Red carpet coverage is hardly a new thing. Talking about what a star is wearing has become the norm come any award show or movie premiere. But what rarely gets its own spotlight is the reporter at the front lines of entertainment reporting. As the show heads into its tenth season this September, we caught up with Entertainment Tonight Canada hosts Rick Campanelli and Roz Weston and talked style, the evolution of Hollywood reporting and one very hung-over James Franco.
Congratulations on heading into the 10th season for ET Canada. How has the experience been for you?
Rick Campanelli: It’s been great, a lot of fun. We’re a family up there, a great group of professionals that strive to make great TV everyday. The transition for me at first was a little difficult because I came from live TV and went to a taped show. So, it was very polished and perfect. It wasn’t like that at my old job. Wearing suits was also a big change. I think I’m more into it now than I was at first.
Roz Weston: I mean, doing ten seasons of anything on television in Canada is insane. I don’t know of many other shows that I can even name that have managed to do ten seasons of anything. It’s really rare. My thing with a show like ET Canada was that it was more about television than it was about the content. I wanted to do television that was produced by really smart people who believed in what they were doing and cared about the way it looked. They said they were going to invest in set and lighting and cameras and producers; it was the production of the show that was extremely appealing to me. It’s the kind of show that once you get an opportunity to work on in any capacity, you hang on tight because you realize that it’s very rare. And that’s the thing that I love the most about ET Canada, because everybody realizes that what we’re doing is rare and special, content aside.
Was there a big difference between reporting on music and Hollywood for you, Rick?
RC: Oh, no doubt about it. It was all about music before. Moving into the job at ET Canada, it was more like we were interviewing the biggest names in music, no longer the indie artists or a lot of those artists that I was covering at my old job. So, there weren’t as many music stories when we first started, but now as the last few years have passed, we’ve added more and more music and artists across all genres.
Do you find that social media has changed the way you produce content over the years?
RW: Yes. When we started the show, Perez Hilton didn’t exist, let alone Twitter. There weren’t gossip sites. If you’re going to succeed in telling stories, you have to adapt to the world around you. We would be foolish to think that by the time we hit the air, every single person who is a fan of the person we’re talking about does not know what we’re already talking about. So it’s creating a show that will complement social media and the viewer’s life, instead of fighting it. Too many times, people in power in television or music think they’re better than the latest trend and we never thought that. Once we realized that people were using social media as a tool for information, we knew we had to change. Instead of headlines, I think what we can offer is perspective. And perspective is what really matters. It changes the way you think about the story, the way you think about people. I think that’s where we carved out our little place to complement social media.
Has it been easier to disperse information because you have that ability to do it instantaneously via social media?
RW: What made it difficult was, back in the day, if a star needed to set the record straight, they needed a show like us. They would type a press release, send it to their publicist, who would then send it to us, and we would put it on the television. They don’t need us anymore because they have Twitter. Stars are setting their own records straight. They are giving their own truth in 140 characters, and they’re doing it instantaneously. So, the need for us from them changed. Social media has taken everybody and turned them from these unattainable superstars into real human beings. But you can’t hear somebody laugh on Twitter. You can hear somebody laugh on our show, and that’s where I think the marriage exists between our show, a star and the access to their audience – they still need us, just in a different way.
How would you describe your own style?
RC: It’s different because when I’m on set at ET Canada, I’m totally done up. When I’m not on set though, I like to feel comfortable. Thank god my wife came along because she’s way more into fashion than I am, and she’s a big help. As the years go by, I do like to put a suit together with a nice shirt and tie. For guys, we have our suits, but it’s really the accessories where we can differentiate ourselves. Women have so many options, but for guys, these little things are really where the difference comes in.
RW: My sense of style is like somebody who is in grade five, where I have school clothes and I have play clothes. My play clothes consist of the same four pair of jeans that I’ve had the past six years. I have t-shirts that look like I found them in the trash. But I know what works for me. When I put on a suit to do a show, it’s not that I think I look good, it’s more like I’m in costume, which is a great feeling. That’s what television is. It’s playing dress up and I like that aspect of it. Ultimately, I’m a glam rock kid from the ‘80s. I wear a ton of jewelry and I’ve never had a grown up hair cut. I like pointy shoes and bling and tons of rings. That’s really my style.
If you could give any advice on how a guy should dress himself, what would it be?
RC: Definitely look in the mirror, that’s a good start [laughs]. If your girlfriend and wife aren’t around to give you the once over, look at yourself to make sure everything is in place. I’ve made the mistake of not looking in the mirror and I’ll have hair sticking up in the back, a little crumb on the cheek, this and that. Look in the mirror and just make sure everything looks put together.
RW: You have to feel good in whatever you’re wearing. If you don’t feel good, it will not look good. If you’re a guy that hates wearing a tie, don’t wear a tie. You’ll be pulling at it all day because it’s at the back of your head all the time. Instead of trying to hide the things that you may not like about your body – and trust me, guys have body issues – you first need to embrace them. You won’t be able to mask them until you embrace them.
I think guys are also very judgy. When you try something different, your dudes are going to rip on you. And then you kind of crawl back into your hole a little bit. If your buddies are goofing on you for wearing something, wear it everyday. Taking a chance with fashion is much more difficult for a guy than for a woman – it’s a much bigger risk. You can justify it for a lot of women, but for guys, you have to justify it yourself. You have to convince people, which I think is a little wrong. We need to open up a little bit.
What do you think are some of the big mistakes that some male celebrities have made on the red carpet?
RC: Socks and sandals [laughs]. The biggest mistake that a guy can make is just not preparing his body if he’s going to be on camera. If you’re looking disheveled and your hair is all over the place and you’re not put together, that really stands out because the viewers who are watching that interview are going to remember James Franco looking like he’s hung-over. And that’s happened a couple times with me and James Franco [laughs]. His tuxedo was all over the place, his tie was over here, he had a couple buttons undone and you could tell that he had just gone to bed two hours ago and had gotten up to do an interview.
RW: When it comes to a man’s style on the red carpet, I always use the toupée theory – you only notice the bad ones. I think that if you’re walking the red carpet and you’re putting on an outfit to get noticed, you’re doing it wrong. The best styles on a red carpet are the guys that are consistent. I don’t think a red carpet at an awards show is the place for a male star to take a chance. I think you need to know what’s good on you, what fits and, no matter who you are and how you make a living, you’ve got to be comfortable in what you’re wearing. I think that’s really it. I’ve seen stars that show up on a red carpet and they’re wearing a suit that looks like they got at a 2-for-1, but they don’t look uncomfortable and they end up looking like dynamite. But every now and then, you see someone who’s like, ‘you know what I’m going to do? Silver jacket and gold pants.’ You could spend eight grand on that suit, but it won’t work. Guys on a red carpet, you should notice their consistency, not what they’re wearing.
Red carpets have evolved over the years into a business where celebrities are paid to wear certain brands. Do you think that has taken the fun out of the whole process and made them a little more political?
RC: Definitely. There’s always a corporation involved because they’re putting in the bucks to put on the event. I think with the bigger carpets, like the Grammy’s and the Oscars, people are going to dress up and go all out. It depends on the carpet, I guess. People look different ways for different functions. A music event is going to look different than a movie premiere. I think people just want to be comfortable, first and foremost. If I was on their side, I know I would just want to be comfortable because it’s intimidating enough when you have to talk to 100 people in the media and that’s on your mind.
RW: What I think it does is it has taken the emotion out of everything. I think that when somebody is being paid to wear something, it becomes costume as opposed to someone’s personal decision. So I think we’re allowed to then critique them for it. I think that critiquing outfits on a red carpet would be like a theatre review or critiquing the costumes in Les Mis. You’re allowed to be judgy of the costumes on a red carpet, and thankfully the fashion industry has allowed us to do that because they are so ravenous to get their point across.
What do you think makes a lasting style icon in Hollywood?
RC: I think someone that is well known and always looks decent. You don’t have to look sharp all the time, but if you’re looking good in what you’re wearing and it comes across as cool, I think some of that has influence over what people decide to wear. I find myself flipping through magazines and I’ll see a big name wearing a certain suit or shoes, and I’ll say to myself, ‘I want that suit or those shoes.’
RW: What I like is somebody who, when they are not promoting something, they look like a bit of a mess. When it’s time to promote something, you go for it. You’re on the list of the best dressed and everything else, but they don’t show up at Starbucks knowing that they’re going to be photographed or in a magazine. I don’t like somebody who is “on” all the time. I don’t trust somebody who looks amazing all the time. I think flaws are attractive.
It seems like there’s an element of sincerity to it, knowing they’re not always conscious about their style.
RW: Well, nobody is! I like to see people that look like they dressed themselves. It’s what I find endearing. I like when you see pictures of people wearing the same shirt twice in the same week. I love it because I do that, everybody does that. It’s more relatable.
What have been some of the biggest highlights from the past nine seasons at ET Canada?
RC: I really love doing the film festivals. TIFF has been a huge highlight for me. Every year, we get all these A-list celebrities in our own backyard. But, also Cannes and Tribeca and all these other film festivals – that’s huge for me. I love movies and talking to actors, so that has been a definite highlight.
RW: I have an attitude of daily indulgence. I never set goals; I don’t idolize anybody. I never get star struck because to me, it’s work. We’re not friends. I don’t want to be their friends, hang out with them, and I don’t need them to like me. It’s work, and I think when you ask somebody a question and they answer it without giving you something that you’ve already read ten times before, that’s where you get your wind. So my highlights are when you’re not just wildly disappointed with somebody you thought was extremely awesome.
You both obviously have experience working on the red carpet. How do you think red carpet style has changed over the years from when you first started out compared to today?
RC: Red carpets have become such a big thing. I’ve seen them go from 10 yards long to 100 yards or more. I’ve seen them grow from practically nothing to huge set ups. And they’re not just red anymore, they’re green and purple and more. There’s just so much going on.
RW: Red carpets are quick, they’re chaos. If you get one question, you’re great. But the thing about them is it takes every single person on a red carpet – the reporter, the stars – out of their element. The red carpet is the most unnatural place any two human beings can have a conversation. Every now and then, you get somebody who is extremely uncomfortable with that element. Those are the best interviews. When you catch someone who doesn’t know what’s going on around them, that’s when you can get a great answer. So for that reason, I love red carpets. We’re on a spaceship at that point and it’s not natural. But I’ve grown to love red carpets just because of the chaos and unpredictability. They’re a lot of fun.
It seems to be a good time for men’s fashion because men are growing more comfortable with taking risks and caring about their appearance.
RW: I like that. The great thing about living now, and the past couple years, is that we’re not so divided anymore with fashion. You used to have your goths, your rave kids, all your subgroups. Fashion has got so fantastic that they’ve really incorporated everybody’s tastes into a couple of great lines and pieces. There’s a lot of stuff now that’s available to us that we all agree on. You can have individual style, but still do something that is “normal”. You’re allowed to do that now. We’re at one of the best times for men’s fashion because you are allowed to be you and not have to apologize for it.
RC: I think anything goes for guys these days. Playing with different styles, I don’t think you can really make a mistake. A few years ago, people had a more critical eye, but these days you can wear practically anything and that’s a style. I’m having fun with it these days.
Rick, you’re involved in a couple charity organizations. Which ones and why are they so important to you?
RC: World Vision is probably one of the organizations that I’ve been with the longest. I started working with them back in 1997 when I was at MuchMusic and they do such great work around the world for families and communities in need. So, to this day I’ve continued to work with them and always will. One that I’m currently with right now is the Suit Drive campaign with Moore’s. We’re just trying to help men out there transition back into the workplace. What Moore’s is doing is they’re giving them suits that have been donated from people and finding them a new home. A lot of guys have things in their wardrobes that they’re not wearing anymore, so a campaign like this is perfect. It probably just gives these guys the confidence to go into an interview and really kill it. That’s half the battle. You’re prepared for an interview, but if you’re looking good and feeling good, that helps. And it leaves a good first impression. If you look good in their eyes and you have good answers, heck you might get that job.
Catch the 10th season of Entertainment Tonight Canada on September 2 at 7:30PM ET/PT on Global.
Photographer: Patrick Lacsina
Stylist: Alicia Simpson at Plutino Group
Groomer: Lauren Williams