Emma Watson rumoured to star in Fifty Shades movie

Emma Watson in chains? It might soon be a reality. If the rumour mill is correct we might soon see the teenaged witch trade her wand in for whips.

While most of us remember her as a good natured if nerdy straight-A witch at Hogwarts the British actress may soon be breaking from her squeaky clean image to star as Anastasia Steele in the big screen adaptation of the runaway hit novel Fifty Shades of Grey.

Usually the kind of news that comes leaked from some unnamed Hollywood insider, this tidbit of information comes from the hacker collective Anonymous. Taking a break from their usual activities of bringing down the websites of online enemies such as Scientology, the loosely organised hack-tivist group broke into the files of the German movie studio Constantin and leaked the news.

Join the conversation. Do you think the young star would do a good job as the protagonist of the Fifty Shades movie? Let us know what you think by tweeting at us or commenting to our Facebook page.

Not that you read it. I mean, we didn’t either, of course. Ahem…

Catholic Church has chosen their Pope

The Catholic Church has a new leader.

At 7:07 CET, white smoke billowed from the Sistene Chapel, announcing to the world that the conclave had finally come to an agreement. Four previous ballots had failed to result in a victor.

Although the new pope has yet to be officially revealed, he is set to appear on the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica within the hour.

The new pope has his work cut out for him, as the Catholic Church has been facing a lot of scrutiny in later years after numerous controversies involving corruption and sexual assault in the church.

Update: the new pope is Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina. Bergoglio, or pope Francis, is the first Latin American to head the Roman Catholic Church.

Carly Rae Jepsen slams Boy Scouts, cancels concert over anti-gay policy

“Don’t call me until you’re inclusive of everyone” might not be a catchy single for Canadian pop star and “Call Me Maybe” singer Carly Rae Jepsen, but these are the sentiments she expressed when backing out of a scheduled appearance at the Boy Scouts of America annual jamboree.

She released the following statement over her Twitter account on Tuesday:

“As an artist who believes in equality for all people, I will not be participating in the Boy Scouts of America Jamboree this summer. I always have and will continue to support the LGBT community on a global level and stay informed on the ever changing landscape in the ongoing battle for gay rights in this country and across the globe.”

She follows the lead set by the band Train when they backed out of the same event last Friday.

Boy Scouts of America currently does not allow participation of “avowed” gay men and women or boys and girls because their stance is a “morally straight” one.

We’re still not sure what vows one takes to become gay.

Scouts Canada wasted no time in coming out with their own statement, reminding Canadians that they are devoted to inclusivity to all peoples regardless of ethnicity, gender, religion, or sexual orientation.

Scouts Canada youth commissioner Kaylee Galipeau was glad to take the situation to remind everyone of their inclusive stance, even going as far as extending an invitation for Jepsen to perform at their own annual jamboree in Alberta this July. So call them maybe?

Botched Mila Kunis interview goes viral

Anyone who has been on the handling side of a microphone or notepad can tell you that meeting big names can be very intimidating.

When this inexperienced BBC Radio interviewer sits down with Mila Kunis to talk about her new movie he manages to derail the interview so badly that it turns into amazing comedy.

The young man ends up describing the debaucherous activities of his mates and making not so hidden attempts to ask the actress out on a date.

By the end Kunis seems to be enjoying learning about the pub and football lifestyle of this young Brit and declares the messy interview to be her favourite of the day.

Some guys have all the luck.

A truly Canadian proposal

In what could perhaps be the most Canadian of proposals, last Saturday Jaimie Baisley got a Roll up the Rim prize not listed on the side of the Tim Hortons cup.

When she and her boyfriend, Jeff Chapman, were enjoying their Saturday Tim Hortons coffee she rolled up her rim and got the unfortunate “please play again” message.

Her boyfriend asked her to roll up his rim and, lo and behold, there was a message of a different kind underneath: “WILL YOU MARRY ME?”

Baisley wasted no time in saying yes and posting up photos of the winning cup and ring to her Twitter feed for all to see, even getting a message back from Tim Hortons telling her that she had indeed rolled up a winner.

Join the conversation on our Twitter and Facebook pages to let us know what you think: would you say yes to a Tim Hortons proposal?

9-Year-Old’s Kickstarter Campaign Goes Viral

UPDATE APRIL 19: This project closed with a whopping $24,534 funded. That is almost 30 times the original amount requested, and the mom in charge has widely been reported to be a millionaire. This doesn’t pass the smell test. Rich folks — send your own kids to camp instead of duping others into giving you 24 grand.

Remember being nine years old? Who can forget the millions of fantastic ideas you had every day, the limitless energy, those mean older siblings who told you that you weren’t good enough, and raising $15, 000 in a project to prove them wrong.

Wait a second. No, there was no 15 grand back in our day. Kids these days…

Mackenzie Wilson is, however, a Grade 3 who has the fortune of living that money padded life now.

“My name is Mackenzie Wilson and I’m 9 but because you have to be 18 to have a project on Kickstarter, I’m partnering with my mom, Susan Wilson, who told me to say she’s 29 but I made her a birthday cake last week so I know she’s 43,” she explains in the online profile which you can check out here.

After her older brothers told her that she couldn’t be a role playing game developer, she and her mother started a Kickstarter campaign to raise the $829 needed to attend RPG STEM camp.

Of course, one look at her Kickstarter page (started under her mother Susan’s name to circumvent the 18+ age requirements of the online community) and it is clear that she has the kind of parents who would do the entire science fair project and put the kid’s name on it to ensure an A+. I’ve yet to see a real life 9-year-old make a tongue-in-cheek joke about their mother’s age like Mackenzie does in her opening preamble, but hey, maybe kids have gotten wittier since my day.

The campaign to get Mackenzie to camp went viral and surpassed the $829 mark by a long shot, and as of press time the donations are at $14,878.

What exactly a 9-year-old is going to do with that much money is anyone’s guess, although we’re sure that Mom is probably pretty grateful for the windfall of cash.

Join the conversation with us on Twitter and Facebook and let us know what you think. Should there be limits to campaigns like this? Do you think mom and dad will use the money as intended for their daughter’s tech education? What the heck will a 9-year-old do with that much cash?


Women of the Week: Jelena Pticek and Karen Carrillo

What would you consider an empire?

If you ask Jelena Pticek, she and partner Karen Carrillo do not own an empire “in the material sense of the word.” This despite the fact that they collectively oversee multiple companies: Koocoo Carrillo, Poppyseed Creative Living, Freedom Clothing Collective and Freedom Reconstructed.

Koocoo Carrillo, run by Karen, is a clothing line featuring hand-crafted, limited-edition pieces; Poppyseed Creative Living, run by Jelena, is a “furniture ‘reinterpreting’ business,” using yard or antique sale finds; Freedom Clothing Collective, a joint project, is a co-op for local artists; and Freedom Reconstructed, also a collaborative venture, is a line of refurbished goods.

Before joining forces, both women originally worked corporate jobs. According to Karen, “it was depressing not to be able to illicit helpful change, or not having a say or, worst of all, seeing all the waste (garbage and time).”

Jelena, too, never felt at ease in the corporate world.  “I knew that the only way I would be able to correct this is if I changed something about it,“ Jelena explains.

Not surprisingly, both call their decision to quit and become entrepreneurs as the highlight of their careers. It would prove to be a great decision, both from a personal and work-related standpoint.

“We both often stop to admire the store and how far it’s come. The we-made-this bit is pretty thrilling, and everyday at least one customer tells us what a lovely store we have, and it never gets old!”

Not stopping at just running a successful independent business, Jelena and Karen are working to ensure their company is one with the proper social mores.

“We strive to be Locally and Environmentally focused,” says Jelena. “With Poppyseed Creative Living my goal was to appeal to the audience with strong environmental sense but also with the desire to surround themselves with items that are unique in their nature.”

By selling products that are refurbished or, at the very least, eco-friendly, Jelena and Karen can feel good about their company, knowing that they are making a difference. This is vital in a society that is becoming more and more eco-aware.

As Karen, the driving force behind the company’s environmental focus, explains, “Newcomers love to hear about how we are affecting change.”

This eco-friendly attitude extends across the company, from the products to the marketing. “Via marketing we often do small craft shows and we always use recycled or reused objects, either paper for printing business cards or flyers (which we keep to a minimum) or packaging, or displays, our toilet paper is even post consumer,” Karen says.

Clearly, the brains behind the Freedom Clothing Collective have created a company that will flourish in the coming seasons. Yet even as they work to save the world (and run a successful business), both women manage to balance their priorities and keep their heads on straight. The secret?

Although life will get chaotic, says Jelena, “It comes down to identifying priorities, making compromises with yourself and adjusting your own expectations.”

Women of the Week: Patricia Bebia Mawa

As a child, Patricia Bebia Mawa dreamed of being a lawyer. Her current job is quite far from that dream, but considering she calls her media career “a divine orchestration,” I don’t think her inner child is kicking up that much of a fuss.

Raised in Nigeria, Mawa learned early on that “success is never presented to you, but comes as a result of what you present to the world.” In 2000 she got the opportunity to come to Canada thanks to a training program run by CBC television, and chose to stay here to pursue further education. While studying at the Algonquin College of Science and Technology, she met the man who would become her husband:  Moses A. Mawa. Together, they produced the pilot for Planet Africa and, in 2002, signed a deal with OMNI TV. Now syndicated worldwide, Planet Africa focuses on “success stories, unity a well as to enlighten and entertain the world about the experiences and aspirations of people of African Heritage, wherever they live on the planet.”

In 2004, they created the Planet Africa Awards program. Broadcast by the Planet Africa Network, these awards honour those who prove to be excellent role models. In 2010, they created the Diversity Awards, “to recognize individuals who further harmony and innovation as well as harness the benefits of diversity.”

The Mawa empire also extends into the publishing industry. The first publication,Planet Africa Magazine, launched in 2005. “We started Planet Africa Magazine to document our history, share our stories and inspire the African Diaspora to aspire for excellence,” Mawa explains. Then, in 2012, came Diversity Magazine, a publication “to inspire, transform, empower, showcase, celebrate and integrate exceptional elements of our mosaic.” Up next: Destiny Magazine. Obviously very dear to her heart, Mawa says she wept when she saw the final design. To make the whole situation even sweeter, on the day of its launch, Mawa and her husband will be presented with Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee Medals.

With so many projects on her table and many more in the pipeline, plus a family at home, how does Mawa keep going? “I love what I do,” she says. “It is a blessing to have platforms that inspire and empower.”

Mawa’s devotion to her current line of work shines through in every word she says, and it is easy to believe her when she refers to it all as a preordained plan that she has wholeheartedly accepted.

“The greatest misfortune that can befall a person is walking this earth without leaving their mark on it. What has kept me going is doing everything I do with a sense of purpose.”

It is safe to say that she has left her mark on this earth, and that she will continue to do so in the future.

Women of the Week: Heather Payne

It started with a tweet.

In June of 2011, Heather Payne asked who was interested in learning about coding. From that simple 140-character question—I want to learn to code (a bit) and I want other ladies in #Toronto to join me. Anyone at #swtoronto know any women who might be interested?—an empire was born.

As it turns out, a lot of women were interested. Instead of the expected “dozen people meeting in a coffee shop once a month to work through tutorials together,” the first workshop sold out in a day. Subsequent workshops would prove to be just as successful and would lead Heather to turn the idea into a business.

Now an official non-profit organization, Ladies Learning Code offers “one-day workshops to women (and men) who want to learn beginner-friendly computer programming and other technical skills in a social and collaborative way.”

About a year after Ladies Learning Code was created, the organization expanded, adding HackerYou. Still following the original design of hands-on learning with a solid amount of instructor/student interaction, HackerYou was created to offer a more extensive education than the one-day LLC workshops while still allowing its students to maintain full-time jobs.

HackerYou is “focused on created the best part-time programs for people who want to learn to code,” Heather explains. Rather than offer another version of education that already exists—online tutorials, college or university courses attended by numerous frazzled students—Hacker You offers “hands-on, project-based learning from industry-leading professionals, small classes with a 10:1 ratio of students to instructors, and a beginner-friendly, social and collaborative learning environment.”

The business continues to expand, now offering classes in other Canadian cities. Heather is also reaching out to a younger generation—and, by doing so, potentially changing the future dynamics of a male-dominated industry—by offering Girls Learning Code. Running primarily on school breaks, these courses are designed to get young girls more interested in code. And it’s working.

“We hear from parents how much of an impact Girls Learning Code is having on their daughters, and I am confident that in 10 years, there will be an awesome group of women joining the tech industry, who can look back and point to Girls Learning Code as the place where they got their start.”

Considering her ever-growing empire, it is interesting to note that this was not Heather’s original plan.

“It’s surprising to me now, but back when I was in university, entrepreneurship wasn’t part of my plan. I didn’t even really know what it was. My plan back then was to graduate, get a job at a Fortune 500 company, and work my way up.”

Luckily for her, and her numerous satisfied students, that plan never came to fruition. Instead of taking the typical road, Heather is carving out her own path—and having a great deal of fun doing it.

“I’m sure my career will unfold in ways I can’t currently imagine over the coming years, but for now, I’m really enjoying waking up each day and feeling incredibly empowered and engaged.”

Women of the Week: Amanda Petrovic

Some people don’t figure out what they want to be until their late 40s. They drift, unfocused, through mindless odd jobs, searching for something that suits them.

Amanda Petrovic is not one of those people. She has known for a very long time where her calling lay.

“At a young age I already knew I wanted to be involved in real estate. I was always passionate about becoming an entrepreneur. The real estate industry determines where people live, raise families, work, dine, shop and play. It has such a tremendous influence on the quality of people’s lives. It shapes the fabric of the city – and I wanted to be a part of that.”

Before entering the job market, Amanda first pursued a BA and an MEd. She now uses the knowledge and skills gained from that education to stay on top of the ever-changing market, which helps her do her job and ensure her clients’ needs are met.

As she explains, “My approach to client service is also steeped in education. Ensuring that my clients are well-informed allows me to pragmatically guide them through every phase of buying and selling. It is extremely important to me that my clients feel knowledgeable and fully confident in their decisions so that we can best meet their real estate goals together.”

Since 2011, Amanda has worked as a sales representative for Private Service Realty Brokerage, helping her clients through the process of buying and selling real estate. Offering what she calls a “full-service real estate experience,” a service which includes assistance in property and portfolio management and investment planning, she combines her in-depth knowledge of the Toronto market with her clients’ needs and goals to find them the perfect Toronto property.

And now is a great time for her clients seeking property in Toronto. Amanda believes that the last year has been exciting for this market, and she is quick to promote many new projects opening in the city. For example, new projects opening in Yorkville offer clients the chance to enjoy luxury living, while Yonge and Eglinton will offer opportunities for people seeking lifestyle communities in more of a neighbourhood setting.

Even though the incoming market is hot and she will likely be very busy finding people their dream homes, Amanda is also striving to make the world a better place. This year she will be working with the Canadian Centre for Diversity, a non-profit group dedicated to educating Canadians about the value of difference and eliminate prejudice and discrimination.

By the looks of it, 2013 will be a big year for Amanda Petrovic. Keep your eye out for her, as she is set to make a positive impact on the Toronto community.