Thursday, April 21, 2011

Hip + Urban Girls of the Week: Nat & Marie

Meet Nat & Marie, two hilarious, outgoing and ambitious chicas who host an online show of the same name on pop culture, viral videos and trending topics from around the world. They didn't sit around for someone to offer them an opportunity, they created it for themselves. Hells yes. This is why they are our Hip + Urban Girls of the Week.

What made you want to become media personalities? 

Marie - I have wanted to be a presenter for as long as I can remember. I grew up watching George Stroumboulopoulos & something about him hit a chord. He inspired me to consume content & to be smart. It was never a crush, it was just a profound professional respect... I’m like the mentee that he never knew he had. Oh and my sister’s old Sassy magazines were hugely impactful. Sassy, Strombo and CBC. 

Nat - I was bitten early by the performance bug and have always liked being in front of the camera. That and I’ve always liked the idea that being a Journalist was kind of like being a professional gossip. Seriously, it’s all about digging up details before anyone else and spreading the word. Think about it. Point is, I’ve always been a communicator and curious about the world around me and after going to Journalism school I was especially drawn to great TV interviewers, like Oprah Winfrey, George Stroumboulopoulos, Christiane Amanpour and Jon Stewart (if you haven’t seen his interviews, he’s actually QUITE good). The desire to hone those skills grew naturally from there. Oh, and I still like digging up details and spreading the word before anyone else. Luckily Marie does too :)

How did you meet and what made you want to hook up and become "Nat & Marie"?
Marie - HAHAHA! I just think it was meant to be. I mean, I have fun doing stuff with Nat! She’s super positive, down for anything and we complement each other on a weirdly awesome level. We’ve got a good “Ying Yang” thing happening. I mean the first formal instance of Nat&Marie was for the Best Travel Job Ever entry, but all that did was remind us that between the two of us we have all the skills to make our own show. So why wait for someone to give us the opportunity?

Nat - We are the perfect social media frilationship story. We met on Twitter about 2 years ago after I put a call out for any media-savvy women who wanted to create video content. Marie was one of those women and we have been developing and pitching ideas ever since then until we realized that we didn’t need to wait for someone to make the show for us; we could make it on our own! Plus, between Marie’s experience working on one of Canada’s top-viewed web shows and me having launched 10 online series, partnering up with a fierce, insatiably ambitious PYT has made this journey so gratifying. We’re similar enough to understand each other’s flavour of insanity, but different enough to surprise one-another with cool ideas every day.

What is a typical day in the life of Nat and Marie like?
Marie - Right now, I’m the only one working on Nat&Marie full time. So a day could mean strolling over to our HarthTV studio at BNOTIONS to do work. I research a lot of content daily... we do have a growing research team to help but that’s my fun. Then I respond to emails, sniff out PR opportunities, connect with our production team, take meetings, mine metrics and hit Twitter. There’s also a lot of brainstorming because I can easily kill a day chatting with Nat on GCHAT, sharing articles and playing with ideas.

Nat - I’d love to be doing Nat&Marie every day. But for now, my role is primarily as a producer and host, driving editorial, writing segments, prepping interviews and hosting! Then it also involves a lot of bizdev fun like editorial R&D, relationship building, PR opps, event planning, schmoozing etc. etc. Did I mention schmoozing? Ya, one of my fave things to do with Marie. We like to party. We like, we like to party! (Vengaboys anyone?:)

What are some of the disadvantages of your job?
Marie - Disadvantages? I guess you could say the late nights, never being home and the occasional technical difficulty that plagues us every so often. :) But, to be honest, that’s apart of the fun. NO I TAKE IT ALL BACK!!! The biggest disadvantage is not making a bucket ton of money right now so Nat can work out of BNOTIONS as well. 

Nat - I’m with Marie. The only disadvantage of this right now is not to be making the salaries we want to be doing this full-time. The job itself has no disadvantage maybe other than it seeping into all aspects of your personal life. But after doing this many series, I’ve learned to find my balance so I get my fill, take a step back, then come back with a fresh mind and perspective.

Tell us more about your Wednesday night show!
Marie - We are a weekly, live streaming talk show about online pop culture... webculture... basically all that cool crazy stuff that entertains, shocks and awes (as in the cute cuddly kind) and you want to use, share or talk about... or watch over and over and over.

Nat - We’ve taken a traditional production setup with 3 cameras, audio equipment, mixing board, lights etc. and are distributing it on the web. Remember, the medium isn’t so much the message anymore. Content is king. So regardless of where it’s being distributed, make it the best content you can. Just because it’s online, doesn’t mean quality should get compromised. Plus we like to make cocktails. Mmm.

What did you study in University/College?  Would you have done anything differently?
Marie - Bachelor of Music w/ an undeclared minor in English. Then a post-grad artist retraining program for niche marketing and fundraising. I excelled in digital strategy (no surprise), then I did modelling, pageants and acting before returning to the web as editor of a major Toronto food site. 

Yeah, I probably wouldn’t have done anything differently. I always had a weird understanding that I was going to be a presenter or actress. Either way, I was going to be infront of the camera. Everything I’ve done has been beyond helpful in really asserting myself and my projects in this space. I just wish I spent more time learning how to bend time so I can get everything done.

Nat - Quite simply, I went to Ryerson University for Journalism, specialized in Broadcasting and while I was still in school, jumped right into digital/print media writing for an international tech business magazine. While there, I launched my first weekly online video news wrap-up in 2005 (just before the launch of YouTube!) and that dose of digital goodness has been my gateway drug into the world of online video. Since then it’s been trial & error in the classroom called life. Would I have done anything differently? Probably not. I mean, as a child, my options were to become an astronaut, an archeologist or a pop star. Strangely enough, being a broadcast journalist kinda fulfills those desires that draw me to those other areas.

Favourite places to shop in the city?
Marie - The grocery store. I love food. I riot over Pusateri’s... whoever picks their produce always gets killer stuff. I don’t agree with the elitist pricing but, they have beautiful stuff. The markets... but I also LOVE LOVE LOVE our stylist’s shop on etsy. I haven’t gone on a proper shop in a while. I don’t think Nat’s closet counts...

Nat - Oh God, what can I say here? I love clothes. I tend to get a little eccentric and bold at times. May explain why our stylist likes dressing me up in pretty outrageous outfits:) Let’s just say shopping on Queen West can easily take an entire work day (or more) for me to really comb through it properly. New find I’m in love with: a little boutique called Fraiche; it has the CUTEST dresses. Guiltiest pleasure? H&M. I also love shopping for clothes for other people. So, if anyone ever needs a shopping buddy, you know who to tweet!

Tell us about your neighbourhoods and what you like best about it.
Marie - Yorkville? I joke and call the folks here “Yorkvillans” because they can be a little uptight. I mean, there’s always been a division between the “haves” and the “have nots” but there’s no need to be a dick about it. In the summer though, my fav thing is to sit on “The Rock” drink wine, hang out and have a little picnic while people watching. It makes me feel so European. I love rocking out outdoors with good wine & good friends. I also have a sick condo and I can walk where ever... omg... NAT! Are you not pumped for the summer?!?!?

Nat - SOOO pumped for the summer and patio season! My absolute FAVE spot in the city is Hey Lucy’s on King Street, which has not one, but two sweet patio options. King West is a fave neighbourhood of mine and where I find myself a lot these days; it’s so trendy and full of yummy places to eat, chill and be young and carefree. But my heart’s in Liberty Village. It’s got such a rich history and fantastic nooks you can spend the entire day in. And the Farmer’s Markets on the weekends rock:)

What do you wish someone told you when you were younger and just starting out?
Marie - I don’t think anyone could’ve told me anything that would’ve changed things. I live life at my own pace, I always knew what I wanted to do and, yeah, life took me on some  detours, but I always found my way back... Advice on haters would’ve been good. But, Nat found a good article from Tim Ferriss that seemed to scratch that itch. End result: don’t let people get you down because haters are like resistance training for personal satisfaction/accomplishment.

Nat - I wish people told me to live life to my own expectations and no one else’s and to be happy with my own achievements if they make me happy. I think that would’ve made things a little easier on my self-esteem growing up and would’ve saved wasting time on being uneccessarily hard on myself. Having said that, all that overachieving has certainly attributed to a healthy ambition and a work ethic in overdrive.

What life advice do you have for hip + urban girls out there trying to figure out what they want to do?
Marie - Go for it. You need to live life in a way that makes you happy. If you’re not happy you’re doing something wrong, so take the time to figure that out, recalibrate and get back to it. Have fun!

Nat - Grab your life by the balls and OWN it. You’ve achieved great things in your life whether you can recognize it or not. Comparing yourself to others’ successes only makes you forget this essential fact. Be confident. Believe in yourself. Strive to live your bliss. Then dazzle the world. And don’t forget to smile:)

Marie - For all other times, there’s wine... and Nat&Marie every Wednesday evening at 9pm on ← we’re the perfect cure for what ails you! ;) 

Find out more:
Website -
Facebook -
Twitter - @NatandMarie

Need some more inspiration? Meet a few more of our Hip + Urban Girls of the Week.

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