When the hit American reality-game show Big Brother came to Canada, it took the nation by storm. Locking 15 Canadians inside a house, pitting them against each other to compete for a massive grand prize, viewers across the nation tuned in each week to see which of their favourite houseguests survived eviction.
Although one houseguest a week would be eliminated from the running, the one face always safe was host Arisa Cox. Arisa has proven to the world that she’s not only a talented journalist through spots in broadcast, radio shows and print work, but she’s also experienced the ups and downs of reality tv stardom, when she starred on the 2001 Canadian reality show, The Lofters.
Faze caught up with Arisa to discuss her career as a journalist and what it’s like making the jump from journalist to TV host.
In terms of your formal education, what would you say helped you become a journalist?
Just an incredible training in journalism really helps. If you’re already a naturally curious person, you could be great at this job without the training, but it helps. Education will never hurt you. It will only help you. You also really have to be in a position where you get to practice and where you’re with people who can critique you; you need to be with peers who are also trying to get to the same place because everyone makes each other better.
So you would recommend journalism school, as opposed to any other background?
All of that helps! Who really knows? You’re kind of this vessel and you pour all of your experience, your training and your education into it. How it translates is really up to you.
Would you say that hosting is your dream job?
It’s pretty close. I’m very, very grateful. I’ve done a lot of different things in my career and I think I will continue to do a lot of different things, but this, for me, is my career coming full circle because my first big national job was after that dream job doing U8TV’s Lofters which was in the early days of modern reality television.
Coming from that perspective, what are the elements that people don’t realize are a pretty big deal when you have to live with camera’s all around you?
It looks a lot easier than it is. It’s really easy to be an armchair quarterback and note all the mistakes people are making. When you’re in there and it’s all about interpersonal relationships, you have no control of what’s happening. So most people do let their guards down and that’s when mistakes happen. That’s when strategies fail.
Do you have any advice for teens wanting to get into the journalism career?
Take any internship you can get and work your ass off. No one’s going to give you anything, you really have to prove that you’re an asset in a million ways: over-prepare, have tons of ideas, be enthusiastic, never say no to an opportunity. You get to a point eventually where you can start to say no and you can start to decide exactly where and how you want your career to go, but in the mean time, you need experience and that’s one thing you can’t get from school. School will hopefully arm you with the tools you will need to be amazing when you get that internship so that they can’t let you go.
Arisa Cox and Faze’s Dana Krook