Launching a startup during a global pandemic is challenging, but it’s not impossible. It acquires tenacity and ambition – two words that perfectly describes Canadian journalist and influencer Darriel Roy. Motivated by the repercussions of Covid-19, the ambitious talk show host utilized her time to grow her brand through a series of Instagram partnerships and coveted TV segments for her TAG TV show, The Darriel Roy Show, available on Apple TV, Roku, and Android devices.
Between signing business deals, filming, and emails, Roy chatted with The Edge about her successes, challenges, and what the pandemic taught her.
What has it been like running your own show?
Hosting my own show has been extremely rewarding [but] at the same time challenging. However, those challenges are something I would not trade for the world. I have been lucky enough to have experienced producing celebrity segments with my previous company, On The Scene Network Inc (OTSN). The experience I gained at OTSN prepared me for being able to venture on my own. Through hosting the show, I was able to interview A-Listers like Ryan Reynolds, Alec Baldwin, [and] Rachel McAdams, to name a few. Now, being able to host and direct my own show under my own brand with people from all walks of life namely, entrepreneurs, celebrities and philanthropists truly feels like a dream. I have a wonderful team who also makes my show possible. Having, The Darriel Roy Show, is truly my dream job and I feel so elated that I am able to make a career doing something that I am truly passionate about.
The world has changed due to Covid-19 and many have learned or been forced to adapt. How has the pandemic challenged you and how has forced you to adapt?
In the first few months of the pandemic, the world didn’t know how to adapt. We were all a bit shell shocked and fearful. My station at TAG TV had closed down for the first four months. At that point, I had two choices: to put my show on hold and wait until the station re-opened, or film it myself with my editor working remotely. Of course, I picked the latter and decided to take on the show myself.
The first month was very challenging. It meant setting up a green screen, lighting, cameras, all the while hosting the show. Like anything in life, practice makes perfect and I slowly started getting better with the production aspects and made it work. Looking back, that experience of filming a whole show (practically by myself – my editor would be on the zoom call recording interviews and of course editing the segment) really made me grow and hone my own skills as a journalist.
Thinking back, I still feel like if I could manage a whole TV production, imagine what else I can do! Now, when I return to the studio, I feel even more grateful for my team.
What personal lessons have you learned over the last few months, given the drastic changes caused by Covid-19?
I’ve learned that change is necessary and that you must be able to adapt and evolve in an ever-changing world especially with the pandemic. Adapting and using this pandemic to grow as a person is essential whether in your personal or business life. Learning the skills to film a whole TV production has been one of the greatest gifts because it gave me the confidence that I am capable of whatever I set my mind to. It’s important that we don’t allow obstacles and the quarantine to stop us on our journey.
In my personal life, I’ve learned many skills as well. At the beginning of the pandemic, I took a Yale University course, “The Science of Well-being.” I graduated from the course and got my certificate from Coursera. I was also fortunate enough to have the Yale University professor, Laurie Santos on the show to share her insights on how to maintain your mental health during the pandemic. Keeping busy, happy, and also learning new skills and knowledge has been vital for me and by doing this, it has really helped me to progress during this time. I also learned about the importance of saving money and investing. This year, I became a first-time homeowner, which is a huge accomplishment for me.
Despite the success of your show, do you ever feel underestimated?
Being a millennial woman, who enjoys dressing up and using social media handles, this comes with its share of opinions and critique. I’ve never really let the opinion of others get to me long term. Of course, I am human, and it might bother me temporarily, but like any challenge it only motivates and drives me to work harder and get better.
I’ve been fortunate in my career, where many people who have underestimated me have seen me grow and hustle over the years and have applauded me for it. I am a big believer that you have to earn people’s trust and respect, so for anyone out there who ever feels underestimated, use it as fuel to feel better. Not only is it good motivation for you, but [you can] use it to evolve into the best version of yourself in whatever you want to excel in. This is how you make non believers – believers!
What has been your greatest achievement so far this year, either professionally or personally?
One of my greatest achievements so far this year has been my own show under my brand, Darriel Roy. The amazing people who I have had the honour of interviewing, has really inspired me and taught me the value of surrounding yourself with inspirational people, trail blazers and entrepreneurs that keep going with that indomitable spirit! Seems like it’s a two-way street, as I have had, and continue to get, so much positive feedback from my guests, from them thanking me, saying I’ve inspired them and truly being grateful for the opportunity. This in itself, has been so hugely gratifying, it’s what spurs me on and motivates me to make my show bigger and better in 2021 and beyond.
On a personal level, being a first-time homeowner has been such an incredible feeling and a really big milestone for me. Overall, although this year has been challenging, ironically, 2020 has been one of my best years so far!
What advice do you have for anyone looking to study journalism?
I would say, DO IT! Journalism is an incredible field and teaches you so much about people and the world. If you have a passion for storytelling, then this truly is the field for you. One of the best decisions I made was studying journalism at Sheridan College, Oakville. The program was challenging but really prepared me for getting into the field in the real world. One thing I must point out is once you get into the field, it will be challenging so be prepared for that. There aren’t that many opportunities in the Canadian market, however, at the outset of your career, if you’re ready to venture off to remote cities, then you’ll be ready. Of course, you could always start your own show like me!
What’s next for Darriel Roy? Is there anything you haven’t done yet?
In 2021 and the years to come, I want to grow my own brand. To take my show on an international level, write books, become a motivational guru—the sky’s the limit! I’ve always seen myself being “the next generation Oprah”— inspiring people, being a business mogul, and using my platform to educate, inspire and motivate the world. I haven’t met or interviewed Oprah yet so universe, make this happen in 2021.
Dontei Wynter | Staff Writer