“…Sometimes we look at the problems in our lives and we don’t know how to go on, but there are people who have such adversity in their lives and they find the strength. And that’s always empowering and admirable to see that whatever struggle they’re going through, they have the strength and they encourage others to give hope.”
As a fixture in Canadian media, including Entertainment Tonight, Global Montreal, and Virgin Radio, Natasha Gargiulo has made a name for herself as not only a broadcaster but as an energetic red carpet host and interviewer. But beyond her career, she is also a passionate spokesperson for multiple organizations and causes, including child welfare. A proud member of the Italian-Canadian community, Gargiulo co-hosted the 2014 Teddy Bear Affair: Viva Italia on Saturday, November 1st. We caught-up with her prior to the event, and here’s what she had to say about her role and giving-back to the child welfare community:
Children’s Aid Foundation: How do you think that supporting vulnerable kids has a positive impact on society as a whole?
Natasha Gargiulo: I just don’t know how anybody could turn their back on any children’s charity. Children are innocent, children are our future, children are so absorbent — they’re like sponges; they’re smart, they’re resilient, they’re strong, and for any child who is going through a struggle or is vulnerable, I think it’s up to us as adults to lead them in the right direction. They need for us to show them the right way.
CAF: What impact did enriching lessons like dance and musical theatre have on your childhood?
NG: I think that dance and [musical theatre] is really important because it helps with coming out of your shell. As a child you have so many little insecurities, but also you have such a vivid imagination, and it really helped me become more confident and also more creative, and become a person who can express myself.
CAF: What has education meant in your life?
NG: It was always something that was really important, it was always part of my work ethic. Growing-up I always had a great mentor; my father was a tremendous man who worked very hard for what he had, and I always knew that in order to get what you wanted you needed an education because knowledge is power. And for me, the more you know, the more of an asset you are to everybody. I always had a plan, I always knew what I wanted to be in life and I knew that I needed education to get me there.
CAF: Why do you feel compelled to give back to others?
NG: I really feel that it’s important to give back to the community because success is not really what you have but what you inspire others to do. Throughout my life I’ve been inspired by people who have generously given their time to help me get where I’m at. When you become a public personality or public figure it’s important to be a voice for certain causes that mean a lot to you. It’s important for you to inspire others whether they have money or not, just to inspire them to give-back.
CAF: What have you learned about the human spirit?
NG: I work with the Montreal Children’s Hospital very closely and every year I donate my time to a radiothon, and I’ve gone to visit sick children. It’s just inspiring that with so much pain and struggle that’s going on in their families’ lives, every day they make a point to get up and realize that they’ve got something to look forward to. And to me that means the world because sometimes we look at the problems in our lives and we don’t know how to go on, but there are people who have such adversity in their lives and they find the strength. And that’s always empowering and admirable to see that whatever struggle they’re going through, they have the strength and they encourage others to give hope.
CAF: As a member of the Italian-Canadian community, what’s your favourite thing about Italian culture?
NG: Tradition; one hundred percent. I don’t know if we’re losing a bit of it in this generation but I think I’ve always been fond of the family, the culture, and the tradition, and that the family is at the forefront of every Italian mind. I think the Italian community likes to support one another and rally to help and encourage everyone to move forward. We support one another.
CAF: Anything else to add about giving-back to vulnerable kids or the Children’s Aid Foundation?
NG: My perspective on life changed when I had a daughter; you become less selfish in your life and realize that your whole world revolves around them. And right now every decision I make in my life is for her, and I just want to be a great role model to her so when she looks at her mother she realizes ‘oh, she’s not just a TV and radio personality, she’s actually making a difference in the world,’ and that’s something that can effect her one day. I attach myself to children’s charities because you just never know when you’re going to be in a situation where your own child is going to struggle, and if I can help in any way and improve her life and her future, that’s why I’m doing it.