Cheryl Hickey has been in Canada’s public eye as the host of ET Canada since 2005, and she definitely found her calling! Through this time, her age, body, and perspective have changed, but she’s celebrated all stages of her life. Cheryl talks to us about how she has the dream job: chatting with celebrities, traveling, and engaging in the fashion and beauty industries. When DTK arrived on set, Cheryl was just finishing up filming in a sexy red jumpsuit, moving right along to this interview during her lunch break.

Interview by KW
Written by Rebecca Kahn & Mari Obi

Photographers Lily & Lilac
Fashion Editor Nadia Pizzimenti
Shot with Fujifilm GFX 50S Camera

Cheryl is no stranger to working with world-famous celebrities, and her times covering the Grammy red carpet shows or New Year’s Eve specials have included stars such as Nick Jonas, Demi Lovato, Nicole Kidman, Tom Cruise, Taylor Swift, and more.

Cheryl believes in and supports Canadian musicians, comedians, etc. “The beauty of being Canadian is we don’t have to tell people we’re great, because we know we are. But our show works really hard to shine a light on everybody and say, ‘We know you’re great too,’” says Cheryl about the current landscape in Canadian media.

At 41, Cheryl has really hit her stride – hosting, reporting, parenting, and starting her own business, and she doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.

It’s so great that we’re doing an interview with you. You’ll be really inspiring for a lot of our readers. So, what got you started in this business?  My love of the art of conversation. I’ve always loved to sit down with people and just talk and share conversation, and I love to listen. When I was 16 or 17, my dad said to me, “You can’t spend the entire summer at the beach and at parties in the evening.” So, we saw an [advertisement] that said, “Looking for volunteers at the cable station” and I applied. I was immediately fascinated with all of the different facets of the industry. There’s so many jobs, and I felt at home. I’ve been in radio, I’ve been a producer, I’ve been a writer, I’ve been a cameraman, I’ve run [a] teleprompter, shot, switched and reported all at the same time in a helicopter, and I’ve pulled cables. I’ve really walked in everybody’s shoes and I’ve had a million jobs, and I’m just fascinated with all the things that have to do with media. And what does it take to do your job? I think it takes a healthy sense of self. I think you can’t take yourself too seriously. I think it’s important to step in and out of it as much as you can. I think it’s important to have a great team around you. And I’m still in love with the art of conversation. So, I think that’s what keeps me hungry for it and looking at new ways of exploring the medium.

What makes a good interview?   When they forget that I’m giving them an interview, and then I realize I’ve never looked at my questions, and the interview turns into a true conversation. A lot of the time, I try not to prepare too much on a person. I’ll read a little bit and get educated, but I don’t want to answer all the questions about my natural curiosity that I have about them. Because then I’m not asking the real questions that people at home want me to ask. You know what I mean? So, I prep, but I try not to over-prep.

Do you memorize any of your lines? How many hours of practice do you need?  I’ve got this weird thing, and I’ve had it since I was a kid, I can memorize things in a heartbeat. But if you ask me five minutes later what it was, I can’t tell you, it’s gone. It’s really weird, but it’s really helpful in my job. I mean, I’ve been doing this since I was 17, so that’s a long time to hone it. I’ve always been able to memorize things. I should’ve been an actress!

And how much pressure is there, being on TV as a woman?  There’s pressure. I mean, listen. I’d be a liar if I said that there wasn’t. I’m 41 years old, I’m very proud of being 41. I’ve gained and lost 70 pounds but luckily work for a company that is very supportive of women, and supportive of women of all ages, and all ethnicities, and all stages of their life. So that we feel confident, we can push forward, and we can be confident about who we are. That said, there were times when I returned to work six months after having a baby, trying to squeeze into some dresses, and you know, you’re hormonal, and you have a little tear in your leg, [and think,] “I just don’t feel right.” So, yeah, there’s pressure for sure.

I saw you were doing, I think the TIFF coverage, while you were pregnant. I never saw that before, and I thought that was really cool that you did that. What was the response like? Are you talking about the year I was really pregnant, in the blue dress? I think there was a lot of shock, and there was a lot of, “Should you be working?” But you know, in my mind, I just was thinking, it’s just another stage of life, and we don’t have to hide. It’s still beautiful. And I had a great team also, who found me great dresses, and all of that fun stuff. But I wasn’t embarrassed to be pregnant. My body was making a human being, and that’s spectacular, [but that] doesn’t mean I can’t work, doesn’t mean I can’t still fulfill the other part of my passions.

What is Cheryl Hickey Family?  It’s a family brand. For years, I’ve been in everybody’s home, so, I get a lot of people asking me, “What clothes are you wearing? What’s your skin care routine? What’s your fitness routine?” They’ve watched me go from gaining the weight with two pregnancies to losing the weight, so they kind of have said over the years that I’m their next-door neighbour. I used to have people come up and rub my belly on the street. You know, it’s that kind of relationship with these viewers. I wanted a space that we can chat, we can have open conversation, a place for me to do some blogs and vlogs on family and lifestyle, and issues around women’s rights. Being a budding entrepreneur, I launched a product last August. It’s something I use with my kids, called “Arm Here for You” available at Snuggle Bugz, and we plan on having more products under the Cheryl Hickey Family Brand that we think families will love just as much as we do! So, it’s also a hub for that place, and different products that I find useful, that maybe other families will find useful. I work on creative ideas and product development when the kids go to bed. So, it’s a packed life, but it’s good.

What do you like about fashion?  When [I] put on an outfit, it makes me feel a certain way. Today, when I left home, I was feeling a little uneasy, because I knew my friend wasn’t feeling very well. So, I put on a baggy dress and a pair of running shoes, because I just wanted to hide. When I arrived at the studio today, I put on a red suit because I needed a little “oomph,” I needed a little kick. So, the ponytail made me feel strong, and the outfits made me feel strong, so [that] I can go out there and do what I need to do, get it done. I think fashion can be very emotional.

And your stylist Alicia McNamara. She’s a rock star. She has her finger on the pulse of [designers] like Lesley Hampton who are up and coming, but she’s also watching what everybody’s doing. And, it’s not only high-end brand names we wear. If something looks good, you can mix and match items. With a good pair of shoes and a smile, you can make anything work sometimes, right?

Besides their style, do celebrities influence you in any other way?  Yeah, I think there’s some celebrity moms who have made some amazing business decisions – some entrepreneurial moms, like Jessica Alba, Blake Lively, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Lopez. These women have built their own brands outside of what they’re known for, and I really admire that and I’m working hard to build that around myself. There’s some really great entrepreneurial women in Canada right now, like Tracy Moore, Jessica Mulroney, Trish Stratus, and the list goes on, who are building their brands and they’re leading the way in business, but with sass and style and grace, and it’s awesome. My hope is that more Canadian women do the same in fashion or beauty or whatever makes them tick. Make it work for you.

What’s your biggest scoop in your career so far?  Meeting Oprah was pretty awesome. She’s my mentor and she doesn’t even know it. She was known for her talk show at first, but she branched off and was a real businesswoman. I admire that. She could’ve just sat back and rested on her laurels, but she didn’t, and I find that really inspiring. Meeting her and interviewing her and having her say, “Cheryl Hickey,” in that voice is still a big, big moment for me.

Were you ever shy?  I am shy! I still have a hard time walking into a big room full of people. I can do one-on-ones, no problem, but if I have to walk into a room at a big party or something, I get a little bit nervous. And if I ever have to speak on stage, which I do all the time, I feel very sick to my stomach. It’s really difficult for me. But I do it, because if I don’t do it, that fear builds up too high and then it’s harder to get down. So, I try to do public speaking every month or so, to just keep pushing myself. How competitive is your job? Listen, I think it would be terrible if no other woman wanted my job. They should want my job. It’s freaking fantastic. I work with the best people in the business, I get to dabble in fashion and beauty, and I’ve travelled the world on the back of this show. I’ve been to Cannes, I’ve been to London, I’ve been to Jamaica, I’ve been everywhere. People should want my job. That said, I work my butt off to keep it. I appreciate it, I don’t take it for granted. I know that one day they won’t want me anymore, because that’s the truth. That will happen. But I’m enjoying the moment, I work hard to keep it going.

What kind of woman do you want to portray?  I hope people see me as a person who cares a lot about people, who is a good friend, who works hard, who loves her family, who’s really loyal. I think those are the things that are important.

Photographers Lily & Lilac at Judy Inc.
Fashion Editor Nadia Pizzimenti at P1M.
Makeup & hair Anna Nenoiu at P1M
using makeup CHARLOTE TILBURY and haircare BIOLAGE R.A.W.
Shot with Fujifilm GFX 50S Camera.

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