The Woman with the Infectious Smile

By Charlotte Smith, Northlea Elementary & Middle School

Barbara Bell pokes her nose through the door and smiles at us all. We smile back, as hers is infectious. Her dress is floral and her wild reddish brown hair frames her face.

She clasps her hands together in front of her starts telling us about how her local TV show, Page Turners, got started. She gestures wildly as she explains how she was working as an event planner for Chapters when a producer asked for her help in creating a television talk show where people discuss books. She had already worked on some local plays and done some producing, so the request didn’t come as a complete surprise. Neither was the fact that she went on to co-produce and host the show. This would somewhat launch her career, “Even making fans out four year olds!” She laughs, referencing to an incident in a local library she was working at where a four year old boy recognized her and proceeded to follow her around for the majority of his visit. “I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.” Bell says fondly.

As a writer (she’s written a play and has several books in progress), actor (she’s currently in rehearsal for a new play, Perfect Pie, by Judith Thompson), freelance editor, producer, soon-to-be script supervisor (her daughter graduated from film school and has enlisted her help on a short film), and TV journalist, Bell wears many hats, “But I love them all.”

She’s now the producer of WritersFest , in Kingston, and talks about it with pride. She’s confident when she talks, and you can tell she’s passionate about her work. This isn’t something many people are, so I find her attitude suitably refreshing, as well as intriguing. As my brain begins to mull over how she became this way, she answers the question herself, “My motto is reach for the stars, take every opportunity, and try, just try, but you have to try your best, otherwise it doesn’t count.”

I understand now. The sparkles in her eyes and the infectious smile aren’t just there for looks, they’re there because she made it that way. She worked hard, very hard, to get where she is today, and she’s not taking it for granted. “I feel blessed to be so fortunate, and to be doing what I love.” She seems to be planning her next move close to the vest, mentioning a book that may be published soon, a play she wrote and plans to act in, but she may be planning something even bigger soon, as she mentions research many, many times. Maybe I’m just speculating, but Barbara Bell isn’t done yet, not even close.


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