Media, Darling: Randi Bergman

Randi Bergman is a Toronto girl through and through. She grew up in North Toronto and graduated from Ryerson University’s Fashion Communications program. A girl who loves fashion almost as much as Rufus Wainwright, Randi’s first internship was at FASHION Magazine in the now-defunct Entertainment department. She then relocated to New York City, interning at both Teen Vogue and Interview Magazine (where she continues to write for web). As if you weren’t jealous enough, Randi also covered NYFW for Fashion Week Daily. During this stint, she had the good fortune to interview Liza Minelli, Marc Jacobs, Alexander Wang, Michael Kors, and the inimitable Grace Coddington, to name a few. 

Randi has previously freelanced for: National Post, Page Six (where she got to pick clothes for the Chloe Sevigny), V Magazine, Dazed & Confused and Refinery29. She is currently the Online Editor for FASHION magazine.

You can also find Randi and FASHION Magazine on Twitter

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

Always, actually. I think I might have been the only one at my high school that knew exactly what she wanted to do when she left. I sometimes fantasize about being lost in the archives of the Costume Institute, but this way I get to live in the present, too.  

Where would you like to be five years from now?
I would still love to be working with magazines, not exactly sure of the capacity, but writing, editing, getting to talk about fashion and fashion history in some way. 

Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
You have to really commit to doing everything you possibly can—take every internship, make every connection—that’s the only way you’re going to make it in the fashion industry. It’s not the kind of industry that will let you take the easy way out, at least in my experience.

What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own? 
I’ll always have a soft spot for Vogue, but lately I’m totally bewitched by Nowness. Its the only site that I check every day, aside from of course, my own.

Best interview you’ve ever had? Worst?
Best interview I’ve ever had is probably anyone that I leave feeling like I’m best friends with, whether it’s in my head or not. I really wanted to make friendship bracelets for Proenza Schouler’s Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez. Also, Liza Minnelli will be cemented in my mind forever, just because it’s Liza Minnelli, and also because she was the closest I will ever be to Judy Garland. 

Worst? Probably anyone who knows nothing about the subject they’re supposed to know about. Riley Keough was pretty rough.

Best advice you’ve ever been given?
Be a mix of the workhorse and the show pony.

What rule(s) do you live your life by?
Put yourself first, most of the time.  And never buy heels that you can’t walk in.

What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Always personalize your pitches. And it also helps to make yourself very familiar and top of mind.

Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
I would just say that I like becoming friendly with PRs. Wining and dining aside of course, it’s not really necessary. Just a warm smile and genuine personality is nice. 

I hate?
People who don’t try.

I love? 
Old movies, old people, museums (old art), old music, fashion history (old designers), the southern US (old traditions).

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss.

Best place on earth?
Haven’t been everywhere yet, but so far, Israel.

Dinner guest?
Edie Beale for entertainment and Jim Morrison for…you know.

Tie between Andy Warhol and Patti Smith.

Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?
Can I use this space as a big ups to BBM? Never leave me!

Pool or ocean?
Probably pool actually, with a slide and waterfall. Or the ocean with the promise of no sand between my toes.

Voicemail or email?
Email one thousand percent. 

We’re Not Just Pretty: Ashley Ballantyne

You might remember that Ashley Ballantyne used to work on the fourth floor with us, but was offered her dream job at Canadian Stage and hopped over there. We miss her, but it did give us the opportunity to interview her for our We’re Not Just Pretty feature.

Ashley recently joined the team at Canadian Stage, one of the country’s largest non-profit theatre companies, as associate director of communications. Ashley manages publicity for their annual season of contemporary theatre and public relations for the company as a whole.

With a theatre degree under her belt, Ashley left her homeland of Nova Scotia to study corporate communications at Seneca College, then got her first gig at a mid-sized Toronto PR agency, specializing in edible consumer products (mostly chocolate). In her spare time, she volunteers as a publicist for local theatre groups and joined the board of directors for the Toronto Fringe Festival.

After a stint with the lovely ladies of rock-it promotions, she was able to combine her passion for the theatre (and flair for the dramatic) with her love of communications. 

How long have you been in your current position? 
Four months! I am mid-way through my first season with Canadian Stage.

How does your company leverage PR?

PR is about sharing stories, and as a theatre company, it’s our job to tell stories – both on stage and off. We do this through a mix of media relations, social media and marketing communications. 

We’re very lucky to work with incredibly talented artists and theatre companies from Toronto and across Canada on each of our productions. So when it comes to media relations, we have a great list of stories to share about the work being presented or created and the varied careers of the cast and company.   

We use social media as an amazing way to get audience feedback, answer questions, share behind-the-scenes details about our shows and connect with the rest of Toronto’s vibrant artistic community. 

Our PR efforts are directly linked to our marketing and communications strategy – building awareness about a show through advance stories and reviews, creating collateral material like newsletters, programs and e-blasts, creating buzz by sharing media review quotes and audience feedback through online/print ads, and creating and sharing photos, videos and more.

Finally, word-of-mouth is vital to the success of each show. We work hard to build our brand in everything we do. In addition to traditional PR, we’ve created a series of programs that reach different audiences, from artist growth and development, to education and youth outreach to donor events like backstage tours and theatre trips.

What qualities are most important to you when hiring a PR team member?
Experience is important. A PR degree or an internship are great ways to learn more about the industry, meet and learn from the pros and figure out what kind of PR you want to do. Being smart and savvy goes a long way (and sometimes, so does a little sass). That being said, energy and attitude are most important for me – if you love what you’re doing, and you want to be there doing it, then you’ll do it well, and it will show. 

Who gave you your first big career break?
Well, I recently found out that Canadian Stage employees are also allowed to audition once a year for our productions – hoping the biggest break is yet to come… 


I’ve been extremely lucky to have worked with some incredible folks, who’ve all helped shape my career. Dan Tisch (president) and Alison George (vice-president) at Argyle Communications were my building blocks – teaching me everything from the basics to the details and the drive you need to thrive in agency life. 

And Debra Goldblatt (who should write a book on all the brilliant things she knows) really opened the door for me when it came to connecting my communications career with my love of theatre during my time with the rock-it team.  

What’s your biggest piece of advice for PR pros, both junior and senior?
Read the paper/magazine/website or watch/listen to the newscast/show you’re pitching.
Double check the details (twice) before you hit send.
Find a mentor or mentee to learn from/with by listening, observing and sharing in their successes and challenges. 

What do you love most about your job?
Tough one – this will be a toss-up: I love working with people, I love seeing a story about a Canadian Stage show in print and I LOVE that it’s my job to go see plays. 

If you weren’t doing PR, what would you do?
Please refer to question four (career break).  😉 

A little more from the fourth floor:,,, and about a zillion more.
Designer: Valerie Dumaine.
Store: Charlie Boutique on Queen West.
Book: The entire Harry Potter Series.
Snack: Nachos & guac, chocolate chip cookies.
Sexy: Singing in the shower.
Inspiration: My family.
Drink: An ice cold pint of Keith’s OR a classic cosmo.
Motto in two words: Thumbs up.
Idea of perfect happiness: Relaxing on the beach in Nova Scotia (cocktail in hand, toes in ocean).
Indulgence: Mani-pedis.
Celebrity crush(es): Aaron Tveit, Ewan McGregor: Broadway babes who can sing, dance and act.
Favourite tweeter to follow: @2amt and the #2amt hashtag  and, biased, but: @canadianstage!

**Want to win tickets to an upcoming Canadian Stage production?**
Tweet us @rockitpromo and tell us where today’s featured PR pro works. 

One lucky winner will receive two tickets to see Saint Carmen of The Main, a tale of hustlers, hookers and hired killers, from Canada’s best known playwright, Michel Tremblay. The play also features killer costumes, including red leather costumes with eight-inch platforms – on men and women.

Think this video.

Congratulations to @ for correctly answering and winning the tickets! Stay tuned for upcoming giveaways.