Bridget Arsenault'04 talks Grammar, Vanity Fair and her newest chapter
Updated: Dec 17, 2019
We recently caught up with Grammar alumna Bridget Arsenault, who shared a few memorable experiences from Grammar, and talked about what’s she’s been up to since graduation. Here’s what she had to say:
What is one highlight from your time at Grammar?
I was at Grammar from primary to grade 12, and I loved it throughout. Ms. Brock was a huge influence on me, and helped me put together and host two global awareness conferences, where students from across the province and high-profile local speakers talked about and ran workshops on issues relevant to us as globally-minded students.
What was your most memorable moment at Grammar?
So many teachers went above and beyond for us. Mr. Laffoley always treated us as equals. I was hopeless at math, and Mr. Moffatt used to come in before school started (and let’s face it, he’s not a morning person) to help tutor me. Mrs. Goodfellow came in on weekends to help me sort bottles to bring to the recycling depot to raise money for charity. Ms. Brock helped me with so many things, including convincing me to do a mock interview with her for my undergraduate scholarship, and I strongly believe that practice session is what sealed it for me.
How did Grammar prepare you for university?
Halifax Grammar School prepared me well for university, so when I arrived at Mount Allison, I certainly felt I had an advantage over many students. At Grammar we were given a huge amount of autonomy and agency, so I had no fears or reservations about putting myself out there and getting involved, and I was already hugely disciplined and self-motivated.
How did you come to work for Vanity Fair?
In junior high and high school, I never dreamed about my wedding but instead of my hugely successful book tour and the surrounding media frenzy! I wrote for the Grammar school paper, Anathema, and then for the Mount Allison paper and a provincial paper in New Brunswick. Through a combination of luck, drive and chutzpah, I managed to get an internship position at Vanity Fair when I was living in the United Kingdom. I was hired about a year after that when a role opened up, and I stayed for nine years.
What is next on the agenda for you?
I’m trying to write a radio play about a high-profile true crime from the 1980s and a non-fiction book about Dorothy Parker. I now work for a brilliant new digital publication called Air Mail (airmail.news), which was set up and is edited by Graydon Carter, the former long-time editor-in-chief of Vanity Fair.
What is one piece of advice you would give to current Grammar students?
Always ask. If I want something, want to do something, want an opportunity – I always go for it and then at least I can say that I tried.