As indie-pop phenom Claire Boucher AKA Grimes has found herself squarely in the mainstream after the release of her newest album and the birth of her first child with tech billionaire Elon Musk, Boucher’s mother, Sandy Garossino, has also developed a newfound influence in the social media sphere. The lawyer-turned-columnist has a history in the spotlight of Vancouver, where she has lived and worked for decades, but the burgeoning relationship between Grimes and Musk has granted Garossino a new kind of influence.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Garossino is an Award-Winning Journalist
In 2015, Garossino took over as editor-in-chief of the Vancouver Observer and she is now a columnist at its parent publication, the National Observer, where she covers energy, politics, and culture. In 2016, she was recognized for ‘Best Column’ in Canada by the Canadian Online Publishing Association and she was a finalist for the Jack Webster Award for ‘Best Column’ in 2019.
Before transitioning into journalism, Garossino was a Crown prosecutor and director of two cab companies in Vancouver. According to the Vancouver Observer, Garossino also spent a decade on the board of the Vancouver International Writer’s Festival, and she co-founded a publishing house called House of Parlance Media. To address criminal stalking and online child harassment, Garossino also co-founded the Red Hood Project with Raffi.
2. Her Now-Famous Daughter, Claire Boucher AKA Grimes, Just Gave Birth To Her First Child With SpaceX Exec Elon Musk
Garossino’s biography is defined in part by the meteoric rise to fame of her daughter, Claire Boucher, who began releasing music under the name “Grimes” in 2010. A Canada native, Boucher became a fixture in the DIY indie scene after releasing her début album, Geidi Primes. Over the last decade, Boucher has found critical and commercial success for her 80s synth-pop meets techno rave flavor of experimental art-pop. With the aesthetic style of an elven cyborg, Boucher crashed into the mainstream in 2015 with Art Angel and her track “Oblivion” on her 2012 album Visions now touts more than 68 million plays on Spotify.
In April 2020, the 32-year-old gave birth to her first child with tech billionaire Elon Musk. The name of the baby was announced on social media and caused a stir among fans and critics over its meaning, pronunciation, and legality. The birth came on the heels of Boucher’s much-anticipated album, Miss Anthropocene, which was announced in 2019 and released in February 2020 to widespread acclaim.
“This is a ‘It Gets Better’ story,” Garossino said of her daughter’s success in an interview with Canada’s The Globe and Mail in 2012. “This is the kid who couldn’t stand high school, was never in the in-crowd, didn’t fit in, and thought school was hell,” she said. “It gets better. Look. This can happen to anybody, to all those kids. Believe in yourself and keep at it.”
3. She’s Active On Social Media and Has Butted Heads With Musk In A Recent Twitter Exchange
In a now all-too-common, what-is-the-future-coming-to Twitter exchange, Elon Musk tweeted, “Take the red pill,” with a red rose emoji to which First family member Ivanka Trump replied, “Taken!” The exchange prompted The Matrix director Lilly Wachowski to reply, “Fuck both of you.”
Musk’s reference alludes to the plot of The Matrix, which was released to immense commercial success in 1999. Since then, “the red pill” and similar allusions have been co-opted by right-wing talking heads and, more darkly, the alt-right movement. The latter association prompted Garossino to condemn Musk’s tweet in a reply which was captured by the Daily Mail before being deleted from Garossino’s account. In the tweet, Garossino wrote, “If your partner went through a challenging pregnancy and childbirth in the last two weeks… And you were over 16 years old, Would you be blaring MRA bullshit on Twitter right now?”
4. Garossino Ran Unsuccessfully For Vancouver City Council
In 2011, Garossino launched an unsuccessful campaign for a seat on the Vancouver City Council. By that time, Garossino had long been a fixture of the Vancouver community, and she garnered political attention for her involvement in the movement, Vancouver Not Vegas, which attempts to block the growth of casinos in the area.
“Neighborhoods are up in arms,” she claimed in an interview with Straight during her campaign. “Almost all of the issues that are really dividing the community right now, or that are creating controversy, come from a poor public consultation process.”
5. She Interviewed PM Justin Trudeau About Canada’s Controversial Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project
In 2018, Garossino sat down with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to discuss the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project, a controversial plan to twin an existing, 1,150-kilometer pipeline between Edmonton, Alberta, and Burnaby. The expansion is estimated to nearly triple the pipeline’s oil capacity, bringing it from 300,000 liters to 890,000.
The plan was approved in June 2019 despite protests from indigenous movements and environmental groups. Many felt that Trudeau ran for prime minister with vocal support from both groups only to throw his weight behind a costly pipeline project the will increase oil production and disrupt indigenous land.