Tania Hussain is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Hudsucker. With a vision to bring readers real and honest articles, the idea evolved after a discussion one night with Managing Editor, Katherine Hernandez on June 15, 2012. Tania saw fit and decided to create The Hudsucker the very next day. Recruiting a staff made up of talented and distinguished writers with their own backgrounds brought great spunk and personality to the writing venture. As Editor-in-Chief, Tania is responsible for a large group of writers, overseeing and managing a team passionate about creating their own fingerprint in the world of writing. She has a clear editorial direction with a set tone for each published piece and makes sure every article is consistent on these measures.
Writer by vocation, entrepreneurial by nature, the Toronto native is a life long learner with an appreciation and love for those around her. She has been writing at her own column over at NBC News’ Newsvine since 2008. It has given her the humbling opportunity to express and work with her passions for causes like Water.org and the UN Foundation. While writing and reporting at the US news outlet, Tania has interviewed many in the entertainment industry including Ben Lyons, Jim Beaver, Michael Johns, Drew and Jonathan Scott, and up and coming artists. She is a member of the Indianapolis-based, Society of Professional Journalists—one of the oldest organizations in the US that promotes and represents journalists. In 2013, she was invited by the International Women’s Media Foundation to be a freelance contributing writer. Currently, Tania can be found writing for the Nashville lifestyle brand, Womanista.
Name: Tania N. Hussain
Nickname: T, Tan, T-Bone
Favorite word in the English language: Pulchritude. Its meaning is quite the opposite of its appearance and I’ve used it several times with reference to a gorgeous specimen.
Least favorite word in the English language: Shunt.
Biggest strength: My biggest strength would be a toss-up between my wit and social skills. With the position that I’m in at The Hudsucker, I’m very understanding and enjoy communicating with others. I work with a large group of writers, so it’s up to me to make a really fun environment for all of us, while making it very easy going and humorous. I love all the ideas we generate together as a team because when multiple brains work together, I find that it highlights each of our strengths and creativity which unleash a workable atmosphere for all of us.
Biggest weakness: My biggest weakness is that I tend to be a workaholic and a neat freak! I need things to be perfect when I’m working. I never really know when to stop working too and literally have to be dragged away by friends and have some sort of intervention by family members straight out of an episode of Intervention on A&E.
Biggest pet peeve: Being on social media a lot, I can’t stand when people abuse the English language and spell words phonetically or at least somewhat, ex. “boss” becomes “bawse” and “stop” becomes “stahp.” However, that being said, my biggest pet peeve would have to be irritating sounds. After an ear infection at the age of 13, my hearing become almost super human and ever since, certain sounds annoy me as they sound extremely loud in my ear. They range from flicking/tapping of the nails; someone slowly chewing a banana with an open mouth; when someone scratches their skin and you know it’s really dry and flaky…I could go on.
Favorite Food: Burgers top the list but close seconds are anything with cheese, and pancakes.
Favorite Movie: It’s A Wonderful Life
Favorite TV Show: Huge toss-up between Dexter, Breaking Bad and Seinfeld!
Favorite Musician/Band: Elvis Presley, Paul Simon, David Bowie.
Favorite item of clothing that you just can’t live without: I’m not really sure, but I know you would most definitely catch me wearing jeans with a t-shirt most days.
Favorite sport: If I’m watching, it’s football (NFL) but if I’m playing, it’s either badminton or volleyball.
Favorite team: Indianapolis Colts!
Favorite travel destination: As a road-trip junkie, it’s hard to narrow down with all that I’ve seen, but my heart belongs to Indiana! I would definitely love to travel to Paris one day though.
Favorite fast food joint: Steak ‘n Shake! I am in love with that place.
Favorite season: It’s weird because I’m sentimental towards the winter in lieu of events that took place in my life and it always gets nostalgic, but I really love the summer. You can’t beat breezy summer evenings with the stars out!
Funniest thing that ever happened to you: My sister won a contest to the Toronto Film Festival for the Gala premiere of Burn After Reading and we met Brad Pitt! The funny part was that even though I was standing right in front of him and he was talking to me, straight at my face and literally five inches in front of me, I was a deer caught in the headlights. At this point, the deer being me, basically was in a daze. All I remember was my mouth was open and my sister had to snatch my letters that I had for him, George Clooney and Matt Damon and hand them over to him. He looked at me, smiled and said, “I hardly get gifts, thank you so much!” And my response was, “Yeah?” Then I went back to being blank as my sister and him continued to talk for few more minutes. After he walked down the aisle, it was then that my sister kept asking what happened to me. I was like, “Oh my God, it was Brad Pitt right?” and then we heard him shout from the elevators and wave to us, “You two ladies have a good night!” I went back to the deer caught in the headlights look and my sister had to poke me to wave back at him. It was surreal. Everyone kept staring at us and being a very shy and private person, I began growing nervous but still felt like Ray Stantz in Ghostbusters II when he kept staring at the painting of Vigo the Carpathian and went into a trance. Stantz’s expression was my face for the night. But I managed to take in a few shots, realize Brad Pitt was really tall in person and smelled really good. Plus he was also super nice to deal with my dazed look.
Within reason, what are your craziest goals and dreams? Since I’ll never own Jurassic Park or the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters, one of my other craziest dreams is to one day go storm chasing like in the movie, Twister. I know it can be scary but the whole world of storm chasing fascinates me. It’s crazy and bold, and just seems like another element to understand this world of ours. I would also love to go ghost hunting and perhaps stay one night in a haunted house!
Most outrageous thing you’ve ever done: I’m not entirely an “outrageous” person so maybe this isn’t outrageous per se, but in an amative gesture I sang “Cheek to Cheek” to someone. Most recently, I was a contestant on a game show called “Match Game” in Canada! That was really fun and hilarious! Great experience too. I learned a lot being on a set. I have a new found admiration for those behind the scenes of everything that goes on with film and television production, and coolest thing about it all was I got to check it off my bucket list!
If you had to sing one song at a karaoke bar, which one would you choose? Toss up between “Sabotage” by the Beastie Boys, and “Sugar” by System of a Down. Singing loud songs in a talking and screaming kind of manner is my kind of karaoke.
What movie title best describes your life? The Butterfly Effect
What is one of your most life-changing moments? It was when I nearly lost my sister to Crohn’s disease in 2009. A lot of things happened during that period that sort of gave me a new direction in life. Though I was in an incredibly dark place at that time, I do believe it served its own meaning that will continue to unfold just like everything else that happens in my life. After those grueling months of keeping to myself, my sister got a new lease on her life after requiring an ileocecal bowel resection and I thank God everyday for her good health. I count my blessings as I also realized who my true friends were (a lot of them write here on The Hudsucker) and through kismet, serendipity—whatever you may call it, I even met my best friend whom I love dearly. That moment in time just made me realize who I was and how strong I could be in moments of despair.
Describe yourself in a single sentence: I want to spew Notting Hill lines because in these past few years, my life has found that love lights me from within, but I’m going to go with, “I’m a smart, witty, incredibly friendly and eager student of life.”
If you were a superhero, what would be your super power? The ability to time travel. I’ve always been a cheerleader for the progress of time machines and would like to have that ability to either stop time, go back in time, and basically get more time because I never have enough time in the day. Let’s put teleportation in there too because let’s be honest, gas prices aren’t getting any cheaper.
If you were stuck on a deserted island, which one book, movie and person would you want to take along?
- There’s this book by the late Hugh Prather called, “How To Live in The World and Still Be Happy”. I’d probably take that with me because if I’m stranded on an island, I’ll need advice on how to love my surroundings and actually be content.
- Gigli. I’m assuming I don’t have Swiss Family Robinson skills, so I won’t know how to create electricity and make a DVD player out of coconut husks, but I can take that DVD and use it as a weapon a la Jason Bourne to fend off animals and use the disc itself as a ‘ninja shiruken’. By bringing Gigli, no one can say that movie was useless. Everything in life has a purpose.
- I would like to take my sister but not knowing how long we’ll be on the island has me worried and I would never want her to be there then. I’d probably like to take a dog with me. I’ve always wanted one, preferably a Labrador Retriever or German Shepard. I would name him Elwood P. Dowd…or Bertrand. I would have named my butler Bertrand but I don’t one yet. A dog could serve as a butler, you know?
If a genie granted you 3 wishes, what would they be?
- My first wish would be for my family’s wishes to come true;
- Secondly, I would wish that we could end all poverty, war, and all the ailments of this world and find cures to all diseases;
- And lastly, make my personal wishes come true.
Last Song Played on your CD player/iTunes/iPod, etc: “Duncan” by Paul Simon
What made you want to write for The Hudsucker? Ha, I created The Hudsucker! What a question! I wanted to make the site because I felt this vision was unique and one of a kind. After talking with Katherine the night before the site was created, I knew it could be done. That moment in time will always be one of my favorite memories because she’s a great friend and the instant she said she believed in this and would back me up, I knew I could do this. The next morning I signed Elizabeth and Andrew on, and we all decided that this vision would be built and that I could share this dream with other writers, passionate about so many things and who believed in creating their own fingerprint in this ever expanding blogosphere. When Ashleigh signed on and created the design and look of the site, it became official. Upon seeing the changes, I literally broke down and cried because I was extremely moved by her heart and the three others who helped me so much with these foundations. It meant the world to me and always does. Looking at the bones of the site, I knew this would work. It was only a matter of time before we branched out and found amazing talent to fill it with thought-provoking and entertaining content.
What is your favorite article on the site and why? I’m proud of every single article on this site. I think the work we produce is really impressive and definitely speaks for itself. I love when we all get together and work on collaborations. That’s always fun and shows our teamwork! At the same time, it proves how close we are and are able to work with one another in either group collaborations or duo pieces. For example, the He Said, She Said advice column is interesting since we all get to have serious discussions and group together to help others; then there’s the fun things like the holiday pieces where we show off our familial side, and the Oscar Predictions which show our common fondness for film; or the duo pieces like Dial H For Hitchcock or The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.
Who is your favorite author on the site and why? This is very Sophie’s Choice. I really adore each author on this site as I recruited them, and everyone writing with The Hudsucker is meant to be here. I’m really proud of each writer on this site. They do a great job of showcasing their personality through their work and that makes me extremely happy because it means they get this vision. I enjoy how we have writers for every category and they all have their own expertise. I admire how hard they all work and how they will make their articles a number one priority.
What is one of your own favorite articles on the site and why? I never want anything published on the site to be something I don’t like. That being said, I am critical of myself but I have a few favorites that I really love. While I’m really proud of expressing and articulating my heart in words through the Letters from the Editor, and enjoy the aspect of research with a piece like “Is Social Networking Making Us Antisocial?” or getting in touch with sources for information like with an in-depth profile on CNN’s Kate Bolduan; I really loved writing the travel series, “Sleepless in Indianapolis“. Writing that was so easy and nostalgic, and that’s the beauty–pure love. Write from the heart. That element makes writing so simple but you have to dive deep to bring that love to the surface. If I had to pinpoint a collaboration that is my favorite, it’s a toss up between the duo pieces I did, specifically Dial H For Hitchcock with Andrew, and the Oscar Fashion piece with Elizabeth. They were both really different experiences. While I know so much about Hitchcock and it was so much fun to feed off the knowledgeable Andrew, I’m not too fashion savvy so it was challenging but extremely fun to explore that side of writing. Especially with having the ever-chic Elizabeth on board!
Where do you see The Hudsucker in 5 years? Hopefully as a great online magazine that’s able to relate to readers while providing information and insight to media sources. I think it would be really wonderful if we could have more writers and have daily content, reach more readers and hear from them.
What do you think of your fellow peers here at The Hudsucker? They’re all wonderful! It’s nice that we have an extremely diverse team writing for The Hudsucker.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Hopefully happy, married with children, a nice home with good fencing, and a great car. Preferably with a V6 engine.
What words of advice would you give writers? Put your heart into words, and the rest will fall into place.
Who do you look up to? My sister, my parents, friend and mentor Chris Cuomo, my dear friends, and most importantly my best friend, B. All of them constantly inspire me to be a better writer and person.
What is one of your favorite life lessons? One that has stuck with me and I try my hardest to follow is the advice my father gave me which is, crying solves nothing.
“I’ve always found that writing comes from a great inner pain. Maybe it’s a pain that comes from a realization that one must do something for one’s fellow man to help somehow ease the suffering. Maybe it’s personal pain. At any rate, I don’t believe good work is possible without it.”
– Barton Fink