Canada Reads·Canada Reads 2018

Why fashion icon Jeanne Beker decided to participate in Canada Reads

The guru of Canadian fashion is defending Forgiveness by Mark Sakamoto on CBC's battle of the books.
Jeanne Beker is defending Forgiveness by Mark Sakamoto. (CBC)

Jeanne Beker is an author, columnist and television host who is about to add another feat to her resume — Canada Reads panellist. The fashion icon is defending Mark Sakamoto's memoir Forgiveness on CBC's battle of the books.

The memoir shares the hardships Sakamoto's grandparents endured in a prisoner of war camp abroad and an internment camp in Canada and the important lessons they passed down to their grandson.

The debates, hosted by Ali Hassan, take place March 26-29, 2018.

Beker discussed why she decided to be a Canada Reads panellist with Gill Deacon, host of CBC's Here and Now, on Jan. 31, 2018.

It's something new

"I'm very scared. This is really not in my wheelhouse. I will be in competition with myself whenever I try to do my personal best, but I hate competitions. I never signed up for debating class and I would skip gym class so I wouldn't have to compete with those tough girls on the basketball team — I really don't like to fight. That being said, I did do Canada's Next Top Model for three seasons."

It showcases important stories

"Forgiveness is ultimately about compassion and tolerance — about things we all need to know in our daily lives. I'm the child of immigrants and my parents are Holocaust survivors. They were very adamant about telling us these horrible war stories growing up, but making us understand that we are a product of those stories — this is what makes us who we are. The only way to rebuild a shattered life is to move forward and to never forget, but certainly to forgive."

It creates awareness

"It's wonderful to be involved in such heady subject matter. Not to put down the fashion industry, but there is a lot of superficiality that goes on there and it's fun, but it's not going to save the world. This could — this kind of awareness of brilliant literary material of this nature and consciousness raising felt like it could be a good thing to do. I'm scared, but I can't wait for Canada Reads!"

The Canada Reads 2018 contenders:

Listen to the full interview:

Fashionista and television personality Jeanne Beker discusses her thoughts on being a panellist on Canada Reads 2018. 6:01

Jeanne Beker's comments have been edited and condensed.


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