Nadia Elkharadly: Things we should be talking/thinking/reading about instead of Rob Ford

Nadia LogoDid you guys know that Rob Ford is the newest twerkgate?  Not since Miley Cyrus stripped down to her skivvies and licked everything but the kitchen sink with her giant tongue has one single person’s name been tweeted and repeated so many times.  Our little city’s big mayor is getting us all sorts of attention, and not all of it good.  While many people are happy to see Toronto trending on a global scale, I for one am extremely sick of Fordgate’s crack gate, and I can’t wait for this night mayor to be over.  I’ve become one of those people who plugs her ears and yells “blah blah blah” whenever the name comes anywhere near my field of hearing.  Immature?  Maybe.  But while Toronto and the rest of the world seems quite content to fuel the fire of the inferno the Ford trainwreck has become, I’m inclined to think there are far far better things to think and talk about than our unapologetic and irresponsible manbaby of a mayor.

rob_ford_viceActually, I’ll do you all one better – I’m going to list off some great people that we should be talking about instead of uttering one more syllable related to Mr. Ford.

Last week I attended a conference dedicated to women, empowerment and inspiration.  I know that sounds super fuckin cheesy, but it actually turned out to be pretty awesome.  And, might I add, Rob Ford was not mentioned once in the entire day.  The all-day event was called A Woman’s Legacy, and was put on by a company called Legacy Mastery.  The day included multiple speakers, all female, all from completely different walks of life.  I’d like to highlight a couple of them, and encourage you to talk about, read about and learn about some of these rockin ladies.

Jessica Holmes

Jessica_HolmesAnyone who’s ever owned a TV with access to Canadian channels should be familiar with Jessica Holmes.  The Ottawa native had her own show back in the early 2000s and impressions were her forte.  After taking a turn on Royal Canadian Airfarce, Holmes floated off the entertainment scene to start a family.  But the vivacious blonde is back and has added motivational speaking to her resume, hence her presence at the conference.  While Holmes was the M.C. of the event and not an actual speaker, she stole the show more than once.  She had the crowd in stitches with her repertoire of impressions, but one stood out more than any other.  Aside from my cat, there is nothing on this planet I love more than Jessica Holmes hysterical impression of Celine Dion.  The accent, the voice, the actions; all are enough to have me rolling in the aisles.  At one point during the day I tweeted at her that the world needed more of her Celine bit, and shortly thereafter she granted my wish, by launching into a full song and dance routine to help pass the time during a set change.  I managed to take a choppy video, but check out this much better capture of Jessica Holme’s hilarious Celine Dion.

True comedy based in talent and not a series of bad mistakes and decisions?  More of that please!

Jann Arden

jann-arden-falling-backwardsWhile Jann Arden already has the distinction of being a Canadian musical icon, as well as being one of Bob’s favourite tweeters, did you know that she’s also a secret comedian?  I didn’t really know what to expect when I saw Arden’s name on the speaker list.  To my surprise I found myself not only extremely entertained, my sides aching from laughing so hard, but completely impressed and inspired as well.  While keeping the crowd laughing hard with stories about her adorable sounding parents (her “mom voice” is freakin HILARIOUS), Arden also infused anecdotes about her struggles to make it in the music industry, dealing with rejection after rejection, and gaining strength and perspective through it all.  She shared revealing facts about her family, including their relationship with her brother, currently incarcerated and accused of murder.  She even shared a health mishap that had occurred just that very morning that would have kept most women in hospital bed, but she didn’t let it stop her.  I came out of that talk with not only a newfound like and respect for Arden, but with a great desire to take her to a bar where we’d promptly get shitfaced together.  I’m sure Bob would love to come hang out too!  If you ever get a chance to hear Arden speak, I highly recommend it – and it’s a much better use of your time than thinking about he who really should never be named ever again.

Roxana Saberi

Roxana-SaberiAfter reading journalist Roxana Saberi’s bio in the conference program, I immediately decided she was the speaker I was most excited to hear.  An American/Iranian/Japanese former beauty queen turned journalist and writer – she was already intriguing based on her history alone.  An aspiring journalist myself, I wanted to hear about her journey along that career path, and I was intrigued about her attempt at integrating herself into Iranian culture, both as a female and a journalist.  Her level headed portrayal of the land of her father’s birth was refreshing, considering how the media generally portrays the Middle East and countries within it.  But it was how she described her experience of being imprisoned in Iran, accused of being an American spy, that really grabbed my attention.  Her honesty and openness about the fear she felt, the hope she lost and the hate she developed for her captors was captivating, but beyond that it was how she persevered, and even came to forgive her captors that was truly mindblowing.  It was in that understanding and forgiveness that she found her strength.  She also knew that all over the world people were petitioning on her behalf, and supporting her from afar.  To hear such an intense story, told so sweetly and openly was completely inspiring.  Saberi’s book has hit my must read list, and I highly recommend you look into this woman’s incredible story, instead of clicking on the latest RF story on

If the world spent more time thinking, talking, tweeting and facebooking about people like these women, rather than our buffoon of a mayor, can you imagine how much better of a place it would be to inhabit?  Sadly, the lowest common denominator also seems to be the majority.  And of course, majority rules, and dictates what the focus of our society is…but a gal can dream, hope, and most of all be inspired to be better, do better, and live better, like these incredible women.

Until next time,




Nadia’s column appears every Wednesday

Contact us at:

DBAWIS_ButtonNadia Elkharadly is a Toronto based writer with a serious addiction to music. Corporate drone by day, renegade rocker by night, writing is her creative outlet.  Nadia writes for the Examiner (.com) on live music in Toronto and Indie Music in Canada.  She has never been in a band but plays an awesome air guitar and also the tambourine.  Check in every Tuesday for musings about music, love, life and whatever else that comes to mind.

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2 Responses to “Nadia Elkharadly: Things we should be talking/thinking/reading about instead of Rob Ford”

  1. Mark Vukovich Says:

    Hear Hear…and I too would love to have a cocktail with you, Ms Arden and my old (really old) friend Bob.

  2. The only good thing about Ford is that he’s opened up an international dialogue about addiction (and given me more publicity in two weeks than I get in two years!)
    Jann Arden is actually a distant cousin I’ve never met. Sounds like she’s great to meet (and I hope I do)
    Likewise I owe Bob a cocktail. He can have whatever he wants…I have to make mine virgin…eh Bob?

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