So You Want to Be…An Entertainment Journalist
Entertainment journalist Alicia Malone will interview film stars for food—literally! From hugging Will Farrell twice to being touched on the arm by Johnny Depp, not many people can say that brushing arms with celebrities is a part of their every day job.
So you want to be an entertainment journalist? Alicia, who recently moved to Los Angeles from Australia, talked to us about how she got her start, how she prepares for an interview and the time she hugged Jake Gyllenhaal.
Feather Magazine: When did you begin your career in entertainment journalism?
Alicia Malone: I always knew I wanted to work in TV in some capacity, so straight out of school, instead of going to university; I got an entry-level job at a television station. I was a little fish in a huge pond, but starting from the bottom, I slowly worked my way up until I was hired as a producer. From there I pitched an idea for a TV show that happened to have me as the reporter, proved that I could produce and edit it myself for no extra cost that was picked up and then suddenly the jobs snowballed until I became a full time reporter, producer and host. I grew up being obsessed with movies—I still am—so getting to interview filmmakers and movie stars is a dream come true. And those years working behind the scenes were so valuable; they taught me a lot—if you want to be good in front of the camera you really need to know what goes on behind it.
FM: What is your all-time favorite movie?
AM: That’s a tricky one! I love “The Shawshank Redemption.” The story is so strong, no matter how many times I see it I always get caught up in it. I also love “Amelie,” the French film. It’s so beautiful that after I first saw it, I felt changed somehow. Other favorites include “Fight Club,” “Pulp Fiction,” “Run Lola Run” and “Being John Malkovich.” I have an eclectic taste in films!
Feather Magazine: You’ve done so many interviews—from Kate Hudson to Ryan Reynolds. If you had to say what is the best or your favorite interview that you have done so far?
AM: My favourite interviews have been with Brad Pitt, Tom Hanks, Robin Williams, Angelina Jolie, Jerry Seinfeld and Matt Damon. All of those stars are such pros, they make you feel instantly comfortable and their answers always sound fresh, even if they’ve been answering the same questions all day! And being a film geek, I got a thrill from chatting to Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola and James Cameron. Growing up watching their films, I never would have thought I would have the chance to interview them face to face!
Feather Magazine: Giving interviews with celebrities has got to be tough and probably somewhat intimidating, what are some interviewing tips that you can give aspiring entertainment journalists?
AM: Do your research to try and think of interesting questions they may not have answered already. And this may sound obvious, but listen to what they are saying. You can easily fall into the trap of just thinking about your next question instead of listening to their answer, and if they realize that is what you are doing then they will switch off and only give you the bare minimum. If they say something interesting, jump on it and ask for more detail. I never ask personal questions, but if you have to make sure you respect their privacy. I’m often nervous during interviews, but have discovered you never appear as nervous as you feel, fake confidence until you have it!
Feather Magazine: What’s an average day on the job like for you?
AM: The best part of my job is that there is never an average day! If it’s a day of interviews at a press junket, I will have seen the movie the night before, so in the morning I spend a few hours researching and writing my questions, before getting myself camera ready and travelling to the hotel where the interviews are being held. Once I’m there I wait to be called and go in to do the interviews (usually only 5 minutes long), then take the footage back to home to edit. Then I might have a red carpet to cover at nighttime, or another movie screening. I see on average 3 movies a week, and usually have one or two press junkets and one or two red carpets to cover per week. It’s a lot of fun.
Feather Magazine: What’s the coolest part of your career so far?
AM: Taking the leap to move to L.A. from Australia! It was a big risk. I had to quit my very cool job in Sydney and just trust that once I was in L.A., I would be able to find work. I had done everything I wanted to in Australia, so it felt like [was] the right time. Luckily, it all fell into place! I get a thrill working in the film capital of the world. Definitely the highlight of my career to be covering all the major film interviews and premieres from Hollywood!
Feather Magazine: Being that you are an Australian native, when you moved from Australia to the U.S. what was the hardest challenge you faced?
AM: Driving on the other side of the road! And getting myself settled was tricky—applying for visas, going for my driver’s license, getting a car, a bank account etc—it’s all different over here and I’m still figuring it all out!
Feather Magazine: Between your busy schedule interviewing celebrities, how do you find time to relax?
AM: Because I love what I do so much, it doesn’t feel like work, so I don’t really get stressed. But if I have a day off I love to get outside, go hiking or be super girlie and get my nails done or a massage. And probably go to the cinema to see more movies!
Feather Magazine: So you hugged a few celebrities? Tell us more about that?
AM: It’s become a running joke now! I was interviewing Will Ferrell a few years ago and mentioned how one of his characters was loveable. He said “Yeah, you probably want to hug him, right?” I said OK and came over for a hug. He didn’t really expect me to take him up on the offer! Then the next time I interviewed him he was with Mark Wahlberg and when Will remembered the hug, Mark said he wanted one too! I have also hugged Jake Gyllenhaal, but I asked for that one for purely selfish reasons!
Feather Magazine: Your biography page on your website says “spectacular robot dancer.” You’re also “not too bad at recreating Beyonce’s ‘Single Ladies’ dance.” That’s so awesome! What’s another fact that most people don’t know about you?
AM: That I have five tattoos! I don’t look like someone who would have tattoos, but I love them. I have “Dream” on my wrist, “Explore” on my foot, “Discover” on my arm, a butterfly on my shoulder and a bird on my ribs. And more to come. Sorry, [Mom]!
Feather Magazine: Anything else you want to add?
AM: Don’t believe people if they say you can’t achieve your dreams. Work hard, be patient and make it happen for yourself.