Canada’s Smartest… People? Braden Lauer and Katy Warren, on life as CSP champs

All season long, we watch with baited breath to see which of the amazingly diverse and multitalented competitors from across the country end up taking the title of Canada's Smartest Person. Every one of the challengers who graces the CSP stage boasts the kind of resume that put the rest of us mere mortals to shame: we've had football-playing finance experts, musicians adept at marketing, singing scientists...

But it's perhaps telling that our Season 1 winner, Braden Lauer (a law student at the University of British Columbia), and this season's new champion Katy Warren (studying engineering at Memorial University) both just happen to be students — after all, what better example of a Smart Person than those pursuing the quest for knowledge through higher education?

• Watch: Episode 8 – The Grand Finale »

That's not the only similarity these Smartest People share — we were charmed by both winners' unstoppable enthusiasm and energy during their respective episodes and eventual victories; with their ear-to-ear grins, upbeat personalities and zest for life and all its intelligences, both Braden and Katy epitomize what it means to be Canada's Smartest Person.


Before competition was underway in the Season 2 finale, outgoing Smartest Person Braden Lauer said Katy Warren was his favourite to take the crown.

Posted by Canada's Smartest Person on Sunday, November 22, 2015

Video: Before competition got underway in the Season 2 finale, outgoing Smartest Person Braden Lauer said Katy Warren was his favourite to take the crown.

But now that a new winner has emerged for Season 2, what does that mean for our first champion? Does he have to relinquish the title? Will they have to go Head2Head on the CSP app to determine who's smartest for once and for all?

As it happens, it looks like there won't be any bitter feuds developing between our two title-holders — turns out they've become fast friends thanks to their connection via the show, keeping in touch cross-country (seeing as they hail from both coasts of Canada, with Braden out west in Vancouver, and Katy out east in St. John's) and even engaging in a little friendly rivalry on the app!

We thought it would be fun to bring our two whizkid winners together to share their thoughts about what it's like to be named Canada's Smartest Person. 

CSP champions Katy Warren and Braden Lauer have become fast friends thanks to the title they share, and some friendly rivalry on the Canada's Smartest Person app.

Braden Lauer: You did it! Congratulations! What was the most memorable part of this crazy experience?

Katy Warren: Wow! Still not used to that, thank you. I guess you'd expect the most memorable moment to be pressing the button at the end, but what's actually stuck with me the most was when Tim and I were waiting to find out which of us was going to the Super Gauntlet. On TV, it was only a minute after me failing miserably at Ball Handler, but in person they had to go look it up in the rulebook and everything; it was super-stressful. We kept just looking at each other and laughing, we were so nervous!

KW: What's the coolest thing about winning?

BL: Nothing is more exciting than the night of the finale. Riding the rollercoaster again but finally being able to share it with your friends and family is unbelievable. I was so happy to hear from some people that I hadn't talked to for a long while and have them gush about following the show. The best part was how proud my little brother Bryce was and continues to be. In the eyes of a 12-year-old, winning something on television is next to godliness.

Braden Lauer celebrates winning the title of Canada's Smartest Person in the Season 1 finale last fall.

KW: How does it feel to be replaced by somebody even younger and weirder than you?

BL: Weirder, maybe. Certainly equal levels of attractive. It stings a bit. Maybe we can make a crown, cut it in half, and I will rule the western side of this fine country and you can take the east.

BL: How does it feel to break the 'curse of second place'?

KW: Hey now, we can't all be the O.G. of CSP. But it does feel pretty amazing. I talked about it in my winner's blog, but I have a pretty solid background of always placing second in things. And as much as second place is still awesome, and being on the show really was more about the experience for me (it didn't even occur to me at the start that I might win!), it was really rewarding to take it home — especially considering how out-of-this-world brainy the other folks in the finale were!

Katy Warren posted strong scores in the rapid-fire qualifying round en route to her big win in the Season 2 finale.

KW: Any tips for handling the pressures of stardom?

BL: Be humble. Just be yourself. It will be what you make of it. Having a few people stop you on the street now and again is really flattering and never gets old. My advice would be that if this opens any doors for you to help people, or to speak about this way of viewing intelligence, do it! The title is about celebrating the ways Canadians are unique and smart, and you are now the official ambassador.

BL: Do you have any plans for how you intend to use the title over the coming year?

KW: I'm honestly not sure yet, but hoping to use my powers for good! I'm thinking it'll be good for networking, and in a perfect world it would give me the chance to keep the conversation going about multiple intelligence, as you said. I feel like there are so many people who are like me that think since they aren't naturally good at everything, they aren't smart — but it's about so much more than that, and I hope people will start thinking that way after seeing the show.

Braden shares a screenshot of his Head2Head record against Katy.

BL: We constantly tie on the app (see screenshot for proof!). Would you ever consider going head-to-head with me on the CSP stage?

KW: Oh, obviously! And not just because we're basically best friends after meeting at the finale. As much as I'm happy with us being the two Smartest People, I think it would be pretty cool to face off and see which one of us is the smartest person to win Canada's Smartest Person! Just as long as we don't play Ball Handler, which we've established to be my greatest weakness.

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