Rachel West of ET Canada
Ang Osborne, Co-Founder of The Atelier interviews Rachel West, ET Canada
This week, we are featuring one of my favourite entertainment gurus and #girlbosses, Rachel West of ET Canada. Rachel and I have actually been friends since childhood, and over the years I’ve loved watching her career evolve across the entertainment industry. Her passion for film has been the key driver of her illustrious career, and today she celebrates a number of career highlights, including being a correspondent at the Golden Globes!
Check out Rachel’s interview below, and prepare to be dazzled!
What is your current role at ET Canada? What are some of your day-to-day tasks?
I’ve been an Online Producer at ET Canada for over two years. One of the best parts of the job is not knowing what the day will bring – it all depends on what’s happening in the world of celebrity news. I could be writing about the latest movie trailer, Gwyneth Paltrow’s new health tip, scripting and producing a video on “Black Panther”, doing research for a set visit or prepping one of the show’s hosts for a celeb interview. And if I’m being honest, sometimes it’s all of these at the same time!
Can you tell us a little bit about your journey to getting here? What has inspired you?
I grew up in a family of avid movie-watchers, so naturally, my love of film led me to Carleton University’s Film Studies program. Over the years I took any job related to film and pop culture and have worked in film and television funding, production, broadcasting, and entertainment marketing. I further developed my passion and expanded by professional network through freelance writing gigs along the way, which helped me to transition into a full-time job, first as a producer at Cineplex and now at ET Canada.
The Canadian broadcast and film industry has a lot of strong and successful women in front of the camera and behind the scenes, so it’s been great to tap into that network of support and see countless women kill it every day at work.
You’ve interviewed a number of celebrities over the years – do you have any favourite moments?
It’s hard to pick a favourite since 99% of celebs are lovely (and it wouldn’t come as a surprise to hear who’s in the 1%).
Interviewing Miss Piggy is definitely one of my career highlights because it’s not every day you get to talk to an icon…even if you have to try really hard to pay no attention to the puppeteer lying on the ground with his hand up her dress.
Interviewing director J.J. Abrams and the cast of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” for a magazine cover article was a huge deal for me since I am such a “Star Wars” fan. It was really hard to keep my cool! It was such a thrill to see my article on the cover of magazines across Canada.
I have a soft spot for Saoirse Ronan because not only was she the first person I interviewed, but I’ve spoken to her a few times since and not only does she remember me, but she’s also the sweetest and loveliest human being. I can’t wait for her to eventually take home an Oscar.
Your twitter presence in truly incredible! You continually have so much content to discuss and insights to share. For a #girlboss trying to find her authentic voice on social media, do you have any words of wisdom?
Focus on what you’re interested in and what you would want to see on your own timeline and build from there. You’ll be able to connect to like-minded people, share ideas and maybe even meet some real-life friends in the process – I met one of my bridesmaids on Twitter!
Sharing a mix of your own opinions, writing, photos and re-shares of things you find interesting with hashtags keeps a good balance and allows you to interact. And make sure you find a frequency that works for you – no one wants to follow a stale account.
Travel seems to be an ever-important part of your life – why do you make sure you incorporate travel into your life goals? Where to next?
My job can be hectic, so planning a few escapes each year help me relax, find new inspiration and recharge, even if it’s just tacking a few extra days onto a work trip to decompress, like I recently did on a trip to Dublin. I’m very lucky to have a job that sends me places, a spouse who loves to travel as much as I do and girlfriends who will indulge me when I ask, “Want to go to Panama for the weekend?”
My girlfriends and I are currently trying to figure out where we’re off to next. I am usually the planner so it all depends on finding the right deal at the right time. My husband and I recently decided to head to Lollapalooza in Chicago for the August long weekend.
Do you have a favourite quote that can inspire the #girlbosses out there?
“If there’s one thing I’m willing to bet on, it’s myself.” Thanks, Beyoncé. Trust your ideas and capabilities and go be a boss, girl.
Can you share any tips for someone trying to get publicity for their business?
Take advantage of that network you’ve built online and don’t be afraid to reach out to individuals you admire or who inspire you. The worst that’s going to happen is you get absolute silence, but even a “no” can result in the opportunity to ask, “Can you please put me in touch with someone who can help?” So many opportunities still come from who you know and being polite, positive and professional goes a long way.
Tell us about your Red Carpet experience at the Golden Globes!
It was a fantastic experience to cover the Golden Globes from the red carpet with the ET Canada team. After years of watching on TV it was fascinating just to see what goes on behind the scenes and especially during commercials – Stars love selfies as much as the rest of us! I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many celebs in one place; Everywhere you turn there’s actor you grew up watching and admire and now it’s my job to politely shout over the incredible noise to get them to come over and talk to us, all while snapping pics and video for social media. Red carpets are nowhere near as glamourous as you see on TV. It’s a lot of sweating, shouting and getting elbowed since we’re all crammed into tiny spaces and wearing flats because you’re on your feet for hours, but the adrenaline rush makes it all exciting and worth jumping into every time.
Beyond the red carpet, covering the Golden Globes after parties were also great since I finally got to interview my teenage crush, Christian Slater. 14-year-old me would have been really impressed.
Anything else you’d like to share?
One of the questions I get asked the most is people who want to know how you can make a career out of doing what you love. The advice I always give is just start doing it. Actively seek out opportunities that will help further your goals. Whether that’s asking someone in your desired field for a coffee to pick their brain, job shadowing, volunteering somewhere to build your resume or portfolio and hustling to make those connections either online or in person, they’re all key steps in building towards your bigger picture.