What’s the secret sauce to a successful TV career?
For Stephen Krajinovic – producer, co-creator, and face of ET Canada Pride – it’s all about finding your own voice so you can amplify others. We asked this seasoned pro how he carved his own path in the industry, how COVID-19 has impacted the queer community, and – of course – who his favourite person to interview is. (Hint: RuPaul fans, keep reading.)
How did you get your start in TV?
I studied broadcasting and moved to Toronto for an internship at Country Music Television. From there, I was offered a full-time job & worked at CMT for over 10 years, which was such an amazing experience. Over two years ago, I moved over to be part of the team at ET Canada and it has been such a time of growth for me professionally. I grew up watching Entertainment Tonight and dreamed of one day having this career! I’m truly living my dream and I just feel extremely grateful every single day.
What obstacles did you overcome as you navigated your career path?
If I’m being truthful, I think the biggest obstacle I had to overcome was within myself. I struggled for a long time thinking that I had to look or be a certain way if I ever wanted to achieve my dreams. Once I reached the point in my life where I realized, “This is me, this is who I am”, I really found my voice and my power in that. I wish I had realized this much sooner – but better late than never! Self-confidence is truly key in this industry.
Tell me about why you love your job and the cool things you get to do as the co-creator, producer and face of ET Canada Pride.
I love having a career where I’m constantly kept on my toes. There is never a dull moment working in television! Each day is something new. Entertainment news doesn’t stop! With ET Canada Pride, I’m just so proud to get to share queer stories with a massive platform like ET Canada. How cool is that? The team really gives me freedom to discuss the things I think are important and to interview people whose voices I think need to be heard.
How has COVID-19 impacted your work?
COVID-19 has changed absolutely everything about my job. I have not been in the office or studio since Friday, March 13th. Before the pandemic, I was constantly meeting people, producing, doing interviews and travelling. Now I am doing everything from my own living room. I really miss human interaction the most. A face to face conversation is so much more personal. That said, it’s been really fascinating to see the way ET Canada and the entire entertainment industry has adapted to these unusual circumstances.
How has the queer community been impacted by the pandemic?
The queer community has sadly been hit very hard by the pandemic. I’d say both financially and emotionally. Especially for those who work in the nightlife scene, from drag performers and artists to bartenders and DJs. I also think it’s been tough for a lot of queer people not being able to see their family – or “chosen family” as we like to say.
What is one thing people can do to support the queer community right now?
There are so many great ways to support the queer community. Just as TV and many other businesses have adapted, so has the community! There are a lot of great drag performers, for example, who are doing digital drag events, so supporting them through that or buying their merchandise is a great idea. You can buy a great queer performer’s music or a queer artist’s art. Support doesn’t only come in monetary value though. Just by reaching out to people you haven’t been able to see in a while, you can really help emotionally. Spread the love! It’s an extremely tough time.
Who is your favourite guest you’ve interviewed so far and why?
Oh this is such a hard question! I truly have so much respect for everyone who shares their story with me. A weekend that stands out in my mind is Pride Toronto in 2019. I interviewed Carly Rae Jepsen – who I’m a huge fan of – before she performed on a float. I interviewed the amazing Shangela before she married LGBTQIA+ couples. And I interviewed Brooke Lynn Hytes on a moving float, which was a fascinating experience as she had just come off RuPaul’s Drag Race. People were very excited she was there. She’s always the most professional and easygoing person. I’m happy to call her a friend.
What advice would you give to someone in the queer community who wants to follow in your footsteps?
I would pass along advice I once received: “Just be you!” That being said, you really need to be somebody that people enjoy being around and someone people feel comfortable talking to and sharing personal things with. Working in television is a very collaborative environment. With a platform like YouTube, it’s accessible to everyone worldwide, so get your face out there. Start creating some queer content! We can never have enough queer voices in the media.
The 16th season of ET Canada is premiering on September 14th! What is the most important lesson you’ve learned from your time there?
Sweet 16! I’m so happy for the team at ET Canada & our viewers! The most important lesson that I’ve learned from my time at ET Canada is to just roll with the punches. A lot of times, things are out of your control. You really have to be flexible and willing to go with the flow and adapt to things on the fly. Beyond that, I’ve also realized that not everyone is going to like me – or the content that I put out to the world – and that’s okay! I’ve learned to not take things personally. I accept the love and I even accept the negativity. Instead of being upset about things people may say, I take it as a way to look at myself from a different perspective.