The Surprising Way I Started My Media Career

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One of the top questions I get asked is how I managed to land a job where I get paid to do what I love. While I wish I could share the secret recipe for marrying your passion to your bank account, the reality is that success takes a willingness to experiment, a ton of persistence, and a hearty dash of luck.

This may surprise you, but when I got to college at Johns Hopkins University, I thought I wanted to study neuroscience. I quickly realized, however, that my interest was in storytelling, and I swapped to a writing major. I also started pitching my own creative projects (even though I'd literally never taken a video production class!), including a YouTube travel series focused on Baltimore, where I was going to school. From there, my tenacity paid off in a big way when I landed a recurring guest appearance on The Today Show.

But things got a little tougher when I graduated. Instead of finding an internship that might have played to my dream of being an on-camera personality, I insisted on finding a full-time job — and I found that role at a NYC-based ad agency. Even though I worked my way up from production assistant to associate producer, I'm convinced that an internship at the right company may have been a better move.

I honed my production skills during that time at the ad agency and continued to create original content of my own. All the same, if you're a recent graduate going into the media industry, I would highly recommend prioritizing the company, rather than the position, when you're first starting out. You never know — that internship might quickly turn into an offer.

After working my way up at the ad agency, I connected with the video department at Refinery29 through my professional network and was ready to pitch the show that developed into Try Living With Lucie. Before I even walked through the door for my interview, I had a plethora of original video content to show for — videos I had made for Johns Hopkins, for The Today Show, and for my personal Instagram and YouTube accounts.

Ultimately, my move to Refinery29 is really emblematic of why you should never get discouraged: if you're passionate about creating something, don't wait for a company to hire you for it — start creating. Having a portfolio and a proven track record before a job interview will not only make you a more attractive candidate for the job, it will also help boost your confidence before you even walk through the door.

My best piece of advice for a creative career? Just pick one thing you want to start doing (whether it's sharing a series of photos on Instagram, developing a weekly YouTube video series, etc.) and stick to it. Most people fail simply because they don't follow through with what they've started. How many Instagram accounts or YouTube channels have you come across where somebody creates the account, shares 2 posts on it, and then never touches it again? If you keep at it and stay consistent, you'll already be miles ahead of everyone else.

Check out my vlog above for all the details on how I built my media brand while keeping my creativity alive — I hope it helps you stay inspired.