Jeanne Beker on Canada’s Walk of Fame: “It’s never felt better”

Jeanne Beker on Canada’s Walk of Fame: “It’s never felt better”
Jeanne Beker Talks Being Inducted in Canada's Walk of Fame

Jeanne Beker has long been a household name for Canadians, and a fashion icon for fashion enthusiasts around the world. Through her show Fashion Television, the veteran fashion journalist and TV personality took viewers to the hottest runway shows, getting behind-the-scenes access like no other show on television. Jeanne has done it all in fashion, from having her own clothing line to magazine Editor-in-Chief. Now, Jeanne Beker can add being inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame to her myriad of accomplishments.

First of all, congratulations on your induction into Canada’s Walk of Fame. How does it feel?

It feels wonderful! It’s such a beloved organization, and the honour itself really does seem to resonate with people everywhere. It’s almost like people are more excited about me being inducted into the Walk of Fame than any of the other awards I’ve ever won! It feels like something that’s really for the people, maybe because it’s right out there on the street. It’s such a great time to be any kind of force in Canada. Canada is such an amazing place, and the spotlight that has been shining on this country for the last little while, seems to have turned up a few notches. It’s never felt better.

You’ve had such an interesting and unique career. When you started your career as an actress, did you ever imagine that you would have the career you’ve had?

I think I wished for it. I think you have to, not that it’s ever about the destination- it’s always about the journey. But when you’re a little kid and you want a career in front of people, you want to be famous, and by that I mean that you want people to know you or at least listen when you speak. Then you realize it takes a hell of a long time, and a heck of a lot of hard work to get to that position. When you do get there one day, and you’re kind of a household name, you start to realize all the incredible good you can do because of the platform that you’re on. So, I kind of wished it. When I was a little kid, wishing on my birthday cake every year, I’d always wish for my own TV show, not realizing the kind of work and tenacity it would take to make that happen.

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 06:  Fashion Entrepreneur, TV personality and journalist Jeanne Beker attends the 2016 Canada's Walk Of Fame Awards at Allstream Centre on October 6, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by George Pimentel/WireImage)
TORONTO, ON – OCTOBER 06: Fashion Entrepreneur, TV personality and journalist Jeanne Beker attends the 2016 Canada’s Walk Of Fame Awards at Allstream Centre on October 6, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by George Pimentel/WireImage)

Early in your career, you were involved in reporting entertainment and music. What was it about fashion that has made you want to dedicate your career to it?

I always saw myself, and still do, see myself to a large degree as an entertainment reporter. And I think one of the great things about Fashion Television was that we never took fashion too seriously. I knew a lot about fashion, but only stylistically. But I never understood the machinations of the fashion world. I never knew who the designers were. I never realized what an incredibly complicated industry it was until I got my feet wet into it. For me, it was about the egos and the icons, and the people. It was this great, big show, and set against this very glamourous backdrop. I never really dreamt that I would get into fashion or dedicate my life to it, nor did I want to. But I did know that I wanted to be involved an arena that was rife with colourful characters that could provide a lot of great visuals and that was full of drama {laughs}. It ended up being the perfect world for me to play in.

Looking back at what you’ve accomplished in your career, you’re clearly someone who has vision and is driven. Who or what are the major influences in your life that have shaped you into who you are today?

Without question, my parents are number one because they raised me, and they are Holocaust survivors who came here penniless in 1948 after their lives were totally shattered.  They wanted us to try and realize some of the dreams that they could never realize because their lives were kind of nipped in the bud in their youth. My dad’s motto was “Don’t be afraid, and never give up.” As long as you’re fearless, and you’re tenacious, miracles can happen.

And then moving into later years, shaping my path in television, I think Moses Znaimer (Co-Founder of CityTV) was incredibly instrumental in letting me take the ball and run with it, and defying conventionality by inventing this new style of television. It was no-holds-bar- I was totally free to be whoever I wanted, and he sort of encouraged that chutzpah. He really knew which buttons to push and made me realize you gotta be larger than life to be noticed and to be remembered.

Now I think my daughters really encourage and inspire me more than anything.  They grew up to be trailblazers in their own right, who were not ever going follow in my footsteps. I wouldn’t want them to. They’re etching out this incredible life for themselves now, and it never ceases to amaze me the breadth and scope of their talent.

 

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 06:  Joey Beker, Jeanne Beker and Bekky Beker attend the 2016 Canada's Walk Of Fame Awards at Allstream Centre on October 6, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by George Pimentel/WireImage)
TORONTO, ON – OCTOBER 06: Joey O’Neil, Jeanne Beker and Bekky O’Neil attend the 2016 Canada’s Walk Of Fame Awards at Allstream Centre on October 6, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by George Pimentel/WireImage)

A few years ago, fashion trends were communicated through magazines and through TV, and now we see bloggers sitting front row at the hottest fashion shows. Is this a welcome change to you?

I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t miss the quality of the fashion reporting. I miss the genius of what I saw in the fashion world- the theatrical presentations and that level of unbridled creativity and imagination. The big business aspect of fashion now has really diluted a lot of that greatness and that wonder. But, I’m never going to be one to grumble in the light of progress. If this is what has to be done now, if this is what makes sense to the world, there’s no going back. The genie’s out of the bottle. The way big business has gone, that’s just what happened to the scene. That being said, it’s also quite wonderful that fashion has been democratized to the point where there’s no elitism now. It’s for everybody. Everybody can have a crack at it, and look at it, and give their opinions. But, there’s a certain quality that’s gone and will never be there again. Hopefully it’s going to be replaced by something else. I’m not sure what yet because it’s still in the process of inventing itself but I can’t wait to see what unfolds.

TORONTO, ON - MARCH 16:  Jeanne Beker takes a picture for social media during the Jennifer Torosian fashion show at David Pecaut Square on March 16, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Edward James/FilmMagic)
TORONTO, ON – MARCH 16: Jeanne Beker takes a picture for social media during the Jennifer Torosian fashion show at David Pecaut Square on March 16, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Edward James/FilmMagic)

You seem to have done everything in fashion from TV, to having your own clothing line, to fashion editor. What’s next for you?

I’m working with Bell Media now with picking up the old archives. As you can imagine, we have 27 years of brilliant historical material, which is the best of its kind on the planet. So we want to repurpose that material and bring it back. We want to let fashion students around the world be inspired by it and let people remember what the fashion world used to be like, because it’s a very different world today. We’ll come up with some interesting ways of repurposing that material, so that’s what I’m most excited about creatively. I’m also excited about my role at The Shopping Channel and really trying to develop new ways of getting products out there, and being able to tell stories of Canadian designers. It’s such an interesting time and there’s such a shift going on. We’re all looking at things in such a new way because of where the world has gone. I’m just so inspired. There’s a myriad of creative projects I have on the back burner. I’m absolutely loving it.

Watch a snippet of Jeanne’s fellow inductees, Brett Kissell and Corey Hart, talk about their reaction to being selected for Canada’s Walk of Fame!

Watch Canada’s Walk of Fame on Global, Monday December 19 at 9PM ET/PT.

 

 

 

 

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