An Israeli internet hit
Renny Grinshpan’s videos have gained quite an audience. (photo from Renny Grinshpan)
Born and raised in Toronto, Renny Grinshpan is the daughter of an Israeli-born dad and a Toronto-born mom. Her sister, Eden, works as a host on the food scene in Canada and the United States and recently hosted Top Chef Canada. For her part, Grinshpan is a bit of a celebrity herself – in Israel.
After finishing high school in Toronto, Grinshpan moved to New York City, where she studied history at New York University before heading to Columbia University to pursue her master’s in journalism. After six years in New York, she moved to Tel Aviv to be with her Israeli partner, Hadar Amar, and they still live there. This past June, the couple was married.
“Hadar and I met through a mutual friend at a bar in Tel Aviv,” she said. “We now live together in Tel Aviv. He works in strategic consulting.”
Grinshpan has been in Tel Aviv for about three years. “When I came here,” she said, “I worked as a content writer for Tross Creative House for a year. My boss there, Yaniv Tross, encouraged me to quit and start on-camera work, so I did. He cast me in my first video – a crowdfunding video for a start-up product that works against period cramps (Livia). Since then, I’ve been working as a freelance host, content creator and actor.”
Grinshpan became known in Israel’s comedy scene for her role on HaIsraeliot (the Israeli Girls), a Facebook page with female Israeli comedians, including Leah Lev and Meital Avni.
“I don’t do live shows,” said Grinshpan. “I tried stand-up comedy and realized it’s the scariest thing ever … and I am no adrenaline junkie!”
In her Facebook videos, Grinshpan delves into different aspects of Israeli culture from a Canadian perspective. As a relatively new olah (immigrant), these observations come naturally for her.
“I think my main audience is Israeli women,” she said. “It makes sense to me that Israelis are my biggest audience, because I think everyone enjoys hearing about themselves the most, especially from an outsider’s perspective.”
Grinshpan gained experience in video during her journalism studies at Columbia, where she focused on video journalism and learned how to film, edit and build a narrative visually.
“I made several short documentary-style videos that year and the year following,” she said. “When I worked at Tross, I got experience writing creatively for the first time – writing scripts for product and crowdfunding videos for start-ups.
“When I started freelancing after Tross, I worked not only as an actor and host, but also continued working as a content writer and videographer behind the scenes. I also worked as a model and voiceover actor – anything to earn a living in the creative video realm!”
Grinshpan has spent some time as a visitor in Vancouver and had much good to say about the experience. “I love Vancouver!” she said. “Thank you for giving me some of the best times!
“Being a tourist in Vancouver made me feel like I’m really athletic, which could not be farther from the truth! I found that, in touring the city, I was biking through Stanley Park (it’s a forest!), hiking up a waterfall in North Van, trying out long-boarding for the first time and canoeing again (like in my childhood). I was so active just by being there, which, again, is not reflective of my standard state.”
Looking ahead, Grinshpan said she dreams of co-hosting a food and travel talk show across Israel or Canada with her big sister one day.
Rebeca Kuropatwa is a Winnipeg freelance writer.