASHION magazine’s Features Editor. He is also a regular contributor to Maclean’s
magazine and has had work published in
The Globe and Mail, National Post
and
The Toronto Star. As one of Canada’s most qualified and experienced fashion
and pop culture experts, he has had the opportunity to speak to some of the
world’s most fascinating people. 



Included in his list of interviews are iconic
names that range from Karl Lagerfeld to Lady Gaga, Beyoncé Knowles to Madonna
and Oscar-winner Kate Winslet, alongside acclaimed food author Nigella Lawson.
Elio has also been featured on a number of television shows, including
CNN
Showbiz Tonight,
MTV Canada, Much Music, ETalk and Entertainment Tonight.





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

Magazines, chap books, comic books and zines were my lifelines when I was
growing up. I was always fascinated by who put them together, who was covered
in them and how they were produced. I would have been a DJ, a librarian or a
costume archivist if I didn’t get into the writing/editing game.


Any advice for people getting started in your industry?

Act like a brand and people will treat you like a product. Spend more time reading than tweeting.


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

I read about three to five magazines a day (I have subscriptions to Vogue, Out, Entertainment
Weekly, The New Yorker, The Economist, The Advocate, Broken Pencil
and Interview)
and I typically keep a pound or two of poetry books, chap books, short story
collections and lit anthologies around me at all times. Online, I visit the
dailies and too many blogs to mention.


Best interviews you’ve ever had?

Sophia Loren, Karl Lagerfeld, David Sedaris, Lady Gaga, Annie Lennox, Eartha
Kitt, Patti Smith and Wayne Koestenbaum.


Worst?

Sean Combs. He answered his mobile during the whole interview and was too
distracted to answer any questions properly.


Best advice you’ve ever been given?

“You should always know when you’re shifting gears in life. You should leave
your era; it should never leave you.” c/o Leontyne Price.


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

Take vacations. Workaholics make the absolute worst writers and editors. The
best ideas are the ones you find while you are taking a couple days off and
living life outside of the office.


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

Read the magazine, website or newspaper you are trying to work with before you
send any emails or make any calls.


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

TIFF seems to bring out the extra-crazy in everyone—especially during the end
of it. I will never forget how Debra Goldblatt was able to gracefully keep it
together, while juggling four films on the last day of the fest in 2009, and manage
to squeeze in two last-minute interviews for me without complaining.


I hate?
 
                      
All fifty shades of grey.


I love?

Fact checkers, librarians, artists, poets and anyone who is an advocate for the
arts.


Reading?

Personals, a book of poetry by Ian Williams. Lynn Crosbie’s gripping Life is
about losing everything. An anthology of short stories called New Stories From
The South
(edited by Amy Hempel).


Best place on earth?

Sardinia.


Dinner guests?

Maria Callas, Jackie Onassis, Roisin Murphy, Gareth Pugh, Grace Jones, Annie
Lennox, John Parot, Alfred Corn, Truman Capote and Hedi Slimane.


Heroes?

Langston Hughes, Frank O’Hara and Lou Grant.


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

QuickVoice — an app that records interviews and changed my life.


Pool or ocean?

Both. I swim a mean breast stroke.


Voicemail or email?

50/50. 

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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: 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. 🙂


Scent?
Coconut.


Cookie?
Yes, please.


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

Ticklish?
Very.


Shower or bath?
Shower.


Film?
Lost In Translation.


Crush?
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.


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

Media, Darling: Sasha Tong

After working at MTV in the U.K., Sasha Tong moved to Toronto where she quickly landed a job at eTalk.  She’s been with the show for more than five years and heads up the fashion beat. Tong has been lucky enough to interview some of the biggest stars in Hollywood, including everyone from Oscar and Juno nominees to talent at the Toronto International Film Festival; she’s been afforded some pretty crazy opportunities. Tong also now writes a weekly fashion and personal advice column on laineygossip.com.

Twitter: @eTalkCTV

How can someone grab your attention with a pitch?
The most important way to grab my attention is with a pitch that’s quick and concise. If I have to read through a novel to get to the point, then I’ve already moved on. I know what will work and what won’t work for the show, so you typically don’t have to convince me. It’s really important though, that you know what eTalk features on a regular basis, so something like “how to wax your bikini line” just isn’t something I can feature on the show. Oh, and if you get my name right on the email, then that’s a bonus.

What do you find most useful when dealing with public relations professionals?
I always appreciate it when I’m dealing with a PR company that can get me everything I need on a tight turnaround. If you’re pitching me and I like it, I usually have to move quickly, so the more organized and resourceful you are, the more I love you for it. Because time is such an issue, I also find it useful when I can just shoot the shit with the publicist and be straight up. If I pass on a pitch I don’t want to feel like I’ve hurt your feelings.

What is the biggest mistake PR professionals make?

Hands down: when I’m stalked. I love a good follow-up email but if you start leaving messages on my work phone and my cell phone, that’s a quick buzz kill. 

My pet peeve
Please, oh please, put the email all in one font. When I get an email and everything is different sizes, I know you’ve just cut and pasted and pressed send. I don’t need to feel special, but paying attention to a small detail like that goes a long way.

Any other thoughts you’d like to add?

Ninety-nine per cent of the time, the publicists I work with are amazing. You guys are talented, innovative and creative. So keep up the good work.

Meet Our Team: Debra

Debra Goldblatt-Sadowski is our fearless leader, founder and president of rock-it promotions, inc. and Tastemakers. She has appeared as a PR expert on MuchMore Music, eTalk, ET Canada and Global News, and has been interviewed by The Globe and Mail, National Post, Toronto Star, Toronto Life and many more.

Goldblatt-Sadowski attended Concordia University and graduated with a degree in Creative Writing. She is a published poet, a former performance artist and a produced playwright. She has no formal education in public relations. She founded rock-it promotions at the start of the new millennium in January 2000.
 
She’s known for her friendly and outgoing approach to publicity, stellar networking skills and having the ear of most media members in the city. She’ll rarely turn down an invite to a good party and has been known to throw a few fun shindigs herself.

In addition to being a great head honcho and PR maven, she is a wonderful mom to two-year-old Mila Raven, and happily married to film and television director Matt Austin-Sadowski

Twitter: @debgee


What song gets you out on the dance floor?
Anything from The Stones to Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros to Gaga. Doesn’t take much to get me dancing.

What can’t you leave the house without?
My BlackBerry during the week. My daughter on the weekends.

Best gift you’ve ever received?
Advice from my smart parents.   
My husband.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Us Weekly. Dexter. Gossip Girl. Vodka martinis with three olives. Dark chocolate. Dutch Dreams. And my toes are always painted something pretty. Always. 

What do you love most about living in Toronto?
My family and friends are all here. I love that I can always find something to do. It’s a little bit rock’n’roll, a little bit of country. I also really like that it’s a big city, small town. I am six degrees from almost anybody.

Best part about being a publicist?
I love helping businesses reach new levels of success through media exposure. I love crafting story ideas for journalists. I love to write. I love to talk.

A little more from the fourth floor:
Website: Apartmenttherapy.com (love the house tours).
Designer: Marc Jacobs.
Store: Holt Renfrew.
Book: Tropic of Cancer, Henry Miller; Notes of a Dirty Old Man, Bukowski; and anything by Pablo Neruda and ee cummings.
Snack: Smartfood Popcorn.
Season: Summer.
Sexy: Confidence.
Inspiration: The memory of my mother’s hugs; the sound of my daughter’s laugh.
Drink: Aforementioned vodka martini with three olives, s.v.p.
Motto in two words: Rock it.