Vibhu Gairola or Vibz is a writer and a details diva with a passion for reporting on culture. Having lived in India and Singapore before Toronto, he’s fascinated by both the trends that make people tick differently and the shared beliefs that make us one. Vibz writes about events, design, beauty and entertainment, and has worked with The Toronto Star, Flare, Toronto Life, Reader’s Digest and BeautyDesk.
What was your first job?
When I was 14 and living in Singapore, I was a cashier at KFC—does that count? Otherwise, my first job in Canada was talking body butters and cleansers at The Body Shop.
Best advice for people getting started in your industry?
Make friends wherever you go. People make things happen, not pitches; the more people you know, the more chances there are for you to find something to be enthusiastic about and work hard on.
What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own?
The Coveteur, New York Magazine’s The Cut, Refinery29, Vulture, Slate, Politico, The Hill, Vox and Vanity Fair. I’m also a big fan of humourous current affairs reporting à la Samantha Bee or John Oliver.
Three of your favourite accounts to follow on Instagram?
@evachen212 can do no wrong and is a professional inspiration. @stylemefresh is a cool sartorial anthology of the bizarre and the breathtaking from seasons past. Finally, I idolize @hatecopy, @jasminelakhesar and @babbuthepainter equally because they each redefine Indian culture on their own terms and I find their art incredibly intelligent.
Best interview you’ve ever had?
I loved interviewing André Monet, who is a really genuine guy. At one point, he claimed that in almost a decade of interviews nobody had asked him a question so sharp, and that I was referencing details in his work that nobody else had picked up on before. I may or may not have blushed.
That time someone I interviewed thought it would be cute to answer my questions with more questions. People who overuse rhetoric can be frustrating to reporters, not to mention readers: if you seem more interested in trying to lead us on than in engaging with genuine curiosities, it becomes hard to relate to you.
What rule(s) do you live your life by?
Chase challenges, not comfort, and speak your mind: you need a little spark to light any fire.
When people don’t look at you in the eyes while talking to you.
Languages. Every person uses it in a way that is unique to them, and you can learn so much more about a person from their diction than what they actually say sometimes.
You’re boarding a plane tomorrow. Where are you headed?
Back to Singapore, hopefully, where I was raised. I’d love to see New York too—I still haven’t been—but some of the best foods and people in the world are waiting for me in Singapore.
Hard pass on them all, thanks. My favourite reality TV personality will probably be Mariah Carey once she finally launches that reality show we’ve been talking about all year.
Who would be cast to play you in the movie version of your life?
Definitely me, at least in the role of present-day Vibz—which also means that the movie might flop completely, but I’ll take my chances. Why should anyone else’s face be on my story?
I’m almost always re-watching episodes of HBO’s Veep, but I recently also discovered the now-defunct Web Therapy with Lisa Kudrow and I’m just steamrolling through that series, I’d watch anything for Pheebs.
The Allure of Chanel by Paul Morand.
It’s a tie between my golden parents.
Song of the moment?
“Tigre” by Jarina De Marco or anything off of Solange’s latest album.
Soundcloud for podcasts or Feedly for news.
One thing you can’t live without?