While reality TV has been a major part of audiences’ lives for almost a decade, it didn’t start out like that. From The Real World in 1992 all the way to the shows of today, the genre has been defined by people seeing genuine reactions and awesome moments.
Arisa Cox experienced the growth of reality television in Canada as a contestant on U8TV: The Lofters in 2001. Prior to that, she was a student in Carleton University’s journalism program while reporting for her local CTV new station. She took a break from both of these positions to take part on Lofters, describing the change as a “hard left” from her path at that point.
Her experience on camera led her to many other positions reporting on entertainment, but it was hard to know how Cox’s involvement on Lofters would pan out. However, her experience lead to a return to the reality sphere when Big Brother expanded north; Cox has served as a host and interviewer for Big Brother Canada since its inception.
In an interview with Big Brother Daily, Cox explains what she looks to get out of subjects when she’s behind the microphone:
I’m definitely not perfect. I’m going to be learning from some of my mistakes. I understood to follow my gut more when we’re doing interviews, because some of the time you are watching and you are like “Well, that’s weird. Why did she ask that?”. It’s because I’ve got 8 million people screaming in my ear.
At that point, I think I just need to tune it all out and go with my gut because that is what I am experienced doing…I have done a billion interviews in my day. So, just to go with my gut.
As host of Big Brother Canada, Cox also finds herself compared to her American counterpart, Julie Chen; Chen has hosted Big Brother since July of 2000, giving her a certain timeless quality as a host. However, Cox isn’t intimidated by that: she knows that her own personal style sets her apart.
Yeah, I’m not going to be Julie Chen. Some people are going to be disappointed by that. I just kind of had to let go of those expectations and just do me, cause I’m very different than her. When she started, people hated Julie Chen. You are going to get that no matter who you are and how good you are.
Fifteen seasons later, she is the gold standard for many people but she didn’t start out that way. I was just hoping for the chance to hopefully knock it out of the park the first year and just keep improving, cause I can only imagine me fifteen seasons from now.
While you might feel that you’re taking a risk on a new niche, it may lead you down a path you didn’t think could exist. Being a pioneer means that people view you with respect; it also means you’ll be associated with any success your new venture has.
Like Cox, don’t be afraid to blaze trails and seek what’s valuable to you. Whether it’s a genuine interview or just a role you’re happy to call your own, it’s worth putting in the time, effort and passion.
Image Credit: Jason George
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