The Inspiring Broadcaster Who is Doing It All
The Remarkable Story of Radio & TV Host Karen KhunKhun
Named as one of BC’s Ten Most Beautiful People in TV Week Magazine and one of Vancouver’s News Beauties in The Province, Karen KhunKhun has been following her heart from a young age that led her to the world of broadcasting. You can catch her weekly on the CFOX morning show. She has interviewed some of Hollywood elite including Jim Carey, Seth Rogen, Heather Graham, Bradley Cooper, and Kate Beckinsale just to name a few. You may also recognize her from roles on television shows such as Wayward Pines, Travelers, Motive, etc.
Before turning twenty, this Canadian beauty headed to Hollywood for an internship opportunity with Atlantic records. “After Los Angeles, I knew it was now or never. I decided to go into the Broadcasting program of BCIT.”
While talking to her, you can sense her passion and drive over what she does, someone who pushed forward and followed her heart. At one point, Karen was almost thinking of getting into PR as a backup plan, but her star was shining brightly, and opportunities came flooding in.
“I was asked to audition for the CFOX Larry & Willy show, the two guys I grew up listening. It was nerve-wracking, but I got it. I kept putting myself out there and was willing to work hard and just to go for it.”
Fortune does favour the bold! The radio opportunity opened the door for Karen to move to television. Fiona Forbes and Michael Ekford spotted talent and ambition in Karen and asked her to join their team on Shaw Television which later led to her gig on City TV.
“There was a time when I was doing Breakfast TV in the morning and CFOX in the afternoon.”
Karen Khunkhun is someone with an endless amount of energy; so how does she do it? One might ask.
“It’s imperative to sit down and ask yourself, “what am I here for and what do I want to do? What’s my purpose here on the planet?” For me, it was never about the fame. I love connecting with people; I love conversations and stories. Once you realize what it is you want, then it’s about going for it. It’s not about landing that perfect job, as that may never come. I focus on making each work opportunity a positive experience not just for me but for everyone around me. Enjoy and appreciate all experiences. And be nice to people. Being humble is paramount to me.”
A few years later, after making her mark in Vancouver, Karen returned to Los Angeles. This time around, as more than an intern carrying coffee and running errands. Corus Entertainment sent her to the city of angels to interview some of the top billing cast including the gents from The HangOver.
“There is a different energy in LA that motivates you to keep going. It never felt like work for me.”
What have been some of the highlights of your career so far?
“One of the highlights of my career is walking into CFOX for work. I won an award for being one of the top listeners when I was growing up! And here, a few years later, was where Larry and Willy greeted me. Also the first time on Breakfast TV, I knew this is what I have always wanted to do.”
These days Karen is juggling life as a mother, wife, her regular gig on the CFOX, acting, and auditions. All the while staying unbelievably uplifting and inspiring. Her energy is infectious.
“My alarm goes off at 3:15 am! I never press snooze. I catch up on my sleep on the weekends! I always make sure I’m there to pick up my daughter from school.”
So how does one balance career, family, and success—and stay consistent?
“ When I first met my husband, I was working seven days a week on CFOX and CBC. I was very career-driven. Soon, I realized, it was time to bring more balance into my life. Six months after having my baby girl, I was back on CFOX! But I know I can’t do everything. I am very fortunate to have my family’s support. My family is all here, and so is my sister. My family and my husband are always there to step in whenever I needed help and supported me in following my dreams. Prioritizing is crucial before I would say yes to anything.”
Karen has also been booking roles on Hollywood productions filming in Vancouver thanks to her competent acting ability.
“It’s been quite a busy year for me in film and television industry. Most roles assigned to me are that as a reporter. Some of my recent work has been on Wayward Pines, Travelers (the upcoming Netflix show with Eric McCormack), The Unauthorized Beverly Hills 90210, and Justice Unleashed. I’ve also taken acting classes just for fun.”
It may seem like Karen Khunkhun was born with a luck charm. But it’s her bright outlook and takes on life that brought her this far.
“ I honestly try to have fun, and I know that everyone is replaceable. I like positive people and good vibes, and that’s the kind of individuals I want to be around. Just being kind to people is essential; just stopping and smiling. I feel that it is something that is lacking right now. We are all going through something. Imagine if we tried to take just a small action of kindness to change the world around us. I am that person in the elevator who would reach out and chat with you!”
No wonder Karen started her project with Vancouver Sun, Letters to Your Younger Self. An inspiring project that included Jason Mraz, Keri Adams, and Colin James among others.
“Letters to Your Younger Self started when I had my daughter Maya. I wanted to equip her for this world, best. I started jotting down things I wanted her to know when she would grow up, such as save 10%, if someone doesn’t love you move along, fitness, etc. I also reached out to people I looked up to and asked them what advice they may want to share with their younger self. I put this project on pause because I want to make it into a book and have the proceeds go to Children’s Hospital. For the book, I don’t just want to feature celebrities, but also people from all walks of life. We learn the most from our mistakes, so if the book inspires someone or even if they get a tidbit out of it, that’s my aim.”
What would you say to your younger self?
“I would say to my younger self not to be so hard on myself; not to worry about anyone else’s opinion.”
How does one who is self-motivated keep this energy consistent? What do you do on a day when things aren’t going your way?
“I wake up and tell myself – Today is going to be an Awesome day. I say it over and over until I believe it. Every day I have to be very present, it’s a live radio show. It’s a lot of fun. Even as I’m reading the world news and talking about what may have happened in Italy, and so on. I try to make sure to leave a positive tidbit and talk about something good that happened. My work also does not feel like work. I am truly doing what I love. If I have a bad day, I try to trick myself and affirm that I’m having a good day or focus on something positive. You can go through life in two different ways: “I’m so stressed out this is terrible, or let’s tackle this with a big heart and happiness.” In my case, I do the latter. Both my parents worked very hard to support four kids with a cheerful attitude, and they infused this in me. ”
What advice would you give to someone who is interested in following a career in broadcasting?
Work decisively hard. If it’s something you unquestionably want to do, the passion is going to put you on the right path. But you have to keep working at it. If you hear No, that’s just from one person. You will get a lot of rejection, and you will learn from it. Don’t be so hard on yourself as well, just keep working at it. And stay humble. From all the people I have interviewed, the bigger the celebrity, the nicer they are.
You have also been involved in charity work locally can you tell us more about that.
I’m very passionate about Pink Shirt Day and anti-bullying campaigns. It started with anti-bullying in the school, and now it’s moving to social media and how we can prepare and equip our kids with how to deal with bullying in this day and age. The more we talk about it and spread awareness, the better. I’m also interested in doing more work with the Children’s Hospital.