About a year ago, I had the chance to be featured on a show called “Les Divas du Divan” which is the French version of Couch Talk. When I learned more about the show, I realized that the Founder, Cindy Charles and I had something in common - Through her show, she empowers women and inspires others to take the leap! I thought it would be interesting to learn more about the woman behind this amazing project and the industry itself.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Cindy Charles, I am the host and co-producer of the local talk show Couch Talk and Les Divas du Divan. I'm all about empowering women to follow their dream careers. From my work with Xtreme Lashes to Couch Talk to my volunteer work with Dress for Success, everything has to do with women doing things they love while gaining financial independence.
What can you tell us about the industry?
Getting into the media industry is quite difficult, especially in this province (Quebec). There are very few opportunities in radio and television so it is very competitive. Some people go to school for it and work their way up in the industry while others fall into it a bit by accident. There's no clear path and that makes it difficult for those looking to potentially get into the industry.
What pushed you to pursue a career as a TV host and producer?
Entrepreneurship. Funny enough, I started pitching television concepts to various networks as part of a marketing strategy I was developing for a business I had at the time. I was trying to promote a fitness studio that my best friend and I had and thought if I could get our studio on TV, clients would be running through our doors! When you look at reality stars, whether you hate them or love them, many of them end up starting successful businesses. It has nothing to do with talent; it's the simple fact that they become a recognizable brand.
What was your biggest challenge?
As I was pitching various concepts, a few networks told me that because I was located in Montreal, they could not produce the show. On the other hand, local companies did not have the budget for a reality show concept which can get pretty expensive. I find that when you compare American and Toronto television to what we produce in Quebec, we have a long way to go in terms of diversity and content.
How did you overcome it and what have you learnt from it?
I overcame it by not taking no for an answer. I kept writing to networks until I had someone's attention and that someone ended up being Bell head office in Toronto. I kept pushing until the Local Bell office decided to produce one of the most affordable TV show concept I was pitching, Couch Talk.
Who inspires you and why?
Considering the fact that I interview very ambitious business women for my show Couch Talk, there are a lot of women in Montreal that inspire me. It's hard to choose! One of the people who really left an impression when I interviewed her was Tatiana Londono. At the time of the interview, I was in my second and I was wondering if it was something I should keep doing and she had really good advice to give me off camera. Considering that she was the star of a Real Estate show for many years and that that contributed to the success of her agency, it was valuable advice! I believe in investing in real estate, she's a fierce business woman, she's funny and she's unapologetically opinionated, all qualities I really relate to.
What keeps you motivated?
Seeing my progress. Couch Talk has been around for 4 seasons. This past year, we developed the French version of the show: “Les Divas du Divan”. We now have 3 French seasons airing on channel 1 Bell Fibe. This Fall, Couch Talk will start airing in other countries so I'm very excited to see what results from the show airing on foreign networks. I created something I love doing before the wave of "online TV channels" and female empowerment panels became so popular so it came from a very personal place of looking for positive role models in my life. The show is my baby and the continuous growth of it is what keeps me motivated.
- Dont take no for an answer
- Share your ideas because sometimes the right person could be listening
- Accept positive criticism and advice from people you admire
- Always try to be unique. If you are authentic and do something you really love, things like competition and trends won’t matter.
- Whatever you do, have fun doing it!