Tracy Moore is the co-founder of her own clothing brand "Tracy Moore designed by Freda’s", and is Television Host of Cityline, North America's longest running and most successful daytime show. She requires no introduction in Canada and for the past two years her daytime show has been syndicated in the US. What intrigues us most about her is how seriously she takes every role in her life from being a mother and wife to being a role model for women of color and anyone who has not seen themselves reflected on or off screen. Read Elle's conversation below and meet Tracy in person December 3rd at our live Zvelle in Conversation.
Elle: You recently celebrated your eleventh year at the helm of Cityline. Congratulations! Cityline has been syndicated in the US since September 2017. Do you still remember what that first audition felt like and did you ever think it would lead to being the most successful and longest running daytime show in North America?
Tracy: I remember that first audition well because of how excited I was to take a shower. I had been home with my first baby Sidney for three months, recently recovered from postpartum depression and eager to get the hell out of the house. My mom came downtown to watch Sid and I had a luxurious morning to shower, do my hair and put on cute clothes. Plus, I was looking forward to having my makeup done after three months off-air. I was nervous about standing in front of a live audience and basically free-styling my way through a show I was unfamiliar with but I also knew right after that first audition that this show was something I should put my whole heart into. I liked it. And that feeling grew more intense after each subsequent audition. Three months later the show was mine. I believed I was the best candidate but I also didn’t fully believe they would invest in a woman of color to host this show. I’m so glad they did.
Elle: Growing up I rarely saw people that looked like me onscreen and though there has been some progress made there is still some ways to go. You’re a role model for women, especially women of colour, who recognize certain aspect of themselves in you. And they share this with you on social media. Do you feel any pressure to represent?
Tracy: There are some people in the spotlight who say that just because they’re in front of the camera doesn’t mean they’re a role model. I disagree and I take the role seriously. I understand that my words can carry and my behaviour will be perceived as emblematic of my race and gender. I don’t spread hate. I care about my community. I volunteer with organizations that help children and women. I try to lead by example. When someone from my community tells me they feel they can reach farther because they see my face on television I don’t take it for granted. They’re why I’m here. I try not to waste my platform but use it to help pull others up. If that’s all anyone remembers me for then this was absolutely all worth it.
Elle: You have an intelligent sense of humour and a way of talking about important topics that gets people listening. You recently posted on Instagram about being mistaken for Traci Melchor for the 5000th time. You made your point and engaged people on all the right levels. Is that how you normally deal with things after years of professional practise?
Tracy: I think I’ve always had a bit of a diplomat lurking inside me. I hate confrontation but equally don’t like being taken for a fool. I’m also a student of communication and I’ve learned that people will ignore your message if you’re unable to deliver it in their language. So, I keep it light and cute and engaging and hope that the point gets across. I give my viewers/followers a lot of credit. They’re intelligent and understand the gentle balance between keeping the conversation elevated and getting a point across.
Elle: Family is everything for you and it was very nice to see your entire family come on the show to celebrate Cityline’s tenth anniversary. I know you are proud of your children. I also read that you split parental leave with your husband Lio after your son was born so you could both go back to work after six months. He later made a bold choice to stay at home with your daughter Eva when she was only a few weeks old. Every partnership requires work, what can you share about yours?
Tracy: The episode where they invited my entire family into the studio to surprise me nearly took me out! It was my absolute most favorite television moment. It’s no secret that I’m in love with my family. I’m an example of what happens when a family comes together and puts love and attention into a child. They thrive. And that’s what Lio and I aim to do with our own kids. Lio had a horrific childhood. He’s hell-bent on making sure Sidney and Eva grow up with unlimited love, discipline, manners and compassion. Our marriage is a good one in that we ride the ups and downs like people who are committed to staying together forever. That’s not to say that there aren’t ups and downs! Our biggest wins as a couple come from being willing to call out the truth - always. When Lio feels overshadowed or I feel drained or ignored or needy - we verbalize it. It’s a simple thing but an effective tool.
Elle: You are an entrepreneur and co-founded “Tracy Moore designed by Freda’s”. What has been the biggest challenge of your entrepreneurial journey?
Tracy: I knew coming into the fashion business with no prior fashion experience would be a challenge so I surrounded myself with the best. Partnering with Freda’s - a woman who has been in the Toronto fashion industry for forty solid years with an exceptional reputation - was my first step. We have had to deal with the challenges that come with partnering with a machine like Today's Shopping Choice (TSC) that has its own extensive rules and best practices. I’ve also had to learn what woman want in fashion. Some seasons we’ve been shocked (and thrilled) that our plus sizes sell out in bodycon silhouettes before our smaller sizes. Some seasons we learn that our buyer only wants flowy silhouettes regardless of what she wanted last collection. It’s a constant learning process. We’ve also had to alter our pricing and materials based on what the market predicts. I’m so happy to have pros like Freda, Elaine and Paulina (my whole fashion team) with me for the journey. And selling live on-air at TSC has been nothing but fun for me.
Elle: What does #GlobalCitizenry mean to you?
Tracy: #GlobalCitizenry is the idea that we are all connected. If I am waking up happy and fed and warm in Toronto I must be very aware that someone is waking up tired and hungry and cold in Port-Au-Prince or Palestine or Mumbai. And when I walk past the person sleeping on the street in downtown Toronto I actually owe them food. It’s the saddest thing that capitalism has turned humanity into a zero-sum game. If I win it seems someone is absolutely losing. So how do we even the playing field? It feels overwhelming but #GlobalCitizenry demands that we care enough to try in even the smallest of ways.
Credits: Zvelle shoes. Top to bottom image: Anais Knee Boots (Black).