Lauren is one of the most recognizable voices in Canada’s media landscape. From 2007 to 2013 Lauren reigned as a relatable and vivacious Much VJ hosting the Much VJ Search reality series and the biggest outdoor award show in the world, the MuchMusic Video Awards. She was also a host on MTV Canada’s After Degrassi and MTV News. Currently, Lauren has found her place on YouTube where she’s sharing her passion for living consciously, creatively, and in the moment posting vlogs on Lauren In Real Life, and advocating a plant-based lifestyle with inspiring vegan recipes on hot for food.

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Twitter: @laurentoyota
Instagram: @laurentoyota

Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon?
I feel like I always wanted to work in television but I didn’t know how I would or that it could be a real job until I was in high school. When I was a kid I wanted to be a cook in a restaurant, a vet and a lawyer. Then around grade 10 I decided I wanted to be a MuchMusic VJ!

Where would you like to be five years from now?
In the last year my career has evolved from being in television and now encompasses all aspects of media and I really like that about what I do. You can do so many things and the possibilities to create are endless. So in five years I still want to be creating things, but I’m no longer so rigid about what medium it’s in. As long as I’m doing what I’m most passionate about and getting paid to do it. Hopefully in five years I’ll be getting paid more to do it!

Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
You need to open to the possibilities and opportunities that come your way. A project or job opportunity might not be specifically what you’ve always dreamed of, but it will open doors. You never know where a creative career in media can take you so my biggest advice, which I’ve learned myself, is just to be open.

What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own?
Now that it’s not my job to report on pop culture and entertainment I find I’m not consuming too much media. I’ve never been a fan of gossip or celebrity sites anyway so I didn’t look at those unless I had to for work. I read an interesting and meaningful sight called Brain Pickings and I watch Oprah’s content online. Or you’ll catch me just looking at food porn for inspiration!

Best interview you’ve ever had?
My interview with Regis Philbin was my favourite interview and I think it was probably my best just because it was so real.

Worst?
My interview with Jordan Knight of NKOTB.

Best advice you’ve ever been given?
Always be willing to do someone else’s job and take the time to learn about what your fellow colleagues and co-workers do. Especially as an on-air personality you can easily fall into the trap of not giving a damn what the crew around you is doing. And ultimately they’re all working to make you look good. So you should never be that way. I was told this early on in my career and it’s always stuck. I’ve tried to learn how to do lots of different things, take on various roles, or at the very least understand all the details of the other roles involved in creating a production.

What rule(s) do you live your life by?
Listen. Learn. Love what you’re doing or don’t do it. And don’t worry about what’s next just focus on what’s now.

What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Know who you’re talking to. Understand the person or company your pitching to. I get that PR people have a specific message, brand etc. to convey but you have to get creative when it comes to how each particular person/ outlet is going to be able to use that thing that you’re promoting. Not every media outlet can run the same story the exact same way.

Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about wins.
I would have to say when I hosted the Much VJ Search and myself, the contestants, and the whole production crew were travelling on a bus together across Canada for almost four weeks. I worked with a publicist named Tiffany Astle (penelopePR) and she was so easy to work with and super organized. I loved her so much she became my publicist after I left Much/MTV!

I hate?
Being too busy or overwhelmed.

I love?
Binge watching TV shows.

Reading?
Marianne Williamson’s A Return To Love.

Best place on earth?
Any beach.

Dinner guest?
Oprah.

Hero?
Oprah.

Favourite app?
Still love that Instagram!

Pool or ocean?
Ocean.

Email or voicemail?
Email… always!