Lindsay is a Leslieville-based writer and editor, and currently looks after the online side of Foodism Toronto as Digital Editor. She returned to her hometown of Toronto in October 2015 after five years in the UK. Across the pond, she gained her MA at the London School of Economics, then pursued freelance writing opportunities. Eventually one of her clients brought her on board as Editorial Manager of travel and fitness brands, including Radisson Blu, Park Inn, LA Fitness and Arsenal FC.
Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon?
I always wanted to be a writer, but novels were the main aspiration. And then for a while I was pretty serious about academia—I did my MA in history and sent out a handful of PhD applications. Most of my editorial experience is actually on the brand publishing side; these days that’s where you can learn from some of the best journalists and publishing pros who have made the leap from our precarious industry. I also worked as a personal trainer, but selling is too brutal for me.
Where would you like to be five years from now?
Way to put a girl on the spot! Ten years ago I was in Switzerland, five years ago in London, and now I’m back here. Couldn’t have predicted any of it. Wherever I am, I’d like to have a bigger kitchen and a book title or two to my name.
Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
If I had to narrow it to three things:
- Have a thick skin. Easier said than done—I get as bummed about sending rejections as I used to about receiving them—but you get a lot more “no” than “yes” in this industry. Keep going.
- It sounds counter-intuitive, but narrow your interests. If you carve out a niche, like being a sake specialist or an expert in gluten-free baking, you have a stronger brand than if you’re a polymath.
- Be okay with the fact that someone is better at this than you. Probably a lot of people, actually. You can only control your own work, so commit to professional development. There’s always something you can improve, so do it.
Oh, and one more: never be above anything. Four years ago I was writing about pet furniture for a celebrity gossip rag no one has ever heard of. Now I’m working with my dream publication. Pay your dues, roll with the ups and downs, and seize every opportunity you can find.
What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own?
The Economist, Eater (and their epic podcast, The Eater Upsell), Conde Nast Traveler, Metal Hammer, Vice.
Best interview you’ve ever had?
Chatting with Jennifer Huether, Canada’s first female Master Sommelier, about wine! It takes about an hour to transcribe 10–15 minutes of an interview recording—it can be a slog, but with Jen it was like listening to an awesome podcast over and over again. Coming soon on Foodism.to!
This is so mortifying, but when I was a new grad in London (UK), I did this fashion/lifestyle PR internship and at the end, the director said she’d pass my CV along to her editorial contacts. The next week I get this crackly voicemail message from Elle. Like, typical arrogance of your early 20s: I’ve finally made it in the world—headhunted by Elle! I call back for a phone interview with this woman and start going on about writing and skincare, until it turns out it’s not Elle… It’s a pub (that’s public house, not publication) called the Southern Belle. I’m still blushing.
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
Be assertive. You teach people how to treat you.
What rule(s) do you live your life by?
Be honest. Be humble. Own your mistakes. Pick your battles wisely.
What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Always do your homework. Be transparent and ask for the same in return. Build relationships!
Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about wins.
At Foodism we work with some incredible PR pros—I could not do my job without them. When someone comes to us with a great interview opp, or gets new photos staged to our specs, or tracks down assets to help us make a tight deadline… There are daily wins, for which I’m very grateful.
Having an ocean between me and my partner, Chris. We met when I was starting my career five years ago in London, so he has been my rock as a fellow creative. Pushing each other to reach our professional ambitions has been a huge part of our relationship. It’s really hard suddenly not being in the same place or helping each other through late working nights with wine and food and pep talks.
Black coffee, good whisk(e)y and salted caramel.
I just finished some Marian Keyes chick lit and picked up Football and Gangsters by Graham Johnson.
Best place on earth?
That’s tough. I used to work in travel—there are a lot of great places out there! Maybe a toss-up between the counter at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in London, and the infinity pool at Quinta do Vallado in the Duoro Valley.
Hunter S. Thompson or Dorothy Parker, depending if bourbon or gin is on the menu.
Lee Miller. She was a WWII-era American photographer and correspondent who really pushed the boundaries of what women reporters were doing at the time. Her male colleagues thought she’d sink as a war correspondent—not because she was a woman, but because she had a bad stomach, didn’t like getting her hands dirty, the works. But she decided nothing would phase her, so it didn’t.
Pool or ocean?
Pool. I like swimming laps!
Voicemail or email?
Email. They pile up very quickly, but still more efficient.