Wednesday, August 31, 2016

A League of Her Own: Talking with Sportscaster Mia Gordon

Former tennis pro-turned-sportscaster, Mia Gordon, knows all about the agony of defeat, but her sheer determination is keeping her in the broadcasting game. After the Hamilton Ti-Cats cut her from their host roster, CBC signed the Toronto native as an Associate Producer for their Olympics coverage. Now she is the new lead reporter for the National Lacrosse League and is savouring the thrill of victory like a true champion.

Gordon recently took a time out to talk to me about her tumultuous journey, sexism in sports and shamed US swimmer Ryan Lochte.

TorontoVerve: You were a pro-tennis player at 15. You trained with tennis legend Chris Evert, but a torn ligament in your shoulder unfortunately ended it all. What did you learn most about yourself when you realized that you weren’t going to fulfill your dream of playing tennis? 

Mia Gordon: At first, it was devastating for me. You dedicate so much time and effort into this dream. I moved away from home when I was 14 years old. I began practising at 4:30 in the morning until 6 o’clock at night. I was doing high school online to be able to travel to tournaments around the world and get my ranking up. It honestly felt like my world was falling apart and for a little while I was very lost, but it was my family and friends’ incredible support that helped me get through the dark times. For the first time in my life, I got to experience a world outside of tennis. I had weekends off and I got to travel for myself. I realized that I could have a life outside of tennis and transfer the skills that I learned as a tennis player to my current career. So now I’m following a different kind of dream. I think the biggest lesson that I've learned is that things happen in life. You’re going to be thrown curve balls. There are no straight roads — there’s always going to be twists and turns. You can get really down on yourself and say, “Oh woe is me.” Or you can find a way around your obstacles. If you work hard and don’t ever give up, something great will happen.

TV: I was moved by your honesty on your blog. You shared about the trials and tribulations of working freelance — including losing your job as host with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Why be so personal with your fans? 

MG: I feel like we’re in a day and age where people are sharing a lot about themselves on the internet. I do have my own personal life that I like to keep personal, but at the same time, I understand how hard this industry is. If I’m able to help one person who is fighting for their dream, then that would be amazing. A lot of people come up to me and say how much they want to be a sportscaster. What they need to know the most is that it doesn’t just happen overnight. This industry is changing where there are very few opportunities. I think it’s important for people to understand that, but also to understand that if you really want this, then go after it and give it your all. Here’s my personal experience — I was in a situation where the Sun News had shut down [and I lost my reporting job], then I lost my dream job with the Ti-Cats. I could have given up, and I thought about giving up. I was looking at careers in different industries, but this is what I want to do. I just hope that some people will take this message and realize if they have a passion and a dream, it’s worth fighting that extra mile for.

TV: What has the response been like from your followers? 

MG: It’s been amazing. They thank me for my honesty and sharing my story. You see these reporters and personalities on TV and you really don’t get the opportunity to know them, but I will respond to every Tweet, every Facebook message and every email because I want them to know how much I appreciate their support. I want them to know me not just as "Mia Gordon: the sports reporter" but "Mia Gordon: the person."

TV: You always manage to persevere. You recently got a new job as host and reporter for the new National Lacrosse Network. Where do you find the strength to never quit? 

MG: I think it’s the professional athlete in me. I’ll never forget the time I broke my foot a week before nationals, but I was going to nationals no matter what. I played with a big boot on my ankle. There were mornings where it was minus twenty outside and I could have stayed in my warm bed, but I got up and practised because I always had this dream of being a professional tennis player. I think it was instilled in me at a very young age. If you want your dreams, you have to work for them. They’re not just going to be handed to you. I will never quit. In fact, my middle name is Wyn [laughs].

TV: You covered the Olympics for the CBC both in English and French. What was that experience like? 

MG: I loved it. When I was playing competitive tennis, it was always my dream and passion to play in the Olympics. Having had the opportunity to play for my country and as an individual, there’s just something so patriotic and rewarding when you get to wear the Canadian flag and represent the millions of people who live in this amazing country that has given me so many opportunities. Unfortunately, I never got to play as an athlete in the Olympics, but ever since I got into sports broadcasting, my dream was to cover the Olympics for the CBC because there are so many incredible athletes with incredible stories, and I feel that the CBC does such a great job in telling those stories. They bring them to life. They told us how Andre De Grasse and Penny Oleksiak became superstar athletes. So when they called me to work the Olympics, I didn’t hesitate. I took the job right away. It was 21 days straight with no days off, ten-hour days with few breaks, but it was so worth it. As a sports reporter, you have to be unbiased, but I think during the Olympics, you’re allowed to cheer on your country.

TV: Of course, the biggest news to come out of Rio was Ryan Lochte lying about being robbed at gun point. He’s lost 4 endorsements and Rio authorities recently charged him for submitting a false robbery report. What do you think the US swim team and Ryan Lochte should do to make things right? 

MG: I’m not going to lie, of course I’ve made mistakes and I’ve done things in the past that I’m not very proud of, but I was representing myself and I could come out and apologize and it usually gets forgotten about, but when you’re representing a country on a bigger scale, it is a big deal. I believe that Ryan needs to come out and make a sincere apology. Not one that his publicist writes for him. He needs to speak from the heart and maybe make a charitable donation to Rio for what he’s done. It would be nice to see him give back. Will he do it? I don’t know, but I think it’s up to him to make it right. He can’t hide behind the US swim team. He has to step up and make things right.

TV: Despite losing his endorsements, Lochte will be on Dancing with the Stars. Will you be watching? 

MG: I can’t say I’ve ever watched an episode of Dancing with the Stars [laughs]. I’m not a big reality show fan, but all the best to Ryan. I’m sure he’ll do very well.

TV: One of the unfortunate realities of the Olympics coverage was the blatant sexist reporting of female athletes. Specifically, Katinka HosszĂș's husband getting credit for her Gold, the ridiculous commentary about whether female athletes should wear make-up or not, and women being constantly compared to men. In 2016, why do you think this kind of sexism is still happening? 

MG: I hate to admit it, but my industry is still very male dominated. Trying to break into sports broadcasting as a female has had its fair share of challenges — people thinking that you’re not qualified because you never played the sport, but it’s changing. It’s great seeing so many dominating female sports reporters and lead female anchors on TSN and Sportsnet. So I can very much relate to what we saw in Rio. I think women just have to keep fighting and keep proving themselves. Men may be physically stronger, but we have so many incredible female athletes and they need to be recognized as incredible athletes and not just incredible female athletes. The fact that we’re seeing more women in sportscasting is going to help a lot and having more women speak out [against sexism] is going to help too. And kudos to Andy Murray for speaking up for female tennis players. The more conversations that we can get going from all aspects is going to make it better.

TV: What are some of your personal experiences with sexism in the industry? 

MG: I vividly remember Don Cherry saying that women reporters don’t belong in male locker rooms for interviews. Women are definitely treated differently working in that environment. I’ve spoken to a few female broadcasters and they told me that the industry will start to change. Instead of having locker room interviews, they’ll put us in a more comfortable environment to speak to players. When I do have to go into a locker room, I’m in there to just do my job, but sometimes you run into individuals who try to make it uncomfortable for you.

TV: How so? 

MG: [Laughs] I don’t want to get anyone in trouble here, but there have been instances where players have asked for my phone number or asked to hang out outside of work. That’s not who I am. I'll tell them, "I’m here to do my job and you’re here to do your job and we’re here to be professionals. Let’s keep it to answering my questions as opposed to asking me out." That happens, but there are also athletes who are so respectful and support your career.

TV: Speaking of sexism, the first thing that comes up when I Google your name is a blog post that inappropriately asks, “Why is Mia Gordon on the radio when she looks like this?” Do you know about that? 

MG: Yeah, the Chive. I took that with a grain of salt and laughed a bit about it. I love doing TV and radio because I just love telling the stories. Whether you’re female or male in this industry, you are always trying to get on air. [Stations] are looking for a certain look. I understand that being on TV does come with its superficial factors and that’s just part of the job. I hope that people think that I should be on TV because I’m great at telling stories and not just what I look like on camera, but as they say, “No publicity is bad publicity.” [Laughs]

TV: Let’s talk tennis. Genie Bouchard has had a rough year. Not just on the court, but off. She has an ongoing lawsuit against the USTA and is criticized by her hometown press for not embracing her French culture. How much of that is to blame for her inconsistent performance? 

MG: I think maybe a small portion will play into that just because Genie is still very young. I think she’s only 22 years old. As a professional athlete, I learned that you have to grow up very quickly — especially in tennis because there’s no team to hide behind. If you're having a bad day, there’s no one to sub in for you. Genie is very mature for her age, but I don’t think that anyone in their right mind can completely ignore bad press, especially when you’re having a bad year. It’s hard to get back on track, but do I think that’s a main factor in what’s going on with her on-court game? No. I think it’s a very small factor of what’s been happening. I’ve had this conversation with Chris Evert about what’s it going to take for Genie to get back to where she was and I think it’s just a confidence thing right now. Genie came out onto the tour and she had this incredible game. No one knew who she was so there were no expectations. She was playing aggressive and wasn’t afraid, but when you make it to the semi-finals and finals of Grand Slams, there will be expectations placed on you. Players will know who you are, know your game and know how to play against you. I don’t think Genie was able to adjust to that. I think it’s great that she’s back with her old coach, Nick Saviano, because he’s really helped her. She needs to realize how to block out those outside factors and regain her confidence.

TV: What do you think her chances are in the US Open? 

MG: Genie has got a game that’s really good for the US Open. We’ve seen a couple of injuries. Serena Williams has been injured and there’s a lot of question marks surrounding some of the top players. This is a court that suits her game style. She looked really good at the Olympics despite her early exit, but it’s always tough when you have to play a player that’s ranked top three in the world. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see her in the second week of the tournament.

[Edit: Genie Bouchard was defeated yesterday by Katerina Siniakova in the first round of the US Open]

TV: You’re childhood friends with Milos Raonic. He’s having a banner year after reaching the finals at Wimbledon and the semis at the Australian Open. You likely know him better than any other commentator. What do you think his strategy will be going into the US Open? 

MG: I just think that he needs to believe in himself. In my opinion, he’s got a game that can beat any player on the tour right now. So he just needs to believe in it and be able to execute it. Seeing him volleying more, using that big serve and coming to net — that’s how you beat the top players in the world. Novak Djokovic is the most consistent player in the world. No one is going to beat him by trying to rally with him on the baseline. The only way you’re going to beat him is if you’re aggressive and you’re forcing him into an uncomfortable situation. So what we’re seeing from Milos when he’s coming to net and not giving players enough time to recover after a big serve or the big forehand, that’s going to make Djokovic very uncomfortable. And again, there are a lot of question marks with the top players. This will be Rafael Nadal’s first Grand Slam since the French Open where he had to pull out because of his wrist. Federer won’t be playing so Milos doesn’t have to play a seed until the fourth round I believe. He just needs to slowly build up that confidence and if he plays the game that we’ve seen earlier this year, he could go all the way.

TV: What can we look forward to with the new National Lacrosse Network? 

MG: It’s a very exciting time. I fell in love with lacrosse a couple of years ago when I was working for the Toronto Rock. I had never seen a lacrosse game before. It’s just so intense and exhilarating. You’re actually on the edge of your seat for every second. What’s amazing is that a lot of the players have full-time jobs and they just play the sport because they love it. I think with sports like hockey and basketball, where you have all these multi-million dollar contracts, you sometimes lose the passion of why you got into the sport in the first place. With lacrosse, you can really feel the athletes’ passion. There are so many incredible stories and we want to bring them to life in a world that does revolve around hockey. So what the NLL productions is going to do is create a network where we’re going to broadcast the stories of these amazing players and share this great sport with fans and hopefully get more people interested. We’ll be posting tons of content about the players’ journey on and we hope to grow the sport on a grassroots level.

TV: Describe the average lacrosse fan? 

MG: The fans that show up to every game are real fans who love the sport. They’re loud and excited. I was just at the lacrosse junior tournament that happened this past weekend and there were so many fans there. There were about 400 kids taking part and it was great to see the pros coming out to coach these young kids. You don’t see that in hockey or baseball. You don’t see juniors getting coached by professional players at a weekend-long tournament. It just shows how much players care about the sport.

TV: What are you most happy about in life right now? 

MG: I am spoiled right now. I am very fortunate that I have been given an opportunity to follow my dreams. I am happy that I decided to continue on this journey and that I didn’t give up. It’s also great to live in a city like Toronto where I have incredible friends and family who will always have my back. I know I won’t have to go on this journey alone. Everything is looking positive now. I have nothing to complain about.

* * *
Follow Mia on Twitter, Instagram & Facebook.

Check out Mia's blog.


Tuesday, August 30, 2016


Sage: My style is freedom. I don't give it any thought. I just picked these up and left of the house. No one in particular inspires my style -- just the brightest light you can find. Freedom.

TorontoVerve: What's the best advice you've received in life?

Sage: Remember to breath. This is going to sound odd. A coconut tree in Tobago once said to me, "Control yourself from controlling yourself and if you learn to breath, you'll realize that everything is going to be OK. Be free. I have no social media or phone. I'm unplugged. That's freedom, baby.

Monday, August 29, 2016


Jessica: I have a jet-setter style. It's classic. I'm not in one country for more than four days in a row. Canada is the lucky one that gets me for two weeks. Since you've seen me last, I've been to 52 different countries. I live in Dubai now. I'm a flight attendant.

TorontoVerve: Which country stands out the most when it comes to style?

Jessica: I love Singapore's style. It's beautiful and more feminine. A lot of girls don't go for feminine anymore. They go for pure sexy and nothing girly. It's important to have a balance.

TorontoVerve: What's the best advice you've received in life?

Jessica: A photographer once told me, "Don't try to be anything you're not. Play up to your assets." When I modeled, I used to do that awkward model pose for photos. He told me, "Stop it! You're never going to be angular. You're always going to be curvy. So play up to your curves." And that works for life too. Play up to what you have and just stay true to you.

This is the third time that Jessica has appeared on the blog. We previously captured her street style in Spring 2010 and 2012.

Sunday, August 28, 2016


Chloe: I always remember this Bette Midler quote, "You give, you give and you give until you have nothing left; which somehow preaches to me lately. It's important to constantly fill yourself up so you can be a generous friend.

TorontoVerve made #9 on Street Style News' Daily Most Popular Chart!

Friday, August 26, 2016


The best advice I've been given is to not take advice. Always go with your hunch. A woman's intuition is strong and sometimes if you take people's advice, they can steer you in the wrong path. Just follow your own instincts.

Thursday, August 25, 2016


Emilia is currently touring across Canada with her musician boyfriend, Casper Hollands. "We just drove in from Edmonton in a camper van. We have a mobile stage with lights. People can come. listen, hang out and do what they please. We've been in Toronto a week now and we're heading to Ottawa next and then Montreal, PEI and finally the States."

Emilia: When it come to style, I would describe it as 'hipster urban hippie.' People think I look like Audrey Hepburn when I wear this big hat. She's a role model and not just for her films, but for what she has done for the world. She was a great humanitarian.

TorontoVerve: What's the best advice you've received in life?

Emilia: Don't collect too many things because you never know when you have to suddenly go. That piece of advice has impacted my priorities in terms of material possessions and what I consider important and valuable to me.

Follow Emilia's travels on Instagram and listen to Casper's music on Soundcloud.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


Heather: My style is a mix of vintage rock ’n’ roll, classy and trashy. I have many influences — everything from cartoons, comic books, films and vintage pulp magazines. Veronica Lodge from Archie comics is a huge inspiration. She has the fiercest taste in style. Icons from the rock ’n’ roll 50s era like Elvis Presley and Bettie Page influence me. I really like the girls from the Russ Meyer films — that whole sort of trampy vixen look. I love the silhouettes of the 50’s — the feminine hourglass shapes and I adore the colours and the old novelty prints. To me, the 50’s represent teenage rebellion. I really like the excitement of that era.

I started dressing in vintage and rockabilly style in my early 20’s. I had to wear a uniform in high school. It was very boring and mundane. I definitely pushed the limits of the dress code then. I was into punk rock so I wore a Mohawk and had spiked hair. I also wore fishnets over my knee socks. I pushed the rules however I could while wearing the uniform. Sometimes, I got sent down to the principal’s office for not wearing the right coloured socks or nylons.

This red dress represents my good girl side. I teeter between good girl and bad girl depending on how I feel. If I’m going out at night, I’ll definitely wear something tighter.

After watching old movies from the 40's and 50's, I always fantasized about doing burlesque. I love the glamour and costumes. I  finally took the plunge when I came up with a name and an act. My stage name is Blue Suede Sue; which is a nod to Elvis Presley and the 50’s rockabilly era. She’s a lot more louder, exciting and showy than I am. I enjoy giving something to an audience. It helps me grow and learn more about myself as a person and a performer.

We previously captured Heather's rockabilly street style last summer.

Follow Heather AKA Blue Suede Sue on Instagram.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016


Tamen: I like to be feminine, strong and natural. It's important to always emphasize natural beauty and not cover it up. Natural women -- women of the Earth inspire me. Especially women of the 60's. Hippies who were all about love and peace. They didn't judge the direction that love went. It was just universal and that's what I like to embody.

TorontoVerve: What's the best advice you've received in life?

Tamen: Live for pleasure. Life is meaningless, but if you live for pleasure, that's essential.

Monday, August 22, 2016


Viktor: My style is simple with a hint of androgyny. It's out of the box -- not cookie cutter. I don't want to look like everybody else.

Follow Viktor on Instagram.

Sunday, August 21, 2016


Maria: The Man Repeller inspires me. She dresses for herself. She doesn't care about what anybody thinks. That's what fashion should be all about.

TorontoVerve: What's the best advice you've received in life?

Maria: My dad told me to always take my time if I want to do something right. That helps me focus on what I'm doing.

Follow Maria on Instagram.

TorontoVerve made #9 on Street Style News' Daily Most Popular Chart!  

Saturday, August 20, 2016


Holly: My style is 'old lady chic.' I live in an older building and I'm inspired by the old ladies who live there. They have amazing fashion sense.

TorontoVerve: What's the best advice that you've received in life?

Holly: A friend recently told me to eliminate judgement. It helps me to flourish in becoming a better person. By not judging people, I'm able to allow them into my life a little more and support them in following their goals.

Follow Holly on Instagram.

TorontoVerve made #9 on Street Style News' Daily Most Popular Chart!  

Friday, August 19, 2016


"I'm wearing a 60's inspired dress. I love Twiggy. I got my hair cut short like her. She's my favourite model. I just got signed to a modelling agency myself. I'm waiting to see what happens."

We captured Simone's 70's inspired street style just two weeks ago.

Follow Simone on Instagram.

Thursday, August 18, 2016


TorontoVerve: What's the best advice you've received in life?

Sherlon:My mom told me to always be me. She raised two children by herself and she never changed for anybody. Her words helped me to grow as a person. I'm 23 now and I've taken a lot of responsibility at a young age -- especially being the man of the house.

Follow Sherlon on Instagram.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


"I think it's important to be yourself -- march to your own drum. I don't care what other people think of me. Yeah, receiving constructive criticism is fine, but you should have the confidence to be your own person and move forward independently."

Follow Phantasma on Instagram.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016


TorontoVerve: What's the best advice you've received in life?

Annie: My sister once told me, "When you dress to go out, show either your butt or your boobs. You cannot show both. [Laughs]

TorontoVerve: [Laughs] Why did she give you that advice?

Annie: She didn't want me to look too slutty. [Laughs] I don't think you need to show off your body to dress fashionably. At the end of the day, you should dress the way you feel. It's OK to dress sexy and show either your boobs or your butt, but never both. I feel there's a stigma when you show both.

Monday, August 15, 2016


"My style is fun, colourful and retro-inspired. Old Hollywood musicals inspire me. I adore Doris Day."

Charlotte manages Tatyana Boutique on Queen Street West. Follow them on Instagram.

Sunday, August 14, 2016


Sidonie: My style is the result of a lot of traveling. It's a mix of tribal and urban.

TorontoVerve: What's the best advice you've been given in life?

Sidonie: The universe is always giving you exactly what you need. I was living in a spiritual community in the middle of the jungle in Costa Rica. That advice helped me get through the hard times. It helped me understand that this was supposed to happen. The universe always gives you exactly what you need. You may not know it at the moment, but, in time, with a little bit of perspective, everything comes together as it should.

Follow Sidonie on Instagram.

Saturday, August 13, 2016


Bethany: I only wear dresses and skirts so my style is pretty, classic and girly. My mom inspires me. Since I was born, she's been wearing really classic things. Like her, I wear outfits that will still be in style twenty years from now.

TorontoVerve: What's the best advice you've received in life.

Bethany: My grandmother told me that every generation should be better than the one before. I try to build on what my parents have done as immigrants, and I hope that my kids will be able to do that same and be even better than I was.

Follow Bethany on Instagram.

Friday, August 12, 2016


Jayde: My style is a mix + match of generations. The decade I'm wearing now is the 80's and my hair is the 70's. Diana Ross inspires me. I listened to her music with my mother a lot. I love her confidence. She didn't really follow too many rules.

TorontoVerve: What's the best advice you've received in life?

Jayde: I discovered that it's OK to be constantly growing and finding yourself. It's helped me to accept my mistakes more.

We previously captured Jayde's street style in the fall of 2014.

Follow Jayde on Instagram.

Thursday, August 11, 2016


Babette: My style is a collection of all the things I like. It's very easy and laid-back. I like to mix basic pieces like jeans and t-shirts with vintage finds like my jewelry, clutch and head wrap.

TorontoVerve: What's the best advice you've received in life?

Bebette: My mother told me to treat everyone the same way that I'd like to be treated. Sometimes it's challenging, but it's a reminder to myself that we're all human and we all have faults. It's important to be compassionate to each other.

Follow Babette's Instagram, Witches Brew Kombucha. "Kombucha is a tea that's fermented much like beer and wine, but the yeast used is probiotic. It's healthy and good for your digestive system."

TorontoVerve made #8 on Street Style News' Daily Most Popular Chart! 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The World According to Morgan Baskin

Morgan Baskin ran for mayor of Toronto when she was just barely out of high school. Now, two years later, she's done talking about it.  

The only campaign that Baskin is currently focused on is finishing college, but that hasn't stopped her loyal followers from asking her to run for office again. No doubt, the twenty-one year old still has her strong supporters, and no one is more surprised about that than Baskin herself.

We caught up with the former mayoral candidate at the Brick Works, where she passionately shared her latest thoughts on politics, sexism and Black Lives Matter.

Justin Trudeau’s performance so far 

TorontoVerve: Since we last spoke, Trudeau came into office. What are your thoughts about him?

Morgan Baskin: I think my thoughts are pretty mixed. I was never on the Trudeau train. I think there’s a lot of space for improvement, but we do seem to be moving in the right direction. I’m just weary of getting too excited that he's better than Harper. I think ‘better than Harper’ is setting ourselves up for a really low bar. I think we need to be asking more from him and really push ourselves further as a country and not just solving Harper’s mistakes and calling it good governance. So I’m pretty mixed, but optimistically mixed, but it’s his government that approved the permits for the Site C dam out in BC; which involves flooding First Nations land. Those First Nations are currently appealing the construction in September. Whether or not the project is viable is a completely separate discussion, but a project that has a legal challenge against it just feels off to me, and against the kind of discussion that Trudeau has had about respecting our indigenous people. There’s definitely stuff that’s really great and then there’s stuff that’s not so great.

Black Lives Matter and police accountability 

TV: What were your thoughts about the Black Lives Matter movement asking for the police to not take part in the Pride Parade? People are upset that excluding them isn't being inclusive. 

MB: I think that excluding a group that perpetuates violence against marginalized peoples in completely inappropriate ways from an event that is about inclusion is not actually inclusion. I think asking the police to not participate in the parade is perhaps not necessarily the right choice, but I understand where it comes from. For right now, the police have not proven themselves able to be an organization that’s respectful of marginalized peoples. I would much prefer to see the police move forward to a place where that’s what they are. I think that Queer people and People of Colour get to make that choice for themselves. I’m a straight white woman and my opinion on the subject is that marginalized people should make the choice about who gets to participate in their event. A group that experiences a ton of’s not really exclusion. It’s creating the safest place possible for the people who it is meant to be celebrating. I mean, we just had Officer James Forcillo found guilty of the attempted murder of Sammy Yatim. We just had that incident in Ottawa a few weeks ago [where Mr. Abdirahman Adbi was killed during a confrontation with the police]. Police violence is not stopping because people are paying attention. That indicates an immense amount of privilege and entitlement. It’s the dehumanization of large groups. The fact that Black Lives Matter has to be said is ridiculous. The fact that a group of people has to state that their lives are worthy of existing is mind blowing. Actually it’s not surprising considering the state of things. It’s completely tragic and it’s not where we should be at all. But Pride has always been a space of protest as long as it has existed. People using it to protest certainly doesn’t feel wrong to me — especially when cameras are there. Make the most of your moment.

TV: Unlike the States, the identities of Canadian officers are not released in shooting investigations. What are your thoughts about that? Should that change? 

MB: I understand where that comes from. In some ways that makes a lot of sense to me, but at this point, I don’t see any good sense in protecting police officers. If you can’t attach that violence to your name, then maybe you shouldn’t have perpetuated it. I don’t think necessarily that police can avoid perpetuating all violence all the time in every situation, but you should be able to stand behind it, state what happened and feel like you’ve made the right choice, and if you haven’t, then it shouldn’t have happened and you need to answer to the consequences. Your actions should matter — even when you wear blue.

The American election 

TV: What are your thoughts about the American election? Were you a Bernie supporter? 

MB: Oh God, no. I find Bernie Sanders the man himself far less frustrating than Bernie Sanders the rhetoric — the rhetoric of him being suddenly anti-establishment. I’m sorry. You’re running a campaign in an arena that requires millions of dollars and you’ve been in politics just as long as Hillary? Please don’t tell me you’re anti-establishment. And the complete ownership and disregard that his supporters have for anything he says. They have taken very little time to examine why they’re thinking the things that they’re thinking. On some level I get it, but I just find it frustrating. Bernie Sanders would not be able to solve all of the problems that exist in the States. He will not magically make everything better. Honestly, it’s the exact same rhetoric we heard about Justin Trudeau. “He’s going to sweep in and save the day.” As soon as you do that, you’re removing the responsibility from yourself. Wherever you choose to live, you have the responsibility of making that place better. When you say, “Bernie Sanders will save the day” or “Justin Trudeau will save the day,” you're saying that you don’t have to save the day — even in any small part. You’re also saving yourself up for disappointment.

TV: That’s exactly Trump’s platform. He alone is going to “make America great again.” 

MB: I have very little to think about Trump that I didn’t think about Rob Ford. We have to follow the logic to how you get to supporting Trump and you get there by feeling really marginalized, unheard and hurt by the economy. A lot of those people would have lost their houses in 2008 and they’re really struggling. I don’t necessarily think that they’re the most hard up people in America. Yes, their ideas are racist and they’re agreeing with someone who has a lot of awful ideas about what to do with America, but they’ve got to that space because no one else was showing up for them and Trump showed up and said, “I’m here for you.” That’s exactly what happened with Rob Ford. When we forget that there are people who are not willing to listen to how people became conservative and how people came to those views and how people became bigoted, then that’s how we lose any ability to change minds. We’re just the flip-side of Conservatives. That’s not Liberal or Progressive in any way. That’s just your own propaganda. Yeah, it’s different and maybe less racist, but is it any less close-minded? Not necessarily.

TV: And Hillary Clinton? 

MB: She is not perfect and I will never imagine or claim that she is perfect in any way, but the more I read about Hillary Clinton and her record and what she’s done when she’s been elected to office, the more I like her. She spends a lot of time listening, writing policy, putting in the work and shaking hands to get policies passed. There’s a really great article on about why the Hillary Clinton we see in the media is not the Hillary Clinton that people who know her talk about. That’s really integral how I moved towards Hillary Clinton. She in many ways reminds me of Olivia Chow. Her campaigning doesn’t necessarily translate to media or a TV camera, but when people meet her and sit down with her, they speak incredibly highly of her.

TV: I think people think Hillary Clinton is disingenuous because she comes off as a real politician. She always sounds scripted — her words are specially chosen. 

MB: They are specially chosen. She comes off as a politician because she is one. I think she’s really hurt by sexist ideas about what women should be like. How much has our opinion about Michelle Obama changed in the last eight years? It’s changed drastically. There were times when she had to step back from campaigning because people were so derisive and so sexist and so awful to her. I think that shit is real and it affects how we perceive Hillary.

Convicted rapist Brock Turner and sexism in the justice system

TV: How angry were you when Brock Turner received a lenient sentence after being found guilty of rape? What a gross injustice.

MB: You know, I’m not that angry anymore. I don’t even know if I was angry at the time. I wasn’t surprised. I have a deep sadness and distrust of the system. I watched it happen in Canada and I got to watch it on uncomfortably personal levels in my life. I have zero belief in the system anymore. At this point, it’s not even anger. I can’t muster anger any longer for the way women are treated by the justice system.

TV: It’s sad. Despite having two very credible witnesses who caught him in the act and a heart-breaking letter from the victim, the judge gave him a light sentence. It’s hard to believe it wasn’t enough to put him away for many years. 

MB: Nothing is enough apparently. You can hope that you have a sympathetic judge, but there’s no proof that you can present that can make it real.


TV: Let’s talk about your recent tweets. 


TV: On July 25th, you tweeted: "Honestly find the DNC far scarier than the RNC. At least the Republicans have their shit together. It might be awful but it's together.” You’re obviously talking about the infighting between the Bernie-bros and the DNC camp. 

MB: Yes because I see it here. Liberals spent a shit ton of time wrapped up in their own nonsense. Nitpicking over sentences and tiny policy differences. If you line up Bernie and Hillary’s platforms, they’re practically identical — especially now when Hillary has moved more towards a Progressive place because of Bernie. I just find all the infighting exhausting.

TV: On July 15th, you tweeted: "Spent all of my time in public in the last ten days with a male companion. Zero street harassment. Was alone today and it happened twice." You also mentioned how normal it feels. What did you mean? 

MB: I had my significant other visit for ten days and I realized how that changed the way I moved through the city — how comfortable I feel going to places at night. We walked through the Don Valley at night. I would never ever in a million years do that if I was alone. When you go back to the way people treat you when you’re alone as a woman in public, it’s jarring. It’s like putting on an old sweater. “Yep, I know how to deal with this. I know how this works. ” And when it happened the second time, I realized how normal it felt to be treated that way. You can’t get upset about it every time — not because it’s not worthy to be upset about it. I don’t have time to spend 20 minutes getting worked up about it and then getting unworked up every time someone hits on me in the street. It ranges from guys saying, “Hey, baby, what’s up” to guys slapping my ass. And if you react in a negative way, it gets worse. The other day, I gave a guy the finger and he said, “Oh, you’re getting feisty, bitch.” I don’t have the emotional energy for that in my life anymore. It’s too exhausting.

TV On July 4th, you tweeted: "It's my favourite when middle aged white dudes not only tell me what to think but also promote themselves in the same breath.” What happened there? 

MB: [Laughs] Oh, my goodness. This summer, I’ve been working on an electoral forum; which is a space that’s really dominated by older white men. I tweeted that I was having a focus meeting to engage young people, and some dude replied to the tweet saying, “I hope you’re not pro-proportional representation (pro-PR). You should listen to this podcast.” It was his own goddamn podcast! So you’re telling me that I should not be working in a pro-PR space; which, first of all, my initial tweet was pro-PR so you know I’m pro-PR. And then you’re promoting your completely fact-less podcast that’s anti-PR. I”m sorry. You’re wrong and inappropriately engaging in this conversation because I literally never spoken to you on the internet before this moment. And then you’re also promoting yourself? It’s like you’re being a shitty human and promoting your shittiness. “Hey, lady. You know what you should think? You should think what I think and here’s my podcast about it.” Goodbye.

TV: On June 28th, you tweeted: "Spotted: Dude in a Death of a Salesman shirt. How likely do you think he is to talk your ear off about how well read he is on a date?" Sounds like you had a date from Hell. 

MB: [Laughs] The pretentious Toronto intellectual is a breed of man. You know, he’s making a short film, reads Shakespeare for fun and attends weird art openings. He just wants to really talk about how interesting he is, how much he’s read, and he’s got this friend who’s in this band that’s really cool and they’re playing in this spot that you’ve never heard of, where the drinks are $12 and the bar doesn’t have a name. “We should go there next weekend.” I’m like, “What? You literally talked about yourself for two hours.” And none of it was actually interesting.

TV: That breed of man isn’t interested in learning who you are and what you have to say? 

MB: Even if they are, I find myself so distracted by the fact that they’re so self-obsessed that I can’t even talk about myself. I’m shocked. “You literally talked about your film for 45 minutes and it sounds terrible.” At this point, I’m in a relationship so I’m not in the dating scene anymore so it’s easy to be derisive about all the men I went on dates with; which is honestly not that many.


TV: So you’re thinking about starting a personal blog. What are some things that you want your followers to know about you? 

MB: I’m at a place now where I’m interested in talking less about issues and more about what’s going on inside my head. Politics, urban planning and city building are very interesting to me still, but I’m also really interested in talking about what it’s like to be me — to be twenty-one and trying to figure out life. I don’t think we hear enough from young people about what’s going on in their heads and what they are struggling with. Where I find writing really helpful to me is a space of exploring what’s going on inside my head and really working through stuff. I want to find interesting ways to engage people in conversation and to create space to have some emotional vulnerability in the world because I think that’s really important.

TV: Do you think Millennials are misunderstood? 

MB: Yeah, 100%. I think there are tons of generalizations made about a huge group of people. We’re honestly trying to figure out our lives and millions of people are watching. We’re in a completely different landscape. We’re having to make completely different choices and that’s OK. “Millennials are having less sex, Millennials are interested in hook-up culture, Millennials are not working, Millennials are working too much, Millennials are not going to school and Millennials are really in debt over school!” We are definitely struggling with stuff and in Canada, housing in the city, where the jobs are, is really expensive so we’re figuring out interesting ways to make that work. Yeah, we’re working multiple jobs and we’re doing what we love — trying to monetize what we can because we’re broke and have student debt. I think the most interesting thing about Millennials is that we’re so different and we’re figuring our shit out so differently. We’re making immensely different life choices from each other, from our parents and from our grandparents. The expectation of going to school, leaving with a piece of paper, getting a job, buying a house, having a family and then having a pension and retiring is impractical and unfeasible. It’s terrifying and provides a lot of space to fail, but also provides a lot of space to do something completely different and to not end up unhappy doing the same thing as everyone else. And if any of us end up unhappy as people in our parents’ or grandparents’ generation, I’m pretty sure we’ll be unhappy completely differently and I think that’s cool.

TV: I think people are terrified of Millennials because they’ll represent 75% of the workforce in 10 years. 

MB: You know what? Good. Be scared. I think that people have spent so long being stuck in their ways. If you’re scared of us, fine. Be scared. And you know what? Get the f@#$ out of the workforce! I need a job. [Laughs] I graduate in three years so if you want to be scared of me, get out! Take your pension that my tax dollars will be paying for and get out! [Laughs]

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