Read our exclusive interview with television host-entertainment journalist Kristen Aldridge, who’s currently hosting the daily pop culture series ‘omg! NOW on Yahoo!’ Aldridge, who’s interviewed such celebrities as Anthony Hopkins and Emily Blunt, recently branched out into the world of fashion by turning her passion of clothing into a line called Positively Celebrity. The entrepreneur discusses with us, among other things, how she became interested in reporting on entertainment and celebrity news, and who some of her favorite fashion icons are.
Shockya (SY): You’re currently serving as the host for ‘omg! NOW on Yahoo!,’ during which you talk about the latest entertainment and celebrity news. How did you become interested in becoming an entertainment journalist?
Kristen Aldridge (KA): I’ve wanted to be an entertainment reporter since I was 12 years old after I caught “Entertainment Tonight” on TV. Apparently I was hooked! When other kids were playing Barbies, I was using my hairbrush as a microphone to practice asking questions to pretend celebrities on a mock red carpet in my living room. I think it’s safe to say I haven’t stopped asking questions since!
SY: For the last 3 months, ‘omg! NOW’ has been the most watched show on the Internet, and even doubled the views of both TMZ.com and eonline.com. Why do you think the public enjoys your broadcast so much, and how did you react when you found out you beat TMZ and E! Online?
KA: I wish I knew the secret formula! It’s really an honor to be part of the Yahoo! family and I’m having such a blast. I’m so grateful to be doing something that I love, and the fact that people are enjoying it is just the icing on the cake. I’m a huge fan of TMZ and E! Online, and they’re both obviously such big, amazing brands, so I was pretty pumped when we got our numbers back. But Yahoo! and the incredibly talented team I work with every day totally rock, so I shouldn’t be surprised!
SY: Among the A-listers who you’ve interviewed are Anthony Hopkins, Justin Timberlake, Jessica Biel, Anne Hathaway, Ben Affleck and Emily Blunt. Who has been your favorite to interview, and why?
KA: That’s a tough one… It’s a tie between Anthony Hopkins and Emily Blunt. Interviewing Hopkins is so absolutely intimidating and utterly exhilarating all at the same time. He is such a phenomenal, powerful actor so just being in his presence is an honor. You’re really forced to be on your A-Game with him at all times and I live for that kind of challenge!
I’ve adored Emily Blunt since I first saw her in “The Devil Wears Prada,” so it’s always fun to interview actors that you’re also a huge fan of. She has such a lovely, vivacious personality that brings a smile to my face every time, and her down-to-earth nature is refreshing. It’s been really fun to follow her success along with her after all these years.
SY: You’re also a fashion lover, and you recently launched your own online pop culture magazine and clothing line called Positively Celebrity. Why did you feel compelled to introduce the magazine and clothing line, and what type of fashion do you focus on in both?
KA: I’m a self-professed pop culture junkie, fashion addict and lover of all things creative. I’m also a total computer geek, so building an online entertainment news site was the perfect fit! I strive to be a positive person, so I wanted to create an outlet to express that. Positively Celebrity is a positive take on the world of pop culture, as we only focus on the good things that celebrities are doing to be inspiration to all. We’re not a tabloid tell-all. I’m also a huge bargain gal, and after interviewing so many celebrities on the red carpet, my philosophy is that you don’t have to spend like a celebrity to feel like one. The fashion line I created is celebrity-inspired, but without the celebrity prices. I like to call it cheap chic! With so many options, you can always find a way to look great on a budget. We promote that ideal through both the online magazine and fashion line.
SY: Who are some of your fashion icons, and why?
KA: I love Zoe Saldana and Halle Berry. I don’t think I’ve ever seen them look bad on a red carpet! They know what works best on their body (but they are both so beautiful I think anything would probably look good!). My style is either boho vintage or red carpet glam, so I think Zoe and Halle are the perfect combination of the looks I find inspiration from.
SY: Before you began hosting ‘omg! NOW’ on Yahoo!, you were a sideline reporter for ‘Car Warriors’ on the SPEED Channel. You were also the host of the hit ESPN sports-entertainment series ‘ESPN Road Trip.’ How is sports reporting different than entertainment reporting, and how did you make the transition?
KA: Sports reporting and entertainment reporting are actually quite similar in the fact that both are incredibly fast-paced and you need to make sure you’re prepared for every interview. Both sports and entertainment involve a ton of research. You’re also always dealing with very fast deadlines and things will change at a moment’s notice.
You’ll definitely travel more extensively as a sports reporter, though…and the locations (for the most part) aren’t as ‘glamorous’ as all the Hollywood events you’ll be reporting from as an entertainment reporter.
I really love to do both! Put me on any adrenaline-packed sideline, dirty car garage or ritzy red carpet and I’m a happy girl! I feel blessed to be able to work within a multitude of genres.
SY: You have also appeared in commercials and print campaigns for such companies as Secret Deodorant, Target and ShopNBC . How did you become interested in ad work/modeling?
KA: Truthfully it was a great way to pay those bills during college! Growing up in Minnesota, there weren’t a ton of hosting opportunities like there are here in Los Angeles, so modeling and doing commercials kept me busy.
My mom introduced me to a local modeling agent when I was 13 after I expressed an interest in the entertainment industry. I was really shy as a kid so starting with that kind of work really brought me out of my shell. I still do campaigns now, as it’s always fun to be able to work on a variety of projects with cool people. Hosting and entertainment journalism is definitely where my passion lies, though.
SY: Your interest in television hosting and entertainment journalism sparked when you were young, and you majored in Broadcast Journalism at The University of St. Thomas. What advice do you have for teens and young adults who are interested in breaking into the broadcast entertainment world?
KA: Never wait for that phone to ring! Go out and soak up all the mentorship you can. Be willing to take smaller positions just to get in the door and work harder than you ever have before. Be willing to work behind the camera as well, because that knowledge and skill will be so valuable for your on-camera career. The more writing, producing, shooting and editing you can do the better. Research, research, research so you know everything you can about the entertainment industry – you can never do enough research. Stay positive and don’t give up! You CAN do what you’ve always dreamed of. Go out there and make it happen!
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Written by: Karen Benardello