On the Cover: Beyond the Screen with Cheryl Hickey
Celebrity, Supermom, Advocate & Mompreneur, Find Out What She Says About Her Many Roles Off Camera.
It would be easy to write about ET Canada’s Cheryl Hickey as the gorgeous and wholesome girl next door. Is she exactly that? Yes! It would also be an understatement of epic proportions. Cheryl Hickey is a complex and engaging woman. She has a steady moral compass and unflappable ideals regarding parenting. When I met Cheryl, I quickly discovered that although she is undeniably attractive, that’s only her outermost layer.
There’s realness to Cheryl and her lifestyle that would seem unexpected to many. It’s the reality of a working mum. Cheryl conveys an authenticity that began in the small town of Shallow Lake where her family values were formed. It was here that she went to school, played sports and experienced the love of a close family – a closeness that exists to this day. Cheryl insists, “If you don’t have that, then nothing else really matters.” The emotion in her voice is absolute.
We’ve gotten to know Cheryl as a glamorous TV personality, but I wanted to find out how someone as recognizable as she is, goes about the oftentimes “not at all pretty” task of parenting: hectic weekday mornings and cereal aisle meltdowns. Cheryl confesses, “I just deal with it the way we all do. We’re all under scrutiny as mothers and more than anything I feel supported by other parents.”
What conversation about parenting would be complete without the universal question, “What about sleep?” Cheryl’s amusing answer was deliberate; “Oh there’s makeup for that!” Then more seriously she says that like many parents she walks around tired much of the time. “It’s a small sacrifice,” she says. This makes perfect sense given the importance she places on being available for her young children. And let’s not forget there’s make-up for that!
Sleeping habits and temper tantrums aside, another important aspect of Cheryl’s parenting is her dedication to healthy eating. She confesses that it all started with an appliance: “I promised myself that when Jaxson was born I would get to know my blender.” With her endearingly dry wit she describes how the shelling of peas and the stringing of beans is the opposite of fun, but ultimately “it’s an act of love.” Cheryl is well aware that when you choose what to feed your children, “You’re creating their palates and laying the ground work for healthy living.”
Being a card-carrying Food Obsessionist, I fished with dedication for some juicy stories about fabulous restaurant outings, as one might when chatting with a celebrity. I was sorely denied. “We don’t really go out for meals a lot,” she stated, almost apologetically, upon seeing my disappointment. “I’m pretty serious about the whole bedtime routine I just think that brains need time to rest.” Take away the glam of her job and Cheryl Hickey is every ounce a woman focused solely on her children’s well being.
Her employers at Global share these ideals. They recognize that happy families make for happy employees and as such, Cheryl’s hours allow her to do the drop off and pick up to and from her kids’ schools. This is when she de-glams and the real work starts: cooking their meals, helping with homework, enjoying evening family games and bedtime stories. In short, creating the type of childhood she enjoyed.
As opposed to using her celebrity status to get star treatment at swanky restos, Cheryl uses it as an extension of her parenting. She involves herself with projects that represent who she is. She reveals, “Anyone who knows me knows that family is what makes my heart sing.” It was this passion for family that led her to become the spokesperson for KidsWifi, an Ontario-based technology start-up that provides a solution to the problem of children’s access to the internet.
“We wouldn’t take our kids to Central Park and say ‘see you in an hour, have fun’ so why do we put our kids on the internet with millions of people and say ‘you go navigate that’. KidsWifi have set it up so that parents can help children have healthy parameters.” It was a simple 140-character tweet that brought KidsWifi to Cheryl’s attention. Now she helps bring it to a wider audience.
When I asked, ‘so what’s next?’ the wattage of her already dazzling smile reached new levels of brilliance. “Something I’m so excited about! A product I’ve created and have been personally testing for the past seven years! We’ll be launching it soon.” Stay tuned to Village Living Magazine for details.
Knowing all this, I wondered if Cheryl protects her children from her celebrity status. She explained with confidence “I don’t feel there is anything to shield them from. It’s just my job, they understand that. What I do concern myself with is that they grow up with a healthy body image, that they understand that appearance shouldn’t be their first concern. The hair and make-up are just the fun part … it’s not who I am inside.” And who is that truly? The mum who doesn’t alter bedtime for her own convenience, the mum who occasionally forgets the cupcakes before a class party and the mum who will sit down on the floor of a store to wait out one of her kid’s temper tantrums.
It is clear that Cheryl Hickey is not just the gorgeous celebrity we see on ET Canada, but if you’re still curious about what she looks like without the TV hair and makeup, then let your curiosity be satisfied by her words, instead of her image. Listen to her message, because therein lays the true beauty of Cheryl Hickey.
Photo Credit: Trevor Godinho
STACIA CARLTON is a culinary school grad & food obsessionist. Visit her weekly at bestillandeat.com where she provides accessible recipes for real families using real food ingredients.