This year marks the official move of the Toronto Argonauts to BMO Field, signalling an exciting season ahead. As game day host (and host of Rogers TV’s lifestyle show, LIVE at Celebration Square), Jackie Perez provides an entertaining and upbeat experience for fans and guests in attendance.

Born in Manila, Philippines, and raised in Mississauga, Canada, Jackie discovered her love for sports at a very early age. She began her career in the Toronto Argonauts family as a cheerleader in 2011. In 2015, she was named game day host conducting live interviews with special guests and fans and executing all in-stand and on-floor entertainment promotions. We wanted to find out more about Jackie and her journey to finding her dream job.

SDTC: Walk us through a day in your life.

JP: Going from the studio to the office to wherever in the city my jobs take me, I make it a point to prep and plan ahead of time. You don’t always know what to expect, which makes life that much more interesting. Depending on the day, I’m in the office preparing for upcoming shows, reporting out in the community, or I’m on the sidelines at BMO Field creating an entertaining and energetic atmosphere for the Argos game.

So what’s constant in my life? My positive energy, a few snacks to keep my hunger at bay and my smartphone, which I will almost always have attached to my hand.

When did you know this was the career for you?

I’ve always been a chatty and curious person, always asking questions and wanting to learn more. I always thought I’d be a writer or report for a newspaper, and it wasn’t until university that I was asked to be in front of a camera, get on air and deliver the news. It was a very similar feeling I would get when I had dance performances or played on a sports team as a kid. The preparation surrounding it, the butterflies, the execution, the feeling you get knowing you shared something with people who may or may not have seen, heard or understood before.

It’s a fast-paced industry and it changes constantly. You’re always learning something new and finding ways to help people who are watching understand what’s happening.

Best advice given to you?

Be yourself and have the courage to do what it is you want to do.

Any tips for young women getting started in this industry?

Trust your gut and don’t be afraid to take risks and say what it is you want. If you don’t ask for it, you’re never going to get it. That being said, don’t get discouraged by hearing “No.” You have to be patient, keep persisting and keep working hard. Learn from your peers, and find mentors because they’ve been through it before and can help guide you in your path.

What are the most challenging aspects of your career? Most rewarding?

When I tell people I was a cheerleader, some don’t see beyond the smiling and waving of pom poms. I did it for five years and during that time I used it as an opportunity to showcase my skills and talents leading as a captain for the team, producing digital content, being the social media lead, and now as in-game host. Additionally, it’s given me the chance to play an active role within the community where I can inspire the next generation and show people, especially young girls, you CAN do what you want to do and it doesn’t have to fit a certain mould.

Check out Jackie on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.