My reign as Miss Nevada

Red Carpet Interviewing 101

When USA Today asked me to cover I Heart Radio, my immediate response was, “Absolutely!”

But the high and excitement associated with this new found adventure was almost immediately followed by worry and dread. I’d never worked a red carpet event before. What if I didn’t ask the right questions? Would I get star struck in the presence of my favorite celebrities?

Red Carpet

Suddenly the ways in which this could go wrong were very apparent. And as the event drew closer, the nightmares grew vivid. I’d show up in a dress that would rip, or suddenly while talking with Katy Perry I’d forget how to speak English.

Luckily for me, USA Today was sending their resident music expert, Brian Mansfield, to cover I Heart with me. He’d been with USA Today since 1997 and was the first person Taylor Swift followed on Twitter. You know, NBD (right).

So naturally, I arrived the first night terrified. Mansfield was a music reporting legend, a jedi of journalism. What would he think of the pageant queen blogger recently brought on to cover Las Vegas stories? I mean, would I even take myself seriously with a background like that?

I met Mansfield outside the press check-in. As it turns out, I had little to worry about.

Brian & Hilary 2

Quite possibly the nicest guy ever, Mansfield has some incredible stories with every musician from Brian Wilson to Taylor Swift and The Band Perry. Lucy Hale from Pretty Little Liars had even picked out the pants he was wearing. I offered to be his assistant in Nashville whenever he needed.

He’d never been to I Heart Radio before either. “I was going to follow your lead on this one, since you’re from Vegas.”

I had to laugh at the situation. My plan was to follow his lead all weekend. At least we thought alike.

We loaded into the press room and used the few remaining minutes before the doors opened to get situated on social media.

Brian & Hilary

Seven o’clock hit. And I stared down the entrance with anticipation, like a puppy waiting for her owner to come home.

Two hours later, not one person had stepped foot in our press room. The concert was in full swing and we’d seen NO ONE.

Hilary sad

I started to panic. How was I supposed to make a video when I had no one to report on? Brian emphasized patience. “There will be two minutes worth of content.”

And as if by his decree, I got my first interview with Courtney Bingham, Nikki Sixx’s fiancée. I tried not to shake in my heels as Brian and the others watched me ask her questions. But she was incredibly sweet and my dress didn’t rip, so dream crisis averted.

Presenters and musicians started trickling in. Ryan Seacrest would be my second interview. I couldn’t get over how well he articulated his thoughts. I really just wanted to pull him aside for a quick Q&A about being a host, but the wranglers were already moving him along. I asked my two questions and thanked him for his time.

Ryan Seacrest

I watched the other hostesses and how quick they were on their feet. I tried to remind myself that the ease would come with practice. They were just so good. So confident. And I felt so green.

But then again, two years ago you wouldn’t have been able to CONVINCE me I’d be in the underbellies of the MGM Grand Garden Arena (wearing a tiara no less) waiting to interview Steve Harvey. So I guess this wasn’t a bad place to start learning, was it? And arguably, I had one of the country’s best journalists to observe and learn from.

Mansfield left the press room to go watch the concert. I stayed on the red carpet, planting my heels a little firmer. I’d lived in a village in Fiji. I could talk to stars for five minutes.

The Summer Set

So I started having fun. And wouldn’t you know it, when the panic left and I enjoyed the experience, even the artists were more willing to stay and chat with me.

Tiesto

Of course, it certainly didn’t hurt that my editor was happy with my first submissions in her follow-up emails the next morning.

But I guess that’s the key, isn’t it? Even if you don’t know what you’re doing, do it with exuberance and excitement. Because it may just be that there’s a great opportunity waiting for you. And this may be the time to trust someone else’s view of your capabilities and leap.

After all, with a little enthusiasm and the right mentor, isn’t almost anything possible?

Hilary on red carpet

10 Comments

  • Reply

    Ingrid

    October 9, 2013

    Congratulations…..job well done. Do I detect a new career path?

    • Reply

      Hilary

      October 9, 2013

      Thank you, Ingrid!

      Possibly! I had a lot of fun and would love to do it again. What do you think? Is it possible to be a traveler/adventurer and also a red carpet hostess?

  • Reply

    Gene

    October 9, 2013

    “I’d lived in a village in Fiji. I could talk to stars for five minutes.” Isn’t it great how past experiences give you the confidence to deal with today’s challenges?

    You were wonderful! I froze when I saw Gregg Rollie (original lead singer of Journey) across a folding table. I just stood there. I never saw it coming and didn’t know what to do. Now there’s a nightmare.

    • Reply

      Hilary

      October 16, 2013

      It’s true! You’d think that training a lion would have been scarier than interviewing celebrities. Not true, haha.

      And thank you! Hopefully they’ll let me do it again!

      Can’t stop laughing at your experience. Thanks so much for sharing. :)

  • Reply

    Lynn Schriner

    October 9, 2013

    What makes you so approachable is your humble, girl next door, I am” amazed at my amazing life adventures!” Your a wonder and a great gift to many. I am thankful to call you my friend

    • Reply

      Hilary

      October 16, 2013

      Thank you so much, Lynn! Your words are greatly appreciated. :) So grateful to have you along on my journey! Lots of love, friend!

  • Reply

    Uncle Fre

    October 9, 2013

    Congratulations niece, you were stupendous. I’m so shy I’d have dropped the mike the minute the first star came up to me.
    Keep at your great life’s’ adventure. If anyone can do it, tis you with the special gift and great heart.

    • Reply

      Hilary

      October 16, 2013

      Thank you so much! Thanks for following the journey. :)

  • Reply

    Somehow I missed that you were Miss Nevada! How utterly cool that I Heart Radio asked you to do this. I definitely agree that enthusiasm and exuberance can open almost any door. It sounds like an amazing experience and I certainly enjoyed reading about it.

    • Reply

      Hilary

      October 16, 2013

      Haha! That’s too funny. I guess in your defense, I haven’t been talking about it too much. I suppose I worry that my readers won’t accept this other side of ‘adventure Hilary’? What do you think?

      And thanks so much for commenting! I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed reading about it! Do you have a favorite singer that you would like to meet one day?

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About Me

About Me

Hey fellow adventurers, my name is Hilary! After being rejected from grad school, I took off on a solo journey around the world. Now I constantly challenge myself to take on new experiences. This blog documents my journeys from Europe to Fiji, swimming with sharks and living with tribes, to becoming an accidental beauty queen and working for one of the top national media outlets. If you like what you're reading, please subscribe! Here's to the next great adventure!

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