"I was born and raised in Africa and moved to Canada when I was 17 years old. I spent the first part of my life advocating for animals and the environment. Getting to take family vacations to Safari was a real eye-opener to me and really made me see just how small we humans really are. Seeing animals in their natural environment is truly something special. After moving to Canada I combined my work in the environment space by volunteering with small local NGOs during high school. After high school, I went to York University and graduated with a degree in Mass Communications. I knew I wanted to take my love for the planet into mainstream TV. When I completed school, I traveled for a year and then went back to school when I returned to complete a post-graduate degree in broadcast journalist with a focus on environmental journalism, that was 20 years ago."
I have two full-time jobs. I work for CTV on the networks number 1 daytime talk show, The Marilyn Denis Show. As a senior producer, I oversee many aspects of this live daily lifestyle show. From casting, to editing, appearing on camera as the show’s Eco Expert. content creation and much more. It’s a super stressful job, but I appreciate the fact that we have a great deal of power when it comes to what we decide to air.
I’ve been with CTV for 10 years now. Getting here was not easy. I began my career as a weather broadcaster at Canada’s Weather Network 20 years ago, right out of school. I applied and kept applying until they hired me. My role was to cover live news breaking events related to climate change and changing weather patterns around the world. I learned so much from climatologists and really got to immerse myself in this type of content.
At the same time, I was volunteering at a few NGO’s and uncovered this amazing “green movement” in Toronto. I was shocked that no media companies were covering some of the amazing stories I was seeing daily in my volunteer work. So I quit my job to find a broadcaster that would partner with me to launch a local green TV series.
After a few months of hustling like crazy, I settled on a Rogers Television. In 2009, we launched A Greener Toronto, the first local show in Canada dedicated to sustainable living. I raised all the money, hosted, and produced this series for nearly 7 years. I covered it all, food waste, green tech, ethical fashion, low waste living, green beauty, and much more. At the same time, I was also chosen to be trained by Al Gore to give the Inconvenient Truth Presentation, this was a real highlight in my career.
When that show ended its 6-year run, I left to produce a 13 part documentary series called Global Footprints. This show looked at larger issues related to climate change and how to fix them. We covered fashion, agriculture, transportation, and much more. After that, I landed at CTV, where I am now. It was not an easy journey, I have had to fight to get green on the mainstream and am happy to see today in 2020 it's becoming a bigger part of the overall conversation, I think that’s in part due to social media.
4 years ago I decided to launch a blog, The Eco Hub was born out of my love for this planet and has become a place where I can share all my knowledge in this space. It’s now one of the top eco blogs in Canada.
What was your perception of beauty growing up and what is it now?
My perception of beauty was very warped growing up. I have freckles and never really felt like I fit in. I was teased terribly when I was a kid and it made me very self-conscious, I carried this into my adult life and into my twenties. Always trying yo live up to the images of perfection I was seeing on the news. I was obsessed with my skin. In my thirties I saw a real shift in my thinking and a better understanding that those images are not real, no-one looks like that and really embraced the notion that being different is ok. In fact. it’s what makes me ME!
What does sustainability mean to you?
It means EVERYTHING to me. I simply cannot live my life in another way. I am privileged to have the choice and I am forever grateful for that. Being an immigrant is never easy, but I think its been a real influence in my life and the choices I make. I’ve been in this fight for a long time, there are many days I want to give up, but the injustices that prevail in our society are what keep me going.
For me sustainably is being mindful of the choices I make, understanding that those choices have an effect on people and planet and taking steps to stop it. The biggest power I have is my voice.
my routine is quite minimal! I wash my face nightly, I never go to sleep with makeup on. I use coconut oil to remove eye makeup and for a cleanser, I use Woman Divine Oil Cleanser. I also love their FACE BALM and use it when I feel I need it. It’s sooo soothing and smells so lovely. It works so well in the summer if you have had too much sun and in the winter when you feel like your face has been whipped by the arctic winds. Can you tell I don't love winter!
I do obsess over body oil and body butters! I LOVE Tata Harpers Body oil, I could drink it. The smell is beyond divine. Same for F.Miller Skincare, I can’t get enough of it! For body butter, my go to is LOVE FRESH’s Lemon Verbana, it’s like cake! I die of it!
I also use a good serum every night. I use Corpa Flora, this Canadian skincare brand prides itself on top-notch clean beauty that works and their Antidote 2, which contains ‘bakuchiol’, is a real stand out for me. It’s super light and is absorbed very quickly, you don’t need much. It comes in a pump, I only pump it halfway, its more than enough. It has a very light, pleasant scent. My skin felt really good in the morning and I did find that apply my makeup was easier. I felt overall it did help smooth out my complexion as well. My skin is a little more glowy as well. It’s also a natural retinol which I love.
In the day I always use sunscreen, even in the winter, hello freckles LOL. I love and use Deviate’s Solar Protect SPF30. It’s reef safe and not cakey at all!
I also use Wild Craft Care eye serum at night. Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties help to reduce dark circles and puffiness and yarrow has powerful emollient properties to soften and brighten dull skin. Gotta love that!
I have struggled with acne on and off for many years, and it is something I have been open to sharing with the small following I have on my IG. This is where identifying the root cause component of naturopathic medicine comes in very conveniently, in my case, it was hormonal related. While I believe healthy, glowing skin comes from the inside-out, what we put on our skin does get absorbed systemically into our bodies as well. This is why I only use clean beauty products.
I don’t have any colour in my hair right now. I've been using shampoo bars from Rocky Mountain Soap and I do use some salon products like AOB. It’s a local Canadian brand. I have naturally curly hair. If I am not presenting on camera I let it dry naturally. Hair products have been one of the hardest switches for me. I am also loosing my hair which sometimes makes it more challenging.
I use ELATE Cosmetics for everything but foundation, I love them so much. I love their bronzer, I use it daily. It’s the Sunbeam Bronzer. For foundation I use ILIA.
-As told to LWB