Rebecca Makonnen, Montréal | There is a new breed of hosts: those who can do just about anything. With an impressive resumé which started a decade ago at the all-video network Musique Plus, Rebecca Makonnen is part of that breed. Since then, she’s graduated to Radio-Canada: the prestigious Canadian institution. And since she’s multi-talented, it’s only normal that she does both Television & Radio. The very private Makonnen enters The Confessional and shows that yes, brains & beauty can coexist.
What’s tougher? Waking up at 5AM for your morning radio show or entering The Confessional? Ha! Although I’m not fond of writing about myself, waking up at 5 am after getting five hours of sleep and trying to sound intelligent and coherent is quite the challenge.
You first got your start as a VJ at an (at the time) all video TV network. Since then, how do you measure the importance of the medium and does evolution mean progress? I remember when getting a new video at MusiquePlus was big news. Someone would pop the videocassette in and we’d huddle around the screen, oohing and aahing over the latest Eminem video. Those days are gone since pretty much anyone can search YouTube for the new Gaga clip.
I myself don’t rely on a video to convince me that a song or an album is worth buying. I think it does still have artistic value as a short film. Say what you will about M.I.A., her Romain Gavras-directed Born Free video was ballsy and thought-provoking. Now I mostly appreciate other initiatives like Chinatown’s Salut Vieux Monde Sale, hilarious featurettes that showcase the band’s personality and absurd sense of humour. It’s less about the music, though, but it’s pretty neat.
You’re quite the TV aficionado. Name your three favourite TV characters & tell us why you love them. Eric the Vampire (Alexander Skarsgard) on True Blood : smoking hot, deadpan, wears Adidas track suits which is pretty awesome considering he’s 2000 years old.
Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker) on Weeds: pot dealer, flawed mom, sexy 40-something, resourceful and ballsy.
Nurse Jackie (Edie Falco): morally ambiguous nurse, tough cookie with a soft creamy center, real, very real.
Finish this sentence: “Enough already with … “ Lindsay Lohan, Lady Gaga, Crocs, hipsters, cliques, illness, Arcade Fire, PCs, power-and-money hungry decisions-makers
What are the five perfect albums that are always just a shuffle away on your i-Pod. “Arular” & “Kala“, M.I.A. . “Hypnotize“, System of a Down “Santogold“, Santigold “Confessions on a Dance Floor“, Madonna “Unplugged”, Jay-Z “The Archandroid”, Janelle Monáe
Name your three favourite following on Twitter, and tell us why. I’m not brown-nosing right, but you’re definitely one of my favorites . I appreciate the topical diversity and the brillant use of hashtags (Blogger’s note: Extremely flattered and proof once again that bribing works)
I also like @MarcCassivi, because his opinions are sometimes unpopular, yet he always defends them and thus stands up to the Québec star system.
What is the moment you knew you had leaped from girl to super-woman? If I was juggling two kids on top of everything else I might consider the title. I wouldn’t call myself a superwoman, but I do know that I’ve entered adulthood about three years ago.
What has surprised you the most in the past 12 months? That I’m actually enjoying making new friends. That I know what my priorities are. That I no longer have any patience for people who are always carefree and superficial, 24/7.
Where you were when you heard Michael Jackson had died? I was on Highway 20, going to see a play in Pointe-aux-Cascades. My heart was broken.
You’re hosting the perfect dinner with the perfect celebrity chef. What’s on the menu, who’s the Chef, what are you wearing & what’s the soundtrack? Padma Lakshmi is making Bavette aux échalottes with pommes frites and haricots au beurre blanc. She’s worldly and glamorous, so we can talk literature AND hair products. I’m wearing Adidas Gazelle and a sleek black Michael Kors dress.
You’ve interviewed a slew of Hollywood A-listers. Who was you most pleasant surprise and who are you dying to interview? I was a huge Fresh Prince fan and I got the chance to interview Will Smith when The Pursuit of Happyness came out. He opened the door to the suite and walked me to my chair and then back again when our chat was over. Plus, he was adorable, funny, generous and talkative. The perfect gentleman and the perfect interviewee.
Daniel Craig was equally dashing and elegant and classy enough not to diss me when I flirted.
Trent Reznor was amazing : super intelligent and thoughtful, he even said I outsmarted him which meant a lot because I was fighting a fever (in Los Angeles) and wasn’t feeling too hot.
Metallica and the Red Hot Chili Peppers were very cool, too.
I am DYING to interview Jay-Z, Dave Gahan, Dr. Dre and Rick Rubin. Is that too much to ask? You can keep Clooney & Pitt.
Name the book you wish you had written. Anything by Nancy Huston, but specifically Dolce Agonia and Lignes de Faille. Absolutely brillant.
You are of mixed origin (half-Ethiopian, half-Acadian, all Canadian). How do you grade the role of the media in race relations? On a scale of one to ten? Five. Six on a good day. I can’t believe that even though there’s a Black President in the Oval Office, I can flip through Châtelaine and not see one Black/Hispanic/Asian model/personality/columnist. Where do these editors live and work? In Montréal! Same goes for Québec television and movies – there’s not one character you or I can relate to. It’s lazy and irresponsible, not to mention absolutely insulting. Does that mean there is a total lack of Black/Hispanic/Asian writers and directors? Are they really the only ones who should carry the weight of representing us? Is anyone really studying the issue?
Name your favourite line from a book, a song or a famous speech. Dying is easy it’s living that scares me to death - Annie Lennox. I think it’s pretty clever.
15. Mel Gibson has a anti-Semitic rant and a few months later, there he was presenting an award at the Golden Globes. Chris Brown beats the lights out of his girlfriend Rihanna and a year later, people praise him because he happens to do a good moonwalk & he “cried” at a Michael Jackson tribute. What is going on in the World? And by World, I mean Hollyweird. “Oh, how the Mighty have fallen”. That sums up half of it. Everyone likes seeing the rich and powerful (and sometimes has-beens) get caught doing something stupid or manipulative or just plain wrong. We’re all voyeurs. Thing is, Hollywood also likes redemption and forgives easily. As if Mel Gibon’s body of work is just simply too great and too important to let a handful of nasty little racial rants wipe him off for good. There are other actors and directors and celebs, you know.
When will I see you next? Probably sometime in the next two weeks. Or this Fall on Studio 12 , which airs on Radio-Canada tv and radio.