Media, Darling: Sharlene Chiu

Sharlene Chiu was born in Vancouver and graduated from Ryerson University’s Radio and Television Arts program in 2005. Before starting MTV News Canada, Chiu helped launch MTV
in Canada in 2006, and worked behind-the-scenes as a segment producer for MTV
Live
. This included producing a music segment that ran on the show called On
the Radar
, where she established an exceptional reputation for selecting
and featuring new independent bands. 

Chiu introduced MTV News to Canada as a weekly segment
on the original hour long version of MTV Live. The regular segment featured
her traveling around the world reporting on music trends and covering
festivals such as SXSW, Austin City Limits, Osheaga, V Festival, and T in the
Park. This included over 250 honest and entertaining interviews with a wide range of artists, including
Coldplay, Rihanna, Kings of Leon,
Cee Lo Green, Vampire Weekend, Mumford & Sons, Phoenix and Feist.  

After winning the 2009 Travel Journalism Award presented by
VisitBritain for Best in Broadcast for her special, MTV News Pounds Britain,
Chiu created SHARLENE VS., an MTV News music travel series that takes
viewers beyond where the tourists go. In each city, Chiu meets artists of all kinds who take her under their helm, showing off unique, off-the-beaten-track spots that are special to them.

Photo credit: MTV Canada
Twitter: @sharlenechiu
Website: news.mtv.ca

Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers
were on the horizon?
I
had always wanted to do music journalism on television when I was growing up.
If I didn’t go for that dream job, I would have gone into photography, which
was also a huge passion of mine as a kid.

Where would you like to be five years from now?
Five
years from now, I hope I have my own production company creating badass TV
shows internationally in the food and travel realm.

Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
Patience
and perseverance!

What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own? 
I’ve
been obsessed with Nowness.com since its inception 3 years ago – they feature
the brightest, most innovative artists in fashion, food, music, film, and art
in wonderfully written articles and beautifully shot film forms. I also love
watching the video segments on Vice like “Munchies.”

Best interview you’ve ever had?
Cat
Power in 2008. This was just after she had released the album, “Jukebox,” and
had gone through a rather public hospitalization/breakdown. She’s one of my
favorite music artists ever and I remember how easy this interview went. We
chatted for about half an hour and she was incredibly sweet and candid about her
childhood and her struggles with alcohol and performing live. The
press/interview grind can get monotonous, so it’s rare you get someone who’s so
open, genuine, and unrehearsed.

Best advice you’ve ever been given?
From
my mom: “Work hard and never give up!”

What rule(s) do you live your life by?
Follow
your instincts and (this one’s a hard one) try not to worry.

What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Know
who you are reaching out to and make the pitch personal. For example, certain
publicists know I’m a sucker for knowing what’s new in music, fashion, food,
film, and travel so when something comes up in those areas, I get a personal
email with a simple “heads up, you’re gonna love this…” I see so many generic press
releases so this helps to grab my attention.

Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about
#wins.
I
was at an event where manicures were being offered so of course I indulged and
while my nails were getting painted, I was telling the nail artist what a horrible
time I was having with my lips cracking and peeling out of nowhere. The
loveliest PR pro was sitting beside me and told me about a product that helped
her with her lips. The next day, I got a package with the said product and a
note saying how fun it was to hang out and that she hopes that the product
helps like it did for her. It was so unexpected and memorable.

I hate?
Liars.

I love?
Laughing.

Reading?
Cook
books.

Best place on earth?
My
bed.

Hero?
My
parents.

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

Pool or ocean?
Ocean.

Voicemail or email?
Email.

Media, Darling: Sabrina Maddeaux

Sabrina
Maddeaux is the Managing Editor at
Toronto Standard, where she writes
and edits smart, candid content that sometimes makes people angry. Prior to
that, she was the Style Editor at
Toronto Standard. And before that, she
freelanced for publications such as
Toronto Life, blogTO.com, Sweetspot.ca,
TCHAD Quarterly, Faze Magazine, GlobalNews.ca, and more.

She
attended St. Bonaventure University in New York, where she studied political
science, journalism, and theology, and played NCAA Division I soccer for two
years. She likes things that aren’t boring. And cheese, always cheese.
Photo credit: Becca Lemire

Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were
on the horizon?
Actually, I always thought I’d be a lawyer. When I graduated from
university, I got into top law schools like Boston College and Notre Dame — I
even put down a deposit at Boston College and moved there. Two weeks before
classes were supposed to begin, something just didn’t feel right. So I totally
freaked out my parents, got a one-year acceptance deferral, and never looked
back.
Where would you like to be five years from now?
I’d still like to be the editor of an independent publication. There’s
so much more freedom in what you can write and the opinions you can express — I
can’t see myself giving that up anytime soon.
Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
Live outside whatever your beat is. If you cover fashion by day, be a
political junkie by night. It provides perspective and makes for a more
interesting writer and person.
Also, don’t regurgitate press releases. Think for yourself. Originality
creates value.

What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own? 
The Atlantic, the New York Times, Jezebel, xoJane, The Paris Review, The
New Yorker
, The New Inquiry, Gawker, and a slew of other small independent
pubs. I watch Breaking Bad, Damages, Veep, Mad Men, Dexter, Golden Girls
reruns, and too much TMZ.
Best interview you’ve ever had? Worst?
I’ve always had good interviews, maybe because I think of them as
conversations and not interviews. I’m also really picky about who I interview
because I hate transcribing.
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
I think it was Kelly Cutrone who said, “Be everywhere, meet everyone.”
That was my philosophy for a long time, and still is. This industry is all
about networking and you never know when you’ll meet someone that can change
your career.


What rule(s) do you live your life by?
Always eat a good breakfast. Cereal doesn’t count.
What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Don’t complain about mostly positive coverage (unless there’s a factual
error). And don’t complain about honest reviews and feedback — even when
they’re negative. Also, don’t blacklist lightly. Media talk and we tend to have
each other’s backs when it comes down to it.
Finally, read my publication. If you pitch me an actress for our next
(nonexistent) cover, I can’t take you seriously ever again.
Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
I like any PR pro who takes the time to get to know my publication and
me. The agencies and publicists I prefer really get what I do and don’t try to
brainwash me.
I also appreciate PRs who set realistic expectations about their events
and products; it shows they value my time and trust. Don’t lie to me, and I’ll
like you. If I like you, I might just cover that dingy event where one Degrassi
kid shows up (You’ll eventually have one. Everybody does), because I care.
I hate?
Censorship, Internet outages.
I love?
Strong cheeses and John Lithgow.
Reading?
I’m slowly working my way through the Game of Thrones series.
Best place on earth?
St. Bonaventure, NY.
Dinner guest?
I’m a little obsessed with media mogul and feminist icon Jane Pratt
right now. Would love to pick her brain.
Hero?
I think everyone should be his or her own hero.
Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?
Is it so five years ago to say Shazam? I’m on a BlackBerry, so my
entire device is so five years ago. I can’t be blamed.
Pool or ocean?
No question: ocean. The smell alone is so relaxing.
Voicemail or email?
Unless someone’s dying… NEVER, EVER voicemail.

Media, Darling: Pay Chen

Pay Chen is a TV host, writer and producer
who got her on-air start at OMNI-TV in Toronto, sharing short infotainment
segments in prime time and late night. Her favourite pick-up line during those
years was, “You’re the last woman I see before I fall asleep.” 
She’s also the former host of Breakfast
Television Winnipeg
on Citytv, and hosted programs for G4TechTV, The Biography
Channel and is seen nationally on the popular preschool series,
4 Square (it was a show before being known as a place
you can check-in).

Pay is currently The Bachelor Canada
Insider for iVillage.ca and The Bachelor Canada, where she’ll dish the dirt on
what’s really happening on the show, set to hit your screens this fall on
Citytv.

She has written for children’s television
shows and is currently writing for an animated series. Her passion for all
things local and edible have lead to regular food columns for the Toronto Standard, Metro newspapers and contributions to iVillage.ca.

Pay used to be very skilled at the ukulele.
Website: www.PayChen.com
Twitter: @PayChen

Did you always want to be in the media? If
not, what other careers were on the horizon? 
I had always wanted to be a teacher and
then became really interested in working in children’s television. After a few
years of doing educational TV and programs, I decided to go back to school to
get my teaching certificate. I was accepted into a post-grad program in
Australia and was making plans to move when, on a whim, I applied for the host
position at OMNI. I spent seven years at OMNI and never made it to Australia.
Where would you like to be five years from
now?
I’d like to be Tom Cruise’s fourth ex-wife. Or you know, happy. Loving what I do and
still feeling challenged by it.
Any advice for people getting started in
your industry?
A lot of people ask me how to get a job
on-camera. That’s a tough one. You don’t necessarily need certain skills.
Sometimes people are hired because they have the right look. I worked in
production and was writing before I was hosting. It gave me a true
understanding and appreciation for the process of making television. Also, when
you know how to produce segments and direct shoots, it’s harder for people to
bullshit you later as a host. To do well, you need to understand what others do.
My first job was as a production co-ordinator. I did the running around,
photocopying and tedious schedules. I have a lot of respect for good
co-ordinators and production assistants. They hold the show together.

Also, be willing to learn what other people do.
You won’t build that show yourself.
What are your favourite media outlets, not
including your own?
 
I leave those 24-hour news channels on all
day. They repeat the stories every 15 minutes so after the third time seeing
the same story I always think, “I knew that.” And I feel really smart. 

I also have a fondness for the CBC because it
had such a strong influence on my childhood. My brother and I learned to speak
English by watching TV. CBC, PBS and Magnum P.I. formed us as people. 
I also watch a lot of Food Network. It’s no
secret that I would love to host and produce a food show.
Best interview you’ve ever had?
I can’t think of just one, but the best
ones feel like you’re shooting the breeze with a friend. The laughs are genuine
and you’re sad when you have to wrap.
Kids and teens make up some of my most
rewarding and memorable interviews. I used to be a story researcher on a teen
show. We dealt with some heavy issues that affected kids (violence, eating
disorders, bullying, drugs) and kids don’t filter or edit what they say the way
adults do. They are brutally honest.
Worst?
Sometimes you interview people who don’t
want to do press and you can tell they’d rather be somewhere else.
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
As a host: Be yourself.
As a writer: Read it out loud.
As a producer: B-roll. There’s never
enough.
What rule(s) do you live your life by?
Don’t be an a**hole. Be kind. Be helpful.
What’s the most important tip you can give
PR pros?
Know the show I’m working on or the column
I write when you pitch. I’ve had people pitch me ideas when I was on BT and not
realize we were a LIVE morning show. Also, it might be one product that you’re
pitching to many outlets, but let me know you’ve considered my audience by
suggesting an angle that suits what I’m working on. I’ll feel like you did me a
favour.
Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro?
We love to hear about #wins.
I’ve had many great experiences! I tend to
work with the ones I like over and over again. I count many PR pros as friends.
The ones who understand that TV is about visuals and good speakers. You want
promotion and I want content, so let’s make it work. 
Good PR people and good hosts have to be
great listeners. We both talk and “sell” for a living – sometimes you just need
to shut up and listen.
I hate?
Rudeness. When people have a sense of
entitlement. 
The sound of girls shuffling their feet
when they wear Uggs. Will they fall off if you pick your feet up? 
The smell of boiled hot dogs.
I love?
Kind people. Those who do things without
expecting anything in return and those who do it without drawing any attention
to themselves. 
Plain chocolate cake, no icing. Things in jars. Seriously, it’s an
obsession.
Reading?
Scripts. But I want to reread Tina Fey’s Bossypants. “Over! Under! Through!” – That’s great advice.
Best place on earth?
Anywhere I can have my closest friends,
access to cheese and dessert.
Dinner guest?
I would love to get Tina Fey, Ellen
DeGeneres and some of my best friends together because we’d laugh until we
hurt.
Hero?
Christian Bale as Batman. Wait, I didn’t
answer this correctly did I?
Favourite app (or whatever you are
downloading these days)?
I’m an Instagram addict. I post photos of
lattes and nailpolish like everyone else.
Pool or ocean?
Ocean. I grew up in Nova Scotia. I miss the
sound and the smell of the ocean. Not the bad smells. I don’t miss those.
Voicemail or email?
Email. I hate long voicemails and I’m
usually running around when people call so I’m only half listening.

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. 

Media, Darling: Jeremy John

Breakfast Television Winnipeg host Jeremy John wakes Winnipeggers up with a smile each and every
morning!


John’s love of storytelling and meeting interesting and
diverse people makes him a perfect fit for Breakfast Television. A Brantford,
Ontario native, John graduated from the Radio Broadcasting program at Humber
College in Toronto. Prior to joining the Citytv team, John has held a variety
of radio and television positions including stints at Rogers Television, 680News, CHFI, The Fan 590, KISS 92.5, 97.7 The Beach, SunTV, and A Channel.
Outside of work, John enjoys spending time with his family,
watching live theatre, and is a fan of just about any sport including hockey,
basketball and football. He is also a proud supporter of various local
charities including The YMCA, The Salvation Army and The Humane Society, as well as
local community theatre.
A few fun interesting facts you may not know is that John once worked as a giant jelly bean, got punched by “Tiger” Williams and put in a
headlock from John Cena, swam in a pool of cranberries, acted in a live weekly
theatre soap opera and competed multiple times in the World Championship of
Rock, Paper, Scissors.


Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other
careers were on the horizon? 
I wanted to be an actor. I thought that Canadians just
move to Hollywood and become famous.  Ended up in theatre school, hung out
with a lot of unemployed actors and decided to give radio a try instead.
Where would you like to be five years from now?
Here. In a bigger house. With nicer clothes. 
Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
Be ready and able to do anything. Learn as many skills
as possible. The person who can write and host and shoot and edit will
get the job sooner than the person who can do less.
Also be a solution person, not a problem person. If
there is an issue, bring it to the boss. But make every effort to bring a
solution along with you. It may not be the perfect solution but the boss
should see you as a person who always has an answer
What are your favourite media outlets, not including your
own? 
I watch/read/listen to all the local stations, newspapers,
blogs. I also am a big fan of lots of the CBC programming, sites like
reddit and boing boing
      
Best interview you’ve ever had?
Cheech and Chong were fun, so were The Wiggles, but for very
different reasons. I’m a huge Blue Jays fan so interviewing Hall of Famer
Roberto Alomar standing in the infield of Shaw Park was a very big deal to me.
Plus, he was super nice and hung out telling stories before and after the
interview.  
Worst?
Anyone who complains about having to get up early to be on
our show. Sorry, honestly I am, but we’re here and ready for you. The least you could do is put on a happy face for the camera.
  
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
Fire it before it quits – a Roz Weston from KISS 92.5 quote
talking about my rapidly receding hair line. I started shaving it that weekend.
What rule(s) do you live your life by?
Family first. Fifty years from now I won’t regret not
putting in more overtime. I would regret missing a T-ball game or an
afternoon at the park.
  
What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Make me understand how this is a benefit to my
audience. Focus on how this will improve the life of my audience and the
rest takes care of itself. The single focus should be the benefit to the
viewer.
Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear
about #wins.
Whenever the PR folks give me choices. Give me
different ideas about how to present your info. You know your product, I
know our show. Together we can make great bit of TV!
I hate?
People who make my job harder. If you do your work
properly, than I can do mine.
I love?
Making the control room laugh, intentionally or not. It’s great to hear the very busy people (who normally aren’t really giggly)
laughing at something I’ve done.
Reading?
Right now? Christopher Moore’s Sacre Bleu and Stephen
Hawking’s A Brief History of Time.
Two books at the same time, you ask? One in the upstairs
bathroom, one in the downstairs bathroom. Hey, you asked!
Best place on earth?
In the stands with my family at the ball park.


Dinner guest?

My wife. I know, you think I’m boring right. But
she’s really fun, she likes me a lot and I don’t get to see her nearly
enough. If I have to make a second choice, I would pick Eddie Vedder
Hero?
Terry Fox. It’s a cliché for a Canadian to say that,
but he’s a hero if ever there was one. A teenage kid who did so much for
cancer research.
Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?
New stuff every day. Right now playing Monsters Ate My Condo, and Sid Meyers’ Pirates! 
Pool or ocean?
Pool – I hate jelly fish.
Voicemail or email?
I can ignore emails easier, so I prefer that. If you
need to get a hold of me, you should probably call.

Media, Darling: Brett Walther

As Canadian Living’s Home & Garden
Director, Brett Walther shares simply chic décor strategies with the magazine’s
3.9 million readers. With an emphasis on getting high-end style for less, his
do-it-yourself approach stretches decorating dollars, and translates the
hottest design trends into easy, breezy, weekend updates.

Before joining the Canadian Living family,
Brett previously served as the features editor at Style at Home magazine, where
he became a familiar face across the country as a regular guest on CityTV’s CityLine.
After hours, Brett can usually be found at
his Toronto Cityplace condo (where you can “almost, but not quite” watch the
Jays on the Rogers Centre field), making the slow – and expensive – transition
from minimalism to maximalism.


Did you always want to be in the media?
Remember that TVO show from the early ’80s
where the three kids inherited the clubhouse filled with robots, and started a
newspaper as a cover for fighting aliens? That pretty much cemented my career
path, and I’ve never strayed far from those dreams of making it as a real-life boy
reporter. I’d toyed with the idea of playing it safe as an in-the-trenches foreign
correspondent in my late teens, but the danger of the design beat ultimately won me over.
Where would you like to be five years from
now?
I’d love to be where I am now, having spent
the past five years elevating the profile of Canadian Living’s Home &
Garden section to rival our Food content. That’s right – watch out, Test
Kitchen.
Any advice for people getting started in
your industry?
Make yourself indispensible. Your greatest
achievement as an intern is to make your editor wonder how anything got
accomplished before you came on the scene.
What are your favourite media outlets, not
including your own?
I adore House Beautiful and Country Living.
Even if a particular story isn’t appealing to me from a style standpoint, their
savvy packaging pulls me right in. I’m tempted to add CBC to come off all highbrow,
but it’s only on for Coronation Street.
Best interview you’ve ever had?
Sherri Donghia, the design director of the Donghia home textiles empire. The interview was a marathon three-hour stroll through her
impossibly inspiring fabric showroom, which ended with her offering me a job in
her Manhattan HQ. I’m sure she was thinking “swatch-room stock boy,” but I was
still rather flattered.
Worst?
Interviewing other journos is rarely any
fun. We tend to be a terribly guarded bunch in the presence of recording
devices. Worse than that are interviews with pseudo-celebs who suddenly decide
they’re designers because a bed-in-a-bag has their face plastered on the
packaging. Barf.
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
“Products on-page should never appear
larger than they do in real life,” “Anniversaries aren’t real news pegs,” “Every
planter pot needs spillers, thrillers and fillers,” “Know your reader,” and “A
person who is nice to you but is not nice to your server is not a nice person.”
What rule(s) do you live your life by?
Dorothy Draper wrote the seminal DIY
decorating guide, Decorating is Fun! back in 1939, and it’s basically my
manifesto – even beyond the confines of design. If something stops being fun, I
know that it’s time for a change.
What’s the most important tip you can give
PR pros?
Be as transparent as possible. If access to
a junket or interview opportunity is dependent on specific conditions and
expectations of coverage, I need full disclosure in advance. Is the client
going to push for a specific platform for publication? Are they hoping for release
by a certain deadline? Although I’m obviously not going to accept a seven-night
stay at the new Knightsbridge Bulgari without covering it in some capacity,
I’ll graciously decline the invitation if I know in advance I can’t deliver
anything near what you’re hoping for. It’s common courtesy. My momma taught me
that.

And please – for the love of all that is
holy – enough with those silly supplied hashtags at press events.
Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro?
We love to hear about #wins.
There’s that gorgeous Helen Mirren line
from Gosford Park when she goes on about how she’s good at her job because
she knows what her ladyship wants before she knows she wants it herself… It’s
always lovely to be furnished with the full complement of high-res images,
product specs, Canadian retails and sourcing deets before you actually have to
request a thing. Jennifer Thompson from Elevator, for example, is a master at
that sort of intuitive approach to PR, and I love her to bits.
I hate?
Karate-chopped cushions, pot light chandeliers,
bun feet, flocked wallpapers and windows without drapes.
I love?
Cabriole legs, grey-washed wood, horizontal
stripes, camelback sofas, button tufting, and blue-and-white transferware.
Reading?
Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall.
Best place on earth?
My family’s farm in southwestern Ontario.
Dinner guest?
Madonna on one side, and her
would-be-decorator brother Christopher on the other. I’d referee.
Hero?
Jose Bautista. Even if you’re not a Jays
fan (and shame on you if you’re not), the beard is worthy of worship.
Favourite app (or whatever you are
downloading these days)?
I have a full-on, Zak Morris Saved by the
Bell
phone. It’s a miracle I can even text.
Pool or ocean?
Lake.
Voicemail or email?

Email. It’s very possible that phone of mine isn’t voicemail-capable.

Media, Darling: Carley Fortune

Carley Fortune is the editor of The Grid’s
life section, where she handles stories on fashion, real estate, parenting,
retail and food, which makes her very hungry. Occasionally, she writes about world
issues, like finding an apartment and saving money, but mostly she sits in
front of a computer thinking of ways to get the word “woot” into display copy. She’s
been working in magazines for six years, previously as the associate online
editor at Toronto Life.

Did you always want to be in the media? If
not, what other careers were on the horizon?
No, but I’ve been a lover of magazines
since a very young age. I wanted to be a florist, a vet and a marine biologist
when I was little. In high school, I seriously considered becoming a lawyer,
but decided to go to journalism school and see if I could make it in the
magazine biz.


Where would you like to be five years from now?

Still in magazines. Still in Toronto. Much
larger pay cheque. Or, I’ll retire to the countryside and edit cookbooks.


Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
Lose the attitude. Listen. Share your
ideas.


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

I love Slate and The Atlantic online. I
listen to Slate’s Culture Gabfest and the James Beard Foundation’s Taste
Matters
podcasts. I’m a magazine addict and one of my favourite things is to
spend time in front of the newsstand and see what stands out. I often pick up Bon
Apetit
, Esquire and GQ; I wish there were equally awesome women’s publications.
My partner and I subscribe to the New Yorker, New York, Toronto Life, and
Saveur.


Best interview you’ve ever had?

When I was at Ryerson, Colin Mochrie let me interview and shadow him for three
days for a class assignment. He was so open and generous with his time, and I
was able to write and report a proper profile. I learned a lot from that
assignment. 



Worst?

A couple of friends and I fake interviewed Joffrey Lupul at a party. I stood
staring at him with my mouth agape. It was horrifying.


Best advice you’ve ever been given?
“Be careful, your mouth is going to get you
in trouble one day.” I just haven’t really followed it.


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

Be prompt. Work hard. Say what you think.


What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Know the publication. Obviously, The Grid
is focused very tightly on Toronto, but I can’t tell you how many travel and
national stories I’m pitched.


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

Hmm… I recently went to a fantastic beauty
trend seminar held by MAC. It was a small group of people in a nice setting, it
was fun and I learned a lot.


I hate?

Public spitting, bad manners, men with long
fingernails, chipped nail polish.


I love?
A home-cooked dinner, Toronto restaurants, red
lipstick, Manhattans, Smashbox’s Photo Finish Primer, my girlfriends,
loungewear, my fiancé’s smile, Slate’s Mad Men recaps.


Reading?

Ruth Reichl’s Not Becoming My Mother.


Best place on earth?

A dock, anywhere.


Dinner guest?

Pippa Lord, who runs the website Sous Style
and is the photo director for Elle. She just seems like a really smart, stylish,
spunky Aussie chick.



Hero?
My parents. And Eve Best in Nurse Jackie.


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

Truthfully, I’m obsessed with the
calorie-counting app MyFitnessPal. I gained what I call
“The Grid 10” in my first year at the magazine. There’s always delicious,
bad-for-you food at the office, but this helped me get rid of it.


Pool or ocean?
Ocean. Chlorine gives me a rash. But I grew
up on a lake and love freshwater the most.


Voicemail or email?
I don’t know how to check my voicemail.