Media, Darling: Brandie Weikle

Brandie Weikle is parenting and relationships editor for the Toronto Star and the editor of the Star‘s parentcentral.ca. She’s been working on parenting publications for 12 years. Before joining the Star she helped relaunch Canadian Family magazine and prior to that, worked at Today’s Parent for five years. She’s been both a freelance writer and a newspaper reporter. Brandie made the jump into digital media in 2008 and is an avid user of social networks, especially Twitter, where she tweets as @bweikle. She’s the mother of two boys, Cameron, 8, and Alister, 4. You can find her on a pair of skis in the winter and on a bike with a goofy wicker basket in the summer.
Twitter: @bweikle 


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

I wanted to be a journalist from about grade 11 when, predictably, I first worked on my high school paper. Before that I wanted to be an architect, until I realized I couldn’t draw well enough, and an obstetrician, until I learned I couldn’t stand the sight of blood.

Where would you like to be five years from now?
I’m not sure but I hope it involves a little more time padding around my house drinking tea and being writerly. 

Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
Just be flexible and keep at it. If you’re not held down by a mortgage and kids or other commitments, be willing to leave Toronto. Be curious and open-minded about all kinds of subject matter. I wrote about everything from real estate to pig farming before I landed any kind of a staff job. If anything, that flexibility has become more important. Don’t despair about the field being competitive. There will always be room for people with tenacity who want it enough.


What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own? 
Online I wind up wherever the links take me from the tweets I find most compelling, but in free time I enjoy nytimes.com/health, epicurious, houseandhome.com/tv and all kinds of others. I think the magazine Psychology Today is a bit underrated. It is so lively and well-reported, and the art direction is really clever and unexpected. New York is a city magazine that manages to be entertaining and relevant to both residents and non-residents, without taking itself or the city too seriously. I like that.

Best interview you’ve ever had? 
Hard to say. I really find so much that’s interesting from people’s ordinary experiences.

Worst? 
Raffi. I guess I got all flustered and star struck or something? 

Best advice you’ve ever been given?
Journalistically, someone told me “there’s always another source.” While sometimes there isn’t – a profile hinges on getting a particular person, of course – I remember this mantra helping me as a young journalist with that feeling of vulnerability to people getting back to you. If there isn’t another source, there is always another story. It’s good to have one in your back pocket.

In parenting, my mom gave me the best advice. She said, “You don’t have to love every minute of it.” That helped me go easy on myself about those times when you have a screaming baby and you just wish you could head for the hills.  

What rule(s) do you live your life by?
I don’t know. We’re all just trying to figure this out, right? I guess my main thing is just to try to be decent to people. Some believe you’ve got to be a hard ass to be taken seriously in news. I think that’s old school and, often, contrived. 

Apart from that? When you’re in too deep, call someone. Otherwise, put on something pretty and trudge on like it’s not a crap day. 

What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
I think a tailored pitch that’s realistic for the publication is important. Understand what the website, magazine or paper you’re pitching does and doesn’t have in the way of regular departments where the product you’re representing could fit. And when you suspect your pitch might be a stretch, it likely is. I’m just not buying that your shower spray is going to liberate all kinds of time I can spend with my kids. 

Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
My best experiences have started with realistic, helpful pitches I can turn into useful service for readers, and have ended with sources I’ve turned into friends.

I hate?
Emails with subject lines that only say “media release” and those containing loads of unsolicited PDFs and Jpegs that paralyze my work account.
(Ed note: PR people – please stop sending attachments – it gives us all a bad name. There is a great invention called Flickr. Learn it.)

I love?

What do I love? Are you sure this isn’t an online dating profile? Skiing, dancing, Saturday mornings, cheese.


Reading?

I have two on the go: Esi Edugyan’s Half-blood Blues and Pamela Druckerman’s Bringing up Bebe.


Best place on earth?

Wrestling on the bed with my two boys, eight and four.


Dinner guest?

I know I should reach back in time here and select someone important from history or something, but I’m rarely happier than when my dinner table is surrounded by a quirky group of friends old and new — preferably all enthusiastic eaters.


Hero?

My younger sister, Erica, is my hero for surviving mental illness. It takes a lot of bravery to keep going when your mind regularly betrays you, especially given that these conditions are still poorly understood and frightfully under-resourced.


Favourite app?

I use my phone for email, Twitter and Facebook, but I’m not especially taken with any apps. I’m trying to put my iPhone down a little more often these days.


Pool or ocean?

No contest. Ocean.


Voicemail or email?

Email, please.

 

 
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Media, Darling: Derick Chetty

Derick Chetty is the fashion reporter at the Toronto Star. Covering both Toronto and international shows, he also reports on the local society scene and compiles the Star’s annual Best Dressed List. He was formerly the fashion editor at Flare Magazine, has a weird obsession with Pride & Prejudice and never gets tired of watching 1980s sitcoms. 

Photo by Randy Risling.
Website: www.thestar.com 
Twitter: @DerickChetty

Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon? 
No. When I was younger I had grandiose plans to be a designer. But the first year pattern drafting class at Ryerson pretty much steered me clear off that career path. I learned I have little patience for mathematical calculations. 

Where would you like to be five years from now?
I feel we are living at warp speed.

Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
The newspaper industry is at a crossroad now. You might be embarking on the most thrilling ride of your life or a death plunge off a cliff. 
But if I haven’t deterred you, start getting some experience by interning somewhere. It might not be paid but treat it like a real job that you absolutely love and where no job is too menial. I once cleaned an editor’s office.  

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

Wall Street Journal and Financial Times – weekend print editions only. Love any newspaper that still consider art direction something to be treasured. And I have a lengthy list of guilty-pleasure blogs I love.
Best interview you’ve ever had?
Donna Karan. Even though I was plunged into a panic when I realized my tape recorder was not working. But looking at my notes at the end, I noticed she did not waste a single word – every answer was precise, measured and directly to the point. 
Worst?
Any when the subject wants to conduct the interview via email or the questions to be presented ahead of time. If you’re that busy, why bother agreeing to the interview?  

Best advice you’ve ever been given?

No one tells you the truth. 

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

Do the right thing.  

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

I like a touch of professional formality. Perhaps social media has made us all too casual. I don’t respond well to people who reach out to me with Hiya, Hey dude, Happy Monday! How was your weekend?  

And my name is not Shinan Govani. He’s the shorter one.


Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
Any that operate without fuss or delay. 

I hate?
Depends on time and day. But that should tell you I don’t harbour hatred. 

I love?
Time to myself.

Reading?
Re-reading The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.

Best place on earth?
Barcelona. My happy place. 

Dinner guest?

I’ll start with The Golden Girls and then move on to any other quartet of funny ladies – Designing Women and the Sex and the City girls.  

Hero?

Anyone that overcomes adversity in pursuit of their dreams. 

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

I got 20 apps when I first got my iPhone and I haven’t downloaded any since. That tells me I probably don’t have a need for more. 
Pool or ocean?
Ocean. 

Voicemail or email?

Email.

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Media, Darling: Gabe Gonda

Gabe Gonda is the Globe and Mail‘s Arts editor. In his previous post at the Globe and Mail, he ran the Focus section. Before that, Gabe spent 12 years at the Toronto Star, where he worked on every desk as a copy editor, writing editorials, running the letters page, covering city hall, writing features, working as an assignment editor and running the Saturday Insight section for three years. Gabe went to the University of Toronto, where he played a year of varsity basketball, ran a student journal of political theory and dropped out to edit a campus newspaper called The Newspaper. That was before the Internets were a big deal.


Twitter: @GlobeArts

Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon?
When I was a kid I wanted to play for the Blue Jays, other than that I had no career plan.

Where would you like to be five years from now?
Buenos Aires.

Any advice for people getting started in your industry? 
Have a good luck charm.

What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own? 
The New Yorker, TMZ, ESPN.com, the London Review of Books.

Best interview you’ve ever had? Worst?
Lots of good ones. Worst was Jerry Stackhouse of the Detroit Pistons. He kept looking at me like I was birdshit on his shoe.

Best advice you’ve ever been given?
Be curious.


What rule(s) do you live your life by?
The Ten Commandments, at least that’s what I tell my rabbi.

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

Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
The best PR work, like good refereeing or good editing, is invisible.

I hate?
Polenta.

I love?
Pizza.

Reading? 
Whenever I can.

Best place on earth?
At my dinner table, with my wife and two sons.

Dinner guest?
Anyone who asks strange questions, like my friend Ira.

Hero?
My grandfather. He owned a newspaper in Paris before World War II, but had to drop everything to save his family from the Nazis. He wrote for Hearst in Geneva and finished a Ph.D in history before starting over in America at the age of 42. Moved back to Paris in his 60’s and won a prize from the French academy for his book on the Treaty of Versailles a few weeks before dropping dead in 1982.

Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?
Happily app-less.

Pool or ocean?
Ocean.

Voicemail or email?
Text.

Media, Darling: Jason Anderson

Jason Anderson is a film critic and columnist for The Grid (Eye Weekly before that). He also writes about movies regularly for the Toronto Star, Cinema Scope, Movie Entertainment and Artforum.com. He won a Western Magazine Award in 2006 for his music columns for Swerve Magazine in Calgary, and is the author of Showbiz, a novel.

He teaches film criticism at the University of Toronto, programs for the Kingston Canadian Film Festival and plays keyboards in the Toronto band The Two Koreas. You can read his blog at jandersonesque.com

@jandersonesque

Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon?
I always loved writing but discovered in my teen years that scribbling record reviews was a great way to get free music, too. I never really believed that there was a career in writing about whatever art works or cultural ephemera I was most (or least) enthusiastic about – after two decades or so, I still have a hard time believing it. If this all hadn’t transpired, I would have comfortably slid into a life in academia, which is why I’m happy the journalism has led to some opportunities to do some teaching at U of T.

Where would you like to be five years from now?

Hoping to continue to diversify my career with lots of other endeavours beyond journalism (e.g., teaching, programming for film festivals). I also hope to have found the time to crank out a second novel — hell, maybe a third, too.

Any advice for people getting started in your industry?

Don’t put your eggs in any one basket, make sure to cover your bets and… damn, I can’t think of a third cliché. Anyway, my experience suggests that the wisest thing to do is have lots of projects on the go and not be precious about any of ‘em. You never know what’s going to pick up momentum – it could be your most seemingly practical idea or your looniest, most self-indulgent lark.

What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own?
Still loyal to lots of print magazines, especially about film and music (e.g., The Wire, Mojo, Entertainment Weekly, Sight & Sound, Film Comment, Cinema Scope). The New Yorker and the Sunday NY Times, too. Like a lot of folks (young ones, too), I can’t read anything but the shortest items online so my existence is still cluttered with paper.

Best interview you’ve ever had?

I’ve had so many good interviews but I’m proudest when I have pleasant, lively conversations with subjects generally deemed to be impossible or downright nasty (two words: Lou Reed).

Worst?
The worst of all time was an especially bored and sullen Jewel, who entertained herself in between her monosyllabic answers by lighting matches and flicking them into an ashtray in front of us. How charming!

Best advice you’ve ever been given?

Keep your head down and keep moving.

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

What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Please don’t be mad at me if I make an otherwise reasonable request that may deviate from your plans. I don’t mean to be difficult.

Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
Too many positive ones to mention. Always impressed with the professionalism and friendliness of 99 per cent of the PR people I deal with in Toronto.

I hate?
Rudeness, small-mindedness, Maroon 5.

I love?
My wife and daughter, heavy metal, Stevie Wonder, racquet sports, Scandinavian movie comedies, dessert.

Reading?
Lately: Simon Reynolds’ Retromania, Reza Negarestani’s Cyclonopedia, Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad, recent tomes on American horror movies in the ‘70s and Hollywood screenwriting.

Best place on earth?
Negril, Jamaica or my backyard.

Dinner guest?
Dr. John

Hero?
John Berger

Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?
Mostly fresh music.

Pool or ocean?
Ocean.

Voicemail or email?
Email.

Media, Darling: Norman Wilner

A lifelong Torontonian, Norman Wilner became the senior film writer for NOW Magazine in early 2008. Previously, he reviewed films for Metro newspapers across Canada, and covered every video format imaginable (yes, even Beta!) for the Toronto Star column from 1988 to 2006. These days, his DVD column appears Tuesdays on MSN Canada.


His byline has appeared in Cinema Scope, Montage, Marquee and even The Hollywood Reporter that one time. You may also remember him from his appearances as a critic and commentator on any radio or television program that will call him.

In 2008, he was elected secretary and vice-president of the Toronto Film Critics Association; in 2009, he was a member of the features jury for Canada’s Top Ten. A member of the international film critics’ organization FIPRESCI, he has sat on festival juries in Toronto, Montreal, London, Vienna and Palm Springs.

He lives in Kensington Market, just a short walk from any of 14 coffee shops. He’s on Twitter as @wilnervision, and blogs most days at WilnerVision.com.

Photo credit: Michael Watier



Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon?
I’ve always wanted to write about film – it wasn’t until my last year of high school that I figured out a way to do it in a fashion other people would want to read. And even that feels like a humblebrag; I still can’t believe my opinion is given any weight beyond “Oh, he liked that? I’ll probably hate it.”
Nah, this is what I had to do. I’m trained for nothing else. And my brother Mike has claimed all sports for himself, so it’s just as well.
Where would you like to be five years from now?
The glib answer would be, “that assumes print will still be around in five years.” But I’m lucky enough to write for NOW, which has only grown stronger as the newspaper industry has declined, and will probably be just as healthy and as essential to Toronto’s arts culture as it was when I joined the staff in 2008. I’d be more than happy to still be doing what I’m doing right now in five years’ time… maybe with a little more television on the side.
Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
Cultivate your masochistic side. It takes a long time to establish one’s voice, and longer still to build a reputation that will draw people to said voice. Whenever anyone asks me for advice, I tell them to start a blog, and maintain a regular publishing schedule; whatever else you do, it’s good to have something that’s exclusively your own. Facebook pages don’t count.
What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own?
I follow Torontoist, BlogTO and Spacing pretty religiously, both on their websites and their writers’ Twitter feeds. Jonathan Goldsbie, who used to write for Torontoist and now contributes to the National Post, has pointed me to more local news in the last year than any old-media organ.
It’s a rare day when I don’t end up on the websites of The New York Times and The Globe and Mail, and I check The A.V. Club whenever I’m near the Internet — which is, like, always. The radio’s always tuned to CBC, and I occasionally watch CityTV news just to laugh at their hyperbolic intros and general sense of impending doom.
I also keep up with Toronto’s film critic community (after I’ve filed my own reviews, of course); Jason Anderson and Adam Nayman are dear friends as well as excellent writers, so I read them wherever they turn up.
Best interview you’ve ever had?
I’ve had some great interviews in the past. I’ve talked to Danny Boyle and Edgar Wright several times over the last few years, and they’re always invigorating. When I was 23 and in full Cassavetes worship, I got to sit down with Gena Rowlands, Peter Falk, Seymour Cassel and Al Ruban at a Los Angeles press day celebrating the re-issue of his lost films; that remains one of the best days of my career.
I was lucky enough to get half an hour with Rod Steiger when he came to TIFF with Guilty As Charged in 1991, and an hour with Arthur Penn a few years after that. TIFF’s great for those unexpected opportunities, and for getting to sit down with directors as they come back over the years. I got to knock around with Peter Jackson when he was here with Dead-Alive and Heavenly Creatures, and Terry Gilliam pulled me into his elegant but rambunctious orbit more than once. Richard Donner gave me some invaluable training advice when he heard my obnoxious dog barking in the background during a phone interview. Steve Coogan’s been a great interview every time.

Worst?
The worst interview I’ve ever done would have to be Mike Leigh, whom I interviewed for Global TV’s Entertainment Desk in 1996, when he came to Toronto with Secrets and Lies. I asked what I thought were halfway intelligent questions – I’d seen all of his films, and wanted to engage him in a genuine conversation about his approach to drama and to casting – and he did everything he could to render the footage unusable, answering in monosyllables and even picking his nose on camera. I was gutted, both personally and professionally. Apparently he just doesn’t like doing television.
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
“It’s almost never personal,” which my producer, Bonnie Laufer-Krebs, gave me immediately after she watched the Leigh footage. A close second would be “Never apologize for the things you love,” which the late John Harkness was fond of saying – usually after telling me he’d just ordered another boxed set of Japanese gangster movies from Amazon’s U.K. site.
What rule(s) do you live your life by?
This sounds incredibly lame, but I just try to be honest in everything I do. That means giving my genuine opinion when I’m asked, for good or ill. A critic who’s worried about offending people by going against the grain or making a controversial argument is already worrying about the wrong things.
What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Sometimes, you have to take no for an answer. And if you describe every new project as the greatest and most important thing in the history of ever, that just means you’re utterly mercenary and we can’t trust you to be straight with us.
Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
It comes back to honesty. I’ve been doing this for a while now, and over the years I’ve worked with plenty of good people – Maria Manero and Anna Perelman at Allied Advertising, who set up a terrific TIFF lunch date with Danny Boyle last year on very short notice; Victoria Gormley at Warner Bros., who comes up with opportunities I’d never expect to get from a major studio; Angie Burns, formerly of Maple Pictures; Suzanne Cheriton, Dana Fields, Debra Goldblatt.
I hate?
Pandering. (See above re: “greatest and most important thing in the history of ever.”)
I love?
I love that I get to be a champion for movies that people might otherwise miss, and I love that I work for a newspaper that encourages me to do so at my discretion. I love that I get to talk to filmmakers whose movies I’d be lining up to see anyway: Boyle, Wright, Gilliam, Steven Soderbergh, Kelly Reichardt, Olivier Assayas, Jia Zhang-ke, David Cronenberg, Bruce McDonald, Denis Villeneuve, Denis Cote, I could go on, and that I don’t have to fight for space when those interviews run.
Wait, did you mean actual, tangible stuff? Then the monkey bread at Wanda’s Pie in the Sky in Kensington Market. And now I’m hungry.
Reading?
I recently finished Jennifer 8. Lee’s The Fortune Cookie Chronicles, about the history of Chinese food in America. I’m currently reading John Bradshaw’s Dog Sense, which looks at new perspectives on canine behaviour.
On deck: Jon Ronson’s The Psychopath Test, which he told me about in an interview a couple of years ago and I’ve been waiting to read ever since, and The Erotic Engine by Patchen Barss, which argues that every major technological advance has been in some way motivated by a pornographic purpose. Groovy.
Best place on earth?
I’ve been to Cannes just once, in 2008. If there is a better place for a cinephile, I haven’t found it. I also have a twisted love for Times Square in New York City. Stand in one spot for half an hour, preferably with a latte and a couple of black-and-white cookies, and the whole of humanity will flow past you.
Dinner guest?
Either Terry Gilliam or Billy Connolly. They’re the only two people I’ve met whose charisma cannot be measured by conventional means and they’re both tremendous storytellers.
Hero?
Jon Stewart is my spirit animal.
Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?
I’m a big fan of comedy podcasts, so when Earwolf and Nerdist release versions of their apps for the Android platform, I’ll be all over them.
Pool or ocean?
Ocean, absolutely. I’m mildly allergic to chlorine.
Voicemail or email?
Email. Compact, concise, not prone to garbling when you walk under a bridge… it’s just easier for everyone.

Media, Darling: Linda Barnard

Linda Barnard has worked as a cocktail waitress, bartender and camp counsellor (not in that order) but she liked journalism best. The London, Ont. native started her career at The Campbellford Herald and Cobourg Star, then spent 18 years at the Toronto Sun, covering beats from city hall to medicine to being the paper’s humour columnist. She joined the Toronto Star in 2002 and is the Star‘s movie writer, where she does interviews and reviews for Canada’s largest newspaper and the website thestar.com. She lives in Cabbagetown with her boyfriend and their cat, Lance.


Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon?
I wanted to be a translator at the United Nations when I was a kid, then decided to go to law school, but I dropped out of Western in second year of my undergrad because I fell for a bass player and he was a lot more fun than reading Chaucer. My childhood pal Carol Off (now co-host at CBC’s As It Happens) came up with the idea over a bottle of wine: “You love to write, you love news and you’re nosey. Why not journalism school?” I started at Ryerson that fall and truly found my niche. I was happy from the first day and have never regretted it. Thanks, Carol.


Where would you like to be five years from now?
Still working in daily newspapers. I believe print will survive and thrive; we just need to find new and continuously evolving ways to engage readers with electronic publishing and citizen journalism as well. I may change beats, but love journalism too much to do anything else.


Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
Work hard, ask questions and trust your instincts, but don’t think you know everything. Too many newcomers confuse confidence with arrogance.


What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own?
For websites: Nikki Finke’s Deadline: Hollywood, Twichfilm, RopeofSilicone, Torontoist, Hollywood Reporter and Variety, plus the L.A. Times and all its film and entertainment blogs, The New York Times (especially Sunday) and its film and entertainment blogs, The Globe and Mail, The Grid, NOW and occasionally The National Post, The (London) Guardian, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair.  I am a Coronation Street addict and am counting the days until Mad Men returns.


Best interview you’ve ever had?
It’s impossible to pick the best because they’re all good in their own way. I did really dig Helen Mirren, though. She was amazing. 

Worst?
Ditto the worst – I’ve had some people be downright mean to me, but it often turns out they were having a lousy day. TIFF tends to drain you of your will to live, so when Philip Seymour Hoffman made me feel like a moron, it wasn’t really his fault.


Best advice you’ve ever been given?
Shut up and pay attention.


What rule(s) do you live your life by?
An oldie but a goodie – the do unto others one. Works every time. And I like to think it keeps my karma insurance balance in the black. The thing is it only takes one bitchy comment or rude remark to stain the reputation you’ve worked so hard to build. Why risk it?


What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Don’t carpet bomb. If we say “no,” there’s a good reason. And please don’t call the person I work next to in order to pitch the same thing. That’s so lame.


Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
The film publicists in Toronto are all very good and we’re very lucky in this town to have such a cadre of clever people. They’re pros. They work hard, they know the market and tend to play fair while working with a very competitive media. They return calls and emails right away and they do their best to deliver. They occasionally need reminding that I’m working for the readers, not the studios, but I get that’s because of the external pressures they face.


I hate?
Liars.


I love?
Kittens and dry martinis, straight up with olives.


Reading?
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout . A terrific book of short stories. I also am thumbing through a book on western movie shoot locations in the American southwest –  especially Monument Valley because we were just there. Standing on John Ford Point was a real life highlight.


Best place on earth?
Muri Beach, Rarotonga, Cook Islands, or anyplace my partner Hans happens to be.


Dinner guest?
Family and friends who make me laugh, which is all of them.


Hero?
Pierre Trudeau.


Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?
I spend a bit too much time with those Angry Birds.


Pool or ocean?
Ocean.


Voicemail or email?
Email.

Media, Darling: Rita Zekas

Rita Zekas is an entertainment/lifestyle/fashion/decor writer. She originated the paparazzi page/gossip column Star Gazing for the Toronto Star and stalked bold face for decades, before returning to her former love — shopping — doing retail detail in her Store Gazing column in the Toronto Star. She can be found in better stores everywhere — usually in the shoe department.
 

Twitter:  @TorontoStar
Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon?
I was going to be a best-selling novelist, writing from a cliffside white-washed cottage in some random sunny port in Greece.

Where would you like to be five years from now?
Reading in an oversized chair overlooking the olive groves in a mountain-top villa on the Tuscan/Umbrian border in Italy.

Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
Be prepared to work with little remuneration and even less sleep. Deadlines, baby.

What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own?
I listen to CBC Radio and NPR when I can get it. I read the New York Times online and in print on Thursdays and Sundays — those two days for the Style Sections.

Best interview you’ve ever had? Worst?
Best is Betsey Johnson, who has such a great persona, she could have enticed me to turn cartwheels on the catwalk with her.

Worst is Ivana Trump, who spent most of the time screaming invectives at her minions over the phone.

Best advice you’ve ever been given?
Don’t Google yourself.

What rule(s) do you live your life by?
Do your research and never spear the easy targets.

What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Don’t double dip. If you have snared an interview with a media outlet, don’t book another one with a different writer. It wastes everybody’s time.

Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
Working with PR pros like Pru Emery, who was the doyenne of PR people and her successor, who I would have to say is Deb Goldblatt. They just grease the interview process so it’s in and out and no one gets hurt. Or bored.

I hate? 

Rudeness.

I love?
Shoes.

Reading?
Autobiographies. Everyone, even Einstein inevitably was dissuaded from following their basic instincts. And I read everything by David Sedaris, a comedic genius.

Best place on earth?
Italy.

Dinner guest?
I don’t cook; I reheat.

Hero?
Cancer survivors.

Favourite app?
I don’t app.

Pool or ocean?
Ocean.

Voicemail or email?
Email.