I am so excited to finally share my journey to becoming a host! Read more after the break!
I was 16 years-old when I first started hosting live on television. I was attending high school like a normal kid and had this amazing opportunity part-time. I was young, vibrant and eager to learn about the business. Years later, I did not realize the seeds this one opportunity would plant that would inspire the direction of my career forever. It was always my dream to become a TV host. Growing up in Chicago, I witnessed Oprah right at the peak of her career and it's amazing how she has evolved into the phenomenal woman she is today. I witnessed Oprah in her early days jogging around a local track and exercising in a park that I often went to. Just watching her from afar I was drawn in by her discipline, tenacity, commitment to excellence and willingness to never quit. One thing I knew about Oprah was that she was a fighter and if I wanted to be in this industry, I would have a long road ahead of me and I would have to fight too. When I first desired to be a host, I never really cared for the glamour of it and all the lights. It manifested from my genuine desire to have authentic, enriching and life changing conversations with people. It was rooted in my desire to write and tell stories that would shift perspectives and enlighten hearts and minds across the world.
So I went on and continued to pursue this passion. I attended George Washington University and studied journalism and mass communication. I minored in theater and dance. In addition to hosting, I always loved dancing and acting. During school, I hosted a radio show on my college campus for three years. It was a music based show where we mostly interviewed local artist. In addition to that, I was committed to interning at least once a semester. I interned first at theYBF.com, an urban celebrity news gossip site. They were the first to send me on red carpets and really give me an opportunity to explore my gifts. I went on to interview the likes of Diddy, Taraji P. Henson, Neyo, Trey Songz, Vivica A. Fox and Robin Thicke to name a few. From there, doors continued to open and I interned for the CW television network, The Fab Empire and CBS. During this time I gained incredible mentors that have helped me navigate my career and that I am still able to call friends today. I initially thought I would go straight from high school and move to LA, but I found value in getting a formal education in what I really loved and wanted to continue learning more about. Check out some photos below!
After graduating from college, finding a job was initially tough. I applied for thousands of jobs and even with a strong hosting reel, the doors were not opening. I was blessed to eventually land a part-time job at WVON Chicago as a fill-in news reporter and did the traffic and weather at 6am in the morning. I worked there for a few months and then decided to relocate to LA. When I first moved to Los Angeles in 2013, one of the reasons was because of an opportunity at KTLA News. As soon as I moved here however, that opportunity fell through. Although this was discouraging I continued to fight through and knock on doors. Soon after, my career took a shift. I got an agent and focused full time on acting and modeling. I had found a new joy in acting. I absolutely LOVE acting. However a part of me eventually began to feel like I had abandoned my first love, hosting.
Looking back, I began to suppress this hosting dream and act like I did not even want it anymore. Has that ever happened to you? You suppress whatever it is that you want to do and pretend you are not as passionate about it as you truly and deeply are? That's called fear and we are going to address that as you continue to read.
For the last five years in LA, I have been acting, modeling and doing a lot of commercials. It was not until the beginning of this year, 2017, that I made a decision to get back into hosting in addition to acting. I had an amazing opportunity to host at Afterbuzz and I am currently there now. I also freelance and host for other networks and at various live events.
Reflecting back, I remember having a conversation with a mentor earlier this year and she questioned why I took that break and stopped pursuing hosting. That conversation exposed some fears and insecurities I did not even know where buried deep down. Why did I stop pursuing hosting? I had faced a ton of rejection in life but why did this particular rejection sting the most? I realized that sometimes the very thing you love the most, can also hurt you the most. However the wonderful thing about God is that He will redeem the time you think you lost, restore you and give you new hope and joy!
Steve Harvey says whatever you do best with the least amount of effort is your God-given gift. I am so glad that my career is coming back full circle and I am so excited about the new doors opening in this season! I am growing to be more bold than ever before and trust God's timing with my career!
So here are my tips if you want to become a host!
1.) Go to school or enroll in a program
I have seen myself as a 16-year-old host without training, and a 21-year-old with training. The results are drastic. Get in some type of training even if it isn't the traditional college route. Marki Costello has a program in LA for aspiring host and from what I understand it's very good and many people have become successful host after this program.
Do as many internships as possible. Even if it does not pay initially, if it's a great opportunity to learn and grow do it anyway!
3.) Be open to correction
I get corrected daily. It used to be tough but now I completely embrace it. When it comes to hosting, you can either tape yourself and make corrections about what you like and don't like and you can also have your friends and/or people you trust correct you. Growth is key and it only happens through correction!
4.) Be innovative
With social media today, you don't have to wait for someone to hire you to be a TV host. You can literally produce and host your own show. Use social media to your advantage and promote your work until the right doors open up! Produce, write and put on your own show!
5.) Address your fears and don't ever quit
You must be consistent and committed - 100 percent of the time. You must be able to stand in the face of rejection even if you are rejected a 10,000 times! When I first graduated from college I applied for over 1,500 journalism and news reporter jobs. No calls. No emails. Nothing.
Keep going. Keep knocking. The door shall open. Love yourself enough not to give up. Love your dream enough to never throw in the towel. Don't abandon it because things get hard. Block fear, lock in and stay focused.
Hope this article helped! I would love to hear your comments below!
1.) I have an event "Destiny Unstoppable" which is a high tea gathering in LA coming up September 17th. If you live here, I would LOVE to meet you! Get tickets by clicking here.