Cover Story

Magazine Contents | April - May 2013

Tanya Kim of CTV’s, E - Talk

Hard Work, Passion And Drive, Are The Keys To Her Success

By Dwayne Riley-Grant

Tanya Kim is one of Canada’s most recognizable on-air talents. Along with co-star Ben Mulroney, they have led E Talk to the status of most watched entertainment show in Canada. Just this season, E Talk, which airs on Canadian Television (CTV), has increased its viewership by 18%. They have outpaced ET Canada by 57%.

“We have a fantastic team of bright, hardworking producers, editors, production crews and on-air talent,” says Kim, adding that the work environment is much like a family. Another reason for the success of E Talk is the result of the work ethic exuded by the cast and crew. The spirit of excellence is evident in the quality and impact of the program.

Kim was born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie in Ontario to Korean parents. Growing up was challenging due to the lack of diversity in her community and in the media. However, this did not stop her from dreaming big. She says there were perhaps 20 Asians who lived in the city, but being part of a small, visible minority helped her grow thicker skin. She studied classical piano and dance, but was destined for something else.

The pop culture aficionado knew that somehow reaching for the stars was her thing. One of her favourite pastimes as a child was watching primetime news shows like 20/20. She was intrigued by the way in which journalists posed questions to their subjects and would pick them apart to get to the real answers.

Little Kim was fond of literature and other passions. With rather wise insight for her young age, she focused on journalism. “I knew dancing wasn’t in the cards,” she says. Kim credits her work ethic to her upbringing and culture, which emphasizes focus, resilience and the pursuit of perfection. Her parents encouraged her to put her best effort in anything she was involved in, knowing that great rewards would follow.

A graduate of broadcast journalism at Ryerson University, Kim started her career at MuchMusic, where she landed an internship while still in school. The internship with The New Music put her in the position to learn from and with industry staples Avi Lewis and CBC’s George Stroumboulopoulos, who recently accepted a position with CNN.

After interning with Much, she was offered a position. Kim eventually moved over to CTV’s The Chatroom as a music reporter and special correspondent for Canadian Idol for two seasons. In 2003, she took on co-hosting duties on E Talk with Ben Mulroney, son of Canada’s former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.

Kim has hosted red carpet sessions at the Oscars and Juno Awards. She reported live from London at the Concert for Diana. “It would be difficult to choose one proud moment. I’ve been so blessed and I’ve counted my lucky stars every day for the career I’ve managed to carve out for myself,” she says of her great career highlights.

On receiving a star (a maple leaf) on Sault Ste. Marie’s Walk of Fame, Kim says, “To be honoured by my hometown, in front of my family and friends for my achievements and contributions to the entertainment industry, was and is a truly special and memorable moment for me.” She ranked second as one of TV Guide’s “Top 10 Newcomers On The Verge Of A Major Breakout” in 2005.

Kim has interviewed entertainment stars like Kanye West, Cher, Janet Jackson, Coldplay, Diddy and Rod Stewart. She also covered the 2013 Academy Awards. Kim also credits her success to her loyal viewers and fans. “After all, without them and their love for E Talk, we wouldn’t be Canada’s #1 entertainment show,” she says with gratitude.

Kim loves music and appreciates how much learning an instrument helped shape her future. She supports MusiCounts, which provides instruments for schools nationwide. In 2008, she travelled to Zambia as a spokesperson for CARE Canada. While there, she was part of the “I Am Powerful” women’s empowerment campaign.

“I think in general, as human beings, we should all want to look out for each other,” Kim responds, when asked of her charity work. She has served as Director of Blessings In A Backpack, a charity that feeds elementary school children. “I believe every human being deserves to have access to nutritious meals so they can be energized to learn and become productive members of our future,” she says.

Kim joined forces with the Heart and Stroke Foundation and participated in The Heart Truth Fashion Show. The purpose of the fashion show is to raise awareness about women’s risk for cardiovascular disease. Other charitable efforts close to her heart include the Ontario Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals (SPCA), as she loves dogs, other animals and Camp Ooch, a charity that provides programs for children with cancer.

“I love the charities I work with like they’re my babies. Each one is special and dear to my heart,” says Kim, who has participated in the Dare To Wear Love fashion show. It exposes amazing African fashion and designs and raises money for the Stephen Lewis Foundation, in its effort to advance progress and transformation in Africa.

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