Meet Our Client: Bill Baker

Bill Baker is the president and founder of Consonant Skincare, a Canadian-based premium line of natural skincare products that recently launched their flagship store at 2479 Yonge St., near Yonge and Eglinton.

After working in advertising and brand management for years, Bill discovered the health benefits of natural skincare, leading him to venture on a new career path. Realizing that there weren’t any brands on the market that delivered the results he was looking for and felt good to use, Bill took matters into his own hands and developed Consonant Skincare five years ago. 

Find Consonant Skincare on Twitter and Facebook.
What do you do?
At Consonant, we set our customers free. We free them from the sensitivities associated with harsh and irritating skincare ingredients, from oppressive skincare regimens and from the outrageous cost of beauty products that over-promise and under-deliver. Most important, we give them the freedom to show their best skin, because Consonant Skincare is award-winning, 100 percent natural, organic and guaranteed to deliver results.

How long have you worked with rock-it promotions?
Not long enough! It has been about two months, but already rock-it has accomplished so much for us. We feel like their fit with Consonant is perfect – they understand our customers, they get what we are trying to accomplish and they’re making it happen. That they are a pleasure to work with is just a bonus.
What do you love most about your job?
I love making products that solve problems our customers have been having for years. I love it when they tell us they’ve been looking for us, and they’re glad they finally found us.

What do you like the least about your profession/industry?
I’m frustrated by the misleading claims being made by some of the big guys. They imply their products are natural when they are actually far from it. At best it’s confusing to customers, at worst it’s dangerous to their health.

What’s your next big goal?
We want to roll out the Consonant retail concept across Canada and beyond. Having our own stores is a great way for us to get closer to our customers so we can have meaningful conversations with them. We love hearing what they want and what they think of our products. And on the flipside, we love educating them on the differences between Consonant Skincare and conventional skincare.

Why is PR important to you (and what you do professionally)?
Strategic publicity helps build bridges between Consonant and key influencers in the marketplace: traditional media, new media, and everyday lovers of fashion, beauty and style.

A little more from the fourth floor:

I’m currently reading Damaged by Pamela Callow. It’s a page-turner by a Canadian writer living in Halifax who also happens to be the sister of a good friend.

Definitely fall. For the colours, the crisp air and the Canadian apples. 


Brilliantly executed global brands.

Strong, black coffee. Ideally French Roast.

Motto in two words? 
Passion (and) persistence.

Idea of perfect happiness? 
Breakfast on a patio beside a beach in Hawaii.

Used to be Blackberry’s, now it’s iPhone’s. (Sorry RIM.) 

Greatest achievement? 
Yet to be realized. 

Meet our Client: Sebastian Pigott

Born and raised in Toronto and educated at the Etobicoke School of the Arts, Sebastian Pigott’s numerous credits include multiple TV series’ The Listener, Haven, The Bridge, and Deadliest Sea, and feature films Small Town Murder Songs and SAW 3D. Pigott has a recurring role on Being Erica, and holds a supporting role in the film High Chicago. He also enjoys writing music and screenplays, and taking his Honda Shadow 750 RS across Ontario to fish and go camping. He currently lives in Toronto.

We had the opportunity to have a quick drink with Sebastian and we got to talking about upcoming projects, his time on Canadian Idol, and his love for fishing. Thanks for visiting us on the fourth floor, Sebastian!

Twitter: @sebastianpigott

Photo credit: Indrek Mandmets.

What do you do?

I am an actor, writer, and a musician.

When did you start acting?
I went to Etobicoke School of Arts but I didn’t have great passion for it. That came later, about seven years ago, when I started studying as a profession. That was followed by the requisite years of poverty and desperation, then you start to cobble together a living. That’s what drove me to pursue writing, which has proved to be most excellent.

How long have you worked with rock-it promotions?
Known Debra for a while now, but officially with rock-it for the last couple months.

Why is PR important to you?
I think it goes back to the idea that in my line of work, there are things that I have to do. I want to work and I want to make myself more employable. So I have to do things that will expose me and ultimately, make me more employable.

What do you love most about your job?
I’ve been lucky to be able to write, act and sing. I would be happy to finger paint if that’s what people wanted me to do – it’s a fortune to be a professional artist.

What do you like least about your profession?
I find doing media a little tough. It’s such a big part of what we do and yet at the same time, not at all what we do. I mean, who’s to say that a person that plays the guitar is going to be a great conversationalist? They may come across as boring on paper. I think that should be a new title, professional conversationalist.

On the show Being Erica, your character Kai Booker is often referred to as a time-traveling singer/musician. I know you have a musical background. Are there any other qualities you and Kai share?
I’m pretty much playing myself! That being said, I’ve had to dig inside to darker places to get inspiration [Ed. note: Kai, Sebastian’s character is an opium addict]. At the end of the day, Kai’s a guy hung up on a girl, there are other things going on, but the main thing is being hung up on a girl. And that’s easy to relate to.

You got your musical break during Canadian Idol, what was that experience like?
I did it on a whim. I didn’t go in thinking I was going to audition, I just went along to hang out. I think this is what gave me an advantage over other people, I was more relaxed than the other contestants. After being on the show [he ended in top 10], doors started opening up. Opportunities like Being Erica came up, which is pretty cool.

Do you have any exciting projects coming up that you can tell us about?
I’ve written a film that is now being looked at by some key people. I can’t say much, but it appears we’ve found a producer in the US (knock on wood). This is going to be a great project. I’m (cautiously) over the moon.

A little more from the fourth floor:
Designer: Versace. I have a vintage Versace jacket and I love it.
Book: Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock.
Snack: Liquorice, although I recently found out that I have a gluten allergy, so I get by on nachos.
Season: Spring.
Sexy: Pajamas.
Drink: Strongbow.
Motto in two  a few words: It’s harder to walk forward when you are stepping on your own feet.
Idea of perfect day off: Going fishing! Especially going up to Big Rideau Lake. Went there last weekend and caught a 26” pike.
Indulgence: Candy, I have a ridiculous sweet tooth.
Greatest achievement: The song that my brother and I wrote for Kai. We got some great feedback and tons of YouTube plays. [Ed. note: over 200,000, to be precise].

Meet Our Client: Jay Klein

Jay M. Klein is the CEO of Action Candy Company, which has developed and brought to market several lines of specialty chewing gum, including the leading brand of naturally-flavoured, aspartame-free gum, PUR.

Klein is also the founder of Drivertise International Inc.,a marketing and advertising firm specializing in the production and installation of large format specialty graphics.

A member of the Board of Governors at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, the UJC Cabinet and a recognized member of the Young Leadership Committee of the Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario (POGO), Klein also spends much of his time volunteering.

He was recently included on the National Post’s Worthy 30, highlighting Canada’s most eligible bachelors.  

 Flo Rida and Jay Klein.

Find PUR Gum on Twitter.

What do you do?
Indirectly, I freshen peoples breath! Well, actually I am the Founder and President of PUR Gum. We make the #1 selling aspartame-free gum in Canada, and now are starting to KICK ASPARTAME in the US Market. 

How long have you worked with rock-it promotions?
I have worked with rock-it for two months so far, and I have a feeling it is just a start of long term relationship. Based on the results, I feel like we have been working together for years. Not only is the whole team at rock-it beautiful, they also have created a great buzz for PUR.
What do you love most about your job?
I love that we have created a product that benefits consumers looking to eliminate aspartame from their diets. I love that we are gluten and nut-free, so people with allergies can enjoy chewing gum, and lastly, I love that at any given time, there are tens of thousands of packs of PUR Gum in people’s purses, cars, and jackets.

What do you like the least about your profession/industry?
I wish we could be in more places at once. We see such great results in the markets we introduce PUR Gum to, we just want to be everywhere instantly. I need to get a conference call with Doc, from Back to the Future, and Willy Wonka, to see if they can combine the Time Machine with the Wonkavator. I think that would help us out.

What’s your next big goal?
We are about to launch our fourth flavour, which is called EXCITEMINT. But our next corporate goal is to open our 5000th account. We are on our way!

Why is PR important to you (and what you do professionally)?
PR is important to us because we get an unfiltered and unbiased response from the journalist. I think consumers like this as opposed to advertising.

A little more from the fourth floor:
Anywhere that sells running shoes.
Harry Potter series.
Celery and Granny Smith Apples with a slight red blemish on them.
Golf Season.
My Mom.
Grey Goose on the rocks with a lime.
Motto in two words:
Idea of perfect happiness:
Sharing what you have with the people you love.
Running Shoes.
Greatest achievement:
I’m still working on it!

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.

A visit from….Better Styled

Even though we like to think we’re fairly up to date with fashion, sometimes we need a little help to steer us away from bad trends, and stick to classic shapes. To help us groom our closets for this fall, we invited Erin Nadler from Better Styled up to the fourth floor. She happily gave us her top tips for looking classic, but working in a few fun pieces. 

Better Styled is like a personal shopper, stylist, seamstress and fashion trend watcher all in one. Erin & her team at Better Styled are there to help you keep your wardrobe fresh and updated for your day to day life.
Better Styled carries a private label selection, as well as over 15 (mostly Canadian) lines to choose from, all within their on-site warehouse and showroom. They can provide custom alterations and home delivery – perfect to help everyone from corporate executives to busy stay-at-home moms. A complimentary preliminary consultation with a stylist will help determine your preferences and needs, and what looks best on you. Their cozy and chic consultation space makes finding the right clothes for you a relaxing and satisfying experience.

With the fall season upon us, and as we tuck our spring and summer clothing away again for another year, it’s time to think about updating our fall wardrobes. Every season, we are inundated with the must-haves for the season, so I’m here to simplify it for you, tell you what you really need, and what is just a passing fad.

I firmly believe that every woman needs a closet full of essential pieces. The perfect black suit (if black is not your colour, choose grey, navy, or brown), the perfect white blouse, the perfect jean, the perfect trench coat or fall layering jacket, and the perfect black pump.

The word “perfect” is subjective. If you look best in a wide leg pant, but the trends lean more towards straight or skinny, go with wide. The cut and style on you is what makes it “perfect” for you. Sprinkle in some trends to keep your essentials current, but don’t feel you have to replace your favourites just because they aren’t splashed all over fashion magazines right now.

Here is my list of key pieces for this fall/winter season. Choose the ones you love, and work them into your closet:

Heeled boot – either a bootie, to the knee, or thigh-high – a true fall must-have.

A timeless look from Dolce and Gabanna. Image source

Long cardigan – fitted or oversized, a long cardigan is a great layering piece.

For a more casual look, go oversized. This one, from Urban Outfitters, is a lovely neutral.

To make office-appropriate, something fitted looks more polished. Again, Urban Outfitters has a solid option.

Ruffled top – a great style of blouse that I love layered under a suit jacket for a feminine twist.

This beautiful Oscar De La Renta blouse is perfect for layering beneath a suit jacket. An instant classic.

Dark leg – tights are big, and keeping a dark silhouette is a good option for more corporate workplaces. Pair dresses and skirts with dark tights and darker boots or pumps. It’s a trick to keep a long lean shape.

DKNY Fall 2010 does it right.

Embellishments – sequined shoulders, zipper details, fur trimmed collars, and leather are all big trends. Try picking one on a top, tights or jacket, and incorporate into your wardrobe.

Shearling jackets are timeless, trendy and warm! This one from Zara is great.

TIFF’10: Meet Our Client: Allen Altman

With a talent for playing deep, brooding roles, complemented by characters ranging from comedic to dramatic, Montreal-raised Allen Altman is making a scene at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. The dashing actor stars in Denis Villeneuve’s highly anticipated film, Incendies, and a Greg Atkins short titled Above The Knee.

Altman will also shine on the small screen this fall, with his recurring role on HBO Canada’s Living in your Car and Incendo Productions’ Wandering Eye. Prior to becoming an actor, Altman enjoyed a successful career as a model. He studied acting at Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York City before relocating to Los Angeles to learn the Meisner Technique with Sandy Marshall, and later, at Warren Robertson’s Theatre Workshop.

Altman (who is bilingual) lives and works in Toronto, where he gardens and avidly practices Bikram yoga.


What do you do?
I am an actor, and I run an interior design company.

How long have you worked with rock-it promotions?
I met Debra about five years ago.

What do you love most about your job?
I am passionate about following my INSTINCT in everything. I also love the playfulness and discovery in acting, being able to live in the moment. Whether it’s drama or a comedy, it’s so rewarding to follow your heart. Over the years, I realized that the more you follow your voice, the greater the rewards.

What do you like the least about your profession/industry?
I am no bull, and raw, and have a hard time with superficiality and attitude. I try and stay focused on the work and the generous positive artists I collaborate with.   

What’s your next big goal?
I would love to do a movie with Bruce McDonald. He directed me in Living in Your Car and I found his honesty inspiring and his positivity contagious.

Why is PR important to you (and what you do professionally)?
Some projects are so rewarding and the storytelling is so epic that you want to shout it from the rooftop.
PR is the rooftop. When I read the script for Incendies, even before auditioning, I knew that it would be amazing, especially with Denis Villeneuve directing. I feel blessed to have worked on it and want celebrate that.

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

I love Debra Goldblatt, and Christina (Walters) and Lisa (Power). The gang at rock-it know what actors deal with and they make PR fun and effortless.  

A little more from the fourth floor:
Designer: Andy Warhol
Store: Home Depot
Book: Fallen by David Maine
Snack: Olives
Season: Seasons of love
Sexy: To me, honesty and the capacity to laugh at yourself are sexy.
Inspiration: The elements 
Drink: Water
Motto in two words: Fearless Creativity
Idea of perfect happiness: Always staying curious…
Indulgence: Green and Black’s’ Organic Ginger Black Chocolate 
Greatest achievement: Life

TIFF ’10: Meet Our Client: Noah Reid

You’ll soon see Noah Reid lacing up his skates in TIFF’s opening night film, Score! A Hockey Musical. Plus, he just scored the lead in a Syfy pilot on Fox called Three Inches, an action-adventure/fantasy with a superhero twist.

An actor since the age of eight, Reid has lent his voice to many animated series, including Franklin the Turtle, Jane and the Dragon and Pippi Longstocking. He also starred in various small screen roles, including Strange Days at Blake Holsey High, Terry, Degrassi: The Next Generation, Soul Food and In Love and War.

Reid holds impressive theatre credits, including roles at the world-renowned Stratford Shakespeare Festival, Soulpepper Theatre, Blyth Festival and Theatre Aquarius. He was a recipient of the prestigious John Hirsch Award (2009), which is given to the most promising actor in the Stratford Festival.

Reid attended Etobicoke School of the Arts (Toronto), and is a graduate of the prestigious National Theatre School of Canada (Montreal). He currently lives in Toronto and is a client of Gary Goddard Agency. He is managed by DF Management in LA and NYC.

What do you do? 
I’m an actor. And a semi-musician. 
How long have you worked with rock-it promotions?
We started working together in June 2010, to gear up for the release of my film Score: A Hockey Musical. [Ed. note: In select Canadian theatres beginning October 22].
What do you love most about your job?
I get to wear other people’s lives and see what it’s like to be them. I can leave whatever else is going on in my life at the door, and literally walk in someone else’s shoes. I mean, I started acting when I was about six years old, professionally when I was eight, and I had never had so much fun. Everyone involved seemed so cool and funny, and had great stories.
I got to say and do stuff I would never say or do as a normal kid, and audiences would laugh and applaud, and it all seemed like organized goofing around to me. I guess it’s never really changed. 
Now, I can also appreciate that I get to learn from the different walks of life that my characters come from. Actors end up with a grab bag of (often useless) skills and knowledge from playing the roles they play in their careers, and I think there’s something really cool about that.
What do you like the least about your profession/industry?

I find it tough to deal with the business side of things. It’s all fun and games when you’re acting, but there’s a real edge to the industry as well, and I find I am always reminded that it is a business where business decisions are made. 
The classic example is the audition process, and the rejection that goes hand in hand with it. Actors always have to remind themselves not to take it personally, which is hard when our work is so deeply personal. Actors are also friends with other actors, and sometimes a part can come between a friendship. But, I think you learn to deal with that pretty quickly. 

Personally, I would be thrilled to just learn my lines, show up and have a good time, but there’s a game within the game.

What’s your next big goal?
I’d like to get to a point where I have more control over the projects I’m doing. I mean, I’ve never said yes to a project I didn’t want to do, but that’s different from choosing roles and projects and colleagues. It’s probably a ways down the road, but for me the goal is a little bit of creative control.
Why is PR important to you (and what you do professionally)?
I mentioned the “business” side of the business; the “game within the game”. Well, these are areas that are important in getting ahead, and they’re areas I can use help with. 
I am terrible at self-promotion. I want people to know who I am and to think of me for interesting and challenging roles, and if my name and face keep popping up in the right place at the right time, then maybe I’m a little closer to that. But, if I were in charge of making sure that happened all on my own, I’d probably want to shoot myself.

Any other thoughts you want to share about your public relations experience?
It’s really nice to not be stressed out about this side of my work, and to know that there are some very capable people behind me. 

A little more from the fourth floor:
Designer Hugo Boss.
Store – A music store called Paul’s Boutique, in Kensington Market.
Book – Anything by Hunter S. Thompson, Charles Bukowski, Martin McDonagh or William Shakespeare.
Snack – Anything with salt and grease.
Season – Winter.
Sexy – Definitely.
Inspiration – Irish playwrights, Tom Waits and Bob Dylan, women, older actors.
Drink – Guiness.
Motto in two words – Have fun.
Idea of perfect happiness – Going to the cottage with my lady for a week after working on something really challenging and meaningful.
Indulgence – Which one?
Greatest achievement – Continuing to do what I love.

Meet Our Client: Emily Hampshire

Emily Hampshire is a Gemini Award-winning actor (Made in Canada) and a long time rock-it promotions client with personality to spare.

Hampshire’s work has also been recognized by the Canadian Academy of Film and Television with three Genie Nominations (Best Supporting Actress at the 27th Awards for the movie Snow Cake; Best Leading Actress at the 25th Awards for the movie Blood; and Best Supporting Actress at the 24th Awards for the movie A Problem with Fear). She is most widely known to international audiences for her critically acclaimed role in Snow Cake, opposite Alan Rickman and Sigourney Weaver.

Hampshire plays a lead role alongside Scott Speedman, Jay Baruchel and Xavier Dolan in Jacob Tierney’s Good Neighbours. The comic noir thriller will have its world premiere as a Special Presentation at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Set in 1995 during the second Quebec referendum in an apartment building in Montreal’s Notre-Dame-de-Grâce neighbourhood, the film follows three tenants while a serial killer is on the loose.
Hampshire now lives in Los Angeles, but relishes every opportunity she gets to come back to Canada for work and pleasure.

What do you do?

The short answer: I’m an actor.

How long have you worked with rock-it promotions?
Going all the way back to my first date with Debra, five years.

What do you love most about your job?
This is super weird, but I feel like I only JUST discovered the answer to this last week! I’ve been doing this for over 15 years now, without a real understanding of WHY, beyond it being the only thing I know how to do. Then, last week I was reading this article about…er…well, I was Googling symptoms, which lead me to believe I might have an addiction (not to anything illegal!), but it turned out to be the wrong diagnosis anyway, so whatever.

The point is: I was reading this article about these addicts (once again: NOT my problem) and this doctor argued that this so-called “addiction” was a myth. That these people just couldn’t come to terms with the fact that they only have one relatively brief life. They want several lives, so they can have everything. I was like a) “Phew, the addiction I thought I had doesn’t exist” and more importantly, b) “THIS is why I’m an actor!” What I’m addicted to about acting is that I get to have multiple lives. I’m one of those greedy people that wants more than this one life I was dealt, and I actually found this loophole in the universe where I actually CAN have EVERYTHING!

What do you like least about your profession?

They don’t pay me to audition. That’s the part of my job that’s actually WORK. I’d waaaay rather get paid for all the work involved in auditioning and do the actual “job” for free. (Ooof, then I’d be SUPER RICH TOO!) 😉

What’s your next big goal?
To get a movie that shoots over pilot season. No, wait. It’s to go backwards. I mean, I think there’s a case to be made that my backwards world is a better idea than the actual world. Imagine if auditioning was interviewing the director for the job instead – or if DREAMS were reality and Inception was a documentary! I know, I know, that’s a paradigm shift I’ve been trying to get behind but it’s hard. Anyway, my next big goal is to live in backwards world… then it would make sense why I think people with plastic surgery look older!

Why is PR important to you (and what you do professionally)?
Honestly, I didn’t realize just how important it actually is for me. I used to think that only famous actors needed publicists to like, WARD OFF the press and do damage control. I actually thought the world of magazine articles and TV interviews just happened to those actors that I kept hearing about, and a publicist was the “media bodyguard”. Basically, I was wearing my backwards-world glasses. What I’ve come to learn first-hand is that I wasn’t hearing about those actors because they were working, but they were working because I (and the people who do the hiring) was hearing about them. PR to me means that as my public profile grows, my auditions have begun being replaced with offers.

Photo: Attila Dory

Any other thoughts you’d like to add?
I would sooner be a prostitute than be without these pimps. I know what it’s like to walk down the red carpet, only to later find out that the film publicist is pissed at me for not stopping to do interviews and pictures. rock-it makes sure that doesn’t happen.

A little more from the fourth floor:
Designer: Since deciding between Comrags and Pink Tartan is like a Sophie’s Choice for me, I’m going to say Andy The-Ahn.
Book: I can’t believe one of your team stole my book selection! She’s Come Undone has always been MY favourite book, but now I’m going to say Madame Bovary. Hmph. Try and top that, next-rock-it-staff-member-to-be-profiled!
Snack: PACKS! I love any snacks that come in packs. Like those ones they have on planes now.
Season: Festival season.
Sexy: Someone finding you sexy (and by “you” I, of course, mean me).
Inspiration: Other people’s lives.
Drink: Coke Zero.
Motto in two words: Disintimacy. That’s two words in one because a) I’m competitive, and b) distance and intimacy are not mutually exclusive for me as a motto.
Idea of perfect happiness: My backwards world.
Indulgence: is a problem for me. I think I’ve built up a tolerance from over-indulging myself in everything, so nothing is an indulgence anymore.
Greatest achievement: The last Facebook comment I wrote. Seriously, it was pretty much my most inspired work to date. I got lots of “like’s”.

Meet Our Client: Jennifer Podemski

Born and raised in Toronto, Jennifer Podemski began her career at age 10, and has since dedicated her life to the performing arts, film and television. Her big break came when she landed a supporting role in the screen adaptation of Margaret Laurence’s acclaimed novel The Diviners. Since then, she has appeared in numerous television series and stage productions, including a starring role in Bruce MacDonald’s Dance Me Outside and the TV series spin off The Rez (nominated for a Best Actress Gemini Award).

Podemski also owns and operates an independent production company, Redcloud Studios, where she writes, directs and produces. She is currently executive-producing the award-winning National Aboriginal Achievement Awards for the fifth consecutive year, just signed a book deal with Fitzhenry & Whiteside, and has a feature film in the works with The Canadian Film Centre (CFC).

She can currently be seen in her seventh season of Degrassi: The Next Generation and has a supporting role in Sarah Polley’s highly anticipated second feature film, Take This Waltz, co-starring Michelle Williams and Sarah Silverman.

What do you do?

I am an actor, producer and director.

How long have you worked with rock-it promotions?
I was one of their first clients (10 years)!

What do you love most about your job?
I love working with so many different kinds of talented people. I feel so blessed that I am surrounded by creativity and imagination.

What do you like the least about your profession/industry?
Having to watch my weight!

What’s your next big goal?
To spin my ass off, literally. I am counting down to a nude scene.

Why is PR important to you (and what you do professionally)?
It’s like a reference letter. If you’re in the paper, or if someone is interested in writing about you, it puts you in the public consciousness and could bring in new work.

Any other thoughts you want to share about your public relations experience?
I’m good at talking about other people who I believe in, rather than myself. That is why PR is so important. I am grateful for rock-it promotions and all they have done for me.

A little more from the fourth floor:
Designer? Angela DeMontigny.
Store? Breds Custom.
Book? My Life So Far, Jane Fonda’s biography, had a profound impact on me.
Snack? Rice chips and hummus.
Season? Fall.
Sexy? Yes I am, thanks!
Inspiration? My baby girl Willow.
Drink? Water.
Motto in two words? PAY IT FORWARD.
Idea of perfect happiness? FEELING LOVED and GIVING LOVE every moment of every day.
Indulgence? Coffee.
Greatest achievement? My daughter.

*Full disclosure – our boss lady Debra and Jennifer have been best friends since childhood; however, their relationship as client/proprietor is strictly professional. Well, most of the time.

Photo credits: Nadya Kwandibens, Bengamin Stevens

Meet Our Client: YuMee Chung

YuMee Chung is the brains and the beauty behind Passport to Prana, a unique yoga program that offers people the freedom to try their city’s best yoga studios by eliminating the cost barrier that comes with yoga in a big city. The Passport To Prana card retails for a one-time fee of $20 to $30 (varies depending on the city) and gives the card holder access to try one class at 10 to 70 studios (varies depending on city).

Chung taught yoga for years before launching Passport to Prana with business partners Raj Gandhi, Prajna Harsora, Scott Peterson and Jim Benedek. She has taught yoga to CEO’s, Hollywood directors and high-profile celebrities, including Val Kilmer and Diane Lane, and offers yoga instruction on her personal website.

Photo courtesy of Marc Davidson

What do you do?

I work with Passport to Prana to promote the practice of yoga in major North American cities, including Toronto, Vancouver, New York and San Francisco. We started out in Toronto five years ago and we expect to be operating in more than 20 cities by the end of the year.
I’m a lawyer-turned-yoga teacher and I play a business development role at Passport to Prana, which to me means dreaming big and not being afraid to stand traditional business practices on their head. And, yes, I do occasionally bust out a headstand while on the job.

How long have you worked with rock-it promotions?
We’ve been with rock-it promotions for three years–three very happy years!

What do you love most about your job?
I love that my job doesn’t feel anything like a job. I’m one of the lucky ones who can say I followed my passion rather than doing what was expected. Also, it doesn’t hurt that my co-workers are all talented, creative, funny and kind people who share my enthusiasm for the work we do.

What do you like least about your profession/industry?
Technical difficulties. Sure, they’re a fact of life for online businesses but they’re the one thing that threatens my yogic calm.

Photo courtesy of Cylla von Tiedemann

What’s your next big goal?
We always say we won’t stop until Passport to Prana gives you access to all yoga studios everywhere!

Why is public relations important to you and what you do professionally?
We know we have a great product but without PR nobody would know about it. PR puts us on the map and brings clients to our door.

Any other thoughts you’d like to share about your PR experience?
A PR professional who really “gets” what you do and is enthusiastic about working with you is worth her weight in gold.

A little more from the fourth floor:
Website: Nice business model, nice execution, nice way to spend all my disposable income.
Designer: Berlin-based BLESS.
Book: Whatever I happen to be reading. At the moment it’s Black Swan Green by David Mitchell.
Snack: Too many to say–I’m a snack monster. I would be 300 pounds if I didn’t do yoga!
Season: Spring, Fall and everything in between.
Sexy: Shiny, happy people.
Inspiration: The yoga practice and the people who do it.
Drink: Jasmine tea.
Motto in two words: Breathe and smile (Russell Simmons taught me that one after a sweaty yoga class at Jivamukti Yoga School in NYC).
Idea of perfect happiness: The state of missing nothing.
Indulgence: Date night with my husband.
Greatest achievement: Hopefully still to come.

Passport To Prana is available in Vancouver, Victoria, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Calgary and Edmonton and will launch in Winnipeg this August. This year, they have also launched Passport To Prana programs in the US cities including Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Philadelphia, New York and Dallas.