Sunday, September 29, 2013


By Lynda Castonguay

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend
Maison Birks’ Inaugural Diamond Tribute to Women in Film

Photos courtesy of Maison Birks, George Pimentel, Made in Canada Media

TORONTO - Maison Birks, in partnership with federal cultural agency Telefilm Canada, paid tribute to women in film on Wednesday, September 11, 2013 at the jeweler’s Yorkville location. The inaugural Diamond Tribute used the profoundly effective platform of the Toronto International Film Festival to shine a very bright light on ten profoundly achieved Canadian female actors and directors: Louise Archambault, Deepa Mehta, Alanis Obomsawin, Sarah Polley, Chloe Robichaud, Evelyne Brochu, Genevieve Bujold, Sarah Gadon, Jessica Pare, and Alison Pill - only five of which were in attendance.

Chosen by a selection committee, the above mentioned women were recognized not only for their talent, but for their achievements on and off the screen, the effects of these achievements, and for their role in Canada’s recognition in the industry.

(L-R) Honorees Louise Archambault, Alanis Obomsawin, Deepa Mehta, Chloe Robichaud
and actress Evelyne Brochu (Photo by George Pimentel/WireImage) Click to enlarge

Lynda Castonguay (C) attending the Diamond Tribute (Photo courtesy of Made in Canada Media)

There was some concern that the forecasted thunder showers would dampen the evening (pun fully intended), but such threat was obviously not feared as a good fraction of the entertainment industry flocked to Birks anyway. 

The crowd amassed and the room was consistently abuzz with happy chatter, hugs and kisses, picture snapping, and champagne flutes clinking. I started the evening off quite randomly by meeting and chatting away with actor Connor Jessup’s sprightly mother, and what a proud mother she is. In a small span of roughly two hours, I got to meet some amazing people: actor Max Topplin (Suits), writer and producer Paul Haggis (Million Dollar Baby), entertainment host Ben Mulroney (eTalk), editor in chief Noreen Flanagan (Elle Canada), freelance writer Sandra O’Connell (The Province), and many more. It was a refreshing night of new introductions and excited conversation. 

Actress Lara Jean Chorostecki (Photo by George Pimentel/WireImage)

Actress Sarah Allen (Photo by George Pimentel/WireImage)

Actress Kristin Booth (Photo by George Pimentel/WireImage)

Everyone was impeccably dressed, but I am almost certain no one other person experienced my same fashion dilemma, which was soaking my vintage dress the night before the event and it releasing the pungent and headache inducing smell of gasoline, a scent obviously from its past life. I was left with no other choice than to dry it outside over night. Therein lies the difference between me and the uber fabulous - either they have someone to take care of this dilemma for them, or they would never be in this situation because their dress wouldn’t have a stinky previous life. Fabulous, not so fabulous, new dress, stinky old dress aside, what we do share in common is who we are and who are are women. 

My 30th birthday is fast approaching and I have found myself on a quest to understand what it is to be a woman. I have labeled the upcoming 365 days “The Year of the Woman”, in hopes that every day will be a window into the answer. This tribute evening, even though sixty five days premature of when my year of the woman begins, was a great window into it. Throughout the soiree, somewhere in between champagne sips, elbow rubbing, and sneaking in as many hors d'oeuvres as I could, I observed certain subtleties in the women present. There was grace in their walk. Poise in their words. Elegance in their demeanour. Twinkle in their stare. Sincerity in their touch. And strength in their smile.

Photo by George Pimentel/WireImage

Photo by George Pimentel/WireImage

It then hit me. Being a woman is something intangible. It is something we exude and something you feel. It is an experience. It is our je ne sais quoi. And like with anything you can’t see or touch, you quite simply have to have faith in it. Faith in its existence, faith in its strength, and faith in its purpose.

The evening was not just another swanky TIFF get together; the camaraderie that I observed was far too sincere for it to be just that. It was an industry’s demonstration of faith in its prized jewels. It was recognition that without the perseverance of these women, a particular achievement of theirs would never have occurred, and without that achievement, something in the world would be missing, and with that something missing, we would all be at a loss. Kofi Annan may have said it best “When women thrive, all of society benefits and succeeding generations are given a better start in life.” 

A diamond will shine brightly all on its own; cast a light on it and it will shine brighter. Women are quite the same. We have an inherent light that will sparkle through pretty much anything. We are resilient. We are made to endure. We are warriors wrapped in beautiful, vivacious wrappers. Have faith in us and we will show you more. Gather an entire community in our honour like tonight’s tribute did and we will shine impossibly bright. 

Congratulations once again to the women of the evening.

(L-R) Actors Carrie-Lynn Neales, Raymond Ablack, Amanda Brugel, Max Topplin and Chad
Connell (Photo by George Pimentel/WireImage)

Actress Anna Hopkins (Photo by George Pimentel/WireImage)

Actress Kristen Hager and actress Jennifer Baxter (R) (Photo by George Pimentel/WireImage)

Actress Hannah Cheesman (L) and Jessica Greco (Photo by George Pimentel/WireImage)

Actress Tara Spencer-Nairn (Photo by George Pimentel/WireImage)

TV host Ben Mulroney (L) and Jessica Mulroney (Maison Birks Style Expert) Photo by G.Pimentel

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1 comment:

  1. Beautiful. :)


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