Curiosity and Candor: Insight into Another Readers Recommendations
Hey Guys! After a short break from Curiosity and Candor, the series is back! (I took a break to do my summer series Write.Eat.Drink.Repeat). As a reminder, Curiosity & Candor: Insight into Another Reader’s Recommendations is a feature I started earlier in 2017, and I have been sitting down with authors, reader-friends, bookish family members, and industry professionals to ask them 11 questions about books, storytelling, and everything in between. I’m curious, and I want honest opinions. So here comes Curiosity and Candor, Part 3: I sat down with Brigitte Truong, TV/Digital Host, Producer, Vlogger and Fashionista and chatted with her about books, celebrity interviews, Generation C, career inspiration, and life. Click here for her site to read more about her before we get started!
KT: Hi Brigitte! To begin, tell us a little bit about yourself in three sentences.
BT: My name is Brigitte Truong and I am a Chinese-Canadian Sagittarius born and raised in Toronto. I love cereal, exotic fruits, and ice cream (sometimes all in one bowl), and I don’t understand quinoa. I wake up everyday with an irrational level of excitement to create engaging content, make a difference and to experience every drop of awesomeness this planet has to offer.
KT: I love your positivity! Brigitte, thanks so much for sitting down with me! I love that you are a Sagittarius too, that must be why we get along so well! I want to use half of this interview to ask you about books and the types of books you are interested in, and during the second half of this interview I would love to chat with you about your career as a content creator and TV host, and the exciting world of the arts. How does that sound?
BT: First of all thank YOU for sitting down with me. I get kind of squeamish when the tables are turned and I’m the one being interviewed but I know that I’m in good hands, so let’s do it!
KT: Haha, I’m happy to do it and looking forward to your tips and suggestions. First off, can you tell us what are you currently reading?
BT: I am currently reading The Brand Flip by Marty Neumeier, and I am hooked! It deconstructs the relationship between customers and companies, but more importantly examines how customers create brands by being vocal about their wants and needs. It’s a game changer for anyone who is looking to start their own business!
KT: That sounds like the perfect book for so many up-and-coming entrepreneurs I know in this city! You must have even more great recommendations since I’ve noticed you have had a couple pretty epic-looking vacations recently. What were some of your favorite vacation reads and why?
BT: Why, thank you for noticing, Kelly! Vacations are so important. Maybe not for your bank account but for your mind and soul! I recently went to Mexico in the hopes of seeing new sights, explore new grounds, taste new flavours and meet new people with lifestyles outside of my own. I’m happy to say that I achieved those things in 5 short days!
KT: You go girl! That’s an incredible vacation, right there.
BT: I also had a chance to read the New York Times Bestseller,#Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso. I had heard so much about it over the last few years and felt like I was only one who hadn’t read it. But better late than never, right? My gosh did it light a fire under my butt! Sophia started Nasty Gal which is a retail GIANT generating millions of dollars every single year. In it, she talks about her upbringing, adolescence, obsession with vintage clothing which led her to starting an eBay website and Nasty Gal. She has a “no bullshit” attitude when it comes to owning her brand and business. It’s incredibly admirable and inspiring.
KT: I LOVED #GirlBoss. (Readers, if you haven’t read my review on it, click here). You are a total #GirlBoss yourself, and I love that it inspired you even more! And I know that you enjoy autobiographies in general, not just ones about business, but especially in the entertainment and tech subgenres. Can you tell us a bit more about why reading this genre inspires you in your everyday life, both in your career and personally?
BT: I tend to draw inspiration from adversity and achievements and to me there’s nothing more encouraging than reading and learning about different success stories than from a first person’s point of view.
As an entrepreneur, I’ve come to understand that there are ebbs and flows in life. When the going gets tough (and trust me, it can get down right tough), it’s important to remember that there is someone else out there who has experienced the same downfalls, if not worse. Biographies with success stories usually offer fresh tools and strategies that we can all adopt. There’s something really fascinating about the human spirit and it’s important we don’t lose sight of our tenacity. Sometimes we just need a little reminder.
KT: It’s so true, and that is such a great perspective. I have a few autobiographies that I refer to when I’m feeling especially down, and they lift me up and motivate me to push forward. I always think “If _____ can get through those horrific issues they had, I can get through my stuff too.” That being said, my readers hear enough of my reco’s. Are you able to recommend a few must-reads to someone looking to branch out and try the autobiography genre?
BT: Absolutely! Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela is one of my all-time favorites! I also have a love affair with Our Turn by Kirstine StewartandLean In by Sheryl Sandberg. They’re not just an autobiographical look at their lives and careers but they’re also books about leadership. Very informative.
KT: Thanks for those recommendations! I have read Lean In and loved it, and will have to add the other two to my list. Now, I hope you don’t mind if we move into a broader topic: What is one book that you wish everyone would read and why?
BT: Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell holds a special place in my heart and if I ever have kids, I’ll likely read it to them over and over and over again until they can afford to buy their own books! Hahaha. It’s important to take this story out of the political sphere and bring it into our everyday existence. Everyone should read this book at least once in their lifetime and remember that they have a voice and that they’re capable of standing up for their rights no matter the context.
KT: I completely agree, and sometimes it is scary how many parallels we can draw in our current political climate with some of the situations in Nineteen Eighty-Four.
Are there any Toronto-based authors that you are a fan of? Tell us about them! We love to support local talent 🙂
BT: I’m sure there are but I haven’t read any of their books yet. I should do my research!
KT: I can lend you some next time we see one another! Okay, now let’s switch gears a bit. Since a big part of my blog is also about writing and city living, I want to talk more about you and your own creative way of storytelling here in Toronto. You’re a natural on-air and online storyteller, and in the past you have talked about how your love of storytelling was evident in your childhood. How do you see yourself continuing to paint your own picture and tell your own story in the coming years? Does it involve more writing? What adventures do you hope your own future story holds?
BT: You know, I’ve realized that you can’t plan everything in life. I used to plan out every step that I thought was ideal in achieving a desired outcome but I quickly learned that there are things in life known as curve balls that can really throw you off course. And that’s okay! That being said, social media has been a great platform for me to share my personal and professional stories with others. I don’t think that’s going to change. Looking ahead though, I’d love the opportunity to partner with like-minded people and brands to create shareable digital content. Life is one great big adventure and it’s no fun if you can’t live it collaboratively.
KT: You are fantastic on social media, and I feel like people really connect with you through your various social platforms. (Click here for Brigitte’s Instagram). Okay, I feel like that last question was super deep, so why don’t we take it a step back. Can you tell us a little bit about why you chose to get into journalism and digital media to begin with? Was it a struggle to land your first on-air gig as a VJ in 2009?
BT: Hahaha I’m feeling the pressure! I’m just kidding. Keep the deep questions coming!
Well, I always knew I had this weird fascination with people. Weird, but not questionable. I should probably make that clear hahaha. I was studying psychology and communications in university when I realized that I was more interested in storytelling than analyzing. So, I wrapped up my BA, started volunteering at community television stations and media companies, and enrolled in journalism school. From there I started auditioning while volunteering and waitressing, and it kind of all took off from there!
KT: Volunteering is the key to so much success! The connections you can make, and the experience and exposure you get are incomparable! That is fantastic. And you have interviewed some amazing international talents like Catherine O’Hara. Who have been some of your favorite interviews?
BT: She’s so cool! I had a mini fan-girl moment when I met her because I grew up watching Home Alone religiously when I was a kid, even when it wasn’t Christmas! Other than Catherine, some of my favourite interviews include Alice Cooper, Daniel Radcliffe, Drew Barrymore, Susan Sarandon, and Christopher Plummer. There are others but they all stand out because they were all super personable and hilarious!
KT: Oh my gosh. I am fangirling just hearing you say Daniel Radcliffe and remembering when I met him a few years ago. The Harry Potter books and movies are my absolute favorite. Sigh.
On your website, you interview American media and marketing executive, David Beebe. After listening in on a keynote speech he gave, I read that you love his reference of “Gen C”. Can you tell our readers a little bit about “Gen C” and why you think it’s important for those Gen C’ers out there to identify with this grouping? (I have a feeling that a lot of my blog subscribers can identify with Gen C).
BT: Have you heard about this new Generation?! It’s beyond awesome! So, Gen C is a term used to describe people who are extremely passionate about “creation, curation, connection and community.” It doesn’t matter what year you were born in. This term applies to those who have the attitude and mindset to collaborate and create! David Beebe talked about it in-depth in a recent conference in Toronto and it completely silenced the room. We live in a time where more and more people are teaming up to conceptualize and execute meaningful projects to make this planet a better place. Now, we have a reference term! I can’t think of anything cooler than that.
KT: Wow. I feel like us Gen C’ers need to band together and push out the negativity in this world. How great that there is a term for people who care about those elements in life. That being said, what is some advice you could give to someone wanting to get started in the arts/media industries? It’s obviously an extremely competitive industry, so I am sure our readers would love to hear any sliver of encouragement or advice you can offer!
BT: Be yourself. As cliché as it sounds, do not lose sight of who you are and what makes you unique. It’s easy to get lost in what you see on social media, the number of followers you have or don’t have, or the competitive nature of the industry, but don’t. We live in a time where most things, if not all, are possible. We have the tools to create our own opportunities and excuses are just a byproduct of our fears and doubts. Set your sights on something that excites you the minute you wake up and pursue it. It’s yours if you tell yourself it is and it’s not if you tell yourself it isn’t.
KT: BTru offering sage advice: Be True. Love it! Well thank you SO much, Brigitte. It has been great getting to know you more through these questions, and understand how you have grown in the industry so far. I really appreciate you enlightening us, and offering us such a unique perspective. I am sure I speak for all of the Write Eat Read Repeat readers when I say: we can’t wait to see what you do next!