Goal-digger Gia Peppers talks dreaming big and working hard in entertainment

Gia Peppers
Photo courtesy of Gia Peppers

Good things come to those who work, and if you don’t believe me, ask entertainment journalist Gia Peppers. She has experienced the ups and downs of the entertainment industry from working on-camera and behind the scenes with BET, the NBA, Essence magazine, and more, but still continues to thrive upwards, while finding strengths in her failures.

She is young, black, lit and using her talent as a journalist to the best of her ability, so when it’s all said it done, she can be remembered as a legend with an undeniable work ethic.

What separates you from others in your field? What is unique to the experience that you create?
My experience, my work ethic, my skills and my attitude toward how I approach each day set me apart from my peers. When I interview people, I am just myself. I look at it as a conversation instead of an over-planned production. It’s a conversation in which you just happen to know a whole lot about the other person. Research is key, but being yourself is also key, too. Also, at 26, I’ve worked with almost every major network as an on-air talent or digital contributor.  On a daily basis, I am in some of the industry’s most powerful offices meeting with and contributing to what they do well. Relationships definitely matter and because people matter to me, I don’t take the opportunities to make them proud, lightly.

Do you think that there are any widely held misconceptions about what you do? If so, what are they and how do you work to dispel them?
A lot of people tend to assume that working in the entertainment industry is glamorous and that you get paid well immediately. Unless you land your dream job out of school, that isn’t really the case. The entertainment industry is rough to break into and it is rough to stay in. I started interning in 2009 in Washington, D..C with Donnie Simpson at WPGC. I would wake up at 4 a.m. to get to the studio and work on the morning show. I gave up “partying” and a whole lot to be there, but I wanted to make sure that this was really what I wanted to do. I had to have another job to pay for gas to get me back and forth to my internship but I wanted to do it. So I did. I had more than 10 internships on my resume by the time I graduated from college. I wasn’t able to get a full-time job within the industry until a year and a half after I walked across the stage. But, I didn’t give up and perseverance makes the difference between a legend and a one-hit wonder. If this is something you want, you have to figure out how you will make it happen.

‘Till this day, I am working all kinds of hours, and hustling even harder than I did back then. Is the work worth it and will it pay off? Yes. Will it be easy? No. But, it’s not impossible.

Please define your personal brand.
My personal brand is where entertainment meets inspiration. No matter what I am working on, I try to put a positive spin on things and to share what I’ve learned along the way. On my personal site, GiaPeppers.com, I am able to share words of advice that changed my life from my mentors and more. I believe God put me here to be a light, so one of my intentions is to ensure that every person I interact with feels better when they leave my presence than before I met them. There’s enough madness in the world, I don’t need to be a part of it.

How do you stay at the leading edge of your craft?
Honestly, I just do my thing and do it to my best ability. Obviously, you have to stay on top of trends and make sure you are around people who inspire you and push you. I stay at the “leading edge” by leading. I don’t want to be like anyone else so as long as I am proud of the work I put my name on, that’s okay with me. In today’s age, we are seeing innovation all around us. Inspiration is everywhere so I also just keep my eyes, and ears, open.

‘Till this day, I am working all kinds of hours, and hustling even harder than I did back then.  Is the work worth it and will it pay off? Yes. Will it be easy? No. But, it’s not impossible.

How do you map out your goals? How do you measure your success?

I map out my goals by gauging the opportunities in front of me and figuring out how they will prepare me for the ones I want to have. I am a super spiritual person so I pray on it, set my intention, work hard and let God do the rest. He always comes through but you do have to work for what you want. I measure my success in various ways. It’s always dope to work with new companies. A major moment for me happened last week when I did my first voice-over with “E! News.” My dad and I had ice cream cake to celebrate when I took a trip home that weekend. But still, I celebrate the moments by taking it all in. I also know I am doing something right when a little girl at a Washington Wizards game comes up to me and says they want to be like me one day or when amazing people I don’t even know message me on social media to say I inspire them. I am in the midst of a lot of amazing moments.

What does it take to be iconic? In your estimation, who has achieved that status?

An icon is an untouchable example of what success looks like after you’ve failed, learned, became the best, failed again and came back better to win in more ways than you could have ever imagined for yourself. It’s tough to be an icon, in my book. But, to me, Oprah is an icon. Janet Jackson and Michael Jackson are icons. Beyoncé is an icon. Michael Jordan is an icon. Stevie Wonder is an icon. Quincy Jones is an icon. Prince is an icon. HOV is an icon. There are others but those are the people who I watched overcome so many things to ultimately achieve the vision they had for themselves. Whether they grew up without much of a family or no real idea of all they could accomplish, each of these people made their dreams come true and did not give up when things got too difficult. An icon is someone who has stood the test of time, and still keeps on standing.

Marquavia "Queen" Smith
Marquavia "Queen" Smith

From the top of my head to the bottom of my feet, Black Girl Magic is within me. From deep down in my soul, to the goals my brain holds, Greatness is upon me. -QUEEN

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