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MQFT with Kaitlyn Lawes

This week, John sits down with Kaitlyn Lawes, a curler who, at 26 years old, has a resumé that most curlers would call an illustrious entire career. She famously won the 2014 Olympic gold medal playing third for Jennifer Jones, but that was just the cherry on top of four Scotties appearances, one Canadian championship, one World silver medal, and two Canadian Junior titles (which she won as a skip!). She’s also really nice, which is cool.

2014 Winter Olympic Games.Team Canada third Kaitlyn Lawes,lead Dawn McEwen.second Jill Officer (WCF/michael burns photo)

2014 Winter Olympic Games.Team Canada third Kaitlyn Lawes,lead Dawn McEwen.second Jill Officer (WCF/michael burns photo)

Welcome to Magical Question Fun Time, the new Curling Canada feature in which comedian John Cullen sits down with your favourite curlers for interviews like you have never seen. Each interview will feature eight questions: five standard questions that will be asked to each curler, two questions specific to that curler, and one question provided by the curler interviewed previously.

1. What’s the nicest shot you’ve ever been a part of?

KL: Well, I feel a little bad saying this since my only job was to hold the broom, but the last shot of the Olympics has to be the best for me. To be a part of that moment is really something special.

JC: I can imagine. What’s even going through your mind at that moment?

KL: Well, I remember my heart was racing, and I thought maybe I would take a quick look up in the stands at our families. They had all started crying already, so I had to look away because I didn’t want to start crying. We hadn’t even won yet. (laughs)

JC: Reid Carruthers spoke last week about a similar big shot, to win the Brier, and said all he could think about was the things that could go wrong, like burning the stone or what have you. Did you have a moment like that?

KL: Honestly, no, though I will say that Jen cleaned her rock something like 25 times and it felt like it was 10 minutes long. (laughs) All I was thinking was, “Could you throw it already so we can celebrate?” (laughs)

2. Who could you take in a fight?

KL: (pauses) Anybody? (laughs) I have no idea, to be honest. I’m not really the fighting type, but a lot of people seem to give me credit for being small and feisty. So you know what? I’ll say bring it on. I’ll take on anybody. (laughs)

JC: Wow, this is an unbelievable amount of confidence. (laughs) Aren’t you worried someone’s going to see this and think, “I’ve always wanted to fight Kaitlyn, now’s my chance?”

KL: I’m really hoping no one actually takes me up on it, now that I’ve said it. (laughs) But it’s out there now, so I guess all I can say is bring it. (laughs)

3. If a deli named a sandwich after you, what would be on it?

KL: I don’t know if I would have something named after me, but I can tell you what I normally put on my order at Subway or Pita Pit or whatever. Chicken, lettuce, cucumbers, green peppers, banana peppers, jalapeños, southwest sauce, hot sauce…

JC: …this is a spicy sandwich, my goodness. I feel like you’re backing up this aggressive character you painted for yourself with the last question.

KL: Yeah, who knew? Maybe I am ready for it after all. And if I go to Pita Pit, I throw pineapple on there too. It’s so good. So we could probably call it Tropical Heat. (laughs)

4. What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?

KL: I’ve been lucky in that I’ve never really had a truly terrible job, but I did work at a deli slicing deli meat for five years, so probably that? It’s not super fashionable with the hairnet and apron, and I left every day smelling like deli meat. So not ideal.

JC: That sounds awful, actually.

KL: Honestly, some people liked that, I think. (laughs) That’s weird to me. I’m not sure I would buy a fragrance called Eau de Meat.

JC: (laughs) Just that sequence of words sounds disgusting. (laughs) So that somehow wasn’t a terrible job? It sounds bad.

KL: It was a good job for being in high school and making some money, I didn’t hate it. I do remember, though, that on my first day of work, I think I was 17, and I was just getting the flu. I really didn’t want to miss my first day, so I went in anyway, and oh man. They took me into the deli and started showing me how to use the equipment and I started getting that feeling like I was gonna puke. I ran to the washroom but I didn’t make it. All over the hallway. (laughs)

JC: Oh my god. And they still hired you after that?

KL: (laughs) I know, right? And I stayed for five years.

5. If you had entrance music, what would it be?

KL: This is really tough. I love country music, but I don’t think I could just pick one song. I have way too many favorites, depending on my mood.

JC: Nothing? Can I pick one for you?

KL: Yeah, you choose it. I definitely can’t choose.

JC: Okay, I’m going with “Friends in Low Places”. That sounds like the least aggressive entrance music ever, for my most aggressive guest of all-time. (laughs)

KL: (laughs)

6. Alright, so now we are onto the Kaitlyn Lawes questions. Now, I’ve heard some vicious rumours and I wanted to clear this one up. I’ve heard that Kaitlyn is not your actual first name. Fact?

KL: That is a fact.

JC: Wow. What a huge scoop! What is it?

KL: I don’t know if I’m going to give away that information. (laughs)

JC: Really? On your MQFT debut?

KL: Okay, fine. It’s Leslie. But I’ve never gone by it, ever. I was Kaitlyn since birth. It’s a family tradition to go by our middle names, so I’ve always been Kaitlyn. My dad’s first name is Leslie as well, but he goes by Keith, his middle name. It’s just a thing in our family.

JC: Are you very protective of this? I mean, your twitter handle is @LKLawes, I would assume people figure out something is going on there.

KL: Yeah, I don’t hide it. If people figure it out, they do, but Leslie is a pretty uncommon name so it usually takes them quite a while. I also never respond to it at all, so if someone calls me Leslie, I’m like, “Who?”

JC: I’m sure that has been weird at certain times.

KL: I just remember going to university and being in some smaller classes and having a name tag with “Leslie” on it. People were legitimately calling me Leslie and looking straight at me, and I wouldn’t answer them. (laughs) I felt like a fake.

7. I’ve asked this question on my previous show, Cullen and a Curler, to a few curlers, and so I was curious. A lot of people get some weird requests when they win an Olympic medal. What’s been the strangest one for you?

KL: Honestly, most of the stuff we’ve been asked to do has been really fascinating and humbling. We presented at the Junos, we dropped the puck at a Jets game, went to the Jays home opener…it’s been awesome. As far as strange, it’s more the autograph requests. I’ve signed a lot of bald heads. (laughs) I’ve gotten some other strange body part autograph requests that I’ve had to decline…(laughs)

JC: How about that mural? That must be a bit weird.

KL: It’s gigantic. It’s so big. I mean, they did a really great job, I’ve seen some murals gone bad, and ours looks so nice. I’m really proud of it. But it’s really huge. You can see it from the highway! (laughs) I look like an ant when I stand next to it.

(Photo by Kyle Jahns)

(Photo by Kyle Jahns)

8. And finally, the question from last episode’s guest, Reid Carruthers. He asks, who is the meanest player you have ever played against and why?

KL: I feel bad because this question is sort of wasted on me. I feel like if you asked it to the men’s side, you would’ve got an awesome answer, they would be brutally honest. I wish I had a cooler answer for you, or some dirt, but I can’t think of anyone. Obviously there are some teams you really want to beat and games you want to win so bad, but I think that’s every game for me, honestly.

JC: Okay, maybe I can rephrase it. Who do you like to beat the most?

KL: (instantly) Reid. (laughs) We did a travelling road show together across Manitoba and we played a lot of 1-on-1. It’s always nice to beat him, and I enjoyed it the most. (laughs) He started out by beating me a few times, but I think I handled him pretty good after that and didn’t lose to him for a long time. (laughs)

JC: And finally, I need a question from you.

KL: Okay. If your curling team was a band, what type of band would you be, and what positions would everyone be in the band, so who would sing, who would play guitar, etc.?

JC: Wow. That’s an amazing question. Thank you so much Kaitlyn and best of luck for the rest of the season!