Profiles

Lisa Ray

Photo by Javier Lovera

“Success is yours to define.”

Growing up global

Actress. Model. Advocate. Call her what you will, Lisa Ray is more than all three. From being the host of Top Chef Canada to the face of Rado Watches, her travels mimic the span of her career. “I like to think of myself as more boho than corporate,” says the self-proclaimed “covert type A,” who began modeling at 16 in India. “In reality, I have a strong work ethic.”

Core values  

In 2009, Ray was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, a rare blood cancer. She established the Yellow Diaries, a blog that chronicled her experiences, and led her to explore concepts of beauty. Believing that the modern age suffers from ”pathology of perfection,” she embraced meaningful endeavours to inspire change. In a recent collaboration with Indian design house Satya Paul, Ray manifested her experience through silk and sequin. Her “Phoenix Rising” sari is one of many gorgeous creations, where portions of the proceeds are donated to Multiple Myeloma Research at Princess Margaret Hospital.

Diversity her strength

Known for her tenacious role as Sue (Sunita) Singh in Deepa Mehta’s Bollywood/Hollywood, Ray “proudly proclaims” her mixed heritage off screen. “I realized early on that my strength was my uniqueness,” she says of being born to Indian and Polish parents in 1970s Toronto. Ray aptly calls Canada a “cultural stew” that has shaped her outlook on life

Bright diamond

Ray ultimately serves all, be it culture or people. This year, she was recognized for servicing her country with a Diamond Jubilee Medal. “After leaving Canada at 16 to live in India, Europe and the States, I have discovered a new sense of purpose and stability in Canada, which helps me give back in more effective and meaningful ways.”

You can catch a stunning Ray as the lead role in the theatre performance of Taj, which will hit stages across Canada in late October and the new season of Top Chef Canada next year.

 

http://www.lisaraniray.com/

This piece was originally published in the FALL 2013 issue of CHLOE Magazine

Rose Reisman

Photo by Javier Lovera

“Success is waking up every morning, loving what you do and not thinking you’ve ever worked a day in your life.”

The “Art of Living Well” is not a formula, but a philosophy

Opt for a Citrus Salmon Superbowl at the Pickle Barrel or discover a recipe for healthy chocolate cake. Thank nutritional guru Rose Reisman. She believes that “eating well isn’t about deprivation,” and is constantly searching for dishes both flavourful and healthy. Her Choose It And Lose It concept compares counter intuitive menu items from restaurant franchises and is a resource for real people on the go. “Life is such that we’re all going to end up in a fast food restaurant at some point during the week.” Reisman often finds salads that are twice the fat and calories than burgers and shares her collations on CityTV’s Breakfast Television, CityLine and in her daily Metro News column.

Palatable pages

With a roster of 19 books this fall, Reisman didn’t always write about health-conscious eats. In the 90s, the avid jogger was filling pages with decadent recipes, but her “cholesterol was off the Richter scale.” This inspired her to publish Rose Reisman’s Enlightened Home Cooking in 1996. It sold 75,000 copies in Canada with proceeds donated the Breast Cancer Foundation.

Fueling the cause

Rose Reisman Catering sponsored the 2013 Weekend To End Women’s Cancers, providing a total of 7,000 lunches in partnership with Pickle Barrel. Yet, the Art of Living Well truly shines at Glow Fresh Grill. The unique restaurant in Toronto’s Shops at Don Mills features a menu with Reisman’s light, seasonal picks.

Fall feasts

Reisman considers sweet potatoes “candy food” and tops her turkey breast with a cranberry apricot salsa. This season, she is boasting about a newfound favourite: Brussels sprouts. “I roast them in the oven with bell peppers and Parmesan cheese. They’re outstanding!”

Watch Rose Reisman “Choose It and Lose It” weekday mornings on Breakfast Television.

This piece was first published in the Fall 2013 issue of CHLOE Magazine

Andi Petrillo

Photo by Javier Lovera

“Success is being happy with your accomplishments, big or small.”

From living room to screen

Growing up, Andi Petrillo didn’t understand why her father spent Saturday nights watching men pass a puck back and forth on television. Now, he watches her on CBC’s Hockey Night In Canada. Raised by Italian immigrants, hockey became a “tradition in the household” and ultimately gave the Petrillo family a “Canadian identity.”

Versatility is key

During the 2012 NHL Lockout, Petrillo felt “crushed.” She says that, “For someone covering the sport, this iconic brand, you’re a little miffed that you can’t fulfill that.” Yet, it presented a new wave of opportunity for Petrillo to cover cross-country skiing with first-hand experience. “I swear I was out there for two hours but it was only twenty minutes,” she says of the challenge. “It gave me more of an appreciation and opened my eyes to other sports.”

Petrillo studied Broadcast Journalism at Seneca College/York, covering everything from politics to local news. That changed when her radio instructor noticed her passion for sports. “I back up my work. I do research. I have my contacts,” she says. “The minute you open your mouth and know what you’re talking about, you’re for real.”

Real life

In 2010, Petrillo traveled to Afghanistan to host a Default concert for Canadian troops. She reveled as the audience was “getting a break from the grind” of 24/7 war. But when the reporter and crew witnessed injured Afghan children at a nearby hospital, reality set in. Petrillo didn’t shy from delving into core issues – Journey to Afghanistan is a 30-minute documentary that captures the experience, which she shot and edited herself.

Learning from the pros

Petrillo has watched athletes prepare with “so much dedication, discipline and focus.” She applies these elements of practice before she goes on air. “The day that I don’t feel like doing it is the day I should push myself even more.”

 

Catch Andi on CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada this fall or follow her @andipHNIC

This piece was first published in the Fall 2013 issue of CHLOE Magzine

Angela Aiello

Photo by Patrick Lascina

 

“Success is in making goals, being driven and motivated to achieve your life’s vision, while understanding that fear and failure are a part of the journey. Success is having a dream and going for it!”

Tasting experience and undertones of passion

From growing up in the Niagara region to working at a winery at barely legal drinking age, Angela Aiello, 31, had no idea that she would be the founder of iYellow Wine Club – a social utopia for wine lovers worldwide. Today, bold glasses of Riesling and gentle flutes of Prosecco have weaved their way into every facet of her life. “It’s a perfect ménage of work, life, travel, and love,” she says, with the inclusion of her sommelier boyfriend. “Its here to stay and I’m not going anywhere.”

Bottleneck education

Aiello knew wine was the perfect fit while working at Vineland Estates as a teen. The ambitious young woman would later become a host at Peller Estates, simultaneously pursuing a Communications degree. The new grad moved to Toronto, working as a receptionist at a television production company, unaware of the real resume at her fingertips. With an unfulfilled palate and an insatiable thirst for a robust glass of pinot noir, Aiello established the iYellow blog. The list has grown to over 10,000 members to date.

Pinot Grigio with Asiago or Louboutin pumps with MAC Russian Red?

By teaching others about identifying grapes to pairing wine with food, Aiello equates wine with fashion, as it is the “perfect accessory” to lifestyle. When it comes to trends in the bevy world, she predicts that Port and aperitifs will make a comeback as post and pre-dinner drinks. Apart from opening up a bottle with sushi or dessert, Aiello believes sparkling wine is for every occasion. “Regardless of how the bubbles are made, whether it’s traditional or Charmatt, I use it in a lot of different ways,” she says, citing juice pairings or mixing with sangria. “You’re alive, so drink a glass of sparkling!”

A sip of the future.

Aiello says that many things she has premised in her life are “coming true,” and even sees her own wine label in the future. Wine is in her blood, as Aiello’s 85-year-old grandfather still makes wine in the traditional Italian way. The reason she hasn’t had the chance to make her own?

“I’ve been too busy drinking it!”

To learn more about iYellow, check out http://www.iyellowwineclub.com and http://www.angelaaiello.ca/

This piece was first published in the summer 2013 issue of CHLOE Magazine

Tre Armstrong

Photo by Javier Lovera

Choreographer, Founder of A New DAEI (Dance Academy for the Entertainment Industry) Dance School.

“Success = failure + persistence + passion.”

 

Always kickin’ it

The choreographer mama and her seven-month-old son definitely share a passion for movement. What she calls a “hilarious birth,” the former So You Think You Can Dance Canada judge recalls back and forth treks to the hospital this January, reflective of her son’s groove. “The second he hears music, he’s doing the belly pop. He’s very rhythmic, so with any music or beat, he’ll catch it.”

 

Dancing past doubt

“At the age of 11, I wanted to give up on life and contemplated suicide,” Armstrong says of growing up in an abusive home. With a dream of becoming “Canada’s first ‘Blackerina,’” she faced scrutiny from instructors and peers before leaving dance at 17. In university, Armstrong cut the rug and said, “This is it. I’m going to be successful.” She established her dance academy with fellow choreographer Tonya Burke, and together, they are driven to elevate dancers into the entertainment industry. A New DAEI caters to all cultures by offering everything from belly dancing to hip-hop and a class for walking in heels.

 

Classroom cavort

Her innovative “Davatar” trading cards promote physical fitness by educating youth about dance moves, and are distributed within the Dufferin Peel and Toronto District School Boards across Ontario. The Youth Empowerment Tour is Armstrong’s latest choreography endeavour, where she will host a conference about “powering youth for success.” The project includes an online “iAM” campaign, which encourages celebrities and students of all ages to post a video that captures their potential.

 

Advising novice dancers

Armstrong believes that life is about decisions, even when we fail. She encourages her pupils to “choose not to lose.”

http://anewdaei.com/
http://trearmstrong.com/

This piece was first published in the fall 2013 issue of CHLOE Magazine

So happy I could die: Catharsis, growth and music with Bif Naked

Photo by Kim Akrigg

Bif Naked loves herself today, not like yesterday. For Naked, born Beth Torbert, yesterday is an assemblage of adversity. Yesterday spans the last four years: a battle with breast cancer, a crushing divorce, recent kidney failure and open-heart surgery. The Juno Award-nominee and Vancouver native pop rocker believes that these hard times have finally made her sanguine in her own skin.

“Breast cancer turned me into a woman,” Naked says, clad in what she considers “little boy clothes” of a crisp pink dress shirt, purple skinny jeans and vegan Doc Martens loafers. “Before breast cancer, I really don’t believe I was an adult. I don’t think it was because of my own suffering, or physiological experience. I think it was because of my proximity to other women and their experiences.”

The other women Naked refers to are those she met while volunteering at a local hospital. Stating, “Emotions are worse than anything you can go through physically,” she felt a great source of positive energy from being around fellow cancer patients and survivors. Living by the motive that everything happens for a reason, Naked is grateful for her diagnosis, as she discovered “new passions,” along the way.

Naked has documented this gratitude in her new single, “So Happy I Could Die,” from her latest release, Bif Naked Forever: Acoustic Hits and Other Delights. The album is a collection of re-recorded acoustic classics and three fresh tracks. Like the singer’s moniker, the music is stripped down, both natural and vulnerable, showcasing Naked at her core.

“As a lyricist, I have been able to tap into my feelings and its very cathartic,” she says of writing new material with producer Ryan Stewart. “Emotionally, I envision myself as a resilient lady. I think (in a Yankee accent) ‘Ah, fuck it; I’ve seen it all. I’m tough as nails.’ But not at all, yet I had a completely open-heart writing with him.”

The heart is both a literal and figurative symbol for Naked. In the summer of 2012, her kidney failed. It was the crisis of the year, and having dealt with real heartbreak from a divorce in 2011, the artist faced an array of life decisions, yet a strong will to move on.

This strength-turned-solace is audible on “So Happy I Could Die,” a track evoking the gratitude Naked has practiced since the beginning of her career.

“I couldn’t believe how fortunate I was to hear my song on the radio,” she says of her big break that led to a tour with Life of Agony and a performance on the Today Show. “It didn’t matter if I got hit by a car.”

After several years of success and radio domination with hits like “Let Down” and “Spaceman,” crises arose, but with the help of her family and a clear mindset, Naked was full of fortitude.

“Life can be stressful and I get that,” she says. “But at the end of the day, reconnect with yourself, your surroundings, your gratitude and reality.”

The artist considers this to be her greatest insight and a value deeply rooted in her upbringing. Born in New Delhi, India and adopted by Canadian missionaries, Naked grew up in a multiethnic home. A “self-identifying Indian,” Naked found belonging in the Hindustani Khana Indian food her parents made, paired with the worship of Hindu deities and Christian faith. Now straightedge, vegan and an avid yoga enthusiast, she says that her path was guided not by religion, but by spirituality through music like Krishna Punk.

At first glance, Naked’s heavily inked body forms many misconceptions. The artist admits that people would never know that she loves the colour pink, doesn’t drink alcohol and is politically active with the City of Vancouver Women’s Advisory Council. She even has a house music side project under the name Jakkarta, in all of its “filthy, fun” tenacity.

Regarded as a role model, Naked’s biggest piece of advice emphasizes one of her most prolific songs.

“Love yourself today,” she says without pause. “For women, our biggest hang-up is ourselves and only we can know that self worth, self honour and self love is the biggest struggle we have.”

Among other endeavours, these feminine battles and a slew of adverse situations may be compiled in a book Naked is writing, set for a 2013 release. This may all seem a bit much, but for now, she’s cool, calm and definitely okay.

This piece was first published in the Winter 2013 issue of CHLOE Magazine