From shoot­ing a demo reel to vows on a load­ing dock

TV host Jessi Cruick­shank on shar­ing her first date with Justin Tim­ber­lake and Cameron Diaz

Richmond Hill Post - - Life - By Nikki Gill

I was wear­ing neon polka-dot py­ja­mas and a dirty hoodie.

Etalk reporter, Canada’s Smartest Per­son host and for­mer Mid­towner Jessi Cruick­shank on a cross-bor­der ro­mance with her film editor hus­band, Evan Gat­ica, and how he helped kick off her ca­reer.

How they met

MTV was hold­ing a na­tion­wide search for hosts, and the dead­line for video sub­mis­sions was loom­ing. I was de­ter­mined to put to­gether a tape, so I called my dad who had a friend with a pro­duc­tion com­pany in New York. I landed in New York and went straight to their of­fices to ask for help. I knocked on the door, ner­vous, sweaty and fully ex­pect­ing some slick old man smok­ing a cigar to open the door. In­stead it was Evan. He was young, tall, hand­some and a film editor there. Some­how I con­vinced them to let me bor­row a cam­era for an hour to shoot my reel in Times Square. Even more mirac­u­lous, Evan agreed to stay late on a Fri­day night to edit it with me. We laughed to­gether for hours, comb­ing through the footage and putting that tape to­gether. I sent the video off that Mon­day and got the job at MTV a few months later. I like to think I’ve been re­pay­ing Evan ever since.

The first date

When I got the job at MTV, I went back to his of­fice to bring him a gift. I got him a $10 iTunes gift card. Yep, it was the worst gift of all time, but he pre­tended to like it and ca­su­ally asked me if I wanted to grab din­ner. He took me to a cool lit­tle restau­rant in the Lower East Side where Cameron Diaz and Justin Tim­ber­lake were qui­etly eat­ing in the cor­ner.

The first few years

I was work­ing full-time at MTV in North Toronto, and Evan was be­com­ing a suc­cess­ful film editor in New York, so we de­cided to stay “friends”for the first two years of our re­la­tion­ship. I would visit him; he would visit me; and we gen­uinely de­vel­oped a strong friend­ship be­fore we made any­thing of­fi­cial.

The pro­posal

Evan had a whole plan to pro­pose to me in the lit­tle New York restau­rant where we had our first date. I was shoot­ing a show, and I was sup­posed to meet him in New York be­fore we went to join my fam­ily for Christ­mas. Of course, my shoot went long. I had to can­cel the trip, and Evan had to scram­ble to re­work his pro­posal plan. He de­cided to pro­pose to me on Christ­mas morn­ing in front of my en­tire fam­ily. It was an in­cred­i­bly mov­ing and beau­ti­ful pro­posal. My en­tire fam­ily was cry­ing with joy. I was cry­ing in part be­cause I was fresh out of bed wear­ing neon polka-dot py­ja­mas and a dirty hoodie.

The wed­ding

When we first set foot in Big Daddy’s An­tiques, a jaw-drop­ping ware­house in Los An­ge­les filled with stun­ning vin­tage fur­ni­ture and old light up signs, we begged them to let us use the space for our wed­ding. We had our cer­e­mony on the load­ing dock and our re­cep­tion in the ware­house, with guests seated amid hun­dreds of in­cred­i­ble old an­tiques. We had five days be­tween our wed­ding and my first shoot day on Canada’s Smartest Per­son, so we did a quick trip to Maui and Kauai!

Their lives now

We moved to L.A., but I still film two shows in Toronto. Be­ing apart for months is not easy. He has spent some long days on set with me at the CBC, and we try to go on one big trip to­gether each year. We just spent a month in Brazil and Ar­gentina.

Jessi Cruick­shank met Evan Gat­ica when she was look­ing for help shoot­ing her au­di­tion tape to be an MTV host

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