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In Conversation with Mitsou Gélinas

By Jason Santerre

She entered our lives on the television screen as a pop ingénue. Now, 25 years later, she’s a working mother of two. Everyone grows up, and Mitsou Gélinas is no different, except she did all of her growing up in the public eye. With maturity comes responsibility, a desire to give back. These days, the entertainer, radio host, composer and journalist is a proud pink ribbon-wearing spokesperson for the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation, and Montréal enSanté magazine is proud to talk women’s health with a true Quebec icon.

Montréal enSanté: How did you get involved with the Quebec Breast Cancer foundation?

Mitsou Gélinas: One of my best friends, monique, passed away from breast cancer so the Foundation came calling. my response was pretty swift...

MES: It must have affected you greatly.

MG: Cancer affects my life like it affects the lives of all Quebecers. Cancer affects all because it disarms us. It scares us. Plus, very often, it’s a person living with cancer who offers us the most beautiful lessons in courage.

MES: What do you tell women who dismiss the importance of regular breast exams?

MG: Many women are afraid to do these observations of their breasts, or don’t do them because there isn’t enough time. To this i say it’s better to face your fear and take the time to get to know your body. Because the observation of the breasts can allow a woman to identify, by herself, the first symptoms and, most important, cancer detected early can mean a better chance of survival and less harmful treatments

MES: Do you feel like more women are getting the message?

MG: Absolutely! Twenty years ago, women were still dying from this disease in silence.Now, a woman can tell her employer that she is suffering and some support will be offered.

MES: Does being a celebrity have its advantages?

MG: To be surrounded by smiles every time I go outside; to hear a well-intended “bonjour Mitsou!” from a stranger, it’s always nice. I really appreciate this side of my life. For years the looks thrown my way were out of curiosity. Now, it’s more like the looks given to a family member. That’s the advantage of having a career that’s lasted over 20 years.

MES: Does celebrity status help with charity work?

MG: Maybe I can reach people’s hearts a little faster than a stranger could. Some women have seen me on TV talking about observation of the breasts, and they realize that they must take action and look after their health.

MES: What are your favourite ways to stay active?

MG: My favourite is running—two times a week, for one hour. I don’t count the kilometres, rather the “beats per minute” of the songs on my iPod. I also do Pilates and two days of strength training.

MES: What’s your philosophy for getting the most out of life?

MG: Right now, it’s enjoying a fast-paced life because if we wait for everything to calm down, we can wait a very long time!

Mitsou will participate in the Foundations biggest fundraising event, CIBC’s Race for the Cure, September 30 in Montreal.
Please register by visiting rubanrose.org

Summer 2012, Vol 4 N°3

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