Alumna Charlie Neff Makes it Big on TMZ

ULV alumna Charlie Neff is an inspritation to communications majors at small schools everywhere. 

This Glendora native graduated from University of La Verne in 2010 with a broadcast journalism degree and immediately started on the road to success through her own determination and talent. Neff started her own entertainment website after graduation and before we knew it she was stealing America’s hearts on-and-off the camera. Now as a producer for the TMZ news desk, Neff appears on TMZ TV and TMZ Live. She has experienced amazing things from being at the Play Boy Mansion to meetings some of Holloywood's most famous stars.

It isn't often ULV students hear about alumni after graduation, but not only do we hear about Neff, we get to see her on TV!

Check out how she got to where she is now, what keeps her going day to day and all of the advice she has for you!

What was your involvement on campus when you were a student at ULV?

I was in Sigma Kappa sorority. I was a LeoFM DJ, wrote for Campus Times, and reported for LVTV.

Photo Courtesy of TMZ

What was your favorite part about ULV, and what opportunities did it give you?

Favorite part about school was how we were hands on in all forms of media. From writing for the school newspaper to being on the radio to reporting and doing camera work I really felt like I knew a little bit of everything. It helped me right after college because I started my own website where I reported and edited everything myself. And it still helps me now at TMZ where I produce stories.  I really feel like school prepared me for my job now. Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.

Where have you worked since graduating and how did you go about finding the jobs?

Networking is everything. Right after college I started my own entertainment website and started covering red carpet events. It really helped me to get in the game and network. I met a producer from Shoes TV and Pop Stop TV on the red carpet and started covering junkets for both of them. I also ended up meeting someone that had a friend that was producing a show on the Logo Network called “The Gossip Queens”. That friend referred me and it ended up landing me as a recurring guest host on the show. Meeting people and being vocal about what your goals are is key. Shortly after working on the Gossip Queens, I was at a Playboy Mansion party covering an event and ended up meeting someone that worked over at TMZ. I later asked that connection to refer me on the news desk. I started on the news desk in February 2013 and the rest is history.

Looking back at your college years, did you ever imagine yourself where you are today?

I’d like to say yes. I knew that entertainment reporting was my thing but didn’t really know how I was going to get there. During my college years I was advised to move to a small town and start from the bottom as a general assignment reporter. I knew that was not for me. It was risky to move straight to LA with minimal connections in the industry…but I had to go with my gut. I believe the journey is the best part of becoming who you are now. And every move you make, every single thing you do and every person you meet is all for a reason.   

What is your favorite part of what you do?

My favorite part is working on breaking news. TMZ is known for breaking some of the biggest stories. We have an awesome news desk team and when stories break everyone jumps in and works together, we are getting on the phone making the calls. That is how we break those stories…we do it together as an insanely passionate team.

What do you hope to do in the future?

I definitely like working at TMZ so I plan to stay here for a long time. But I also love traveling and wouldn’t mind hosting a travel show one day.

What keeps you motivated and interested in your work when things get difficult?

News is always changing, so it feels like every day is a new day at work. It’s not the same thing over and over. What keeps me interested is I’m always on my feet ready to work on the next breaking story. It’s still a challenge after working at TMZ for so many years…and that is rad. When things get difficult I just know that every day is a new day…and to bring it tomorrow.

What advice do you have for aspiring journalists looking for work?

My advice is to not be scared and to seriously GO FOR IT. Sometimes you got to think outside of the box. Did I want to start my own website after college? Not really but I knew I needed experience and needed to meet people so the website helped me get credentials to get on the red carpet and be in the mix. You have to be aggressive and vocal to everyone about what you want to do. Somehow you will get there and getting there is the best part.