By Bianca Guzzo


Francone in the middle of TIFF hype. (Courtesy Nairisha Batada)

For most students, September means getting back into the school routine. But this year is different for Vanessa Francone.

Francone isn’t returning to classes just yet, as she’s been chosen as RBC’s TIFF red carpet correspondent for the festival’s 40th year.

“I’m basically the face of the fans,” said Francone, a fourth-year journalism student at Ryerson. “My main role is to do daily recaps of the festival.”

Using apps like Periscope, Francone’s time at the festival has been spent giving fans a unique view of the hustle and bustle of TIFF. The Ryerson student is aiming to give fans a vicarious front row ticket to see Hollywood’s hottest stars.

After rushing to get her application in at the last minute, Francone’s audition video was selected to go on the RBC website. She was then chosen as one of three finalists and called in for face-to-face interviews.

“It was probably the most nervous I’ve ever been because it meant a lot to me,” she said.

A few days later, Francone got the call she’d been waiting for and was immediately launched into red carpet training in preparation for the festival. She then began working with beauty and production teams to ensure she was camera-ready for her time on the red carpet.

“I’m being mentored by everyone that I’m going to be working with. I’m learning all these new things that I never would have learned before,” she said.

Now that the festival is underway, Francone has started rubbing shoulders with celebrity actors and filmmakers.

“I ended up asking Dev Patel from Slumdog Millionaire a question on periscope,” she told The Ryersonian. “I also got good footage of Norman Reedus from The Walking Dead. Lately I’ve just been interacting with fans at the RBC avion gallery at Roy Thompson Hall”

Francone asked Patel, who plays an Indian mathematician in The Man Who Knew Infinity, “on a scale from 1-10 how good are you at math really?”

Though the festival is the first time Francone is reporting from a red carpet, she’s no stranger to being in the presence of high profile celebrities.

Francone said her job at BestFan, a website that publishes pop culture news and interviews with musicians, helped prepare her for her job at TIFF.

“With BestFan I had the opportunity to do lots of interviews with artists and celebrities, so I’m more comfortable talking to people and making it a conversation,” said Francone.

Though Francone is eager to learn from her mentors on the red carpet, she will be missing some school in order to report from the festival.

“I’m not going to school until the 21st,” she said. “Every night I have to be at TIFF from noon to midnight. It’s going to be long days and late nights, but it’s only for 10 days so I hope everyone understands.”

Check out some of Vanessa’s red carpet outfits below.


Bianca Guzzo is a fourth year Ryerson journalism student. She enjoys writing entertainment, and arts and life stories.

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