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Entertainment reporter dishes the dirt on her giant Jeep

Traci Melchor and her Jeep Commander.

Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail

Traci Melchor

  • Profession: Entertainment reporter
  • Age: “A lady never tells”
  • Hometown: Toronto

Notable achievements

  • Kicked off her career as host of RAPCITY on MuchMusic, followed by a move to CityTV Toronto as the station’s entertainment specialist
  • From 2000-2005, was the Hollywood correspondent for Star!
  • Covered Michael Jackson’s public memorial service in Los Angeles, following his death in 2009
  • Travelled to seven countries in seven nights on a chartered jet as part of Rihanna’s “777” tour
  • Supports various charitable organizations and events, including Power of Movement (Canada’s largest yoga fundraiser) benefiting arthritis and related autoimmune diseases, Hospital for Sick Children, Wear White 4 Women and Sickle Cell Awareness Group of Ontario


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  • eTalk airs weeknights at 7 p.m. ET/PT on CTV
  • Set to walk the runway at The Heart Truth Fashion Show on March 21 at Toronto Fashion Week in support of Heart and Stroke Foundation


Traci Melchor has dished out the dirt in the entertainment world for more than a decade.

She has interviewed hundreds of Tinseltown's top celebrities including Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez, Mariah Carey, Madonna, John Travolta, Denzel Washington and Mariah Carey.

As a reporter with eTalk, Melchor doesn't shy away from the spotlight. Even off set, she attracts attention on the road, driving a 2007 Jeep Commander with her eight-year-old twins, Phoenix and Phoebe, in tow.

Why did you buy a Jeep Commander?

I had a Grand Cherokee before.

I was at a red light going home during the winter in January, 2006, and a SUV rear-ended me at 50 km/h. To look at my Grand Cherokee, there was no damage. The doors wouldn't open and the chassis got all mangled, so obviously they wrote it off. I thought if my kids were in the back seat, they would have been fine. Thank God, they weren't.

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I was going to buy another Grand Cherokee, but I rented one for a couple of weeks prior to buying the Commander and the new one had a wicked blind spot. I went to the Jeep dealership and one of my friends, who I did air band with in high school, was working there and he steered me toward the Commander.

At first, when I saw it, I thought, 'Are you kidding me? This is like a school bus!' I thought it was too big for me. I'm not the tallest girl in the class, but as soon as I got behind the wheel you feel like you're driving an army vehicle. I love how it's all squared off. Nobody better mess with you on the road!

The Commander felt good. I have twins and they have a lot of stuff and they have a lot of friends. So on the weekend when I'm soccer mom or driving them to dance lessons and Taekwondo, it's the perfect vehicle. But if I have to show up at the red carpet to cover it, I also look like a cool mom.

No disrespect to minivans – I've rented them and they're amazing with lots of room, but I want to keep my little street cred for as long as I can when it comes to my job. I know they're great on gas and there's so much room, but why can't they make the facade a little sleeker?

Everybody who gets in my car always say, 'Oh this is a great truck!' People expect me to drive a frou-frou car. It's a black Commander and, whenever they see the size, they're like, 'Wow, this is your vehicle?'

What don't you like about the Commander?

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The amount of money I spend on gas would be the only thing.

It's a V-8, so you can imagine how much I spend on gas every week. On the weekend and when I'm taking the kids to their classes, I feel like they're so safe it's worth the extra gas money to have my kids safe in the backseat.

What does a Jeep Commander say about you?

Don't mess with me on the road! It also says I don't mind being the driver. You can't ever say, 'Sorry I can't give you a ride home because I don't have room in the truck.'

And it says I'm a confident person. I don't think you can be a timid driver if you drive a Commander. And also, Kelly Rowland has a song named Commander, which I love.

Are you a car girl?

I know a little bit about cars. I've watched a few rap videos in my life, so I know the difference between a Bentley and an Escalade.

I lived in California and the kids were born in California. You have to know cars when you live in L.A. because you're in your car for most of your life.

What's your driving style like?

I don't mean to brag, but I'm a wicked driver. There are three things I can do in my life – I can put on liquid liner, I can breastfeed two babies at one time and I can parallel park very well!

What was your first car?

The first car I learned to drive was my mom's Dodge Dart special edition, burgundy with velour seating and no air conditioning. My parents decided to drive to Walt Disney World – the first time we went, I was eight. That was the first of many adventures in the Dodge Dart.

And then I learned to drive on the Dodge Dart, because my mother never got rid of a car until it died. The day I got my licence I took it to school and every time I turned left, it would stall. It was a bit of a nightmare.

Then the second car I bought for $1,200 was a 1984 blue Jetta. It already had a lot of miles on it. Then I was working as a bartender with a body shop guy and I always wanted to have a pink car, so one weekend I paid him $600 and it came back on the Monday and it was fuchsia. I drove a pink Jetta – even the hubcaps were pink!

My Jetta broke down constantly on the DVP. They had phone boxes back then. They were yellow boxes and I had to use those things all the time. I was a gold member of CAA. If they had a black card like Amex does, I would have had the CAA black card. I got my money out of my membership!

What do you listen to in the car?

First of all, always Michael Jackson.

Kidz Bop – these little kids sing hit songs like Justin Bieber – they listen to it over and over again. It drives me crazy!

And One Direction, because my daughter will not go anywhere without a One Direction CD in the car.

I listen to a lot of talk radio. I like old-school Diana Ross, too.

What is your best and worst driving story?

Making my son pee in a water bottle! One time we were on the road going up north and I remember my daughter and I going, 'Just pee in the bottle! You're so lucky.' We bullied him into peeing in the bottle. That was the best and the worst.

If I can bring you the keys to any vehicle what would it be?

The Mercedes-Benz G-Class.

I would love to say Porsche, but I don't drive a stick, so who am I kidding? I need to find a second ex-husband who has a Porsche.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Twitter: @PetrinaGentile


Correction: A profile in Thursday's Drive section of eTalk reporter Traci Melchor, incorrectly said, due to an editing error, that she has twin daughters. In fact, she has eight year old twins – a son and a daughter.

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About the Author

Petrina Gentile is an award-winning automotive journalist - one of the few women who cover cars in Canada. Her life revolves around wheels. She has been writing for the Drive section since 2004. Besides auto reviews, she also interviews celebrities like Norman Jewison, Patrick Dempsey, Rick Hansen, Dean McDermott, Russell Peters, and Ron MacLean for her My Car column. More


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