Taylor Shold: Tell us a little about yourself, who are you and what do you do?
Nicole Servinis: I was born and raised in Richmond Hill, Ontario and always a lover of the arts. I grew up with a passion for figure skating and dance— winning National titles across America.
Although, I fell in love with journalism when I did a co-op at Rogers TV and worked on numerous shows, which lead to hosting and producing my own show, York Region Spotlight. After graduating from high school, I was received a full dance scholarship to attend Hawaii Pacific University to study journalism. That year was a life changing experience! I was a part of a two-time national championship team, and was awarded Rookie of the Year.
After Hawaii, I seemed to develop the ‘travel bug’ and so I decided to do an exchange in Melbourne, Australia for six months. During my last semester at Ryerson I somehow ended up with the sports beat. I became the sports editor for the Ryersonian newspaper as well as the sports anchor for our on-air broadcast, and an anchor and reporter for the Ryersonian news.
Then, I got an internship at Canada’s entertainment powerhouse, Entertainment Tonight Canada. I graduated with a Bachelor of Journalism and within a year I was working for ET Canada. I’m currently an Associate Producer and digital host. I’ve had some incredible opportunities over the last couple years, assisting, producing and writing entertainment stories.
One of the best parts of my job is meeting and interviewing celebrities. I‘ve sat-down with Rita Ora, Freida Pinto, Meghan Markle, Coco Rocha, various Victoria Secret models and Lucy Hale, to name a few. Other red carpet interviewees include Martha Stewart, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Oliver Stone, Ethan Hawk, Kim Cattrall, Elle Macpherson, Tatiana Maslany, and more. I still have to pinch myself when I think back to the people I’ve spoken to!
Another exciting part of my job is working on integration projects for companies like, Maybelline, Swarovski, Armani, Shoppers Drug Mart, President’s Choice, Nespresso and numerous tourism specials for places like Bahamas and Texas.
Taylor: How important has networking been thus far in your career?
Nicole: Networking is so important in the journalism industry. In Canada the journalism industry (television, radio, print) is very small, which can help and hurt you, if you misrepresent yourself. Much of the time you may walk into an interview and have the same credentials as the 50 other people applying for the same job. What will help separate you from the pack is having someone who knows you—who has mentored you, knows your work ethic, capabilities etc.—who can vouch for you and put your name at the top of the list. I was fortunate to have Jesse Barkley as a mentor when I was interning at Entertainment Tonight Canada. During my internship I worked very hard, always arrived early and stayed late, and put 110% into all my work. When a position opened up, Jesse considered me for the job, and the rest is history. The best piece of advice I can offer when networking is to be yourself, never take no for an answer, and always follow up.
Taylor: You had a great internship experience at ET and you’ve seen a lot of interns come and go, how can someone really make their internship worthwhile?
Nicole: I always tell people: whatever you put into an internship is what you will get out of it. If you sit at your desk all day and take care of coffee, yes you may be doing your job, but no one will remember who you are. To be remembered you need to be willing to go above and beyond what you are asked and sometimes even venture outside your comfort zone. Approach producers, learn everyone’s name, ask questions (there can never be too many), shadow people, arrive early, stay late, express your interest in something you are earnest to learn more about and don’t be shy!
Taylor: Can you share how you went from working behind the scenes to doing some on-camera work at ET Canada?
Nicole: As I said, I started interning at ET Canada during my last semester at Ryerson. I did small contracts with ET Canada post grad and was hired as a production assistant. In less than a year, I was promoted to an associate producer. Aside from working on integration, I contributed as much as I could to the show’s digital platforms (etcanada.com, facebook, twitter, youtube etc.). Much of my contribution was for the fashion and beauty beat—which was/is a passion of mine. Reporting and hosting was also always a passion of mine that I had experience with at Rogers TV. I wanted to find a way to create a role/place for myself on ET Canada’s digital team, and so I pitched a series to our Co-Executive Producer that coincided with a photo gallery online. I wrote, produced and hosted the segment, and a day later it was posted online, and The Weeks Top Looks was born. If the job isn’t there for you, create one!
Taylor: Online on social media and on-camera it seems like you have a pretty glamorous gig, what is the biggest misconception about what you do?
Nicole: I am not going to lie; working at ET Canada definitely has its glamorous moments, but what many people don’t see is the hard work that goes into everything behind the scenes. Prior to the makeup, styling and lights, there are a lot of late nights, weekend shifts, hours of research and sacrifices that are made. That’s the beauty about this job; there is a lot of hard work that goes into it, but when you love what you do, it doesn’t feel like work at all… but I will say, getting fixed up by our glam squad every now and then is pretty amazing!
Taylor: Who do you look up to in this industry?
Nicole: There are so many people I look up to in the industry, but I can honestly say I feel so lucky to work with two women who have inspired me for years. I remember watching them both on television and thinking to myself, I hope I can do what they do one day. I never anticipated that I would ever meet them, much less work with them and call them my mentors and friends. It’s Sangita Patel and Cheryl Hickey. I met Sangita at City TV when I was interning at the time and she was doing weather AND entertainment… a.k.a superwoman. There, Sangita always went out of her way to teach me new things, and was kind enough to take the time to offer me advice. I met Cheryl when I started my internship at ET Canada. I don’t think I had ever been so star struck because I had watched and followed her career for years. I learned early on that besides being beautiful, hard working and extremely talented, she was one of the nicest people. I consider myself lucky to be able to work with Sangita and Cheryl almost every day not only because they are such strong and inspirational women, but more importantly they are incredible friends.
Taylor: Finally, what’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten on how to succeed in this business?
Nicole: I’ve been so fortunate to have received so much advice from so many successful people in the industry over the years. Some of the advice I’ve taken with me, and try to pass along of course, is: to never take no for an answer—it only means try harder, always do your best—whether it’s prepping the coffee cart or if you’re writing questions for the Oscar red carpet, and lastly be patient—don’t get discouraged if you’re stuck in one place, the time will come, so continue to work hard and dream big.
You can find Nicole on Twitter @NicoleServinis
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