Jeanne Beker received the recognition she deserved this past October when she was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame for her work in television. Best known as the host of the internationally syndicated Fashion Television, which aired for 27 years in over 130 countries, Beker also started out as host of the groundbreaking series The NewMusic and served as an entertainment anchor for CityPulse News.
Following the end of FT in 2012, Beker has kept herself pretty busy as she balances her work life and her personal life (which she displays for her followers on Instagram). She has her own Style column in The Globe and Mail (which appears every second Saturday). Beker is also the host of The Shopping Channel’s Style Matters with Jeanne Beker, which she sees as a collision of all her worlds. “It’s retail. It’s fashion. It’s communication. It’s business. It’s everything rolled into one.” (She’s also got her own clothing line with the retailer.)
It’s that juggling she says that is key to success and shares her advice to young people trying to make in the media industry – a landscape that has changed quite a lot since she started out. “You’ve got to be multi-media. I was from the get-go. I was always adamant that you need to be on a myriad of platforms. You have got to develop multiple skills. I’m still very surprised when I see young people just trying to do one thing. They’ll say, ‘I want to be a TV presenter!’ I think that’s very dangerous. If I hadn’t honed my skills as a writer or editor, I would have really been in trouble when certain things had happened to me in terms of my TV work. I think that it’s a juggling act and you’ve got to keep all those balls in the air. If you’re a communicator, you may know which medium you love the best or what form of expression you love the best, but despite that, you really owe it to yourself to develop as many different sets of skills as possible when it comes to communications.”
Beker thinks back to her early days when she studied acting. “One of my great heroes of the acting world was the legendary Konstantin Stanislavski and his method… This is going back decades! I studied him when I was studying acting in the ‘70s. He always said ‘Love the art within yourself, not yourself within the art.’ I feel that is really sage advice for people in any field, especially in media where there’s so much dazzle or where it seems to have so much dazzle. It’s this glamorous world where everybody wants in on. Everybody wants his or her own TV show. But really, what it takes to exist in that world and to survive and thrive in it, is that you’ve got to have a story to tell. There has to be a point of view. That’s something that a lot of young people don’t realize at first. They just sort of plunge in because they want to be on or that they want to be a start. They’re not going to shine for very long if they don’t have something beneath the surface.”
While Fashion Television came to an end almost five years ago, Beker is back with Bell Media (which now owns all the footage following its purchase of CHUM in 2007) going through the archives of the hit series. “I’m trying to riffle through the archives and looking to bring back some of that great footage,” she says. “So, stay tuned! There will always be new stories to tell. That’s for sure.”
The broadcast of the 2016 Canada’s Walk of Fame show airs Monday, December 19 at 9 p.m. ET on Global.
For more with Jeanne Beker, click here to read about the evolution of fashion coverage.