The quest for Canada’s smartest per­son

T.O.’s own Jessi Cruick­shank talks can­didly about join­ing up with the CBC to search for the best & bright­est minds in Canada, life as a for­mer MTV host and be­ing born in an A&W

The Kids Post - - The Post Interview - by Sa­man­tha Peksa

Hi­lar­i­ous and down-to-earth Jessi Cruick­shank is the host of CBC’s new se­ries Canada’s Smartest Per­son, sched­uled to pre­miere this fall. In the part-re­al­ity, partgame show, Cruick­shank goes one-on-one with some of the sharpest minds in the coun­try.

Best known for her work on etalk and as the for­mer co­host of MTV’s The Hills: The Af­ter Show (with Dan Levy), this is a side of Cruick­shank we haven’t seen be­fore. Post City checks in with the Toron­to­nian to find out more about the new show and her favourite spots in town.

When did you first come to Toronto?

The thing that peo­ple always ask me is if I was born in an A&W in Cal­gary, and that is sadly a fact [she laughs]. That is how I en­tered this world. I grew up in Van­cou­ver, and then I got a full schol­ar­ship to the Univer­sity of Toronto for my un­der­grad, and that’s why I went. I’ve lived in the An­nex. I lived right across from the Madi­son [Av­enue Pub], and then I lived in Rosedale when I was at MTV. Now I’m around King West, when I’m here for the show, and I love it.

What are some of your favourite haunts that you visit when you’re in town?

I always loved get­ting brunch at Can­tine. I always got the same thing, the grilled veg­etable and goat cheese sand­wich. And I did a walk up Palmer­ston on the one day off from the show and it was so nostal­gic. So, so good. Oh, and Cat’s Meow Vin­tage, just north of Daven­port on Av­enue Road, is one of my favourite spots in the city to shop. I still have some of my favourite pieces from there hang­ing in my closet.

Did you ever imag­ine you’d be where you are to­day?

No, never ever. My friends and I used to go down to the Much Mu­sic Video Awards when I was in col­lege. We’d be those peo­ple scream­ing in the crowds, and I always thought how cool it would be to work there or even just go in the build­ing! And then to go on and walk the red car­pet and cover it was pretty sur­real.

How dif­fer­ent has it been work­ing on this project rel­a­tive to other things you’ve had a hand in?

There are so many mov­ing parts, it’s cer­tainly one of the big­gest things CBC has en­deav­oured to do in this vein and the big­gest project I’ve worked on, which is re­ally ex­cit­ing. The coolest part is that th­ese com­peti­tors are in­fin­itely more im­pres­sive than any­one I’ve ever met. Having come from MTV and

etalk, I’m used to in­ter­view­ing celebri­ties reg­u­larly. I do Emmy cov­er­age, the Golden Globes and the Os­cars. But I mean, the peo­ple on this show are just jaw-drop­pingly in­tel­li­gent.

Do you ever get ner­vous or in­tim­i­dated dur­ing in­ter­views?

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve buck­led at the knees on most oc­ca­sions. I am not the most well­com­posed tele­vi­sion per­son­al­ity when it comes to meet­ing peo­ple who, I think, are, well, hot [she laughs]. When I’m in­ter­view­ing peo­ple like the Back­street Boys or Bradley Cooper, I be­come a 12-year-old mess of a girl.

What is your favourite thing about the show?

There’s this app, so ev­ery­one at home can play along and test them­selves. We have th­ese spe­cially de­signed chal­lenges ei­ther on­line at cbc.ca/smartest­per­son or on the app you can down­load for free. So you can fol­low along and see how smart you are, rel­a­tively speak­ing, and where your strengths lie, which is what the show’s re­ally look­ing at. There’s so­cial in­tel­li­gence, mu­si­cal in­tel­li­gence and log­i­cal in­tel­li­gence, which I have proven time and time again to be ter­ri­ble at! So, that’s go­ing to be re­ally cool: that peo­ple can sort of tweet and share their re­sults live in real time as the show goes on.

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