Estimated Read Time: 15 minutes
- How I made it as a Host on Entertainment Tonight Online.
- One of my hardest moments.
- How fear drove me to succeed.
- How I struggled more than I let people know.
- Why the world is more accessible to you than you think!
A quote that has been resonating with me over the last few years has been (and is SO true)
‘A year from now you’ll wish you had started TODAY.’
It’s so easy to make excuses, I do it all the time, we all do, but as soon as I started actually putting a little bit of work in – emailing people, filming, creating original ideas, booking makeup gigs I was terrified to do — I received an abundance of positive feedback in return. Which in turn, has made me push for more and put more time and effort into everything else I want to accomplish. It isn’t just about setting a goal and achieving it, it’s about the question, as my boyfriend, Michael always likes to ask himself, ‘What’s next?’
On Be That 1%, my plan is to give you an insight into how I got to where I am today – taking a route 99% of people aren’t willing to dive into and take a chance on. In this blog I’ll also try to give some tips and tricks on how WE can stay motivated to live our best lives and make our dreams reality!
Long story short, I am 28 years old and I live in Los Angeles – where most all of my girlfriends went to college and I never visited because I was terrified of this ginormous city that I now call home…
I am a Host and Video Producer for Entertainment Tonight online (or ‘ET’ – not to be confused with E! or E! News).
ET has been on television for just under 37 years and in my world, growing up, Entertainment Tonight and Mary Hart (the former host)’s career and life was the pinnacle for aspiring entertainment news journalists.
I’m very thankful and grateful to my very core to be where I am at today.
Sometimes you forget and it’s easy to take it for granted and I try my best to not.
I’m not only working for Entertainment Tonight under CBS, a brand and company I could have only dreamed of working for as a little girl, but I’m also balancing my love for working as a freelance makeup artist and building my YouTube Beauty/Vlogging channel which I’ve been fortunate, as of late, to be able to combine all the three.
I’ve been in the entertainment news industry for 5 years now…wow…5 years, and it was not an easy road, by any means to get here today. I had family and friends alike tell me I should, ‘Just get a real job.’ That I ‘needed stability’ and this was, ‘just a phase’ and…well, tbh (to-be-honest) I did go through plenty of phases in my childhood so I understand why they were worrisome for me to embark on this uncharted path.
It’s so easy to take a ‘normal’ route and that’s why it’s scary, but also exciting.
I was fearful, yes and was at times unstable (and on unemployment) but the journey and what has happened in the long run has been so worth it.
Don’t get me wrong though, now with social media, people are making it look easy because it’s easy to look like you’re doing just great! When in reality, the route you took and the obstacles you faced took a lot of sacrifice and hard work and dedication and LOTS of tears to get there. Those were of course, the moments I didn’t happen to capture on Instagram…
I want to take you back to one of my hardest moments along this journey… I was making a lot of money – more than my sister who graduated from USC and my friends that had their Masters Degree, at the age of 25 – with a Bachelors Degree from CSUF. My contract with TMZ (my first job out of college) was coming to a close within the next year and I had a decision to make.
Was I going to be here for another 3 years? That was the length of our contracts & Harvey Levin, my boss, wanted to go further and sign me into a 5-year deal…because he knew I was ‘going to be great’ and I’d be making just under 6 figures by the age of 26. Anyone reading this might think I’m insane to say no to that, but my sanity, was what was at stake.
I pretended to negotiate for about a week with Harvey, asking outrageous things of him – because I knew he wouldn’t make it easy for me to leave and I love him for that. But it was my time and I felt it.
I’ll never forget one of the higher-ups there asked me,
‘Kristen, if you couldn’t fail, would you stay?’ I said, ‘No, If I knew I would succeed outside this place I’d be gone this second,’ she said, ‘You have your answer.’
With that I had my last conversation with Harvey and we parted ways. I got a wonderful send off into a 4-month long journey of unemployment. I had some savings to ride on, my sister was about to give birth to my first nephew and I finally felt free – I was able to spend some time with them and enjoy life a little. Until bills started rolling in. I had been in talks with a few companies about a month out before leaving and had a few interviews lined up for the weeks after I left, but that was it.
No stability besides a little bit of savings and some help from my boyfriend, who lived with me in a little house in Hermosa Beach. It was the hardest time for me in my life but also the most rewarding few months of my life.
I got to a point where I was struggling more than I let my family or Michael (my boyfriend) know.
I was stressed about money and was so worried but I knew failure wasn’t an option – going back home would be so easy, packing everything up and getting a regular 9-5 …but I knew if I did that I would never come back,
I would regret it and I would never see my dreams of being a host/journalist through.
I finally broke down and to me, somewhat failed, when I had to apply for unemployment. I couldn’t land a solid gig after 2 months of searching and doing side projects. I went hard on my blog and my YouTube channel, trying to keep a schedule and stay motivated – filming once, sometimes twice a day, to stay up on my on-camera skills, sending out my resumes and cover letters and usually un-answered cold calls.
One day I received an email from ET I had a phone interview with my now friend and supervising producer Lauren Zima and it took a few weeks – and a lot of pestering on my end – but I went into the office not too long after, met her and my boss now and we all hit it off.
I started about a month later freelancing – writing scripts, doing voice overs for the stories I was reporting on and producing packages!
I was finally where I wanted to be and was surrounded by peers in my industry that loved and had a passion for the glamorous side of entertainment news.
Now, a year and a half later, I can say I made it to my Promise Land. I took the path less traveled by my friends and family, and it has made all the difference.
If I had not struggled and kept the fire lit from within, I would have given up.
It can be the hardest thing in the world to be your own cheerleader, to believe in yourself but when you do, little miracles can happen (but really, it’s your hard work finally paying off).
KRISTEN’S EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH PRETTY LITTLE LIARS, TROIAN BELLISARIO
KRISTEN’S INTERVIEW WITH NAZANIN MANDI, ACTRESS & DESIGNER
KRISTEN’S CHALLENGE TO YOU
As a reader, I challenge you to push past the ‘boundaries’ people, or maybe even you, have put on yourself.
The world is so accessible and people are so much more accessible than you realize.
I challenge you to push out those cold emails, those cold calls – find that dream job you’ve wanted or reach out to that person you’ve always wanted to work for or with. I promise you, it will be worth it and if you never ask…the answer is always no.
Until next time!
You can find Kristen regularly on her Youtube Channel at Kristen Gill