How She Got There: Elizabeth Wagmeister, Co-Host of Page Six TV & Senior Correspondent at 'Variety'

Name: Elizabeth Wagmeister
Job Title and Description: Co-Host, Page Six TV and Senior Correspondent, Variety
College Name/Major: UC Santa Barbara/Major: Communications Minor: Multimedia Writing and Art History
Website: Variety.com/PageSixTV.com
Twitter Handle: @EWagmeister
Instagram Handle: @EWagmeister

What does your current job entail? Is there such a thing as a typical day?

EW: There’s definitely not a typical day. I think that’s what you would hear from most people in any industry that they are in. I actually have two full-time jobs. I am one of the co-hosts for Page Six TV, and I’m also a senior correspondent at Variety, so I’m really lucky that Variety’s office and the Page Six TV studio are literally four blocks away from each other - which makes this all doable!

I start off in the morning at Page Six TV, and our meeting first thing in the morning is where we talk to producers about the topics for the show. We’re a topical show, but also the difference with our show is we are all insiders, we’re not just TV hosts. It’s not like we’re reading a prompter, we’re really bringing in information that we’re reporting on that we know.

So, in our morning meetings, we all discuss the topics for the day pretty extensively. After that, we’re meeting with producers, we go into hair and makeup, we have small rehearsals sometimes on set, and then we shoot our show at about 10:45 a.m. every day - it’s a pretty quick shoot. Afterward, we’ll have a post-meeting where we look forward to the next day and talk about topical stories that we’re working on and things that we may want to think about for the next day’s show.

Some days we also do Facebook Live. We really love engaging with our viewers on social media. We’ll do things like Facebook Live, or we’ll go up to our local affiliate here in New York, Fox 5, and we’ll do some segments with them sometimes.

So then, when I’m done with Page Six TV, I go over to Variety and then I take my broadcast hat off and put my writer hat on. And that’s where I’m working on stories, whether they’re for Variety.com or for the magazine. I’m interviewing people, I’m reporting, I’m writing and I’m in meetings with our team. We're also doing a lot of digital video at Variety, so some days the broadcast hat goes back on and I’m filming videos!

Also, sometimes we’ll be at an event. Sometimes I’m in L.A. covering the Oscars, or I could be on the set of a show. So, when you’re a journalist and a reporter, there are literally zero days that are the same.

What is the best part of your job?

EW: I love that I get to do different things every day. I am an entertainment journalist, but I’m not just one specific sort of journalist. I love doing broadcast, I love writing, I love interviewing, and I love that with my two jobs at Page 6 TV and Variety that I really get to flex all of my journalistic muscles and continuously do different things.

I love that I get to start my day on a TV set with a live audience, kind of showing my personality and being able to have fun while delivering the news. And then I like that I get to sit down at a desk in a normal office and write a story, sit down at my computer, sit down at a meeting with our team at Variety and work as a writer.

I really do love that I just get to do a little bit of it all and I feel like 2018 is a time when we’re truly in a multimedia world and there’s no reason why you can’t do it all, so to speak. People aren’t just one trick ponies anymore. You can really do a lot of different things and put all of your different skills to the test.

What was your first entry-level job in your field and how did you get it?

EW: My first internship ever was at Fox 11. I’m born and raised in the L.A. area - now, I obviously live in New York - but my first internship was the summer after my freshman year of college. I went to UC Santa Barbara where I launched our Her Campus page there. I interned at Fox 11 and I was a news production intern. Then my first job-job was at TV Guide Magazine in New York City. I was the assistant to the editor-in-chief, Debra Birnbaum, and now she is actually at Variety.

People always say that your relationships in the industry are really important, and it’s actually true. You can find a mentor early on who can continue to mentor you throughout your career. I was part of the ASME Internship Program, which is the Associate Society of Magazine Editors, and it’s an amazing internship program. They choose about 25 or 30 students each summer, and you each get placed at a different magazine. This was after my junior year of college, and I was placed at TV Guide Magazine.

It’s funny because up to this point, my previous internship work was in news and broadcast. I applied to the internship program knowing I always loved to write, and not fully knowing what I wanted to do in my career. I thought there was no chance I would get it because my only internship experience was in broadcast not in print, but I ended up getting it so I moved to New York for the summer and that’s actually where I learned not just about magazines, but also about the entertainment industry.

I fell in love with both magazines and the entertainment industry and it was a great internship where I was transcribing interviews from the various editors and writers and doing the smallest, most minute assignments all up to covering red carpets as an intern, which I found fascinating. I got to interview actors and producers and be at all these different red carpet premieres. And then, about a year later, they offered me a job as the assistant to the editor-in-chief. I moved to New York full-time at that point, and that was my first job out of college. I moved to New York five days after I graduated.

What words of wisdom do you find most valuable?

EW: There’s this quote that’s something along the lines of, “There will always be someone prettier than you, but never smarter or more prepared than you.” I love that quote because I think especially in the entertainment industry, from the outside, it just seems like a glamorous industry, and it’s not, truthfully. Yes, there are fun perks, and yes there’s the hair and makeup, and yes you get to be on red carpets and interviews after, but it really is a lot of hard work and you have to truly not only work hard and master a lot of different skill sets but also forge really great relationships.

So, I apply that quote to the entertainment industry, but I also think overall it’s a really good message because it’s not about the looks. It’s not about the glitz and glam in the entertainment industry, it’s about your brain, and it’s about how hard you work. I feel really grateful that I was cast on Page Six TV because I think it’s the perfect role for a real journalist, because they were truly looking for insiders and as that silly quote says, I’m sure there are a lot of people out there maybe have a different look than me or something like that, but we were all cast because of our work and in my case, my work as a journalist. It’s kind of a silly quote, but I think that it’s very true today, because it’s not at all about what you look like.

What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it?

EW: I think I am definitely a type A over-planner. I think about everything way too much. I can’t even tell you how many nights I lost hours and hours of sleep just researching different internships and researching different people that I thought I could perhaps emulate their careers. I think that it’s great to be prepared, and it’s great to research, and it’s great to take your time to look into your hopeful career progression.

Just trust yourself, take a leap of faith and try out new things. I had such a great experience with every place that I worked at, but every time that I have gotten another job offer and went to work somewhere else, it was really scary for me because I was concerned about what am I leaving behind? Am I making the right career move? What if this isn’t the right move? I would just worry so much, and I think that now looking back, every place that I have gone to, and every job that I’ve been able to progress from has resulted in where I am now. So I don’t know if I call it a mistake, but in a sense, I think that a mistake is just ruminating on things too much and just basically worrying all the time.

What has been the most surreal moment of your career thus far?

EW: Being a journalist is not a glamorous job. You’re on your laptop sitting on the floor at a press conference and writing up notes quickly, you are on a deadline all the time, and your goal is to get the story.

As a journalist, I never expected any of the “glamour” of the entertainment industry. So for me, I think a weird, surreal moment was right before our show launched. We were at the PromaxBDA conference is Las Vegas, which is a marketing conference. When we walked into the ballroom for our panel, there was a sign that I’m not kidding you, was the size of 10 movie screens with our faces on it. 

It was just the craziest thing because I was just thinking, I’m a journalist, I’m not the story, my job is to get the story! It made me feel really uncomfortable actually. Sometimes it’s funny that we get texts from people that say “Oh, your show is on a bus, your show is on the subway, your show is in Rockefeller Center.” It’s just surreal.

What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations?

EW: My advice would be to really try a bit of everything. I think that internships are the most incredibly useful experiences of your college career and it prepares you for your real career. If you’re not sure what you want to do, which I think is most people, then try a little bit of everything. For me, I knew that I wanted to go into journalism, but I didn’t know what that meant. So, I interned at a local radio station, I interned at a local news station, I interned at a national entertainment magazine, I interned at a local lifestyle magazine and you learn a little bit about what you like, and also what you don’t like - which, by the way, ends up being the most important thing because then you can eliminate some stuff along the way.

So, I would say internships, internships, internships. Try a lot of different things because aside from learning about what you like and don’t like, you also learn a lot of great skills and at the time I didn’t realize that all those skills I was learning would be cultivated into my career now, but they are. Don’t be scared to try anything, and don’t say no.

Amanda is a senior at Carthage College double majoring in Communications and Public Relations. She is originally from Chicago, Illinois, which she can confirm is indeed a windy city. When she's not at cross country or track & field practice, she can be found obsessing over pizza, watching dachshund videos on Facebook, or enjoying the Lake Michigan view on campus. She is also the Editor in Chief for her college's Her Campus chapter, and a Her Campus Editorial Intern.

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