Since its first emergence following the election of Pierre Elliot Trudeau in 1970, Trudeaumania has cast its spell on a new generation of Canadians with the 2015 election of Justin. After meeting with Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau this past summer in Ottawa, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself overcome by a new strain of Trudeau-related frenzy: Sophiemania!
I first met Sophie back when she was a cultural commentator for LCN in the 1990s, and we worked together on the TV show Clin d’oeil in 2004. We always enjoyed each other’s company, but we lost touch after her move to Ottawa once Justin became the leader of the Liberal Party. Eager to catch up with Sophie, a few months ago I invited her to spend the day together and shoot a segment for my TV show, Dis-Moi – the perfect excuse for two busy women to secure iron-clad plans!
Sophie has a beautiful life and three wonderful children. But she’s also had her fair share of challenges, including a difficult battle with an eating disorder. Although we’ve both struggled with eating disorders in the past, it’s a topic we had never discussed with one another. Yet it’s such an important issue, so worthy of conversation! I wanted to broach the topic and learn more about her experience, face-to-face with those smiling eyes of hers.
I was taken aback by the woman I met with that afternoon. In light of her husband’s increasingly prominent political career, I had assumed that she would be more reserved and reticent with regard to her personal life. Yet Sophie happily shared her story with me, no holds barred. Faced with such disarming authenticity, I couldn’t help but open up about my own eating-related struggles.
Sophie was one of the few guests this season who welcomed our crew into her home (which she’s since left behind, since her husband’s election). I arrived at her house before her, and was met with an open front door. She had left a card bearing my name on the kitchen counter, along with a lovely rhubarb-scented candle. She walked in with her hair blowing in the wind, smelling absolutely sublime – like a modern-day goddess! As chill as you’d expect from a yoga teacher, but also as cool and welcoming as your oldest friend. I was looking forward to our time together, but I was also a little nervous… Between production delays (our fault!) and our promise to wrap up in time for her to attend her children’s school show, we only had 25 minutes to get through the first part of the interview.
– Sophie, I’m so sorry… Do you think you’d be comfortable diving right into a discussion on eating disorders, without any preliminary chitchat to ease us into it?
– Mits, I’m so passionate about this subject matter. I’ve lived through it, I know it like the back of my hand. Please feel comfortable asking me anything you’d like to know!
We set up in the backyard. As soon as the cameras were ready to roll, the rain started to pour. Shit! No time to spare, the show must go on! A few minutes later, Hadrian, her sweet, blond baby boy, woke from his nap. He was hungry, and looking for his mom. No problem, we were unstoppable – bring us the babe!
Just imagine the scene: I’m sitting on a lawn chair with the spouse of our country’s (future) prime minister, parasols shielding us from the rain, discussing anorexia and bulimia as she breastfeeds her baby in front of the cameras. Mind-blowing! And laden with powerful messages.
We made it just in time to see Sophie children’s school show, and later on she treated me to an outdoor yoga lesson in a nearby park.
Sophie Grégoire is as real as it gets. Years of tenacious self-growth have yielded a woman who is unabashedly true to herself. It’s no wonder Sophiemania is so contagious… and trust me – it’s fun to catch!