Boy Scout California motto always be Prepared
From syndicated talk show host to Mensa member to Las Vegas showgirl, VJ Hume's (BFA'66) international success can be likened to the Boy Scout motto.always be prepared. "I'm ready for anything, " says the effervescent 56-year-old Hume from her home in Palm Springs, California. "If I had to wish for anything it would be more time. There are so many things I still need to explore and just not enough time."
Even when she was young, the Saskatoon-raised Valerie-Jean had an interest in many areas. "I wanted to write poetry and to write plays. I was musically trained. I really wanted to do it all." Her strong interest in the arts eventually led her to complete a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the U of S in 1966. "I loved being there. It was the height of the drama department's success. Even though we were stuck in the awful hangar building that flooded every spring, it was wonderful, " she recalls with a laugh. "But it was beautiful. I still remember passing by the chemistry building at sunset and the light turned the stone to gold. It was beautiful."
She claimed it was the U of S drama department that taught her the importance of 'the group', and that the play was more important than any one individual's success. It's a lesson that has served her well throughout her career. "It's called being a trouper. I just learned that a while ago, but that's exactly what our education taught us, " she explains.
As soon as she graduated, she headed straight for the bright lights of Toronto where she was determined to end up working in live theatre. Not only did she succeed, but she managed to pick up a career as a radio show host on the CBC at the same time. "It was at a time when the CBC was giving a token nod to females, " she explains. "They liked my voice."
Even while she was acting and hosting on radio, she had her hands full with other opportunities. She wrote a newspaper column, and taught English to immigrants. "I was almost making a living, " she claims. She then turned to modeling, and developed the first professional modeling course in North America at Ontario's Sheridan Community College. By focusing on both physical and mental preparation for models, she was consistently able to produce winners in the Miss Canada contest.
After conquering the modeling front, Hume turned back to one of her first loves - music. She mastered the 36-string Autoharp and learned to sing in 10 languages. For 14 years, she spent time travelling and making a living. Her work as an entertainer on nine cruise ships also helped her become the first female even to earn a Panamanian Lifeboat Commander Certificate.
In 1988, she finally chose to settle down - so to speak - in Palm Springs. VJ's Corner is a daily interview show on the number one rated station in Palm Springs. Over the years she has chatted with hundreds of celebrities. According to Hume, some of her most memorable interviews include Lady Thatcher, John Major and Jack Jones, her own personal idol from when she was young. She also become involved with MENSA which added a whole new dimension to her life.
Just last year, another opportunity fell into her lap. "I got to be a Las Vegas showgirl. Imagine, at my age! In Vegas, where 30 years old is over the hill, " laughs Hume. "But there I was, just having a ball." Her Vegas show included impersonations of Tammy Wynette and Lorrie Morgan. "It was a challenge. I'd never done country before."
For now, the only certainty in her life is that she will capitalize on whatever opportunities come her way. "What does the future hold? I'm ready for anything. I hope more stuff that I've never done before falls in my lap, and I'll be able to do it because I'm ready."