Danielle Finestone is the founder of @tofoodies, a fast-growing Instagram account and enterprise that features Toronto’s best food offerings and whatever else she’s eating. Since 2013, Danielle has been a regular contributor to local power chick blog, SheDoesTheCity.com, covering events and writing original articles and how-to’s. Danielle is also a marketing coordinator/media buyer at a major record label and in her time off, you’ll find her at a Beyoncé choreography fitness class, organizing a girls’ night and/or eating brunch.
Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon?
I always pictured myself involved in entertainment/media in some form. I went to an arts high school for theatre and truthfully, I grew up thinking about being a MuchMusic VJ. After graduating Ryerson University in the RTA School of Media, I continued writing and was a production assistant for CBC’s “Recipe To Riches”, so things could have definitely gone down a television production road. I always like to have my hands in a few cookie jars so right now, I am lucky that I get to dabble in writing, media and music marketing.
Where would you like to be five years from now?
Good but hard question! Hopefully, I’ll be doing what I am doing at an even higher level, with even more travel opportunities and an all-encompassing blog/business that is my own. It really is just the beginning.
Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
Use your time wisely to discover your interests and gain as much experience as possible. Be a sponge. Down the line, you never know which skill will be needed for a job and which venture of yours will take off. Continuously improve yourself, don’t be complacent and learn what to prioritize so you can put the proper effort into each endeavour.
What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own?
I love Vice’s Munchies channel for worldwide food news and videos. BlogTO, Toronto Life and NOW Magazine are all great for getting to know what’s happening locally. Otherwise, I am always revolving between Complex, Vice verticals, The New York Times, Fader, Gawker, Jezebel, Buzzfeed, Rolling Stone, Exclaim, Pitchfork, NME, SPIN, The Coveteur, Manrepeller, The Cut within NYMag, YouTube and more. Instagram.
Best interview you’ve ever had?
I’ll be sentimental- my first interview on assignment! It was with Natalie Bergman of the band, Wild Belle. We were talking about everything from salamanders to her specific production process with her bandmate brother. I was on such a high afterwards, and it was a crazy experience all around since I got to watch Wild Belle open for Toro Y Moi that same night.
Anyone who isn’t present or too focused on getting their wording right that they have to start over a million times. Let’s connect in the moment. I’ll be editing it later, and I got your back!
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
Trust your intuition. There should be a healthy balance between the brain, the gut and crowdsourcing when making decisions but when it comes down to it, only you know what’s best for you. People have a lot of advice, but it’s you that has to live with your choices.
What rule(s) do you live your life by?
I try to treat others the way that I want to be treated, and I don’t sweat the small stuff.
What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
I like receiving press releases and pitches, but I love getting pitches that are genuinely compelling for both parties. Here meaning, something that is innovative/interesting and personalized to me, that fits well with my current projects. When pitching, know your audience.
Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about wins.
It’s always a win when you can connect with “PR pros” on a level beyond email and the pitch. True excitement and emojis can go a long way, and always get me even more pumped about whatever we are embarking on.
My iPhone battery, TTC delays, iceberg lettuce, senseless violence.
Family & friends, weekends with few plans (but some plans), backpacking & travelling in general, pasta for breakfast, world peace.
Currently, The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion.
Best place on earth?
Italy- yes, the whole country.
Kanye West, Hannah Bronfman, and Jerry Seinfeld- oh, the ground we could cover!
These make my days even easier: Uber, Yelp, Rocket Man, and OpenTable.
Pool or ocean?
Voicemail or email?
Email for work and phone for friends and family.