I had first met Lauren Toyota, MuchMusic Host when I was judging a ping-pong and bowling competition with my friend T-RexXx (host of RapCity) in Toronto. We had bumped into Lauren at the end of her work day and convinced her to hop into our Judges' Town Car and come play ping-pong with us!
What did I learn? Lauren and I are terrible at ping-pong, but she is such a down-to-earth and super easy person to get along with. Not only does she have one of the coolest jobs in Canada, she thinks fast on her feet, has interviewed some big name celebs and is a serious inspiration. So meet Lauren Toyota - our Hip + Urban Girl of the Week!
What made you choose a career in television?
I am obsessed with television and can't imagine my life without it. So I just had to work in it... or on it
How did you get your start and how did you work your way onto Muchmusic?
I sent in a short demo tape to a show called '969' in Vancouver. I went out there for an audition and got the job. It began as a one day a week thing and after three months I became one of the hosts and producers. Since I never went to broadcasting school this was my school. It was the most amazing learning experience and the most fortunate way to get my foot in the door. From there I was hired as MuchMusic's West Coast Host/Producer in Vancouver after a couple of years.
What did you study in College/University? Is there anything you would do differently or advise others about?
I went to Durham College for Entertainment Administration. It's a music industry business course, not a television program. I wanted to work in the music business since I was in high school so this was the choice I made. I would always keep my eyes out for hosting jobs/auditions though. If you know you want to work in television as a host, producer, or writer (or other behind the scenes position) you should enroll in a broadcast journalism or a radio/television program. It puts you on the right path from the beginning and allows you to get internships. The chances of you getting hired fresh at a show like I did with '969' is a shot in the dark. There are even less small independent productions like that now, then there was when I started out. It was a pretty unique opportunity for me.
What is your typical day like?
I usually work afternoon to evening. I host New.Music.Live. as well as the evening countdown show Today's Top 10. The early part of the day is spent writing, rehearsing and researching my content for New.Music.Live., then we go live at 6 PM. After that I write and research my content for Today's Top 10, sometimes do live hits for other shows like Degrassi or Pretty Little Liars, then rehearse a small portion of Today's Top 10, and I go live with that at 10 PM. I will eat very quickly in between any of those tasks!
Tell us about some of the cool opportunities as a result of your job!
The best opportunities are getting the chance to sit and talk to some of the people you admire or are fascinated with in music. I interviewed Lady Gaga and converted into a little monster. Something I never thought would happen. I was certainly a changed person after experiencing her concert and learning about the woman. I have great respect for her. It's also awesome that I get to travel for work. Getting to go to festivals and fun cities like New York and L.A. for interviews or on-set shoots.
Are there any disadvantages to your job that maybe we don't think about?
This industry, at times, can be very superficial. And that's gross.
Who inspires you?
People. Anyone who works hard, never gives up, and can share their tale of success inspires me.
Where are your favourite places to hang out in Toronto?
Hogtown Vegan, Fresh, Fressen, The Beaconsfield, Sneaky Dee's, The Horseshoe, and the Moksha Yoga Downtown studio!
Where would you go on your dream vacation?
To Spain and Italy
What would you tell your 20 year-old self?
break up with that guy now...
What life advice do you have for hip + urban girls out there trying to figure out what they want to do?
No matter what job you're doing, and whether you like it or not, work really damn hard at it. Having a good work ethic will get you where you want to go. Figuring out what and where that is, can be a matter of trial and error. Do lots of different things as a job or a hobby until you find something you really love. Then if its a hobby ask yourself, how can I turn this into a job/career.
Web: www.laurentoyota.com + www.muchmusic.com