Who Are You and Why Do We Care: Erin Ireland

The catch phrase “Thats Bananas” coined by a certain Hollywood uber stylist sounds especially sweet to Vancouver foodie, journalist, and tv personality Erin Ireland. Erin’s the type of girl that catches your attention from across the room. Perhaps its her signature hot pink YSL lipstick? Or perhaps its the aroma of fresh, warm “To Die For” Banana Bread that she ever so lovingly cradles in her arms in a quest to take over the foodie scene and make obsessed fans of her signature bread. I admire a lot of things about Erin and learned a TON of things I never knew in this interview, like where did this “To Die For” moniker come from?  I was honored to hear about someone in this day and age of money, power, and fame, that it is still possible to follow your dreams (no matter how scary it may be) and achieve happiness and success. We all know the struggles it takes to make the “impossible” into the “possible” but Erin is proof positive that taking the risk is worth it, and that you can create change and leave your mark along the way. Bravo Erin! Cheers to women in business and to everyone who each day inspires change.

VG: Who Are You?

EI: After playing four years of volleyball and studying broadcasting, I returned home from University in South Carolina with the plan to become a sportscaster. I quickly realized, however, that I’m much more passionate about food! Currently, I’m building an empire under my brand, ‘It’s To Die For’. The company will include a line of banana breads, cookbooks, a television show, retail locations, and a social campaign raising awareness about the dangers of extreme dieting. I currently write a weekly food column for Metro Newspaper, a monthly column for Vancouver View Magazine, and I’m a regular on Urban Rush reporting on the best local foods in our city.

VG: What makes you tick?

EI: An early morning run followed by a big breakfast of oatmeal, bananas, and coffee. Also, the belief that anything is possible! There is no industry too saturated to conquer and no job too high-ranking to achieve if you want it badly enough and have the basic tools required for it.

VG: Name your top 5 personality traits or characteristics that you feel have enabled you to be so successful.

EI: Confidence. Fearlessness. Friendliness. Being open-minded. A perfectionist.

VG: Why do we care?

EI: After four years of NCAA volleyball in the States, I returned home to Vancouver with the belief that I’d have to get ultra skinny to succeed in broadcasting. With this in mind, my motivation made the following five years of extreme dieting easy. It has become my mission to inform teenage girls and women about the health dangers associated with the condition. Eating disorders are so common among young women, and the dangerously thin, highly under-diagnosed phase before ‘anorexia’ is also harmful to health. I’ll tell my story to high schools, on media tours, and to anyone else who’ll listen. My message is that extreme dieting is not to die for.

VG: Tell me a secret (Really, tell me a secret).

EI: In university, no one knew me by my real name. To this day, when someone from my South Carolina days calls or emails, they refer to me as ‘Jeter’. In my senior year I forced the coach and all team member to call me Erin so that the new freshman would follow suit.

VG: Where are you?

EI: On the couch with the TV on but muted (waiting for CTV News). I work from home where I rotate between desk and a more comfy spot. Feet are up and computer is resting on my ovary protector.

VG: What did you have for lunch?

EI: I was on assignment for Metro today when I dined solo at Luke’s, which is a new South Granville restaurant in Vancouver. Their veggie burger, made with quinoa, almonds, egg, beans, and mushrooms, was enormous. You’ll have to read the column to see if it was any good!

VG: Paste your last tweet here

EI: @erin_ireland: this list wouldn’t be complete without @thaaschocolates: best cafés in vancouver –> http://bit.ly/rd6Gt6

VG: So now what?

EI: In five years, I’ll be 33. My banana bread will have national distribution and my show will be in full swing. By then, I’ll be ‘smelling the roses’ a little more often than I am now. As I build my business, I realize that it’s crunch time. I’ve put some of life’s ‘frivolous activities’ on the backburner. Honestly, though, I wouldn’t have it any other way. What I’m doing right now is what fuels me. Even while on vacation, I’m drawn to the hotel notepads where I’ll make lists or brainstorm ideas. I love what I do so much that it’s hard to turn off.

Trusting your gut will get you where you want to be. I worked at CTV for two years, and though I loved every minute of it (so much that I cried when I left), I knew that ‘news’ wasn’t for me at the time. Taking the leap can be scary (financially, emotionally, etc), but you must do it to end up in the right spot. Only in my wildest dreams did I picture launching a line of baked goods and being a food reporter, but the chain of events that my gut has led me on has landed me right here and I couldn’t be happier.

Follow Erin’s adventures in foodie-land at @erin_ireland on twitter.

About Erin: Food reporter and lover of cuisine, Erin Ireland aspires to spend the rest of her life eating food that is to die for. When coerced to relinquish the fork, she swaps it with a microphone to dish on the best new restaurants in Vancouver and her favorite ‘to die for’ products on Urban Rush. You can also read Erin’s weekly ‘Lunch Rush’ column in Metro Newspaper every Tuesday, her monthly ‘To Die For Face’ column in Vancouver View Magazine, and taste her banana bread in cafes in and around Vancouver.


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