Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Sheena Snively- MTV Live, from Happy Accidents

     I couldn't believe my eyes when I checked my email inbox on the evening of January 23rd, nearing the one year anniversary of the Canadian Stories blog. None other than Sheena Snively from MTV Live had emailed me! I opened it up, not knowing if I should be super excited for an interview confirmation, or super nervous, for a respectful declination. Instead, I had a list of questions from her. They were logistical issues she had wanted clarified before she could do either confirm or deny, which I should of expected from someone such as a television personality. As I would learn is quite frankly the story of Sheena's life, a collection of happy accidents lead to me being able to meeting the incredibly hilarious lady that is Ontario's own Sheena Snively. But it wouldn't be until after I met her that I would learn something else. Sheena wasn't just hilarious, she was also inspiring.
      In all honesty (which not even Sheena knows), she was one of the first people ever considered when Canadian Stories was kicking off as a potential venture of mine. I'm full of random, harebrained schemes for success. Luckily, my little brother Derek is always there to help me out whenever he can. In this case, brainstorming people we could try to convince for an interview with me, a random teenager from Ingersoll, Ontario. As he sat there listing off some names, he switched to MTV Live on television. We watched it for a bit, then it dawned on both of us.
     Let's emailed Nicole Holness to see if she would do an interview!
     Okay, maybe not where you thought that was going, but as I said, she was ONE of the first people in mind. While we found out possible ways to reach out to Nicole, we stumbled upon ways to contact all of the hosts. We figured since we in fact loved all of them, and found them all hilarious, we should try our luck at all of them. Well, none of them replied. Them' were the rough days, the days when I had an empty inbox more often than not.
     That's how my way path to Sheena began, but her path to Canada's hearts was much different. One, as I mentioned, filled with happy accidents. Those happy accidents all began with, surprisingly, her job working at Lick's Homeburgers, in the town of Hamilton, Ontario. More specifically, it all began with her milkshakes. Just give me a second to explain, it's not what you're thinking.

Sheena Snively striking a pose!

     While working in the Lick's drive-through, a customer by the name of Dash kept on coming through every couple of days. Every time he went to order, he would ask if that girl Sheena was working, and if she could make him a milkshake because she made them the best. Sheena, listening in, would blush a bit then go to the window and flirt with Dash before he had to drive off and she had to go back to work. Her milkshakes, quite literally, lead to her to the boy who would not only become her boyfriend, but in fact her husband. Happy accident number one.
     During that time, she didn't really have many aspirations as to what she had wanted to do with her life. Totally understandable, as it's a problem my friends and I go through every couple of weeks. As she would sit there and try to figure out where her life was heading, she internally checked off what her passions were. One stood out the most, radio! Sheena laughed when she told me about her love for radio as I was sipping an apple juice box she had so graciously provided as I sat in her living room, being overlooked by a life-sized statue of Jack Daniel (long story) and the zombie pictures on the wall. She told me she was the type of girl who would call in to all the radio contests and answer questions the broadcasters would ask the listeners. The answer seemed clear, apply for radio broadcast. She went down to Mohawk College and did just that, but was thrown off when she learned she in fact had to apply for at least three programs there. Dash, her (by then) boyfriend had suggested she apply to the television broadcast program as another option, as he thought she would be good at it. After mulling it over, she thought she would give it a try. Well, this would prove to be happy accident number two, as she in fact didn't get in to radio broadcasting. Television it was. As it were, she not only liked it, but LOVED it, it was something she "fully embraced" as soon as she entered, and started realizing that this really could be something she could get into, and aren't we all glad she did?

Sheena poses for my photographer, Victoria!
Photo provided by Victoria Alexander.

      As she was nearing the end of her education, she applied for (and thankfully received) an internship from the budding MTV Canada. Sheena wasn't just happy for having the chance to watch a television station grow from the ground up, but when you consider that the station in mind was MTV, well that changes things. She told me how her internship was like most, with her doing the work other more senior staff couldn't find time for. She would transcribe interviews, sort tapes, get the coffees and of course, manage the AOL and MSN accounts (Sheena and I both laughed at how old this sounded in 2014). In her words, “then they hired me because I guess they liked me, and so it is written”. Of course, we all know this isn't the role we know Sheena in. That came from, as you can guess, a happy accident. 
      One of the hosts, Daryn Jones, was part of a skit which had something to do with a zombie game show, which was to conclude with the firing of a confetti gun into the scene. Sheena, at the time a PA, was responsible for various minor roles, including this one. She was about to fire the confetti gun from off to the side when she, of course, fell and wiped out to the visibility of all watching the live show. Embarrassed, she ran off. Can you guess where I'm going? This would prove to be happy accident number three. Number four was that the next day happened to be Halloween, number five was that host Daryn Jones happened to be dressed and nothing else but a giant... well, male body part, and number six was that he felt the need to replay the clip of Sheena wiping out over, and over, and over again during the live show for all those who may had missed it the day before. All of a sudden, the cameras turned to her for a reaction, and a microphone was shoved into her hand. Not knowing what to do, she did what her small town upbringing had taught her, say exactly what was on her mind. In this case, something along the lines of "you know what Daryn Jones, you don't need to put that costume on to be a dick." That sentence was happy accident number, what, seven? But, it was seven that would hold the most weight, as everyone watching (from fans to producers) loved what they saw, and granted Sheena more and more screen time. 
       From then on, things were wild. She would get in to the studio in the morning, and inform her producers about current affairs that she could work into something for the show. Then she would be off to makeup for an hour, hair for an hour, and out onto the streets with her cameramen and camerawomen in the hopes of getting something workable to send off to their producers to edit and have ready for that night. Quite frankly, I couldn't imagine it.
                                                      Sheena looking dangerous, as always.
                                        Photo retrieved from

     Paul "The Intern" Lemieux and Nicole Holness were doing their skits, while Sheena was out on the street doing hers. She told me how they all came together as a puzzle, and when they finally all meshed it created something amazing. Although it was fun, it wasn't always laughs. Well, okay, maybe it was. Sheena, the self-called Queen of going off topic laughed as she began a story about one skit she worked on entitled "Pregnant in the Street". The whole premise was to wear a baby belly, and accuse random people on the street of being the father to get their reactions. Can you see where this one is going? Well, one man, for some strange reason, wasn't too happy. In fact, he started getting rather angry at her for the accusation, then switching back to thinking she was serious.
      Things like this got her the label of a raw personality, doing what she wanted. Of course, people would complain to her about this and inform her via social media all she was doing wrong with her life. But as she told me, “Like they'll do with you, Cody. They'll attack because you're out there, trying to make a name for yourself and for your blog [or her skits, etc.]. People are going to be rude, mean and critical. Value their opinion, but don't react back. Make it fuel to your fire to help you're drive. If it's constructive criticism, use it!" In a clear sign of how the world is going today, only one person has ever complained to her face. Seemingly, it's so much easier to attack behind a screen, nameless.
      What threw her off the most was people quite frankly noticing her. It was exciting, it was new, and it was surprising. She had never really seen herself as someone worth getting an autograph from or a photo on the street with. One story in particular from her own life put this experience into perspective. When she was 20, she met none other than former MuchMusic VJ Bill Welychka in a mall. For a small town girl like her, meeting him was something that changed her life. She got a photo with him, and kept it her whole life (yup, she still has it). She really doesn't want to deny people the same chance with her, if that's how they may view her. Except when she's eating, then she's off limits. I hear ya' sister.

Sheena and pose for photos in her house!
Photo provided by Victoria Alexander

     Sheena keeps in touch regularly with everyone else from her time at MTV Live, and knows she always will. They are, after all, their own family now. She's proud of all they've accomplished as individuals, and all they have accomplished together as a group. 
     When we sat there in her living room, I asked her if she misses her regular time commitment to the show. She told me more than I could imagine, but some time she's taking off now, she thinks, will prove to be just as thrilling. She's taking some time off to spend with that boy who would go to Lick's, go down the drive-through, and ask if that Sheena girl was around.

     Luckily for him, and for us all, she was.

     For more,

     Twitter: @CanadianStories
     Twitter: @SheenaSnively

No comments:

Post a Comment