MuchMusic VJs: Where are They Now? (Part I)

Looking at the careers your favourite VJs

MuchMusic played a huge role in cultivating Canadian music. Many of us grew up watching MuchMusic, whether it be the MuchMusic Countdown with Rick Campanelli, The Wedge with Sook-Yin Lee, or even MuchOnDemand. We watched many of our favourite VJs come and go, some moving onto careers in the same industry and others forging a new path.

Check out our list below to find out where some of your favourite MuchMusic VJs have gone.

 

Steve Anthony

Following his almost decade-long career as a MuchMusc VJ, Steve Anthony worked a series of morning show host gigs at 102.1 CFNY, Q107 in Toronto, and CHOM 97.7 in Montreal. A self-described, “top notch Voice Guy,”  he now does professional voice overs, marketing himself as a “voice talent” and brand ambassador. Steve is currently the television co-host of CP24 Breakfast, and occasionally posts his art to Instagram.

Matte Babel

Matte Babel, best known for hosting Fuse News on MuchMusic, has continued to work in front of the camera working as a remote host for CP24 before occupying his current position as an LA correspondent and contributor for Entertainment Tonight Canada. He’s now the CEO of Ransom Music Group, an LA based music management group. The Toronto native also happens to be friends with Drake, attending his birthday with girlfriend and Canadian actress Shay Mitchell.

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Jeanne Beker

After her impressive 27 year run as the host of Fashion Television, Jeanne Beker went on to have a successful career as a journalist. She served as the editor-in-chief of FQ Magazine and SIR, has authored five books, and has created multiple fashion lines. Beker was designated a member of the Order of Canada in December 2013, which recognizes outstanding achievements and contributions to the nation. Beker is now a columnist for The Globe and Mail.

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Rick Campanelli

The 1994 MuchTemp contest launched Rick Campanelli into the spotlight at MuchMusic, where he would later become a fan favourite VJ and host of the popular MuchMusic Countdown.After his time at MuchMusic, Rick “The Temp” Campanelli hosted ET Canada for over a decade, leaving the position just this year. He currently lives in Toronto with his wife and three kids.

Monika Deol

Recently hailed in the Toronto Star for being “as electric as you remember her,” Monika Deol has excelled in her personal life and career as an entrepreneur, a mother, a television anchor, and an author. Since leaving MuchMusic, she has been an entertainment anchor for CityPulse at Six, co-host of Citytv’s style show Ooh La La, and anchor at CTV Vancouver. Most recently, Deol has created a line of beauty products called Stellar, made formedium/dark skin tones that were not represented within major brands,” sold across Canada and the US.

Erica Ehm (Miechowsky)

Though she left her role as a MuchMusic VJ to focus on her songwriting career, Erica Ehm has thrived as an author and entrepreneur in the years following her departure from the network. She has since written three stage musicals, two books, and created the Yummy Mummy Club, a blog about motherhood and family life. She’s also the CEO of her independently owned Ehm & Co, “a digital marketing company specializing in creating mom engagement with a focus on social media marketing and partnerships with agencies and brand.”

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Denise Donlon

Denise Donlon has been called a “local hero,” and rightfully so. Her time at MuchMusic was only the beginning of a long and successful career in the music industry, where she experienced the polarizing changes in entertainment firsthand. At the turn of the century, Donlon was President of Sony Music Canada, later becoming the executive director of (English language) CBC Radio. Her impressive collection of accolades include being named a member of the Canadian Broadcasters Hall of Fame, the Canadian Music Week’s Broadcast Executive of the Year (three times), and one of Canada’s Top 100 Powerful Women. Her memoir As Fearless as Possible (Under the Circumstances) chronicles her path to success from her humble beginnings as a Much VJ.

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Rainbow Sun Francks

Following his time at MuchMusic, Francks pursued his acting career. He starred in Season 1 and 2 of Stargate Atlantis, among other roles in Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, Eyewitness, Murdoch Mysteries, The Listener, and most recently, The Strain on FX. He also worked in the music industry producing a hip hop group called The Oddities.

Jennifer Hollett

You may know Jennifer Hollett as the 2015 NDP candidate in University-Rosedale, but before she was a Canadian political figure, Hollett was a MuchMusic VJ. After her time at Much, Hollett received her Masters in Public Administration from Harvard, subsequently immersing herself in Canadian politics as a member of the NDP party. She has worked for Sony Music Canada, Plan Canada, CTV, and CARE Canada, among other notable professional organizations. Hollett now heads the News and Government sector at Twitter Canada.

Namungenyi Kiwanuka

Kiwanuka left Electric Circus and the life of a MuchMusic VJ behind to pursue aspects of the film and television industry she had yet to discover. Kiwanuka hosted NBA XL and CFL Crunch on Sportsnet, worked as an editor for the African Business Journal, columnist at the BBC (Focus on Africa Magazine), and contributor to the Toronto Star & Globe and Mail.

Avi Lewis

Avi Lewis has been working to engage viewers with world politics since his earliest appearances as a MuchMusic VJ. His emphasis on politics has translated into a career in journalism, leading him around the world to address some of the most pressing issues of our time. From Al Jazeera English to CBC, Lewis has written, reported, and produced hard hitting stories on everything from the 1995 Quebec referendum to women in Afghanistan. He is also the co-founder of The Leap, an organization dedicated to “confronting the intersecting crises of our time: climate change, racism and inequality through storytelling and public interventions, local organizing around climate and social justice solutions, silo-busting movement gatherings.” The Leap Manifesto has since been signed by prominent Canadian figures including Leonard Cohen, Ellen Page, and Arcade Fire.

 

Sook-Yin Lee

During her time at MuchMusic, Sook-Yin Lee was best known for hosting alternative music show, The Wedge. From there she went on to host CBC Radio’s pop culture program Definitely Not the Opera, until the program ended in 2016. The film work that she has pursued in the post-MuchMusic years showed recurring themes of race and feminism. Though her work has been met with controversy due to the explicit nature of it, Lee has stood by her beliefs and has been an advocate for diverse and authentic representation in film.

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Naurdwuar the Human Serviette

Naurduar (aka John Ruskin) is still up to his old antics and his signature, “guerilla journalism” style interviews. He is now regarded as a pioneering music reporter for his unique tactics that characterized his appearances in MuchMusic. He has since taken his “lovably eccentric persona” to the west coast where he is now the television and online video host for CiTR 101.9 FM in Vancouver. He also performs as the frontman for The Evaporators, a Vancouver punk rock group. He still wears that plaid beret.

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Feature photo courtesy EMILIE RHAUPP via Flickr.