Not many people can say they know what Adam Levine smells like.
“I’m gonna tell America that you smell like unicorns, puppies, kittens and all that is good with the world. It’s delicious,” Keltie Knight says after burying her face in the neck of the Maroon 5 frontman, who she was interviewing about his new fragrance. Chumming with A-list celebrities is part of the job description for Knight, a Sherwood Park native and a correspondent and weekend co-host of CBS’s The Insider in Los Angeles. The bubbly 32-year-old loves to – as she calls it – “geek out” with big names in Hollywood.
“I think the stars are happy to come over and say ‘hi’ because they know I’m not gonna give them an interview that will make them run and hide. I’m bringing a bit of Canada to Hollywood,” she says.
Knight was born in Edmonton and raised in Sherwood Park, where her parents still live in the same house in which she grew up. Regrettably, Knight says, she only makes it back home to snowy Alberta about once a year. It’s life in the fast lane for the former Radio City Rockettes dancer, turned entertainment correspondent.
Her day starts at 4:30 a.m. By the end of it, she will have changed her outfit four to six times. She has a team of stylists – even a person tasked with steaming her clothes. Red carpets. After parties into the wee hours. Sometimes sleeping in her office. Knight also finds the time to design funky tanks and T-shirts alongside a group of other professional dancers, including Edmonton-born choreographer Stacey Tookey, for the activewear line Sugar and Bruno.
But Knight’s jam-packed schedule came to a screeching halt in August. The day after the Emmy Awards, Knight’s appendix burst – putting her on bed rest for 10 days. “And now we are going to give you a vacation to the hospital,” joked Knight, who has been hobbling around the office since her return. “If Chris Martin and Jennifer Lawrence are a couple, I gotta be here.”
A busy life, sure, but being surrounded by palm trees and Levine – People’s Sexiest Man Alive – probably makes it tolerable.
“I’m bringing a bit of Canada to Hollywood”
– Keltie Knight
When did you leave Sherwood Park?
Right out of high school, I moved to New York and lived there for a decade. I’ve been in L.A. almost five years. New York was my dream city. I loved it so, so, so much. L.A. is a city you move to when you want your life to be much easier. It’s constantly sunny here.
Tell me about your time as a dancer for the Radio City Rockettes in New York City and as a dancer for Taylor Swift, Beyonc, etc.
[The Rockettes is] definitely a past life that I’m not really involved in anymore – that relentless sort of work ethic. When I was doing the Rockettes, I was doing four to five shows a day for months on end. It’s hard work that beats you down. It’s similar to what I do now. I’m up at 4:30 a.m., building a show at 6 a.m., running from celebrity interview to celebrity interview. I feel like when I came out to L.A. to do television, I was prepared because I spent all that time in New York busting my butt. I worked with celebrity artists then; now I’m on the other side of the table. I see Taylor Swift and now, this time, I’m interviewing her, I’m not her dancer.
So originally you wanted to be a dancer, not a TV host?
I thought I was going to do Broadway when I left Edmonton. But my body was breaking down. I wanted to retire … a dancer retires at 26, 27. I struggled with what to do next. My life just opened up and I worked my way up. It’s a dream show. I’ve got a great understanding of pop culture. It gives me compassion and insight on celebrities. [Having worked alongside stars] it reminds me that these are human beings as well and not just animals at the zoo for us to gawk at.
What is it like being on the red carpet? How do you decide what to wear?
There’s always that pressure, because that is when the celebrities bring their A-games. They are wearing thousands and thousands of dollars in gowns and millions of dollars in jewellery and you have to stand beside them. I don’t want to stand next to Julia Roberts and she’s wearing Elie Saab and I’m wearing Forever 21. I have a really cool team. I don’t have time to shop. It’s kind of a girl’s dream. They wheel in racks and racks of dresses. They zip you, they tape you …
” I don’t have time to shop. It’s kind of a girl’s dream. They wheel in racks and racks of dresses.”
– Keltie Knight
Who is your favourite celebrity interview and why?
Obviously it’s those moments where you are meeting someone that you grew up watching, like Oprah or Julia Roberts or Tom Hanks and then you see them and they’re real. You’re in front of them. I mean Forrest Gump is standing in front of me. Tom Hanks. I saw him last year and we had a good old chat. I’m friends with Tom Hanks now. My mind is blown. It’s really cool when they come up to you time and time again and know who you are. I remember I was on this red carpet at award season last year. I was on the carpet talking to Matthew McConaughey. We were talking about his film (Dallas Buyers Club). Not many people know this about him, but he’s a close talker. So I was really up in Matthew’s face. He’s a very cute man, and he kind of walks away and when I turn around Julia Roberts is right in front of me. I was taken aback. I had never met her, and she goes, ‘Don’t worry. I have a hard time finding words after I spend time with Matthew.’ It’s moments like that. It’s not so much about the interview. It kind of blows your mind a little.
Who’s your favourite designer?
My favourite red carpet designer is Paolo Sebastian. I wore it to the Grammys and the Vanity Fair Oscar Party last year. I also love Reem Acra. I wore it for the Met Gala last year. I got to wear a massive ball gown.
Describe your style.
I’m kind of high-brow, low-brow. I love Marc Jacobs and this other brand, One Teaspoon. They make really cute dresses. I’m sort of low-brow too. I’m big into Top Shop and H&M.
Tell me about the clothing line you help design.
Sugar and Bruno. It’s an activewear line: soft sweat pants, graphic Ts. It’s really fun. I live in that kind of stuff when I’m bumming around.
So you’re a vegetarian and you recently posed nude for an anti-fur industry ad for PETA [People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals]. What made you decide to stop eating meat?
I’ve been vegetarian since high school. Honestly, one day my mom was cooking a roast and in my head it just flipped. I thought: I love animals, why am I eating them? When I got older, I realized there are so few things that I can control in my life – and it’s a crazy life in Hollywood.
Sometimes the entertainment/paparazzi world can seem really insane, how do you keep grounded?
I want my interviews to seem really accessible and basically I’m just a massive fan of these people. I’m not gonna stand beside Adam Levine like I belong there. I’m gonna geek out. I’m gonna lose my cool like anyone of you would.
I enjoyed your blog on “luck” and working hard to get what you want out of life. You talk about today’s generation feeling entitled. You’re a walking billboard for hard work paying off. Thoughts?
For me, the only reason that I have this job is because I was willing to work harder than anyone else. I just went after the story and stayed up all night. It sometimes feels like everyone wants to be that girl. They ask, ‘How did you do that? I want to do the same thing, but I also want to watch nine hours of The Real Housewives every day.’ Yes, I would like to see my husband more. I would like to see my friends more. I would like to go to yoga more. But you just have to want to sacrifice for it and just go, go, go and push and push. I completely realize that only eight other people do what I do. I’m one of eight women on national television doing this job. There’s been lots of times in my life where I wish I was taller or had bigger eyes and a straighter smile, but then I always feel very blessed that I have this relentless hustle that’s ingrained in me. It’s worth more.