SO YOU THINK YOU KNOW LEAH MILLER?

The host of the hotly anticipated new series So You Think You Can Dance Canada sat down with Priya Panda to chat about love, life and the perils of live TV.

Though she’s a firm believer in fate, Leah Miller feels it was just plain luck that won her the gig as host of MuchMusic’s popular live Much on Demand program four years ago. After graduating high school at the tender age of 16—the precocious Miller skipped a grade—she had no idea where the wind would take her. “I just knew I had to travel and find my own way,” she reminisces more than a decade later. 

The petite blonde paid her dues as a working actor in Los Angeles, but in between auditions and small roles she realized she was homesick. “I’m a Cancer, I’m a homebody. I missed home, my friends and family. It’s so hard out there without family.”

Oddly enough it was during a trip home to Toronto for Christmas in 2002 that her father, a schoolteacher, suggested she go and meet a former student (Sheila Sullivan) of his that just happened to run MuchMusic. “It was nothing I’d ever thought about doing,” explains Miller, who made an audition tape soon after. Two years later, and after a stint living in England,
she was hired by MuchMusic as a VJ. “It’s funny that now that I’m doing this, I can’t imagine doing anything else,” she laughs.

The bulk of Leah’s on-camera experience was gained at MuchMusic. “There are no teleprompters, no cue cards. It has been my university and it’s really helped me with my new job as host of So You Think You Can Dance Canada. The show is going to be live and in live TV you have to be ready for anything,” she enthuses.
It’s a natural next step for Miller, who danced as a child. She wanted the job so badly the audition process was beyond nerve-wracking. “Though I was later told my audition went really, really well, I was up all night, crying because I thought I didn’t do a good enough job. I’m a perfectionist, so I’m really hard on myself.”

Don’t expect to see Leah, now 27, dancing up a storm any time soon—she hasn’t taken a lesson in years. Plus, she’d rather leave it to the experts. “I’m going to let them do their thing. Honestly, the dancers are unbelievable and I’m not just saying that. They’re all good looking and they’re all really sweet. I think that’s the coolest part, talking to them and finding out they’re all just lovely down-to-earth people who are really passionate about dancing. That’s something I can relate to.”

There’s no doubt Leah has carved a niche for herself with audiences simply by being herself. “I’m really comfortable in front of the camera. I don’t even get nervous anymore. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I don’t want to play a character on TV. I’m just my goofy self, I’m a natural girl.”

Though viewers relate to her, Miller juggles a high profile career with a high profile personal life. Her boyfriend is Alexisonfire and City & Colour’s Dallas Green. “Dal and I have been together two-and-a-half years. I love him to death and I couldn’t do any of this without him,” she reveals tearing up, much to the makeup artist’s chagrin. “We’re practically married already.”

In her spare time, she enjoys what she calls nesting. “I love making my house nice and pretty and spending most of my time there. I like gardening, cooking and baking. I’m boring like a little old lady! My boyfriend and I will walk down to the bookstore and get our magazines and come home and sit. We’re losers.”

Well, not quite. Not many self-proclaimed losers can say their best friends are MOD co-host Matte Babel and pop princess Hilary Duff. Neither can they cite Coldplay’s Chris Martin, rocker Tommy Lee and actor Matthew McConaughey as their favourite people to interview. (Though maybe a few can claim that the infamous Paris Hilton looked down on them like “pond scum.”)

Miller’s down-to-earth quality distinguishes her in the oh-so-perfect glossy world of celebrity media. She’s humble and grateful to be in the position she’s in and that’s why Canada can’t get enough of her. Confides the star: “My family is just so amazing and so is my boyfriend. Anything that I get on top of that is just icing on the cake. I feel very lucky.”

Check out Leah’s picks

LEAH WEARS:
Black dress with rhinestone straps from I Miss You Vintage, Toronto Bangle by Loranne Kettlewell
Her own silver pumps by Christian Louboutin

White halter dress from Franny Vintage
Crystal hoop earringsby Loranne Kettlewell
White heels by Christian Louboutin at Davids