Brodie Lawson is part of the next generation of young Oakville women making their way in the world, seeking education and career paths that leave a shattered glass ceiling trail in their wake. These young women have a hard-working attitude and natural self-confidence. They see opportunities, not barriers, in their future career path and make you proud of the community and era they grew up in. Brodie remembers walking to Linbrook Public School, from her home in Oakville, and recalling what a special neighbourhood feel this was.The tight knit and supportive community in Oakville was close to so many people we love! says Brodie.
Following high school graduation in 2009 from the National Ski Academy in Collingwood, (Brodie’s a former ski racer) she attended the Honours Media, Information and Technoculture (MIT) program at Western University, graduating in 2013. After Western, Brodie took a position with the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats as the host of Ticats TV. It was there that she honed all of the filming, editing and writing skills that she uses today in her position as host for CFL.ca Digital Content shows – contributing to writing, editing and on-camera work for The Snap Wrap and Brodie OT
Brodie’s dynamic energy, intellect, self deprecating sense of humour and especially her love of football is infectious! The following is my recent Sunday morning chat with Brodie at her home in Toronto. We talked about all things Oakville, football and females in sport!
OTO: What do you most love about your hometown of Oakville, Ontario?
BL: I especially loved growing up so close to the lake. I love being able to walk down to the lake… bringing friends down there. There is really no other place like it for me. As far as I get to travel – it’s just home. Being by the water is super important to me.
OTO: What are your favourite things to do when you come out to Oakville?
BL: Whole Foods! And I love closet 112 – the consignment shop. It’s a great little spot. I love Cobb’s Bakery downtown – Cobb’s Raspberry White Chocolate and Blueberry Lemon scones are my favourite. When I come home there are three or four things that I always like to do. And Black Forest Bakery too! – the butter tarts and their chocolate cupcakes are my most favourite things in the whole world!!
OTO: You are a graduate of the MIT Program at Western University, is that where you learned all of the filming, editing and digital content skills that you use in your position at the CFL?
BL: No actually! The MIT program is very theoretical. I thought I wanted to be a lawyer. One summer during University I had the opportunity to intern at TSN. I’ve always loved sports, and I enjoyed the pace and pressure of television. I really liked that it was so fast. Working late nights appealed to me. I liked the unconventional hours and the pressures of television. I realized that I was in a tough spot.
I wasn’t learning these skills in my program at Western, which was fine, but I thought I was going to have to go to a college program to learn them. I loved the MIT program and it was the best program for me, without a doubt! So at Western, I started volunteering for the local Rogers TV station in London ON. – and covered all of London’s inter-county baseball and the National Basketball League in London – The London Lightning team. I started to build my demo reel.
When I graduated from Western. I applied for an internship with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. They were hiring for their Hamilton Ticats TV host and I applied, auditioned, and got the job. Ticats TV is where I learned how to edit and how to shoot. They taught me how to edit there, which was a very valuable skill to learn, and has helped me a lot as I moved forward in my career. People see the on camera stuff, but it is the behind the scenes editing that really makes the piece shine. This year at the CFL, I edit almost everything that I film.
Following my position at Ticats TV, The CFL hired me as a Video Content Coordinator, which was primarily editing and editing highlights. They used me on camera because they knew I could do it but that wasn’t why I was hired. It was “a nice to have”, “maybe that will come in handy in the future” sort of thing .
My role at the CFL did evolve, with the premiere of The Snap Wrap in 2015 and this year, Brodie OT became part of the increased focus on digital content at the CFL. Our goals and objectives have changed and it’s been great for the CFL – it has also provided these new opportunities for me.
OTO: Brodie, with the Ticats TV position,were you the first female to do that job?
BL: I believe the first person to have the job at Ticats TV was Carly Agro who now anchors on Sportsnet. She is one of my mentors. Also, Kate Mckenna who now contributes to TSN for a segment called Now You Know as well as being a segment producer and appearing on camera for The Social. She is fantastic!
OTO: What current or past women athletes do you admire?
BL: I just admire any women in sports that is having success. If they are being successful and they seem authentic, then that is intriguing to me. Lindsey Vonn is a great example. Serena Williams. Anything these women do, to me, is fascinating and amazing. Eugenie Bouchard, she is another phenomenal female athlete. And Penny Oleksiak, I just met her briefly and she is totally amazing. If there is a great collegiate athlete that has a great story, I love that too.
I have so much respect for athletes in general because of my background in skiing. I also rowed for a year at Western – so I learned how much work goes into being an athlete. Those 6 days a week of working out. Not being able to go out and do anything at night; having to be up at 4:15 in the morning. You realize the discipline that athletes have to have. I kind of had a taste of it for a time in my youth with ski racing and rowing for a year at Western. I have a great respect for athletes, period.
OTO: What sports do you think should be more receptive/open to women?
BL: My goodness, everywhere would be a good place to start. I’m a big baseball fan because my brothers played baseball growing up and that always annoyed me that women played softball and not baseball. How cool would that be.
I just think in general though, that if women’s sport got more attention that would be better. It is unfortunate the way the business side of sport can be so tough sometimes . The US women’s soccer team did a great job of highlighting that in the last year with all of the social media and videos they were doing.
I think the doors have opened for women in sport. I have covered a lot of sports, but I have never covered women’s sports. Isn’t that sad. I guess I have covered women’s tennis – but not really a women’s team sport.
OTO: Brodie, you look very athletic and energetic. How do you stay fit?
BL: I have to. I’m a member of a gym in downtown Toronto. I try to work out at least four to five days a week. I love to spin. I love weight classes. I think any former athlete would tell you that can’t just stop exercising. You would go crazy. I did have a period of time after ski racing – maybe a year or two where I didn’t work out. Check out Brodie’s work gear:
I find that it’s so important for everyone, but it’s so important for women to be strong; especially in my industry. I have to carry a lot of gear around with my job. I have to be strong – I’m lugging camera bags and equipment and this and that. It’s important for that. My job is physical in a lot of ways like running up and down stadium stairs and throwing footballs in a CFL video racing Stripes – The Ti-cats mascot. For me, it’s all about being strong and fit- not anything else.
OTO: Do you play touch football? I noticed in some of your Brodie OT Vlog’s that you have a good arm! Do you practice that – working for the CFL?
BL: I have never played, but I had a ski coach when I was growing up who said that every woman needs to know how to throw a spiral. I remember he spent hours with me when we were doing dryland training teaching me to throw a spiral. I toss a football around with my brothers when we are at the cottage at the beach. We do stuff like a long toss challenge – fun stuff like that.
OTO: Brodie we have talked about your physical fitness routine. What do you like to eat to stay healthy and fit?
BL: I eat really healthy. I am not a vegan or vegetarian. Aside from visiting Oakville and shopping at Whole Foods or going to the Downtown Oakville Farmers market, I live very close to the St. Lawrence Market in Toronto. I try to go on Saturdays to the farmers market and buy all of my produce and other stuff there – so I can pack food for the week at work. I eat a lot of Kale and chicken. I have been trying to eat less meat in general. I really do try to eat healthy – otherwise I don’t feel good.
I do have a vicious sweet tooth. My trick for that is I don’t keep any sweets in my house. So if I want something sweet like frozen yogurt or ice cream I have to walk out and get it – I’m physically lazy – so I won’t do it! I leave things – like veggies cut up in the fridge so I will just go for that. When I am really out travelling for work like in Saskatchewan or Winnipeg, I often don’t get to eat all day then we go out for a steak dinner. Working with men; they tend to want to go to a pub style restaurant. I ‘m sure many women in male dominated industries find this. Guys just eat differently.
OTO: How do you like to relax?
BL: Two things. I like to work out, especially if I’m stressed. That is a form of relaxation for me. I also like to watch Netflix and just veg. I find with my job and I think most people would feel this way, in a job when you interact with a lot of people – I’m an extrovert, but I’m an introvert in the way that I gain energy from being alone. So I have to decompress sometimes – and that can be a Netflix on the couch kind of thing.
OTO: In your job you are using and creating all sorts of digital and social media. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Facebook Live, Vlog’s for CFL You Tube.What is your favourite?
BL: I love Vlogging. I think it’s a blast. I think people seem very receptive to that. Everyone wants so to connect with someone, I want to be authentic. I want people to watch my videos and say : “That’s a person I could go grab a drink with” or “That’s a person I’d like to go work out with”.
I’m not trying to be anything that I am not. So if you watch CFL’s Brodie OT Vlog you will see that I don’t wear a lot of make up or I’ll shoot early in the morning when I look like hell. It’s important to me to be authentic because nobody cares about someone who is perfect because no one is perfect and that is what I like about that medium because it’s flawed and I like that.
I also love Facebook Live, the ability to interact with people live on Facebook while filming. I don’t have a long career in TV, but enough I have enough to know that TV filming is very solitary. As much as good TV presenters and hosts will make viewers feel like they see you and hear you – but as a TV host you are filming in a room that is empty. When I used to do CBC there was not even a teleprompter or a camera person . It was just me. So it’s hard.
I love Facebook Live because I can say “hey where are you guys watching from?” or “so and so asked this , I was thinking the same thing” – as they respond via Facebook to my Facebook Live shoot. The real-time engagement is so so cool and I think we are going to see more of that.
OTO: How do you stay positive and enthusiastic when you are filming ? Is this tough everyday? Are you naturally this way or do you have to work at it?
BL: Oh boy. That is something tough about my job. For sure I am a naturally positive person. I Vlog every single week and sometimes there is bad stuff going on in life and you have to know how to “park that”. When I talk about authenticity I struggle with it sometimes because I have had to Vlog through some really difficult times this year and I’ve thought what the heck am I going to say. How am I going to have a camera in my face this week. So this might sound trite’ but I actually think of all the people that I have met and think that they want to see the fun Brodie. And sometimes that’s ok to put that aside – only when things are tough – otherwise that is me.
I’m a goofy idiot. I’m a happy person. I love to laugh. I mess up constantly – I’m not clumsy because I’m athletic but I’m constantly messing up my words and I get star struck by people I shouldn’t be starstruck by – stupid stuff and that’s totally me.
OTO: Max Rosenberg, your Co- Host on The Snap Wrap – tell us a bit more about your relationship and how The Snap Wrap comes together?
BL: The production team is me and Max and a camera person. I edit it. We plan the segments we want to do. We don’t write it – we really wing it. Max and I get an idea and sometimes Max will say “Oh I saw this” and then we feed off each other like “wouldn’t it be funny if we decided what CFL players were going to wear for Halloween” and we ask some of our friends for suggestions and put it together from there. It’s just really the three of us. Max is the most wonderful guy. We have a really good on air chemistry which helps but we are also really good friends and that’s what makes it so easy.
OTO: Brodie, I see in many of your pieces that you film yourself with a selfie stick. The trip to Salt Lake City, Utah, to film and interview a Facebook Live with music sensation (and fellow Canadian) Alessia Cara (who is kicking off this year’s CFL Grey Cup half time show that will feature the headlining band OneRepublic) was amazing. Tell me a bit about that experience in Utah?
BL: It was so fun! Yes, I film myself with the Selfie Stick a lot. I was all on my own in Utah. It was also quite lonely. Alessia Cara is so fantastic. We were talking earlier about strong women in sports, but that’s a woman in the music industry who I really think is going to change things.
OTO: Brodie, you have a excellent CFL Football IQ – You know the players numbers, their names and position, you know all about the draft – lots of stuff…Do you work on learning this or?
BL: I adore football plain and simple. I love the game. Certainly I learned to love it early. My grandfather, Mel Lawson, was a season ticket holder for the Ti-Cats, he actually played for the 1943 Grey Cup Team The Hamilton flying Wildcats – he is still the youngest quarterback to win a Grey Cup. So I grew up in a football loving family. I love it! I get cable just so I can watch football. I really love it!! Play-offs are the best time of the year!!
OTO: The 104th CFL Grey Cup Game on Sunday November 27th and Grey Cup Festival Week are in Toronto this year. It sounds like a fantastic week of activities, events, concerts. What are you covering at the Grey Cup?
BL: First of all…I want to give a shout out to everyone in Oakville who should take this opportunity to come to The Grey Cup. The biggest festival and party of the year is literally in your backyard. If you’ve never been to a Grey Cup – it should be on your bucket list as a Canadian. It is one of the most unique sports experiences – people show up and they don’t just wear the gear for the two teams that are playing – it is every fan from across the league that goes. There are parties and events every night. The Spirit of Edmonton has this huge Party. There is the Tiger Town Party – every single team puts on a fantastic party for the whole weekend! There are events for families and all age groups -a Concert Series- a Street Festival – It’s just a blast. Event details and tickets are on the Grey Cup Festival website.
I am going to be hosting a Facebook Live every day for Grey Cup Week – Wednesday thru Friday at 3pm and Saturday and Sunday at 10:00am live from The Delta Chelsea Hotel in Toronto. We are calling it Grey Cup Live. Simply LIKE CFL Facebook page – subscribe to live notifications and you will get a ping to your phone every time Grey Cup Live is on. I will be interviewing players, celebrities, TSN personalities – If people are around, we are hoping you will come watch us film it. Live. Everyday at The Delta Chelsea ! Come to the Grey Cup Festival Week! And come to the Grey Cup Game on Sunday November 27th at 6:30pm, BMO Field , Toronto.
You can follow Brodie on Facebook : The Brodie Lawson Twitter: @BrodieLawson Instagram: brodielawson and on YouTube