Last year, Zuri Hall became the newest E! News correspondent, where she interviews musicians, actors and entertainers. During awards season, she is a special correspondent and co-host for Live From the Red Carpet. Below, she talks about how she got her job at E! and offers some advice to those looking to enter the industry.
Tell us about yourself.
I was a four-year Morrill scholar, and graduated from The Ohio State University with a BA in strategic communication, and a minor in theatre (emphasis on acting) in spring 2010. I was an active member of the Black Student Theatre Network and of Ohio Union Television during my senior year. I was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio!
What do you do for E! Entertainment Television?
I'm an on-air correspondent for E! News and every day is different. Some days I do stand-ups and traditional host reads in the newsroom or in-studio on the E! News set. Other evenings I'm covering film premiere red carpets (like The Revenant and The Big Short). I also do one-on-one sit-down interviews with musicians, actors and entertainers. During awards season, I'm a special correspondent/co-host for E!'s popular Live from The Red Carpet shows. I've covered the American Music Awards, Golden Globes, Grammys and the Oscars! I also produce, so I write and oversee the editing of those stories, from start to finish.
How did you land your job?
Developing and utilizing professional relationships is a major part of any industry. Being represented by a well-connected agency is a major help. My agent knew the position was going to become available, and when she told me about it, I jumped at the opportunity. An agent can get you into a room, but your talent and experience is what keeps you there.
However, I didn’t start my career with an agent. You have to pay your dues, build a reel and then you attract agents, managers, publicists, etc. who want to work with you and represent you.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
I love that no two days are the same! Monotony gets boring to me after a while, so it's great that I'm constantly challenged and growing. I truly enjoy having open, authentic conversations with interesting people — and I must admit, the glamour of walking and reporting on A-list red carpets is exhilarating!
What advice would you give to students looking to enter your industry?
Content is king — and queen! You have to create to keep your skills sharp and you must develop a fresh perspective. Everyone has something to say, and in this digital age, it's easy to be drowned out in all the noise. So sharpen your craft, your delivery, the lens through which you view and communicate to the world. That's what will make viewers want to hear “the same old information” from you, instead of the next person. I write blog posts with inspirational and motivational advice for aspiring hosts — they're featured on my #AlphaBabe blog, at ZuriHall.com.
Success is not a straight and simple path, so be open to the winding road of life. There is more than one route to the same destination.
You have to want it more, be more patient and outwork your competition. But true talent grouped with persistence and dedication to your craft will eventually make room for your breakthrough. My tenacity is the one quality that has kept me afloat in difficult times. Success is not a straight and simple path, so be open to the winding road of life. There is more than one route to the same destination. Keep an open mind. Look at detours or setbacks as alternate routes that will somehow prepare you for the place you are meant to eventually arrive.
How did Ohio State help you on your career path?
Ohio State was my first introduction to a larger world outside of the small one I grew up in. My Morrill scholarship allowed me to pursue higher education without a major post-grad financial burden. I met people from all walks of life. My time spent on theatrical stages at Ohio State and in journalism courses helped validate my desire to entertain people for a living. I broke out of my shy shell and became much more social and outgoing while attending Ohio State.
What is your fondest Ohio State memory?
Football season! It's not one specific memory; it's the crisp, chilly air. The beauty of autumn as leaves change to burgundy, orange and gold while you walk alongside Mirror Lake. The high energy of game days when our team plays in the 'Shoe. Sweater weather and a fresh school year. Feeling like you've got a fresh start to take on whatever you want on campus. No matter where I am these days, autumn's arrival always takes me back to my time at Ohio State!