How did you become a TV Host?
I get asked this question quite a bit which I totally understand! I mean, hosting isn’t your typical job and becoming one isn’t exactly encouraged or taught in school to which I ask, WHY NOT?!?!
Actually there are a lot of reasons why hosting isn’t a major. It’s a pretty untraditional job, it’s not stable, there are only so many paid positions, and it’s not stable. Wait, I already said that.
That being said, if you’re a natural with people, conversational, knowledgeable and passionate about a niche market, love the camera, and enjoy a good hustle, then keep reading. 🙂 It doesn’t matter how tough it is to land a position and how rarely they may come by. If you’re genuinely into the idea of making a career out of being a host, just know that the struggles are totally worth the rewards. I have interviewed some of the biggest names in entertainment, travelled to unique places, and pushed myself to limits I never thought possible in media so I’m definitely still in it to win it.
But the industry is different today than when I started at 19. Branding myself on social media wasn’t an option and I didn’t have the foresight to see Youtube (which had launched just two years before) as a platform where I could create my own content, my own audience, in my own way. Instead, I went about it the old fashioned way. I studied Journalism in my post-grad, volunteered at networks and media companies (A LOT + EVERYWHERE), joined networking groups, hired an agent, applied to every entry level position in media, and talked about my hosting dreams to anyone who would listen. I think a lot of these routes still apply but it’s never been easier to get started.
Truth is, there isn’t a tried, tested and true method to become a host but here are three ways to get started no matter what era or decade you’re starting out in:
- BE A VOICE FOR SOMETHING
What do you care about? What do you represent? What do you know a lot about and talk about it with confidence and conviction? Whether it’s movies, food, music, tech, fashion, make it be known to the world that you have a lane and that you can be a go-to source within it by creating a consistent voice on social media. It’s never too late to start becoming an expert in something. You just learn, put in the work, be confident in voicing your opinions, and sharing your findings with others. If you have a voice, someone will listen. If you’re consistent with it, a following will come and so will a respectable reputation which can one day help you land some incredible gigs that align with what you believe in.
2. START YOUR OWN CHANNEL
Whether it’s your own blog, Youtube channel, Instagram page, Facebook, whatever. Utilize digital platforms to the fullest to build an online demo reel. If you use these platforms to your advantage, they’ll become your online resume. I am a producer myself and I have found myself scrolling through different pages and channels to find a face for particular projects. If you’re wondering whether or not I go through people’s timelines, watch their videos, or read their captions, you can stop wondering because the answer is YES. Point is, you never know who’s watching or who’s going to come across your content. It might take that one person and that one video to land you a gig.
3. NETWORK NETWORK NETWORK
I’ve never been a fan of networking groups or networking events. They seem disingenous and forced which is why I believe that networking should be something you do on the daily. Look at networking as relationship building. Be open to meeting new people, learning about their stories, and how you can help. I met someone at a party once and it turned out they were also in broadcasting. I’d run into him randomly in the city, and then one day we became Facebook buds. We’d wish one another a happy birthday or new year when those dates rolled around and maintained a friendly rapport. He ended up reaching out to me three years later when his agency was looking for a reporter, and since then I’ve landed a spot on their freelance roster covering red carpet interviews for their clients across North America. Just like anything, relationships take time so take the time to create some good ones and don’t expect to receive when you’re not willing to give (your time, favours, help). American entrepreneur Reid Hoffman once said “Your network is the people who want to help you, and you want to help them, and that’s really powerful.” PREACH!
I can not stress how important it is to put yourself out there if you want a career in hosting. You can not sit around waiting for opportunities to pop up no matter how experienced you already are or how big your following is. Always continue to pay your dues, build an online presence, acquire unique content for your reel, and build positive relationships wherever you go.