Sangita Patel is one of the most engaging and exciting personalities on Canadian television.
In an interview with Yahoo Canada, the 43-year-old "ET Canada" host got up close and personal about her career, diversity and mental health. Despite discussing these serious yet important topics, Patel made sure to have a few laughs and joke about the "unpredictable" fall weather.
"I knew that if I wanted to live my passion I had to just go for it."Sangita Patel
But if one thing's for certain, it's that no matter the climate, the Toronto, Ont.-native lets nothing stop her from achieving her dreams.
Read on to learn more about Patel's passions, accomplishments and advice for women everywhere.
Yahoo Canada: What sparked your interest in broadcast journalism and how did you land your current gig at ET Canada?
Sangita Patel: It's been a journey. I studied as an electrical engineer but I also applied to university for journalism because I have a passion for it. But, I needed to figure out how to make a living and I loved math and science. I ended up with engineering as I was guaranteed a job after school.
While I was an engineer I worked in journalism in the evenings. I was a reporter for a local television show. It wasn't until I had my first child that I realized I wanted to move into television.
I then worked at "The Weather Network," which was an amazing place to start, and from there opportunities opened up. I got a maternity leave at "ET Canada" to cover for Cheryl Hickey for six months and here I am 10 years later. I knew that if I wanted to live my passion I had to just go for it.
YC: You were recently promoted to co-host of "ET Canada" alongside Cheryl Hickey. What does this promotion mean to you, and do you have any favourite memories from the show?
SP: It was a wonderful moment. I'm a woman of colour, and we don't get to see a lot of South Asian women like myself on television. Growing up there was no one like me on TV, really. And the idea that two females are co-hosting a national television show is incredible and has never been done in Canada. I see it as a platform for representation and I am so honoured to be part of it.
"I always try to find positivity in the chaos, and that's where my happiness comes from."Sangita Patel
The one person I really connect with is Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Partly because he is my fitness inspiration. Eight to nine years ago on the red carpet there he was, and I spoke to him, so that is a great memory for me. He's made so much out of nothing and he inspires me daily.
YC: You have gained a following for your #FitnessTuesday videos. Can you tell us a bit more about that series?
SP: I started on social media eight to nine years ago, and I was thinking about how important fitness is to me. So I started the hashtag #FitnessTuesday and posted a workout video every Tuesday. The response was great and especially from women my age, who sent me hundreds of messages about how my videos pushed them to workout.
"You can be your best at any age, even with a family and a career."Sangita Patel
I post it because a lot of people aren't taught that they're the priority. A lot of women aren't taught to take care of themselves and their health. They're taught that their health and happiness comes after everyone else's happiness, and I want to change that conversation. You can be your best at any age, even with a family and a career.
Seeing how the videos were speaking to women gave me the motivation to continue. I just want women to be their best. It's not branded and just me putting myself out there.
YC: What are your top tips for women looking to get into fitness?
SP: Firstly, I want women to know that they are allowed to take time for themselves. It's OK to do something for yourself. But I'd say that the most important thing is consistency. Plan it out, time it out, but you have to let yourself be happy and do something for you. Then either your fitness or personal goals will come. However you choose to move, put it in your schedule and make it part of your routine.
"I have learned to accept that I am going to age and it will be graceful."Sangita Patel
YC: As a public figure, do you feel pressured to look a certain way for the media? If so, how do you combat this?
SP: I came into this industry at an older age, so all I knew was to be me. I was told by an old colleague that in this industry it's important to not be anyone else.
People have given me suggestions about how to look or things to try, but it's not me. I've never done Botox, I've never used a needle. And there's nothing wrong with that stuff, but I have learned to accept that I am going to age and it will be graceful. These wrinkles that I have are from smiling. These wrinkles are from experiencing life and that's important to me.
But I do take care of myself and my skin by drinking lots of water and moisturizing. I do hydro facials too. I just want people to know that they can age gracefully and it's fine.
YC: Why is mental health important to you and how do you look after it?
SP: I have taught myself positivity. I have control over that narrative. There's so many chaotic things I've experienced, but I always try to find positivity in the chaos, and that's where my happiness comes from. And you can control that narrative too, other people can't do that for you.
But also, I let it out or cry it out. Do what I have to do and move on — and that's how I live my life. That's what's so important, is that life is short and you need to live it the best you can.
There are mean people out there. There are people who will bring you down, but don't let that noise into your head. You have to let that go, and realize that you're in control and can take that narrative away.
"Live your best. Live your happiness. Live your joy."Sangita Patel
YC: Do you have any advice for women looking to be the most happy, confident and healthy versions of themselves?
SP: Live your best. Live your happiness. Live your joy. This is the time to do it, and the earlier you do it, the better life you have.
You're in control of that — nobody else — and don't give that part to anyone else.