Thursday, May 10, 2012

Gals We Admire: Samantha Pynn

Growing up, Samantha Pynn says what she wanted to be changed many times, from a singer in the musical Cats to a children's book author to a gardener and farmer. Her decorator tendencies of cleaning and styling the house won out in the end - find out more about the host and designer of HGTV's Summer Home.   

Name: Samantha Pynn
Job Position Title: Host and Designer on HGTV's Summer Home
Twitter handle: @samanthapynn

Describe your typical work day, from start to finish
A typical shoot day looks like:
7:00 AM: Wake up; make green juice
7:30 AM: Make up
8:30 AM to 7:00 PM: Shoot; meet with designers at lunch; shoot; and more shooting; wrap up
7:30 PM: Yoga or spin or elliptical machine
8:30 PM: Dinner
10:00 PM: Read design magazines
11:00 PM: Bedtime

I also squeeze in writing my column for the National Post, as well as checking my email all day - and probably four wardrobe changes! When I’m not shooting, my days are all over the place with press events, morning shows, designing and decorating, and magazine photo shoots.

When you were a kid, what did you want to grow up to be?
It changed so many times. I really wanted to be a singer in Cats. I also wanted write children’s books. I wanted to be a gardener and a farmer – I was very into growing things. I was obsessed with growing beans for a while. My parents were concerned with all the sprouts in the window. I had definite decorator tendencies though as I was constantly cleaning and styling our house.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
What I love most is I don’t just have one job - I write; I decorate; I get to report on the latest and greatest products on the market; I scout amazing designer homes; I'm on camera; and I'm part of business meetings. If I had to pick one thing that I love the most, I'd say it was seeing the final product. When the design is complete and the photographer starts taking the shots - that's when I'm in heaven.

What do you find to be the biggest challenge in your profession?
The biggest challenge is keeping on top of everything and at the same time letting go. It fuels me to be part of everything and to be the go-to person, but at the same time, I’ve had to learn to let go of complete control and perfection. That's hard. When I was in school, it was all about getting the top grade. It's hard to shake that need to be perfect. Control-freaks or type-A personalities will always poke their noses in everything, but I've surrounded myself with amazing people and that's really helped me let go.

Do you believe you had a "calling" for your profession?
I don’t know that I would say that my profession called to me. I had interests in so many things. As a kid, I was definitely obsessed with cleaning my family’s home and making sure that my room looked good; later it was all about my apartment, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do, so I kept trying different jobs. My first degree is in an English specialist degree. When I started at Style at Home magazine, I thought I would stay on the writing side of the magazine, but quickly discovered that I liked propping, styling, scouting and shooting even more than writing. From there I was propelled into this amazing career where the opportunities became bigger and bigger. It all happened quickly and I worked around the clock and every weekend. I love my job so it never feels like "real" work. A calling...I don’t know, but it makes complete sense.

What are the three most important pieces of career advice you would give to other Canadian Career Gals?
Work hard, keeping in mind that no job is above you. I got my first writing job at Homemakers magazine because the editor at the time saw me stacking and collapsing boxes and cleaning up the hallway during my internship at Style at Home. No one asked me to collapse boxes, the job just needed to be done.

Never have a sense of entitlement, but always know that if you look at everything in a positive light, it will work out. Seriously, I have heard people talk themselves out of success and I've seen people will great things.

Be grateful. Thank everyone all the time. I used to thank my editor every day for the opportunity to work with her. She eventually told me to stop. It makes me feel good to thank people. And every day that I wake up and pinch myself that my life is so good, even better things seem to come my way.


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