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What they’re watching, reading and listening to this month
September 13, 2022
Sonia Tumkur speaks into a microphone on stage.

Meet some of your fellow TMU students and find out what they’re into right now. Above, Sonia Tumkur, Orientation Kick-off host. Photo: Alyssa K. Faoro

Ambition, optimism, creativity and a sense of humour mark these popular culture reccos by extraordinary 日博电竞登录下载靠谱 University students, capturing the spirit of the community. 

With a full return to campus this year, students will once again experience university IRL, so we thought we’d introduce you to a few bright stars who are active in the TMU community, while also sharing what they are watching, reading, and listening to this month. Read on to get your finger on the pop culture pulse below.

TMU student approved

Sonia Tumkur

Sonia Tumkur shares what she’s reading with the TMU community.

Sonia Tumkur (Journalism ’24), Toronto Met social media assistant 

Sonia Tumkur is one of Toronto Met’s TikTok hosts, this year’s orientation week kick-off host, and a TikTok host for blogTO. 

Black, and yellow book cover design

Book cover for ‘Game Changers.’

Game Changers: What Leaders, Innovators, and Mavericks Do to Win at Life 

This book was my favourite read of 2022, so far. Dave Asprey is one of today’s most notable entrepreneurs, known for Bulletproof Coffee, a rich coffee drink. As we’re constantly wondering how we can do more in life and become better at our craft, this book touches on that and all the little slivers in between with the help of world class leaders and visionaries. I read motivational books with a grain of salt, but if you want practical information to feel inspired, happier and smarter, this book’s for you.

Liam O'Leary-Orange

TMU Bold basketball forward Liam O'Leary-Orange finds life lessons in manga spin-off series. Photo by Alyssa K. Faoro

Liam O'Leary-Orange (Child and Youth Care ’23), TMU Bold Basketball forward

Liam has played basketball competitively since high school and plays forward for TMU’s newly renamed basketball athletic team. “Last year I had to learn how to manage my physical well-being and take the recovery time I needed to protect and maintain my body’s longevity. Going full tilt after being on lockdown last year led to a couple of injuries early in the season. We still had a great season and I'm looking forward to competing with my team again this year, learning from a great head coach and building relationships with all the new guys on the team - the sky’s the limit.”

Manga cartoon characters

‘Naruto’ anime series poster.


I am into anime in general but ‘Naruto’ is probably my favorite anime in this world right now because it has many life lessons. Anime always has one main storyline, but there's also so many side stories, and you get to grow with the characters. Whether it's personal conflict, struggles or difficult situations, it’s very relatable and helpful to see the characters find the strength to get through it. 

Anime also shows the passion and determination you need to have to push forward in life. It shows the power that you can have to impact your own life and others’, and so I find it really motivational.

Vanessa Kiraly wearing purple evening gown as she walks a runway.

Fashionista Vanessa Kiraly shares her love of clothing design with a stylish event recco.

Vanessa Kiraly (Law ’24), fashion professional and aspiring lawyer 

Vanessa Kiraly is a third-year law student at 日博电竞登录下载靠谱 University. She is a contributing writer for The Lawyer's Daily and editor at the Wrongful Conviction Law Review. Kiraly has been working in the Toronto fashion industry since the age of 13 in various roles, including as a fashion designer, photographer, and event coordinator. She also participated in the 2021 edition of the Cashmere Bathroom Tissue Runway Show , external link supporting the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

Model wears a striped dress.

VANIKA Design by Vanessa Kiraly

Fashion Art Toronto

Established in 2005, Fashion Art Toronto , external link , also known as "|FAT|", is Toronto's longest running arts and fashion week and will run Nov. 4-6 this year. I first participated in the show as a model during their 2013 edition. Since then, I've showcased three fashion collections as a designer. 

Each day of the fashion week is filled with different art installations to explore and thought-provoking, creative showcases to admire.

Alicia Pinnock.

Alicia Pinnock shares an empowering podcast series.

Alicia Pinnock (Sociology ’23), member of the Black Student Advisory Committee in the Faculty of Arts

Alicia Pinnock (she/they) is a fourth-year sociology major of Jamaican descent. She is passionate about social issues that correspond to the Black community, particularly the intersectionality of race, culture and sexuality. Hailing from Ottawa, Alicia came to Toronto in search of community, and found it through the Black Student Advisory Committee where she contributes to student advocacy to help address gaps in Black studies classes, mentorship and financial support.

A woman and man sit on plush armchairs in a library.

‘The Read’ podcast series promotional poster.

The Read

A podcast that is always on my playlist is The Read , external link hosted by Crissle and Kid Fury. Every week they share advice, entertainment news and empowering stories about Black people doing amazing things, and of course colloquially ‘read’ people - which is to humorously call out and dissect certain behaviours.

I’ve been listening to this podcast for years and it never fails to put a smile on my face. I appreciate how they consistently talk about the importance of Black mental health which is what encouraged me to prioritize my own and work on improving myself every day. I learn from ‘The Read’ and it is Black, queer, and funny. What else could you ask for?

Ashley Dobal

When she’s not singing her heart out, Ashley Dobal is getting motivated with inspirational reads.

Ashley Dobal (Professional Music ’25), musician who performs as Ashley Sienna

Ashley Dobal is a second year professional music student who made up the original cohort of the new cutting-edge program, and performs under the name Ashley Sienna . A pop singer- songwriter from Toronto, she won top streamer on Sessions, a music streaming platform, and sang her original song “Life Is Beautiful” at a music festival in Las Vegas, alongside other notable performers that included her idol, Billie Eilish. 

Sienna has released more than 30 original tracks, some of which can be found on her debut EP "Out Of My Head" and first album "RESTART." She recently played during this year’s NXNE festival showcasing the latest breakout musical artists. 

Book cover for 'RUSS'

Motivational read 'It’s All In Your Head: Get out of your way'.

It’s All In Your Head: Get out of your way

My favourite types of books are those that motivate me to level up my music career. One of my all time faves is a book I’ve been reading over and over called It’s All In Your Head by RUSS, the American rapper, singer and songwriter who experienced massive success without the help of a major label. It’s an easy read packed with advice on manifesting and creating the life you want. RUSS tells his story of building a music empire. 

Just like most of us with big aspirations, RUSS started small, and didn’t have any backup. He simply knew what he wanted and with the combination of a positive attitude and hard work, he made it all happen. My goal is to chase my dreams, make them happen, and inspire others to create the life they want for themselves.

Saba Memon

Saba Memon doesn’t see why science majors can’t also be artistically engaged.

Saba Memon (Computer Science ’24), co-president of the ArtSci student group

Saba Memon is a third-year computer science student working towards a minor in psychology. She's co-president of the ArtSci student group which encourages Faculty of Science students to express themselves through various forms of art. Last year she was also the computer science director for the Ryerson Science Society and is currently an external committee member. In her spare time she likes to read with a hot drink in hand.

Poster showing three young woman in school uniforms with series title

Promotional poster for Netflix series ‘Derry Girls’.

Derry Girls

Hands down, one of the funniest and most endearing shows I've seen in a while has to be Derry Girls on Netflix. It's this wonderful series about a group of girls (and James) who attend an all-girls Catholic school in the town of Derry in Northern Ireland. 

We follow these characters through their coming of age during the Troubles, so the show takes on a nostalgic yet chaotic tone while highlighting the raucous vivacity of youth. It's a colourful story that's sure to bring you comfort and lots of laughs.

Nishka Gupta

Nishka Gupta enjoys a podcast that spills the chai on relationships and lifestyle.

Nishka Gupta (Biomedical Sciences ’23), SPIRAL Lab research assistant

Nishka Gupta is a biomedical sciences major and a psychology minor. As a research assistant at the SPIRAL Lab , external link led by Prof. Jason Deska, she helps to investigate how the impressions people form of others produce and sustain inequality. She is also a research volunteer at CAMH. A former executive of TMU’s Stem Cell Club , external link , Gupta also runs a non-profit organization called SPARK , external link that is dedicated to providing youth with more STEAM-related opportunities. “I love everything about what I do from at-home organic chemistry experiments all the way to researching treatments for psychological disorders,” she says.

Promotional graphic for podcast that reads ‘But What Will People Say?: Spilling the chai on interracial relationships

South Asian interracial relationship podcast BWWPS


But What Will People Say

BWWPS is a South Asian interracial relationship and lifestyle podcast. As someone who comes from an immigrant South Asian family, I’ve never related to a podcast more. Host Disha Mazepa brings to light the difficulty of maintaining the correct Desi to Western culture ratio. It’s truly refreshing to hear about people like me breaking stereotypes,venturing off and putting themselves first.

Ali Areesh Somani

Ali Areesh Somani enjoys an oldie but a goodie, rewatching a classic TV comedy series.

Ali Areesh Somani (Politics and Governance ’23), Executive VP Operations - Politics and Governance Students Association

In addition to his volunteer role with the student group, Ali Areesh Somani is a program co-ordinator at Ontario Creates, an agency in the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport and also works as a policy and operations lead/project manager at the youth-led BAM Collective , leading community development projects in Toronto.

Promotional poster image for ‘The Office’ TV series

American mockumentary sitcom “The Office".

The Office

The first time I started this TV show, I thought I couldn't get past the first two episodes. Now I have completed this show at least four times! I highly recommend The Office to everyone who likes sarcastic comedy and quick wit. It is probably the funniest show that I have ever watched. The most amazing thing about the show is its simple plot depicting the everyday work lives of office employees in a paper company using a mockumentary style. Trust me, watching an episode after a tiring day is a treat!

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