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Paralympic bronze medalist - Marissa Papaconstantinou has overcome many obstacles in her life thus far. Being born without a right foot, she’s had to learn things differently. Growing up playing all kinds of sports, Marissa never envisioned herself as a professional athlete, not knowing that going pro was even an option for her. Falling in love with track and field, Marissa has made her way all over the world competing in various competitions, representing Canada as the one and only blade runner across the nation. Even though Marissa has struggled with injuries while training for her sport, she always reminds herself to stay present and trust her process, as she continues to grow up competing in the sport she loves. Going to university for Sport Media, she hopes to continue raising awareness on the Paralympics and just how important it is to support not only women in the sports industry, but people with disabilities as well. Look out for Marissa in the Paris 2024 Paralympics because not only does she shine in the world of her sport, she is the face of the generation of change.
Got that entrepreneurial itch? From residential cleaning to finding love in yoga, Founder of athletic apparel brand ‘AZUR Fit’ -  Erin Ward-Williams has the entrepreneurial eye to make a business success no matter what it may be. Originally starting AZUR with her older sister, their first product was actually tank tops - inspired by the fit fashion influencers in Los Angeles. Now, selling full sweat suits, yoga sets & more… AZUR has bloomed into the business Erin always dreamed of. She refers to her business as a “little gem” that she can “hold in her hand and cherish” and from speaking with Erin you can tell her passion for business and her AZUR community are what she lives for. For AZUR, inclusivity is very important - in all aspects. She wants every woman to be able to see themselves wearing the products and also see that AZUR is bringing function to fashion to the forefront.
Do you live a balanced lifestyle? Barry’s bootcamp instructor - Karina V, has had several monumental moments that have changed her life. From taking an interest in yoga, to travelling to Bali and ultimately ending up at Barry’s in Toronto, she’s reflected on the opportunities she has been given in the fitness industry. Teaching herself how to train with weights through a men’s fitness magazine, Karina has come a long way on her fitness journey. Being one of the founding trainers at Barry’s in Toronto, she focuses on doing what she loves and working to inspiring people to live a healthy and happy balanced lifestyle. For Karina, being an instructor gives her purpose. Hearing her clients positive feedback in feeling stronger, healthier and overall happier - she’s grateful to have found her space within the fitness world after putting in endless hours of work when she first started out. Even launching her own online platform where people can find classes on weight lifting, yoga, stretching and more! As Karina says, fitness is for everyone - you just need to start.
Do you believe music lives on forever? Stefan Calabrese, who goes by the stage name JET SET FOREVR - actually found his love for music as a Producer in high school making beats for a classmate. It wasn’t until a few years back that he stepped out of his comfort zone, found his own voice and decided to pursue music on his own terms. Being a singer is 1 thing, but being a songwriter is another. Luckily for Stefan he’s always loved writing music and also enjoys writing music for other artists as well. As an artist, he truly believes that he has finally found his sound, his brand and his overall visual aesthetic in the music space. For Stefan, staying true to who he is as an artist and as a person - is what he strives for with each song he writes. Always wanting to bring a meaning to his lyrics, that represent special moments and people in his life. “Making music is the closest thing to living forever”- Unknown. Stefan mentions this quote on the podcast, as he believes that it truly resonates with him as an artist, with his sole goal of wanting to touch people’s lives musically and make an impact - hoping that his music really will live on for forever. Catch JET SET FOREVR’s new song dropping - June 14th and stay up to date on all release events and performances through his Instagram bio.
What is YOUR true passion? For Shea-Lynne Noyes, basketball was always that. Growing up playing the game but ultimately thinking that going to school for Architecture would help her find a successful career - Shea realized that being an architect wasn’t really her true calling. A degree and a pandemic later, Shea decided to find out HOW she would ultimately find that dream job of working in basketball to some capacity. With that, she asked around the sport media industry, talking to everyone she could at Toronto universities, etc. to find out how she could make her a dream a reality. But, everyone told her it wasn’t possible. Shea took the ‘no’s and turned them into content. Creating on TIK TOK, Instagram and more - she focused on making content about basketball, the sport she knew and loved. With that, popular sports TV network - Sportsnet, came knocking on her door. She now hosts the ‘Best of the Fan’ on the SportsnetFan Radio show, and also works for Bet99 Sportsbook - where “Betting on Women is Never a Gamble”. Shea knew that she always wanted to end up working in sports and she’s grateful for all of the new opportunities the city of Toronto and her own dedication and perseverance has landed her thus far.
Got hops? Professional basketball player Phil Jalalpoor knew he wanted to do something in his life with basketball by the age of 5 years old. After watching Space Jam over and over on his television, looking up to Michael Jordan and asking his Mom for a hoop outside to practice - Phil was set on making his dream a reality. Growing up in Germany and travelling across Europe and North America to play - he ended his last season in Germany, right back where it all started. As much as he loves playing in his home country, he also thought he might try to go to the Olympics for basketball too! However, this time - playing for Team Iran. How you ask? With his Dad being Iranian and moving to Germany before Phil was born, Phil gained dual citizenship, and with that - took off to Tokyo. Even though Phil has been playing pro for the last few years AND is now an Olympic athlete he says, he’s not done yet.
Roses or Tulips? Founder and Creator of Ivory Cole Designs - Nicole Haslam started her business on a whim. After being laid off during the COVID-19 pandemic and bored as ever, she decided to buckle up, do some research and find a hobby that interested her. Little did she know that her “hobby” was going to be her passion and livelihood for years to come. For Nicole, she just wants to make people happy. Working with resin and putting an emphasize on florals to create stunning home decor pieces, she’s turned her small business into a a full time hustle, working for up to 16 hours per day. What she loves most about her job, is the place of stature her pieces hold in so many people’s hearts - from wedding collages, to creating a placeholder for lost loved ones, Nicole takes the extra care and love into the creation of each and every one of her designs. And with that, she has determined that her customer service and continuous dedication is what has made her business flourish over the past several months.
Ever thought of a brand idea, using your last name? Growing up in Windsor ON, to moving to Downtown Toronto for school - Jenna Labiak didn’t think she would end up where she is now. As everyone knows, being a university or college student is no joke. With little money to spend, Jenna wound up in Sephora one day looking at their hair products, specifically scrunchies. Upon looking at the prices, she knew she could make these, better. With that, she decided she was going to start making her own scrunchies - buying silks from thrift stores, even buying silk drapes and cutting up the fabric to fit the vision in which she was heading. She started giving them to her friends and getting their feedback and well then the rest, is history. As the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the first “The Scrunchie Labs” turned “The Silk Labs” took off. People just wanted more! Jenna even started “hiring” her own family to help her keep up with the demand and of course now, she’s put the needle down and prefers to enjoy the ride. From literally sewing scrunchies together in her family home, to now an entire SKU line of colors on her website - the Silk Labs are here and they’re here to stay.
How important is a connection? Dental Hygienist turned Entrepreneur - Brooke Huston has always dreamed of launching a swimwear line. Working as not only a hygienist, but also as an influencer for many swimwear brands - Brooke thought, “why can’t I do this? why can’t I be the person behind it and create this?” So with that, she alongside her business partner Kat Landry, launched '6 Degrees Swim' - based off of the 6 degrees of separation rule, meaning you are only 6 connections away from someone else in the world. To Brooke, one of the most important things to her business is, connection. Through working with brands as a content creator, she’s been able to establish long lasting relationships with other female owned business owners, content creators and more - who have also stepped behind her swimwear line and shown their support. At the end of the day, Brooke looks back on the brand after taking a leap of faith during the COVID-19 pandemic and starting to build her company. Coming from a small town in Thunder Bay, she has never wanted to settle - wether that be in her career, relationship, etc. and believes that starting now, is the only way you’ll ever do what you really want in life. But, to also remember to never get ahead of yourself and always take the time to reflect where you are right now and enjoy the ride.
Do you wish you were born in a different generation? My baby sister, Juliana came onto the pod this week to discuss her experience growing up in the 2000’s, what she loves about her generation and what she wished she could change. Growing up in the age of social media, Jules thinks the importance of having a good support system, and treating people how you want to be treated is what will help get anyone through those tough high-school years. She also touches on her feelings when it comes to mental health awareness, dealing with mental health problems at such a young age, what provokes negative thoughts and how she’s working on overcoming her mental health each and everyday.
Do YOU have a niche? As a content creator, finding a niche can be extremely difficult… or, it can happen by total accident! For Tik Tok Creator Tyson Smith, being creative was easy the part… finding out what kind of content Tik Tok consumers liked best, was the struggle. After *lots* of trial and error, it was his goofy humour and silly persona that really shined through. Uploading a video interrogating a sock (yes, you read that right) turned out to be the answer he was looking for. As he watched his video hit thousands, to hundreds of thousands, to millions of views- Tyson realized that THIS had to be it. Best part? He wasn’t even going to upload his most viral video… and his skyrocket to Tik Tok fame was a total accident. For Tyson, being authentic and staying true to himself is what pushed him to the next level he is at today. He believes that being real and not trying to fake it, is what his followers like most about his content - always staying relatable and providing a good laugh to those who come across his videos. As a creator myself - I couldn’t agree with him more. And with that, in the words of Tyson Smith himself, “So tell me… why haven’t you subscribed to Emelie’s podcast yet?”
Ever wondered what it’s like to be an actor? As some people may not know, the film industry is an interesting place. From auditioning, to booking roles… parts can be few and far between. Joelle Farrow - an actress from Toronto, has experienced the highs and lows of the film industry from being accepted by her acting agent at 14 years old, to having her scene cut in a major tv series. But, despite the struggles that come along with the ride of being an actor - Joelle has also learned a lot about herself and her work, throughout her acting journey thus far. Starting out with smaller roles in ‘What’s Up Warthogs!’, ‘Degrassi’ and more, to booking her first lead role in a movie on Netflix - Joelle has taken every part and made it her own. If you are an aspiring actor and are looking to hear experience from the outside in, Joelle is here to bring you the advice you may be looking for.
‘Home is ____ ?’ Whether you were born and raised in Toronto or moved to the city at one point or another - odds are, you’ve heard of Toronto’s apparel brand Peace Collective. Their mission - to give back to their community. From CAMH, to food banks, to refugee aid, Peace Collective looks to make a difference, one piece of clothing at a time. Head of Operations - Lisa Diep, came onto the podcast this week to give us the BTS of the brand, how they started, how they’ve grown and where they’re headed. Lisa herself - starting her career in finance, quit her job on Bay Street to move over to PC - knowing she could bring her expertise to the table and help Peace Collective get to the successful brand they are today. From the iconic ‘Home is Toronto’ and ‘Home is Canada’ sweatshirts, to epic collaborations with the MLB, Nickelodeon, Sesame Street and more - Peace Collective is making their mark and Lisa can’t wait to continue on the journey and see what happens next.
Do you bet on yourself? Offensive Lineman for the Seattle Seahawks - Dakoda Shepley, didn’t start his athletic career playing football, he actually started out playing hockey - as Canadian as it gets! He even went to a training camp at Michigan State and told the football coach he wanted to play “defence” because he “thought defence defended the quarterback”… After starting to play in high school, he was then recruited to UBC where he, alongside his teammates won a Championship - putting Dakoda on the football map. As an undrafted free agent coming out of university, he signed with the NY Jets and was cut after being told that he was “too raw and had “too much to develop”. From there he went to play in the CFL for the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Shortly after, he signed as a free agent with the San Fran 49ers and was eventually waived after 1 season and claimed by the Seahawks all within the same day. Although Dakoda’s NFL journey is just beginning, he firmly believes that the biggest way to achieve your goals is by betting on yourself, and realizing that “the only way to fail, is to quit”.
What has changed YOUR life? Jason Pagaduan, aka ‘905 Shooter’ to fans of the ‘NELK Boys’ - found himself working for some of YouTube’s powerhouse pranksters in the early stages of his career.  But, after leaving California and returning back to his hometown of Mississauga, Ontario - he quickly realized that his love for photography and videography was something he wanted to pursue on his own full-time. After dealing with a quick rise to fame and recognizing a change in how he viewed himself, he decided to use his passion for photo and video and capturing the “perfect moment” to his advantage, also launching his own YouTube channel. Jason also explains how something as simple as a book, can change your life. After reading ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck’ - he was able to accept his past, any missed opportunities and regret, and instead learn how to digitally pivot - making him the successful photographer and videographer he is today.
Feeling uninspired by beauty products these days? Professional Makeup Artist - Samantha Marchione has always loved makeup. From doing dance as a kid and putting her own makeup on before recitals, she loves feeling beautiful. From there she took her passion for makeup and turned it into a career. However working for big beauty brands, Samantha was left feeling uninspired and bored by the makeup industry and its products. With that, she decided to take matters into her own hands and consult a friend in marketing, looking to use her own voice in the narrative of changing beauty and its toxic standards. Ironically enough her consult was actually looking for her too. From there, Samantha became engulfed in the world of cannabis and CBD. Using CBD as the main ingredient in her product line - 'Nuveev Wellness', bringing forward product ideas and then bringing the products to life through marketing. Needless to say, Samantha is here to welcome skincare consumers to the world of cannabis, and cannabis consumers to the world of skincare.
Anxious AF?? CEO and Founder of 'Going Mental' - Paige Lyrette has always struggled with mental health.  However, it wasn’t until her Mom noticed a change in her mindset - that Paige started seeking therapy for her mental illness. Now for some reason, therapy is still a very taboo subject amongst people, with many admitting that they don’t like to talk about their mental health. Taking this into consideration and also channeling her own mental health struggles, Paige launched her apparel brand, ‘Going Mental’ with the hopes of shedding more light on mental illness and the stigmas that surround it. With over 9 different apparel drops, blog posts, social content and more - Paige has found her rhythm in running her own brand, taking control of her own mental health and helping others who may be struggling with mental illness. Be kind to your mind and NEVER doubt your brand mission.
Ever wanted to take a brand YOU created… full-time? Toronto born and raised, Stefanie Furgiuele - Founder of Original Genes TO, knew she loved 2 things: fashion and painting. After working for a fashion agency in Toronto, she also knew that working for a big box company - wasn’t for her. So with that, she took her love for painting and mixed it with clothing, starting her brand - ‘Original Genes TO’, painting designs onto jean jackets. From there she’s expanded to painting shoes, hosting virtual paint nights, making paint by numbers kits and more. With that, Stefanie decided one day she would make painting and running her brand her full-time job and she’s done just that. A pandemic later and she’s been successfully running and operating her brand all on her own, using her artistic talents for custom made painted jackets or even pre-designed ones, of course - showcasing her home, with the Toronto skyline. She has many hopes and dreams for her business and can’t wait for what the future holds for her.
Out for a brew are ya bud? Jordan and Josh Goure - also known as the Brew Brothers in Windsor, Ontario tell me all about how they knew they wanted to open a micro-brewery just outside their hometown. From working in the bar and service industry as bartenders, bar-backs, etc. they both knew they didn’t want to work for just anyone, they wanted to work for themselves. Thus, ‘Brew’ was born. With a signature ‘Maple’ Beer, and hosting ‘Unfiltered Fridays’ every week, they were able to grow and flourish. But entrepreneurs never like to be bored… so with that, they opened Vin Winery and a wedding venue attached to the property - ‘Wedding in the Woods’. With everything they’ve got going on, they have learned to lean on each other, in taking their entrepreneurial journeys to the next level, together. Jordan and Josh are nothing short of a riot and love a good drink… so some may ask, what’s next - well you’re going to have to tune in to find out…
Do you live in loungewear day in and day out? CEO and Founder of ‘STRGRL’ - Natalie Alysa did NOT start out in fashion. In fact, going to university for marketing - she thought she would end up on Bay Street working in a corporate office for an agency. However, after moving to the big city of Toronto and taking notice in her interest in fashion, she then realized her true calling. Tired of not being able to find a sweatsuit that fit right or that she felt comfortable in, she decided to take matters into her own hands and launch  ‘STRGRL’  - an online shop offering comfortable, streetwear-focused sweatsuits. Using her own personal brand as a streetwear oriented influencer, Natalie was able to combine her 2 worlds into 1 - the ultimate dream. You can shop her sweatsuits at @SHOPSTRGRL on Instagram and be sure to stay in the know as this Toronto brand is looking to disrupt the fashion world, 1 sweatsuit at a time.
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