Thursday, July 28, 2011

Gals We Admire: Dawn Chubai

Photo by Toranj Kayvon
Styling: Claudia Da Ponte; Hair and Makeup: Brianna Errelat

Vancouverites wake up to her cheerful personality, but she's much more than just the co-host of Citytv's Breakfast Television. Find out more about the versatile career of TV personality Dawn Chubai who also happens to be a professional jazz singer.

Name: Dawn Chubai
Position: Co-Host, Breakfast Television and Cityline Correspondent on CityTV
Other Professions: Professional Jazz Singer, guest vocalist for the Dal Richards Orchestra and Actress
Twitter: @dawn_chubai

Describe your typical work day, from start to finish

Up at 4am, out the door at 4:20. Arrive at work at 4:30am and start to research "what people are talking about". From 5 to 5:30am is hair and makeup, and then it's finishing my show prep before we are on air 6 to 9am. At 9:30am, we have a show debrief and discussion about the next day. Then I answer emails, social network, research and prep for interviews, and am home between noon and 2 depending on my workload. I'll take a nap and/or workout. On nights I am home, I'll cook dinner for my hubby and go to bed by 9pm. Usually a couple of nights a week I am either attending or emceeing a function. I typically emcee up to 40 charity events per year.

When you were a kid, what did you want to grow up to be?

In elementary school, I was in French Immersion and so I wanted to be a French teacher. In high school I wanted to be a social worker so I spent a couple of years volunteering on weekends at old age homes and working with at-risk youth. When I graduated, although I worked in public relations, I really focused on my music and performing with a musical theatre group. From then on I knew I was to be a performer.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy the fact that every day begins with a clean slate. If there was something about the day before that didn't quite work, the next day is a chance to improve and to grow. I get to laugh and learn something new everyday. I get to talk about what matters to people and the stuff that doesn't but is still interesting and entertaining. Do we always knock it out of the park? Of course not. It could be a technical glitch. It could be content or the subject matter. It could be that I just didn't connect with the day or the guest the way I needed to as a host. That part is just a reminder that there are many elements that have to be in place. Glitches happen, bad days happen, being under the weather happens. Recovery from a fall is the true "talent", both in front and behind the camera and complacency is NEVER an option.

What do you find to be the biggest challenge in your profession?
Getting up at 4am. Honestly, that's it. But once I'm up, I'm ready to take on the world (and a cup of coffee!) I love the business I am in and I feel so fortunate to have been given the opportunity to be invited into the homes of our loyal viewers.

Do you believe you had a "calling" for your profession?

I would say I am exactly where I am supposed to be at this moment. I never trained to be in TV, I was given an opportunity. I was told "Everything is trainable except personality". Oh boy... did they have to teach me (and yes, I am still learning 12 years later to be on TV) but I brought the personality. Call it a calling if you like.

What are the three most important pieces of career advice you would give to other Canadian Career Gals?
Education is extremely important and I wish I had more of it, but personality and a "can-do" attitude are your keys to success.

Don't be afraid to work hard. I was never one to "punch a clock". Some of your best opportunities come from the extra mile you go without being asked (or sometimes without being paid for).

The rewards (be it money or otherwise) are not always immediate, but they will come. Honestly, they will.

1 comment:

  1. I absolutely love Dawn and thanks for sharing this interview. I would totally agree that it's the moments when no one is watching that make the biggest impact and open the greatest doors and opportunity. It's when you're doing your soul's work that you are infinitely rewarded.