Getting to Know… Antonia Whyatt

Toronto creative agency Mackie Biernacki made a number of new hires last year after winning new business and expanding mandates with existing clients. Eva Andrews has joined as account director, Kiana Robson as copywriter, and Andre Kristillo as art director/designer.

Rounding out the new additions in 2021, was journalist Antonia Whyatt as director of editorial content, responsible for leading the agency’s involvement in content creation for clients. Whyatt brings experience from top publications around the world, including Tatler in the UK, Jane and Mirabella in New York, and Chatelaine in Canada.

We asked Antonia to answer a few questions for us as part of our ongoing “Getting to know…” series. Here’s what she told us.

About that photo: I chose this photo as it was the first time we were able to leave Canada since Covid began. It was also the first time I was able to see my younger brother and his children in three years, as they live in the U.K. My daughter Phoebe took it. She’s 13 and it’s the first picture she’s ever taken of me that was not just for putting snapchat effects on for fun! I felt so relaxed and happy, being cosseted by the sun and my family after such a long time

Favourite thing about weekends: Managing to wake up before my five-year-old on Sunday mornings, so I can steal a few peaceful minutes with The New York Times. I always start with the Style section—until my caffeine kicks in and I can tackle the bigger, more serious news stories.

Movie you love that almost nobody likes: Diva. I wouldn’t say that no one else likes it, but I’m not sure many people know it. I love the music, especially the aria from “La Wally” and the starring role my favourite car, the Citroen DS, plays in it. And I always laugh at the bizarre scene of one of the characters cutting onions in the kitchen wearing full snorkelling gear—I cut onions wearing sunglasses, but that is next-level protection.

Do you have kids? What are their names? Yes, I have two stepsons, Caleb and Kasper, and two of my own, Phoebe and Markus. We cover a big age range, from 22 to five. At family dinners, the conversations run from architecture to astrophysics to TikTok and Harry Potter.

Do you have pets? What are their names? We have a Siamese Lynx Point named Violet. She is beautiful, slightly haughty, and behaves a bit like a dog, following us down the street when we walk the children to school. She’s even gone to our local park with us… she’s so fancy that I’m always getting calls from people who have found her and think she’s escaped a sheltered indoor life—she’s actually a voracious hunter.

What did you want to be when you grew up? A writer. Someone stuck that idea in my head when I was 10, and I never deviated. Plan B is a cowgirl or a mounted police woman. Anything where I get to ride a horse for a living.

Where were you born and do you think it’s an important part of who you are? I was born in the U.S. but I’m not American—I’m English and my mother is Canadian. I was lucky enough to grow up in Notting Hill in London before it became a Hugh Grant movie, and it was such a cool, edgy, beautiful, fun part of the city to live in. My identity is completely wrapped up in it, from going down the Portobello market on a Saturday morning to antique with my mother, with the steel drums playing and market stall owners calling out their wares, to living opposite incredible creatives like Paul Smith, Lady Antonia Fraser and Harold Pintur, to learning real street smarts to manage the shabbier bits of the neighbourhood.

Then my American passport allowed me to follow my dream and hop on a plane to New York at age 25 to go and work for Condé Nast. I ended up being beauty director of Jane magazine there when I was just 29 and it was a blast. Fashion shows, shoots, parties, events, brilliant people everywhere. I loved it. And my Canadian passport has given me the chance to live in a beautiful, mellow, creative city that is Toronto, a perfect place to raise my children.

David Brown