It’s Oscar time and we catch up with Larysa Harapyn in the midst of a very busy week. She’s doing double duty, serving as a reporter and producer at Star! The Entertainment Information Station, and also filling in for the local entertainment reporter at Toronto’s Citytv newscast.
It makes you wonder: Don’t her bosses realize this is the maddest entertainment reporting week of the year?
“Of course they do,” Harapyn says with a laugh over the phone from Star! headquarters. “They have no sympathy. There are few times in the year when we are really busy and this is one of them. But it’s not too bad, I mean, you sit around and talk about The Aviator and Million Dollar Baby all day.”
Born and raised in Toronto, Harapyn grew up in a family with mixed languages, religions and cultures. Her mother is Polish and her father is Ukrainian.
At the age of 14, Harapyn went into modelling . She was always the tallest in her class, standing at her current height of 5’10”. She passed on job opportunities in Montreal and Paris to stay in Toronto. It was a good move.
While modelling in Toronto and studying part-time at York University, a friend approached Harapyn to do some freelance television reporting. She was hooked instantly.
Now 32, Harapyn has been with Star! for six years, reporting on red carpet events and interviewing celebrities. One of her main goals — shared with those of the station — is to establish a star system here in Canada.
“It’s improved 110 percent since Star! launched,” she says of the developing star system. “Whether or not it will be on the same level as the States, that’s a different conversation. People here don’t freak out when they see people like Paul Gross walking down the street…we’re so polite.”
Ironically, in Canada, Harapyn stands out as a star in her own right as a television entertainment reporter, but she works hard to remain down-to-earth and accessible.
“There’s a lot of ego and this is a very narcissistic business. But as fast as your star rises, that’s as fast as it can fall. I mean, we’re reporting on such fluff. It’s not tangible. It’s not real life. You can’t take it too seriously; you can’t take yourself too seriously.”
About Robert J. Ballantyne
Robert Ballantyne is Artsculture's Creative Director. Previously, he was a journalist at the CBC on a number of news programs including the fifth estate, Marketplace and The National. He also worked as a staff writer at the Toronto Star and other media outlets.