Media, Darling: Briony Smith

Briony Smith is the writer and stylist
behind
The Grid’s fashion page. She was previously the fashion editor of
blogTO. Briony has also contributed to publications like ELLE Canada, LOULOU, Toronto
Life
, and glow. She recently appeared as a stylist on MuchMusic, and was named
by
Flare magazine as one of the Top 10 Best Dressed denizens of Fashion Week.


Photo courtesy of Flare, by Max Kopanygin.

Twitter: @TheGridTO
Website: thegridto.com 


Did you always want to be in the media? If
not, what other careers were on the horizon?
I still remember the day my dad told my
10-year-old self what a masthead was—and my immediate obsession with getting on
one someday! (Other careers I toyed with, believe it or not, were cop,
obstetrician, lawyer, and librarian.)
Where would you like to be five years from
now?
Writing, editing, and styling stories and
packages that make people say to their friends, “Hey, I read the best piece
today.”
Any advice for people getting started in
your industry?
Don’t. You will have to work ten times as
hard as everyone else, all the time. Forever. If you can handle that, and still
feel that passion for fashion, journalism, the arts? You’re in the right place.
What are your favourite media outlets, not
including your own? 
Vanity Fair, HBO, The A.V. Club, The New
York Times
, iwantapounddog.blogspot.ca.
Best interview you’ve ever had?
For crush factor (at the time), Will
Arnett. I behaved in a terribly unprofessional manner when I conned him into
repeating a line from a treasured Human Giant sketch.
Worst?
One musician scheduled a phoner immediately
after his dental surgery, while another actress scheduled the call during her
brief limo ride to the airport and kept barking what I should and should not
focus on in the piece. Oh, and Hawksley Workman.
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
A common refrain in the Smith household was
“Life isn’t fair.” My corollary to that might be: “Failure isn’t falling
down—it’s not getting up.” Jesus, that sounds like something on one of those
inspirational posters. This quote from U.S. congresswoman Debbie Wasserman in
last October’s Vogue did, however, strike me recently: “I might not convince
you that I’m right, and I might not always win the day or be successful on
everything I set out to accomplish. But I’m never going to lose because I got
outworked.”
What rule(s) do you live your life by?
The usual things: Try to be kind. Smile
more. Work hard. Dress well. It’s the little things. This, too, shall pass.
What’s the most important tip you can give
PR pros?
We know our fevered, last-minute emails
for products, images, and interview requests can be annoying, but super-prompt
replies are what make me really love some PR people—and loathe others.
Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro?
We love to hear about #wins.
I cheer every time a PR gal sends me a
high-res, off-figure, on-white image just in the nick of time.
I hate?
Leggings as pants. Snobbery. Getting up
early. Sore feet. Bad TV. Bad style.
I love?
French 75s. Kindness. My friends. Work
ethic. Similes that give you chills. Trinity-Bellwoods. Great style. A
well-dressed man.
Reading?
Best place on earth?
Under the covers. Or maybe Thailand.
Dinner guest?
Louis CK. Karl Lagerfeld. Peter Kaplan. And
the Davids: Chase, Milch, and Simon.
Hero?
Roger Ebert.
Favourite app (or whatever you are
downloading these days)?
Flixster, Shazam, and Instagram.
Pool or ocean?
The sea! It’s one of the great loves of my
life. (Full disclosure: I’m from B.C.)
Voicemail or email?
Email. Never, ever voicemail. Don’t call
me. Ever.


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.