Erin Cebula - TV Personality
Credit: Liz Rosa

Erin Cebula - TV Personality

Morning Jitters: Of her earliest days on air, the BCIT broadcasting grad turned popular Global BC and Entertainment Tonight Canada personality says: “I had to learn on the fly how to do it. It was really fun, but really nerve-wracking. I would barf in the morning before the show!”

Christmas Capers: A self-described “experience junkie,” Cebula says she’ll be spending the holidays in Mexico. “My hubby and I are planning to attend an End of the Mayan Calendar party within the walls of ancient ruins in a funky little resort town called Tulum. If all goes well and there’s still life after the 21st, I’ll be whooping it up on the cobblestone streets of Playa Del Carmen for New Year’s Eve.”

Future Focus: “I hope that 2013 brings fresh, new energy into my life. I’ve been enjoying my TV ride with Global BC and Entertainment Tonight Canada, but I’d like to make some career tweaks in 2013.”

Drama Queen: “Getting back into acting was something I’ve been toying with since 2010, and I finally took that leap this year. And, of course, I cashed in the beginner’s luck card and booked my first audition. I think acting is like golf — all you need is one good swing here and there and you’ll want to keep playing.”

Jock Star: “The past two years I have struggled with knee issues [two surgeries], and I’m finally strong and ready to get back to my jock-like ways. I’ve dusted off my snowboard and I’m so ready to hit the hill.”

Carly Rae Jepsen - Singer
Credit: Universal Music Canada

Carly Rae Jepsen - Singer

Song of the Summer: The Mission-born musician, 27, rocketed to fame last year after Justin Bieber tweeted that “Call Me Maybe” was the catchiest song he’d ever heard. The endorsement turned the tune, released on Vancouver’s imprint 604 Records, into a global smash — a turn of events Jepsen called, “in all honesty, a fluke,” in a recent interview with the Globe and Mail.

Idol Ambitions: At the urging of her high-school drama teacher, Jepsen successfully auditioned for a spot on the fifth season of Canadian Idol in 2007, where she placed third.

Minimum Wage to Millionaire: Putting the “star” in Starbucks, a pre-fame Jepsen worked as a Vancouver barista by day and as a pub singer by night.

Home for the Holidays: After spending the autumn globe-trotting as the opening act on Bieber’s world tour, the Juno-winner told the Globe and Mail: “I’m really looking forward to Christmas, just for the fact that I’ll be back in Canada, in my pajamas, not changing for a week, and just chilling with my family.”

Next Up: Look for Jepsen to ring in 2013 by performing live on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.

Mary Zilba - Reality TV Star
Credit: Global

Mary Zilba - Reality TV Star

Holy Toledo: Born and raised in Ohio, the 40-something singer/songwriter and reality TV star — known to audiences as the “nice Housewife” from The Real Housewives of Vancouver — graduated from the University of Toledo with a broadcasting degree.

Early Start: After being crowned Miss Ohio in 1988, the yoga enthusiast worked as a TV reporter in her home state before relocating to L.A. to pursue a music career. Since 1999, she has released three pop albums, one of which was the critically acclaimed Out of the Blue.

Charitable Soul: A busy mom of three teen boys, she still finds time to support various causes, including PETA, NOH8 and Epilepsy & Seizure Education in B.C., as well as acting as director and spokesperson for Tuberous Sclerosis Canada.

Trivia Tidbit: Zilba and her equally attractive elder sister Juliana are cited in a Trivial Pursuit question asking, “Who are the only sisters to compete in the Miss America pageant?”

Devon Sawa - Actor
Credit: The CW

Devon Sawa - Actor

B.C. Beginnings: The 34-year-old actor was among a trio of kids born in Vancouver to a refrigeration-mechanic dad and homemaker mom.

Rap Sheet: The rangy six-footer was cast as the psychotic title character in the Eminem video “Stan” after record producer Dr. Dre saw him in the 2000 horror film Final Destination.

Series Regular: Since 2010, TV viewers have known him as Owen Elliott on The CW action-drama series Nikita.

Toy Story: Landing the dream job of every red-blooded kid, Sawa started out in showbiz as a children’s action-toy spokesperson, which led to roles in movies like Little Giants, Casper and Now and Then.

Flights of Fancy: “There are tons of things that have been written about me on the Internet that are total crap,” Sawa once mused to Entertainment Weekly. “I’ll go on to these fan sites and think, ‘Where the hell did that come from?’ All of a sudden I have two gerbils and four goldfish? I mean, really, two gerbils? And they’re named Coke and Pepsi or something like that? Come on!”

Andrew Allen - Singer
Credit: Kyle Perison Photography

Andrew Allen - Singer

Yearnin’ for Vernon: The up-and-coming crooner is known to wax rhapsodic about his hometown, located in the so-called Canadian desert: “The mountains and hills dry out in the summer because it’s so hot, and these tan-coloured hills flow into the beautiful, purplish-blue lakes. It’s very relaxed there, and I think that has definitely influenced the feel of some of my songs.”

Choir Boy: Trained at Canada’s Royal Conservatory of Music, Allen — who claims he was a “quintessential nerdy kid” — sang in the school choir, a move he admits equalled social suicide. “Glee did not exist then,” he jokes, “but I absolutely loved it!”

World Stage: Allen performed for his biggest audience ever when he sang his hit single “Amazing” at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympics closing ceremonies, a show that was broadcast around the world. “It was mind blowing,” he says. “It was really just one of the biggest honours I’ve ever had to date.”

Underwhelmed Other Half: Three top-10 Canadian hits aside, Allen jokes that his wife Julia isn’t always his biggest fan. “She’s really not impressed by my music. She just kind of goes, ‘Okay, come and do the dishes!’ ”

Song Style: Allen attributes his trademark beachy grooves to a yearlong stint working as a host aboard a Carnival cruise ship: “We travelled to the Caribbean Islands and I became very enamoured with the spirit of the music.”

Bal Arneson - Cookbook Author
Credit: Liz Rosa

Bal Arneson - Cookbook Author

Culinary Queen: The star of Spice Goddess (aired on Food Network Canada and the Cooking Channel in the U.S.) learned her enviable cooking skills at an early age while growing up in a traditional village in India’s Punjab region.

Survivor Spirit: Arneson left India at age 20 for an arranged marriage to a Canadian immigrant, an unhappy union that she ultimately left. As a penniless single mother, she made ends meet by cleaning houses and catering while she attended university, eventually earning a master’s degree in education. “My proudest moment was having my daughter see me get a university diploma.”

Book Deal: Undeterred by a lack of formal culinary training, Arneson penned the 2009 cookbook Everyday Indian, which became a national bestseller, followed by Bal’s Quick and Healthy Indian in 2010. “The kitchen in India was the only place I was allowed to have freedom and express myself,” she says.

Holiday Tradition: “We buy big bundles of gloves, scarves, toques, socks and wrap them individually to put under our Christmas tree. When Christmas Day arrives, my eight-year-old son Aaron wears a Santa hat and we hand those gifts to the homeless on the Downtown Eastside.”

Joe Sakic - Retired NHL Star
Credit: Liz Rosa

Joe Sakic - Retired NHL Star

Hometown Hero: Born in Burnaby to Croatian immigrants, the former pro hockey player, who retired from the NHL in 2009, has a local street named in his honour called Joe Sakic Way.

Fan Fave: Affectionately known as “Burnaby Joe,” the 43-year-old was known for his lethal wrist shot, considered one of the best in the NHL, and he remains a favourite with local fans despite never playing as a Vancouver Canuck.

Early Start: Sakic decided to become a hockey player at the age of four after attending his first NHL game, a match between the Canucks and Atlanta Flames. By the time he was a teen at Burnaby North Secondary, he was being hailed as the new Wayne Gretzky.

Fame Game: Following a 21-year career with the Quebec Nordiques/Colorado Avalanche, where he captained the franchise to two Stanley Cup wins (not to mention leading Team Canada to an Olympic gold medal in 2002), Sakic was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame just last month.

Family Ties: The avid golfer and father of three hosts a charity golf tournament each summer that benefits the Food Bank of the Rockies.

Amanda Tapping - Actress
Credit: SyFy

Amanda Tapping - Actress

Where You’ve Seen Her: The English-born, Toronto-raised actress is best known for her years playing Samantha Carter on the Vancouver-shot TV series Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis, while she also starred in the cult-hit Sanctuary (which she executive-produced) and more recently appeared in Supernatural — all of which has earned her the nickname “The Grand Empress of Sci-Fi.”

Brainy Brunette: A scholarly student with a mind for math, Tapping considered a career in science before ultimately opting for acting, much to the chagrin of her parents.

Giving Back: The 47-year-old mother of one co-founded the charity Sanctuary for Kids, which assists children in crisis around the world: “I’m living this great life. I thought there must be some way I can give back. It’s a small drop in the bucket, but it’s a drop. And it is making a difference.”

Ashleigh McIvor - Olymic Gold Metalist
Credit: Matt Murray

Ashleigh McIvor - Olymic Gold Metalist

Heavy Medal: The Pemberton resident, 29, was a key member of Canada’s freestyle skiing team at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, where ski-cross made its debut as an official medal event.

Alpine Accolades: The five-foot-10 powerhouse became the first gold-medal winner of women’s ski-cross at the 2010 Games, a pioneering feat that led to her September 2012 induction into the BC Sports Hall of Fame.

Handy With a Hammer: When she’s not on the slopes, McIvor enjoys building houses in her spare time. Having officially retired from competitive ski-cross last month, she’s signed on with CBC as a ski-cross analyst. And, of course, she’s busy planning her upcoming wedding to Vancouver Whitecaps captain Jay DeMerit.

Blonde Beauty: The former UBC marketing student, whose much-photographed face has graced numerous ad campaigns, was recently named by Sportsnet Magazine as one of the “30 Most Beautiful Athletes on the Planet.”

Originally published in TVW. For daily programming updates and on-screen Entertainment news, subscribe to the free TVW e-newsletters, or purchase a subscription to the weekly magazine.