Her passion for the arts fueled her career. Now with fifteen years of broadcasting under her belt Sarah Freemark shares some of her story with us – and a few words of wisdom too!
Anchor, CTV Morning Live Ottawa
Ottawa Redblacks In-Stadium Announcer
What drew you into the media industry?
I have always had a passion for the arts. It began as a love for musical theatre and transitioned into volunteer on-camera work at Cogeco Cable in my hometown, Renfrew, Ontario. I ended up hosting an eight-episode outdoor television series and fell in love with broadcasting. I knew that’s what I wanted to do so I saved money so I could afford to attend the broadcast journalism program at Seneca College in Toronto.
Do you think growing up in Renfrew gave you a different perspective then if you came from a bigger market like Toronto?
Absolutely! I feel so fortunate to have been born and raised in Renfrew. I knew I needed to move to a larger city if I wanted to seriously pursue a career in journalism but I hold the Ottawa Valley close to my heart.
I have an amazing family that has lived in the Valley for generations and I believe they helped to instill solid values and an appreciation for the outdoors. I had the opportunity to play sports, participate in theatre, experience adventure and have a really great childhood.
You get the opportunity to experience so many different things – bungee jumping, sky diving and axe throwing. Everyday must be an adventure. What have been some of your most memorable experiences so far?
I am asked this question often and over seven years with CTV and fifteen years of broadcasting, it’s becoming tough to only name a few.
It’s funny you mention skydiving. I’ve done it five times but it wasn’t always a thrill.
My first tandem skydiving experience was for a television show when I was eighteen. I absolutely freaked out and tried to grasp the door of the airplane on the way out.
I cried the entire way down to the ground and we had to figure out a different way to end the TV show because I was such a mess.
I have had the chance to fly in a helicopter and watch wild horses play, which I loved.
I’ve also had the chance to circle the CN Tower as part of their EdgeWalk, which I did NOT enjoy. The Edgewalk guide identified that I was panicking and offered to turn us all back. I gladly accepted. Of course, only after completing my seemingly carefree on-camera sign off.
Since then, I’ve learned that it’s okay to admit when you’re uncomfortable or even terrified; not every experience is going to be a good one and that’s part of the fun, as a reporter and as a viewer watching.
We all have fears and sharing them has become an important part of my job.
What is the beauty behind the madness of starting work at 5:00 am every day?
Thank you for putting it so eloquently.
I’ve never been a morning person. My father used to say I was always sleeping through the best part of the day. Well, I’ve now seen more sunrises than many people see in a lifetime and they are beautiful. When I accepted the position back in 2010, my boss asked if I am a morning person and my response was, I guess I will be now.
Seven years later I can say, I work with a fantastic team and have the opportunity to feature some really great people. Their enthusiasm is what drives me and the response from our viewers, that they are just trying to get out of bed and we motivate them, is what makes it all worthwhile.
I think confidence in life is everything.
You have to deal with different personalities and environments every day – but you always seem engaging. Do you have any interview tips for people coming into the industry?
If I could offer only two pieces of advice it would be this.
Do your background research so your questions are insightful and well thought out. You can include so much more information in your interview this way and it shows your guest you’ve done your homework.
Secondly and most importantly – listen to the person you’re speaking to. You can enter into the interview with a list of proposed questions but some of the best conversation will come from responding to what they’re saying.
Too many reporters wait for their chance to speak instead of just being in the moment.
You were a global educator and on air spokesperson for Estee Lauder – do you have any beauty tips you can share with our readers?
Sometimes I feel awkward offering beauty tips – I grew up washing my face with a bar of soap and typically using Head and Shoulders shampoo.
I believe I was hired as the Global On-Air Spokesperson for Ojon, an Estee Lauder brand because I could speak about the clinical benefits of the products, manage a team of stylists that were responsible for working with our models and lastly, I had great hair (thanks to genetics).
I will say that over the three years I worked with Estee, I was introduced to great skin care products like Darphin moisturizer and learned the importance of using quality hair products like Kerastase (it really does make a difference whether you colour or not).
Through working with Estee and travelling constantly (often taking red-eye flights) and working early hours with CTV, a solid sleep makes a big difference to your skin.
A big difference.
Drinking water (I know this is seemingly obvious but SO many of us don’t do it) also will help to replenish your skin and revitalize your body.
Since we are a fashion and beauty blog, here are some lifestyle questions.
Do you have a daily beauty routine?
I do exactly the same thing every day. With the exception of washing my hair. I used to do it every day but it’s so tough on the locks and sometimes, I need the extra sleep!
One tip I will offer – if you wake up and have a puffy face because you’ve slept too much or too little. Grab a shower. I mean a full shower with your head under the water and everything. That process will de-puff and give your body a chance to wake up. Not allowing yourself a large enough window between when you open your eyes and when you have to be seen will leave you looking tired.
I always wash my hair with Kerastase, cleanse and moisturize with Darphin. I use Kerastase leave in because my hair is curly and sometimes will use Moroccan oil to smooth.
I blow dry like an amateur and rely on hot rollers to calm and shine my hair. Yes, old school hot rollers. I’m not great with a wand and I’m always short on time. Pop those in and make your lunch. Once I pull them out and give my hair a brush with a Shu Uemura bristle paddle, I have wavy, soft hair that looks professionally styled.
Favourite piece of clothing?
My handmade sweaters from Blondie Apparel in Kemptville. you can buy them at Main Street Clothing Company in Winchester and TED BAKER. Baker skirts and dresses are beautiful and compliment most women’s bodies.
Make up must haves?
Waterproof Make Up For Ever foundation, Make Up For Ever eye liner with precision wand and 24 hour Maybelline Colour Tattoo by Eye Studio and Maybelline Colossal Volum Express mascara.
Favourite ways to stay fit?
Ah, what a loaded question. I constantly fall of this train and it’s so unfortunate because I feel SO much better when I’m exercising regularly.
I usually play in a volleyball and soccer league, but I’ve been finding it really difficult with the early mornings and emcee duties.
I love Greco group classes. They allow you to alleviate stress but they are meant for people who have an understanding of intense fitness.
I enjoy yoga to decompress and jogging with my dog to let my mind run in a healthy way.
If you are struggling to commit to an exercise routine, I recommend trying different types of group classes with a friend. If you can do personal training, that’s great. What’s most important is that you’re committed to meeting someone for the session. You’re accountable.
Too often do I tell myself, after a quick nap I’ll go to the gym – never happens.
How would you describe your personal style?
My personal style is a unique mixture quite honestly. I dress for the occasion. Anything from sporty to high fashion. If I had my choice, I’d be in jeans and a flannel shirt, hair curly like it’s meant to be and no makeup so I can rub my eyes freely and let my skin breathe.
What is your favorite way to pamper yourself?
If there is one thing I know how to do, it’s pamper myself. At one point in my life, we didn’t have a lot of money. So I didn’t experience the little extras.
I enjoy massages every two months or so – go to a certified therapist so they target the areas you need, fulfill the time you’ve paid for and aren’t focused on tips. In fact, at Byward & Glebe Chiropractic, they don’t accept them.
I used to have the horrible habit of biting my nails – what has helped me beat that is getting my nails covered with gel. It makes them too hard to break and a layer of shellac lasts three weeks between fillings.
I get pedicures to keep my feet feeling fresh. It’s so relaxing and I make a point to put down my phone when they are massaging my feet and hands because it’s nice to let your mind unwind too.
If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?
What a great question.
I’ve had the chance to travel to a lot of places through work but I’m at my cottage right now. On the deck, with Pink Floyd playing, my dog lying next to me and because the sun has set and my laptop screen is bright, June bugs are pelting me in the back of my hoodie.
All that to say, there’s no place I’d rather be.
Finally give us three words that describe you best.
Three words that describe me best?
Look at how much I’ve written!!
Header Photo Credit: Valerie Keeler – Valberg Imaging