Our exclusive interview with talented and gorgeous Canadian sideline reporter, update anchor and studio host Julie Stewart-Binks.
Currently doing double duty at both ESPN & FOX Sports, Stewart-Binks is a reporter and host who is emerging as one of soccer’s best sideline reporters, but who also can speak to pretty much anything sports-related. Stewart-Binks is the most knowledgeable friend a sports fan can have while becoming a household name worldwide. Stewart-Binks made her U.S. national television debut in July 2011 as an anchor on FOX Soccer Report, FOX Soccer Channel’s flagship soccer news, highlights and information program, originating from a studio in Winnipeg.
Hi Julie, please tell us a little about you?
I’m a down to earth, quirky, and outgoing person who loves life, sports, and people. Always up for an adventure.
Who has been the biggest influence on your life?
Definitely my mom, she is such a selfless person, always putting others before herself. Whether it was me, my brother, or someone needing help on the street, she has set an example of how to act bigger than yourself. As a single mom, she balanced raising children and having a career, all while having the utmost zest for life.
Where did you go to school?
I completed a Bachelor of Physical and Health Education and Bachelor of Arts (Drama) concurrently at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. I graduated from City University London with a Masters in International Journalism.
What is the biggest highlight of your career?
There are a few “moments” I won’t ever forget. The first was when I wrote/edited/produced a 24-minute documentary on NHL player Ryan Murray and his journey through the draft. Seeing it air on TV – after having poured blood, sweat and tears in every moment – made me cry. I also had the privilege of reporting on the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup where I covered 20 games in 30 days across 7 different cities. I was charged with the task of covering essentially every team but the United States, so I had to be very resourceful in finding information on countries and teams that didn’t speak English. It was an incredible challenge that tested me in every way, but it was so rewarding getting to meet and report on such inspiring women. Finally, covering the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi was a special experience for me, as my family has had close ties to the Olympics. My dad was an Olympic rower for Canada, and my grandfather was an Olympic doctor. My first dream in life was to win the Olympics in figure skating (clearly did not happen!), so when I was lucky enough to watch the Opening Ceremonies live, I was speechless.
What advice have you gotten from other female reporters?
I did my undergraduate thesis on the experiences of female sports reporters, and the underlying theme was that sexism and sexual harassment exists in the industry, and it’ll be around you every single day, but you can’t let it affect how you carry yourself or what you do – almost like putting blinders on. But, you have to have a threshold – to know when something isn’t okay – for when you seek help.
Did you always want to be a sports reporter?
I wanted to be an Olympic figure skater, then an Olympic figure skater as well as an Olympic sprinter (double gold, anyone?), and when those dreams failed, I thought I would be a sports psychologist. When I was at university, I decided to volunteer for the TV station for fun (my mom was a news reporter in Canada, and suggested it would be a fun for me to try). As soon as I did my first interview, I knew that’s what I wanted to do with my life.
What advice would you give someone else looking to have a career as a TV sports reporter?
You have to have incredibly thick skin. It’s a very difficult industry to break into, and to stay in. Now, more than ever, you have to be creative and adapt to the changing media landscape. Don’t wait for someone to give you an opportunity, create your own. Start a youtube channel, a blog, a podcast. Find something you’re passionate about and work your ass off doing it. There are thousands of people wanting to do the same thing, you need to stand out. Reach out to people you admire and respect and offer to buy them coffee, or to give some advice. These people might help introduce you to others. You’re only as good as your contact book.
Who is your favorite team?
As a sports journalist, there is an written rule of “no cheering in the press box” – you cheer for storylines and an exciting, interesting game. I covered the Anaheim Ducks for three years as part of the team broadcast, and in that sense, our coverage was more Ducks-centric, but I always worked to keep questions and stories unbiased. The Toronto Maple Leafs will always hold a special place in my heart, as they were a big reason I got involved in hockey as a young kid.
Who’s one athlete you’d really love to interview?
I mean, I’d love to interview Cristiano Ronaldo, I think every soccer reporter, or would want to do that. He’s so elusive yet down to earth at the same time. You always want to interview the big stars like Lebron James, Steph Curry, Tom Brady, but most times the best stories and interviews come from surprising people.
Who has been your favorite interview? Why?
I’ll never forget the time I interviewed former NHL player Martin St. Louis during the 2014 Stanley Cup Final. His mom had just passed away, and he hadn’t talked about it publicly yet, and it evoked emotion I didn’t know was there.
Do you still get nervous before a big interview?
Of course! But these days, it’s more adrenaline than nerves. You want to have a certain energy that helps keep you sharp, not one that overtakes the moment – fight or flight. Whoever you’re interviewing is usually more nervous than you, so you want to exude a calm confidence that also puts them at ease.
What is fun and rewarding thing about being a sports reporter?
It’s being able to tell stories and give insight that is new and changing. We are afforded the opportunity to be up-close and personal with some of the biggest names in sports, and with the right question, can create or shed light on the next big story. The job is always changing, as sports and games are so unpredictable, so it’s rewarding when you can adapt and jump on a story instantly, then tell your audience about it as it’s unfolding. That’s what I try to do when I am on the sideline of games. It’s a very demanding job, but it’s extremely rewarding when you get to tell meaningful stories.
What’s your favorite way to watch a game? At home, at the stadium, at the tailgate?
I prefer to watch a game at home, sometimes alone, so I can really follow all the action and commentary. As much fun as watching at a tailgate or bar is, you miss a lot of the action and stories. When I’m not working, I love going to games, there’s nothing better than watching sports on a nice day with a cold beer in your hand.
How would you describe your fashion style?
I think trendy yet classic. I like to incorporate the latest styles, and seasonal colors into my on-air and normal clothes, while also staying chic, classic, and not spending too much money. When I am on the sideline, I have to wear comfortable footwear, sometimes raincoats, hats etc., but I always try to make sure they look good for TV. I take pride in what I wear on air and how I present myself to thousands of people. When in studio, I might wear a wrap dress, or blazer/pants/boots combo. I like to switch it up, but I also have some staples that are on high rotation! (Stuart Weitzman black suede over the knee boots are my favorite).
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
It’s a question I’ve been asking myself lately, as it’s changed a lot. First of all, I’m not sure what the media landscape will look like in 5 years – I could be working for Facebook or Amazon as a ‘content creator’ on the sideline of a game! I’ve love to be hosting a daily sports show – I absolutely love getting to weave my personality into my on-air story-telling and analysis. I’d also like to host and report on the Olympics, World Cup, Stanley Cup, NBA Finals, Super Bowl, NCAA Championships… if you are a sports reporter, you want to get to the top of your industry, and that means covering the biggest events in sports.
What music do you like?
I have a diverse taste in music – from classic rock; Alice Cooper (#1 fan), Scorpion, Electric Light Orchestra to more popular artists like Calvin Harris, David Guetta, Drake, and Lady Gaga.
What is your favorite healthy food?
I love chia seeds, and chia pudding. Mix in some berries and that’s my favorite breakfast food.
And your favorite cheat food?
Fries. If I could only eat one food the rest of my life it would be fries – parmasean, truffle, sweet potato, I want it all.
What are your makeup bag staples when traveling?
Foundation – Dior Airbrush; Two Faced Contour Kit, Mac eyeliner & liquid eyeliner, NAKED eyeshadow pallet by Urban Decay, Better than Sex mascara, Mac Strobe cream (it’s incredible! Put a little down the shaft of your nose and on your cheek bones for a dewy finish), always wear fake eyelashes on TV (wispies; Ardeles)
3 things you can’t leave home without?
Other than my wallet, keys, phone? Sunglasses, Sunscreen, and headphones!
What’s your favorite quote?
“Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller
Idea of a perfect Sunday?
I dream about this because I always work Sundays. Wake up, make coffee, watch the early NFL game (west coast living), go for a run along the strand, maybe go paddle boarding, shower, go to a rooftop bar for some “Sunday Funday” drink some Rose while watching football.
Do you support any charities?
Multiple Myeloma Research, Alzheimer’s Society, Dress for Success, Planned Parenthood
Photo Credit: Bobby Quillard