Overworked and Underpaid
If you want to make millions, move to Silicon Valley and create a life-changing app. If you can create an app capable of folding laundry, I want in on the investment, and we’ll go straight to da bank! #CashMoney. But really, expect long [and obviously not normal] hours… oh, and a short paycheck. You’ll say #ByeFelicia to your nights, weekends, and holidays. Enjoy the ride with those “little” jobs, because it’s within those positions, that’ll test your [thick] skin and willingness to pursue the career even further. Don’t be afraid or act “too good” to hold cables on the sideline. You betta own that “ugly” vest [wear cute and comfortable shoes ☺] and smile! You never know who’s watching.
Success isn’t overnight
Be patient, young grasshoppers. I love my fellow millennials and you generation Z kids, I really do. BUT… success doesn’t happen overnight and most importantly gigs won’t be handed to you. Just like the olden days… you know before entitlement and instant gratification became such a way life… you have to prove yourself. And this still holds true in the biz. Preparation and repetition is key.
Personal vs Professional work balance [<--- this is a post in itself down the road!]
You’re going to need a compass, err, GPS [maybe a few glasses of wine + old episodes of Grey’s Anatomy] to navigate this one. In the beginning, you will be faced and challenged by significant others, family and friends about the amount of time you're dedicating to your job. You may even lose a couple of friends because it’s simply challenging [actually impossible] to keep in touch with everyone about everything. Also, don’t take it personally, but out of sight is out of mind. However, you'll eventually find solace and contentment with the group of family and friends who "get it" and will be there for you no matter what network you're on. My biggest piece of advice is while you're in the process of achieving your ultimate dream, take time to not only appreciate the journey... but appreciate those around you who really have supported you the whole way. It takes a LOT of sacrifices to make it all work. And eventually you'll get to a place where you obviously love what you do, but you equally love the life [+ people in it] you're living...
Ps: hopefully you get lucky with an awesome TV or crew family… because they’re pretty fun to share experiences with!
Pps: but really, I have a complete breakdown of a post coming soon all about work/life balance. I found myself writing and deleting this post 230598230 times because it's such a hot topic for us women in the biz!
“I want to be a sideline reporter”
#Pause. Instead, communicate your strengths in which will make you a productive and efficient sideline reporter. Also, communicate eagerness and willingness to be a sponge and learn it all. The last thing an employer wants to hear is “I love sports and I want to be a sideline reporter” DUH. Do you know how many times they hear the same declaration over and over again? I’m pretty sure I mistakenly said it in my first interview… womp womppp. Be specific of your strengths and adjust accordingly to being a one-man band [shoot, write, edit]. Also, think of something that sets you apart from the rest and makes you memorable. How will they remember you over so and so?
Locker rooms are awkward
Ladies… being in a locker room full of smelly, sweaty, half naked dudes is just plain awkward. I’ll never forget the first butt I saw. And thankfully it’s all I’ve seen. Whew. It’s literally [and unfortunately] burned into my brain. You can still be professional, but it will always be awkward. Don't worry, it’s equally awkward for them, too. >> Maintain eye contact, and do your job. <<
It isn’t glamorous… well, most of the time.
Contrary to popular belief, a hair and makeup team does not escort you off your private jet throughout your travels to touch up stray hairs, and wipe lip sweat. Nope. That’s on you, girl. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve changed in a van, or used the men’s restroom in a stadium because the ladies always have the longer line.... and ain't nobody got time for that! Eventually you get the products and look down pat, but even with the most cautionary preparation, the elements can surprise you. It sounds elementary, but check weather ahead of time and properly prepare.
PS: my go to’s for TV makeup include the following:
Urban Decay “De Slick” setting spray ← liquid gold for surviving the sweltering south! I use this on the reg, even over tinted moisturizer [Laura Mercier] for my day to day routine.
Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer [if I don't want the heavy makeup and prefer a quick, on the go, dewey look!]
Lifestyle, not a job
Revert back to #1 and recognize erratic hours + travel are the reasons this is a lifestyle, not a job. I mean it is a job, but the lifestyle concept is vitally important to grasp. When “they” say jump, you say how high. It’s almost as if you need one of those “pregnancy hospital bags” ready to go at all times, when they call you in off the bench. Sooner than later you’ll learn the ebb and flow of your abnormal schedule and routine. And in no time you'll be a pro at navigating conversations with friends + family about overcommitting and under delivering. You’ll meet some awesome people along the way, who “get” it and additionally will be #AboutThatLyfe.
Agents, agents, agents….
ASK QUESTIONS and ALWAYS REMEMBER THEY WORK FOR YOU! They are a direct reflection of you, your brand, and you want to be sure you have the right person for the job. Your agent will pitch you for gigs, open doors to new opportunities, and negotiate the #CashMoney. GOLDEN RULE: NEVER STOP REACHING OUT TO YOUR OWN ROLODEX AND LETTING THEM AWARE OF YOUR SITUATION. I can’t stress how important this is… Just because you have an agent, doesn’t mean YOU should stop working for YOU. Agents are great, but you will always be your best agent, because nobody knows you better than YOU!
Ask how they will market you and what makes you different from the others they represent.
Ask about their other clients and if/how many yield a conflict of interest.
Example: If they already represent three blondes covering college basketball at the same network… why would they pitch you as a 4th? Do they even have room for a 4th?
Know your competition within their agency and where you’d fit into the puzzle.
Social Media awareness
Ahh social media. On twitter, “save draft” is your best friend. You have 140 characters to enhance or destroy your career. Tread wisely. On instagram? Ask how you are portraying yourself. I’ve had girls reach out to me about getting into the business and the first thing I do is look them up on social media. If you’re in college, and I know college is fun…. Think long term. Think about those pictures you take when you’re out late at night [+ eating 4th meal at Taco Bell] and the image as well as experience might seem fuzzy. Do they come into focus later? And if so, how might those photos, which seemed fun and funny at the time, affect your potential career. One swift google image search can allow others to form premeditated assumptions about your character and reputation… fair or unfair. They [I don’t know who “they” are, but “they” say it] say it takes years to build a reputation and seconds to destroy it. Be smart and take the business you want to break into, or continue in, seriously.
Ps: my motto? Never post anything my grandmother would be ashamed to see or read. She’s a really sweet lady [HUGE Kentucky hoops fan, too. #BBN] and goes to church 6 days a week. She keeps me straight and I’m pretty sure has a direct line to the big man.
Be kind. Stay humble
The first time you see yourself on TV will be an overwhelmingly exciting feeling. If you’re already there, it never gets old hearing family and friends telling you what a wonderful job you’re doing with the gig. However, stay grounded and cognizant of how you’re treating others despite the “fame”, so to speak. Be kind to everyone around you and know you’re constantly under a microscope and every comment or misstep can and will be magnified. With that being said, you might be the “face” of the broadcast, but be aware of the other hard working people behind the scenes. Those people log just as many, if not more hours than you do, to assist with production. It takes an army to pull off a successful show or event. So I encourage you to learn their names, faces and know they’re just as important as you even though they aren’t seen on TV. Nobody likes a diva.
Bonus: write thank you notes. Yes, hand written, snail mail, thank you notes. People appreciate them and it shows a touch of class.