October 24 11

I used to read these multiple-page interviews in magazines like Vanity Fair. A freelance journalist would sit down with Jude Law and open with a lengthy paragraph about him being thirty minutes late and sporting a beanie. And I thought, I could do this. I want to do this. I could write articles about Jude Law’s chin stubble and his choice in headgear.

I used to watch red-carpet interviews before awards shows and watch as a microphone gets put in the fresh face of a rising new star while she answers the important question of who lent her the heavy necklace she was wearing and if she was had eaten anything that day. And I thought, I could do this. I want to do this. I could give interviews and talk about red-bottomed shoes and Spanx.

I used to read online interviews with TV stars as a blogger asks questions about crazy on-set pranks and requests for juicy spoilers. And I thought, I could do this. I want to do this.


Yes, I do. The nature of the media landscape is changing. And someone like I—a girl who can appreciate creative people who work full-time on their crafts, be it writing, acting, directing, singing—can sit down and shoot the shit with them. Yes, media is different nowadays. Networks and PR people see the value in the blog space as a medium. At the Blissdom Canada conference this past week, I had the pleasure of participating in a round table with the folks at CBC. You see, CBC gets it. They see the value. They want to know how to use us bigger, better. They want to invite us behind the scenes and let us write about chin stubble and headgear and shoes and crazy audition stories. And you know why? Because our audience is listening. My audience of 60,000+ monthly pageviews is filled with Amercicans and Canadians and Israelis. It is filled with moms and dads and college students and grandparents and crazy cat ladies. It is filled with television and movie watchers. It is filled with radio listeners.

It is filled with CBC audiences.

So, obviously, when they told me that Amber Marshall and Graham Wardle—of the CBC show Heartland—were going to be doing some media spots in Toronto for Cover Me Canada and Battle of the Blades, I jumped at the chance to talk to them again. We go way back, those Heartland people and I.

While preparing for the interview (Read: while on the subway down to the hotel) I thought about what we might chat about. I have covered the show while talking with them twice before, and I didn’t want to go that route again. So, I figured there would never be a better place than a social media conference to talk to them about this changing landscape of media and social media and celebrities.

I asked how they feel about social media—Twitter, Facebook, blogs—and if they are using it to their advantage or if they are little intimidated by the whole thing.  What followed was a conversation that I was not expecting, but it was exactly what I had hoped for.

Amber: We have some serious fans. And luckily for us, social networking has increased our show’s popularity. There is such a huge space for it in our lives. The majority of our fans are in that age bracket and so many of them are major social networkers. And they have the time to do it. It’s really, really important for Heartland. They visit the blog, they check out the updates, they go on Facebook, they have conversations amongst themselves which just builds and increases the anticipation for the show…and that’s been really beneficial for us. And exciting for us at the same time.

Graham: I did just join google+, which I really like. I recently did a hang-out where you can have ten people in a video chat and you can watch youtube together, share a bunch of stuff, it’s like a virtual hangout. I posted to my twitter that I would be doing this. It was cool because I talked to people from Argentina, Belgium, the states, and Canada. I basically opened the floor and said I would answer questions. I got to sit down and just talk to people who are my age and older and they weren’t asking me, like, do you like horses. It was like…so, we hear you did a float tank! The questions were things I was excited about answering. It’s really cool that technology has now provided the opportunity to do this. An autograph signing is really just…”oh hey, what’s your name?” and it ends there.

Me: There is more interaction there. The benefit to letting people behind the scenes is huge.

Amber: We’re just everyday people (Stars! They’re just like us!) It’s great to break that barrier and view us as more than just our characters.

Me: Speaking of characters and your Facebook page…according to it, fans are all abuzz about someone dying on the show.

Amber: Really? Someone’s dying?

Me: It appears so, unless it’s a rumor. It’s almost like that first season of Beverly Hills, 90210 and there were promos about someone on the show dying. I remember so vividly how on the school bus home that day it was ALL we could talk about. We needed to know who was going to die. We guessed all sorts of different scenarios and were so scared we were losing Dylan McKay

Amber: It creates this huge buzz. People talk about it and get excited. Wait…who is dying? OH! I know who they are talking about now.

Graham: WAIT…who dies?

Me: I assume you’d know if it was you

Graham: WHAT??? I die?

I can assure you that Graham’s character does not die. You can rest easily tonight. You can also know that the three of us went on to talk about Bop magazine interviews and how the most pressing questions kids want to know is “WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE COLOR?” (Amber said hers was blue. Heh.) We also talked about crime shows that have acronyms and how Heartland is much, much better than those shows because instead of being set against a dark backdrop, it’s set against gorgeous scenery that almost takes on a storyline of its own.

We also discussed Hilary Duff’s pregnancy and iCarly and how I have the same hoodie as someone on Hanna Montana and then Graham told us a joke about how instead of telling someone to grow some balls—which are sensitive and soft—people should really be telling people to grow vaginas, as they sure take a beating.


See? Just like us!

Graham was really inspired by a TEDtalk he listened to about classical music. He now has an appreciation for it because he learned HOW to listen to it. Before that, he just didn’t really get it.

Graham:  He played this classical music song and told you HOW to listen to it and put it in context and it was amazing and I was blown away and it gave me great insight into a lot of things in life, not just music, but, like if you aren’t in the right headspace  you totally miss it. If you aren’t open to it, it doesn’t make sense.

Me: I totally know what you mean. It’s exactly like that with my camera. Before I knew how it use it, I was full of happy accidents.

Graham: I need to see this camera.

Me: It’s a thing of beauty. And now that I KNOW how to use it, and it has been put in context, I GET IT. And I get more than happy accidents.

And I think, at the end of the day, this is what traditional media is doing. They are opening up to the idea of using a different kind of media to spread their message. They are open to the idea of using ME. And by hosting things like roundtables at conferences like Blissdom Canada, they are learning HOW to use me bigger, how to use me better.

And now I get to tell you that Graham Wardle neither had chin stubble nor a beanie.

But I was sporting some really awesome zombie eyes.


  1. My son is a huge fan of Heartland – less for the drama and more for the horses. He’s going to be jealous that the cool mom who sat beside us for Billy Elliot knows the stars of Heartland.

    Comment by Eri on October 24, 2011
  2. It’s such a great show for horse lovers.
    It almost makes me want to be one!

    Comment by ali on October 24, 2011
  3. Thank you for this interesting interview. I’m sure I have nothing to compare it to. Graham’s joke was some indication as to how loose he must have felt. I can’t imagine his character saying such a thing on the show. More to the point, I can’t imagine Amy hearing such a thing! What was Amber’s reaction? Did she seem surprised or did she seem totally blase, like Graham does this all the time?

    Comment by Saloon Singer on October 26, 2011
  4. I actually thought about this—before posting the joke.
    But I kept it in for a few reasons. One, to show how great the two of these actors are to interview. It was very casual; like having coffee with old friends. And I like that.
    But I also really wanted to show that Graham and Amber are real-life, regular people…and I think they want to show that too. The characters they play are very different—and I think that’s a testament to how great at their craft they are! They are able to become Ty and Amy on a regular basis…but off-screen they are just Graham and Amber.

    And I find both pairs to be a delight 🙂

    Comment by alimartell on October 27, 2011
  5. Thank you for your response. It is all too easy to think of actors as their characters since that’s all most of us will ever know of them. I appeciate your providing me with some insight and perspective on this.

    All the best,
    Saloon Singer

    Comment by Saloon Singer on October 30, 2011

    Comment by Jessica on February 14, 2012
  7. Thank you for your comment Jessica. My first thought was that you are Jessica Amlee but then I thought she wouldn’t post such a thing here when she can just tell him on the set. However, since the show may not be picked up again and wouldn’t start until May even if it was, maybe she couldn’t wait.
    As for how cute Graham and for that matter Amber are, I notice they have gaps between their teeth that American actors don’t seem to have which I guess makes them seem more ‘real.’

    Comment by SALOON SINGER on February 15, 2012

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