Neha Please...

VII XVIII XII Is the date Neha moved to Montreal from St. Catharines Ontario, I know this because it's what her latest tattoo reads.

I met Neha two months ago through a good friend who thought we'd hit it off.  She couldn't be more right.  I could listen to Neha speak for hours, she does so with such passion and conviction.  She is always interesting and very in tune with the world around us, she is lovely and lives life with open arms and an open mind.  I feel smarter after hanging out with her.....and that's saying a lot.

Neha studied Political Science at Western University, but always had an underlying passion for writing.  After moving to Montreal two years ago for the summer she became enthralled with this majestic city and never left.  Five months ago she decided to take her underlying passion for writing and make it a reality.  In those five short months she has interned for an advertising agency and contributed to publications like Vice and Huffington Post.

It's been a pleasure getting to know Neha, now start following her!




Sippin' coffees and talking blog. (Neha is the one on the right) 

What are your top 3 (or 10) publications that you can’t live without?

I spend a lot of time combing through conventional news sites like The Globe and Mail, La Presse and the NYT.  But in order to get a fuller- if not slightly more biting- commentary on things, I usually also check out:

1. Vice

2. Flavorwire 

3. The New Yorker

4. Slate

5. Gawker (and by extension, Jezebel)

7. The Atlantic

8. The Guardian

9. Mother Jones

10. Black Girl Dangerous

Why writing? and did you have an Oprah “Ah-ha” moment that made you realize your passion and make you want to pursue it?

Identifying writing as my passion was a funny experience - everyone else saw it before I did.  In university, I focused heavily on politics and assumed that by 24, I would be in Toronto (or Ottawa) working for a political party.  I wanted to eventually make my way into political consulting or crisis management.  No one really knows what those jobs entail but I think I was drawn to the glamour and cunningness of the roles.  In my last year at Western, I lost a major election that lead to a lot of self-reflection and two years later - an entirely new life path.  Sometimes I think it takes a slightly jarring event to be able to gain the objectivity you need to honestly look at your  life and ambitions.  Politics isn't for me and if I'm honest with myself - it never really was.  

After I finished at Western, I made a temporary move to Montreal for the summer.  That move turned into a permanent one and within the last 12 months specifically, I've come to  realize my love of writing through lots of #selfexploration and an internship.  But it wasn't until I got really positive feedback from some early pieces that I started to believe I could be onto something "career defining".  I had an acquaintance who's an editor at VICE and he enthusiastically brought me on as one of his writers in February.  That's really when I knew I had found my niche.  Since then, I've been freelancing as a writer for VICE as well as a few other publications, as well as recently taking on a job working specifically in branding (another area of interest).  

For me, writing is an incredible way to explore and discuss the world.  Montreal has an uncanny ability to coax creativity out of even the most reluctant of residents.  I like to talk a lot about racism, sexism, classism, feminism and specifically, how those things are talked about in the media.  Often, that means exploring parts of our culture that are uncomfortable and less palatable.  And although the process of writing can be exhausting, if I can get one person to examine a topic in a dramatically new way after reading something I've written - it's a really powerful privilege.

Favourite Instagram accounts:

1. Naked Planet - @nakedplanet  

2. Mindy Kaling - @mindykaling (Hi Mindy #pleasenoticeme)

3. The Native Fox - @thenativefox (Style Inspiration)

Tell me about your tatts:

Sometimes the tattoo on my wrist represents the three members of my family.  And sometimes it's simply a #hipstertriangle my eye was drawn to when my friend showed me the initial sketch.  But there's usually one girl at every party who clutches my wrist and mistakenly screams "DEATHLY HALLLLOWS!!!!" that's fun.

More significantly though, three of my closest friends all have the same symbol.  It means something different to each of us but represents a certain commonality.  I wanted it on the outside of my wrist so that it would be visible to everyone except me.  It's a reminder about not just friendship, but also perspective.  Sometimes other people can see things about ourselves that we miss.  Idk, it also looks good there when you wear a watch.

The second, more recent tattoo, is the date I moved to Montreal.  The date I started looking forward.

We lunched and chatted about life in Montreal and what we had gotten up to over the weekend.  We drank lemonade like it was an episode of the Golden Girls.  It was a Monday afternoon well spent.

Where do you want to take your writing? What would be your dream job?:

Oh boy.  It's so hard to say. I'm still so young and the entire industry is constantly shifting and readapting to the shifting paradigm of our consumption habits.  But I still believe in the value of traditional forms of media vs. today's mass-produced garbage.  I think my five year goal would be to work for a brilliant publication, but not just as a writer; I'd love to eventually work in editorial and content strategy.  In the less near-future, I guess the dream would be to run the show.  I think a good publication adapts to cultural trends but a great one dictates them.  That's where I want to be by 35.

Neha's view from her balcony;

"It's so funny when we're sitting on the balcony after the bars in the summer at 3 in the morning and we've been 'sinning' all night and this is our view"