Entertainment

What It’s Really Like to Be a TV Host

In our 9–5 series, we ask boss babes what a day in their work lives entails. This week, CityLine host Tracy Moore—whose new fashion line launches April 7th—gives us a glimpse into her daily grind

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Age: 41

Education: Bachelors of Arts in political science from McGill University, plus a Masters of Journalism from the University of Western Ontario.

Length of time at current gig: Nearly eight years.

What do you do? Being a TV host is a perfect mix of hanging out with folks that are fans of the show, working with lifestyle experts—from fitness to food to décor to hair and makeup to health—and being a facilitator. Essentially, I get to be the viewers and ask questions on their behalf.

How did you get into broadcast TV? I started off volunteering at the McGill campus radio station, just reading out the community announcements. Over time, they asked if I wanted to be part of a show called “Soul Perspective” which was about politics and the black diaspora. After that, I ended up doing a morning show with one of my friends. It was atrocious and we were terrible, but it was a great training ground. When I was in journalism school, I specialized in radio, but I ended up getting my internship at CTV, so that’s the road I started down.

What made you want to be in front of the camera? Apparently on my first date with my husband, I told him that I was going to have my own show! I was thinking at the time that I wanted to be the host of a current affairs show, like 20/20 or any of those Sunday morning political shows. I was reporting news for Breakfast Television when the job came up at CityLine, and I was asked to audition.

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How did you find doing lifestyle versus reporting hard news? It’s been the biggest blessing because lifestyle is a world of happiness and fun. You don’t realize how draining news is until you get out. I was covering a lot of child abductions and homicides. I think lifestyle and hard news are equally impactful but in very different ways. When women tell me they’re going through chemotherapy and they’re watching CityLine everyday, and it makes them smile, that’s a big deal. Or, when mothers tell me they’re very isolated with their babies at home, but they’re watching our show that makes me feel good.

What stories are you most proud of? The cancer special we did last year. It looked at things like the psychological burden of cancer, the plight of the caregivers and survivor’s guilt. It delivered a service to so many people in terms of sharing information that isn’t always talked about when it comes to cancer.

What is your typical workday like? I get up very early, around 4:45 a.m., usually because I want to get a workout in. I get into work between 7:30 and 8 a.m., go through hair and makeup, then do a live hit for Breakfast Television at 8:50 a.m. Then, I go back and get any hair and makeup touch-ups until about 9:20 a.m. and we tape our show between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. After that, I do photos with the audience and then we have a production meeting for the show that’s two days away and tie up any loose ends about the next day’ s show. Lately, in the afternoon, I’ve also been doing a lot of promotions for my clothing line, Tracy Moore by Freda’s. [It will be available on the Shopping Channel on April 7.]

How did your clothing line come to be? It grew organically out of the folks who have been my clothing sponsor since I started on CityLine. We decided we wanted to take our relationship to the next level, and we embarked on this line that is all about the everywoman. It’s clothing that gives women a way to feel pulled together regardless of what stage of life they’re in.

You’re the name of the brand but not the designer; how does that work? I work with two young women who work with Freda’s. They’ve been pulling my clothes for years, so they know my taste. They know I’m picky about print, that I love a jogger and a jumpsuit, but I also love a pencil skirt and a blazer.

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What’s your personal style like?  There’s definitely “Casual Tracy,” who will be in leather leggings and high tops. Then there’s “Dressy Tracy,” who’s never met a stiletto she didn’t love and will maybe be in a tapered pant and a cool boyfriend jacket. Then there’s “Professional Tracy,” wearing a beautiful high-neck collared blouse. I’m all about those things and the clothing line is based on the fact that women shouldn’t try and put themselves in a box’ different styles are good for different scenarios in your life.

What’s the best career advice you’ve received about working in broadcast? My best friend told me: You have to put yourself out there and ask the questions or you’re just not going to learn. I stick by that advice to this day.

If someone wanted to be a TV host, what attributes do they need? You definitely have to get over yourself. You have to be cool about screwing up and learning the job in front of millions of viewers, which means you can’t really be a super self-conscious person. I mess up all the time in the cooking segments, accidentally dumping ingredients in the pan when I was supposed to measure them or putting things in the blender that aren’t food, but I’m past the stage of embarrassment now.

Which TV host do you admire and why? I look up to a lot of female journalists that are covering hard news like Katie Couric, Christiane Amanpour and Adrienne Arsenault. It’s not that I think that what they’re doing is any more important than what Ellen or Oprah does, because they’ve both started movements that affected millions of people, but I love seeing a woman’s brain at work and a woman that is really able to unpack a complex issue in a way that makes you understand and almost makes it art.

After a long day of hosting, how do you unwind? I want to be out of my clothing and in pajamas as quickly as possible. I get into bed with my kids and read a book like Lego Ninjago. My makeup is off, probably I’m nursing a NeoCitran because I’ve been sick for, I dunno, five years, and my kids are all cuddly and fresh from their bath and we just snuggle our way to sleep.

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