At 27, media maven Nina Parker was fed up. While working a miserable 9-to-5 job in her hometown, she decided to abandon the security of a paycheck to find out who she could really be in the entertainment industry. With no connections but all ambition, Parker moved to L.A. to finally find her voice in a career that she had dreamed about since she was a little girl.
“Being on television was always my dream. From a very young age I knew that talking on camera was something I wanted to do but taking the actual leap took a little longer,” she reflects.
Known for her head-turning highlights on “TMZ” and “Love & Hip Hop,” Parker now rocks on “Access Hollywood” as well as her new podcast with girl boss and friend, Rocsi Diaz. But she never forgets her humble beginnings, starting out as a runner for TMZ in 2007. Realizing how easy it was to get distracted in such a busy city, Parker honed in on her career and worked her way up to landing jobs like producer at TMZ and host on “The Insider.
But committing to your dreams isn’t for everybody and Nina soon realized how hard the journey would be. With faith, determination and laser focus, Parker has created a life that constantly blows her away. Rolling out sat down with Parker to learn her tips on how entrepreneurs can find their voice and play by their own rules.
When you look back on your journey from the beginning, what were the biggest lessons you learned in going for your dream?
I think I knew internally that this was something I wanted to pursue but I had many insecurities and was worried about the wrong things when I was younger. Many people I cared about would get in my head, saying things like “the L.A. market is so competitive.” It made it so easy to have setbacks and I struggled with that for a few years. But as I pushed everything to the back burner I got so miserable and realized that it was now or never. My biggest lesson was to not only go for it, but commit to it because your dream could be the thing to completely change the trajectory of your life.
What is your advice on change, especially for someone in their late 20s? How do they get over fear and comparison?
Don’t be discouraged by setbacks because it happens to everybody. Everybody is quick to voice their successes but not their failures. I have to check myself too. What project or job is for you will be for you and no one else. When you realize this it opens your eyes to see that the things that may have you discouraged are put in place to get you where you need to be. Also, be able to take rejection, feel the sting and keep it pushing. I know that I’m not for everybody so accepting this helped me be true to me.You can’t let rejections change your directions, all you need is just hat one yes.
You have a podcast with Rocsi Diaz and it’s already growing so much. Why did you feel the need to create a platform like this?
I met Rocsi from when I was working at “The Insider.” She was working at “Entertainment Tonight” and we both were in the same building. We are super opinionated and would often share same story about pitching stories that would get overlooked by our companies. We wanted to create a way to highlight and honor hardworking people in entertainment that would get dismissed on these larger shows. In addition to celebrities that we talk to, we have loved getting the people behind-the-scenes. A lot of these amazing people don’t get interviews and a lot of information is getting overlooking. This podcast is all about capturing people who are growing and feel like they need a place so we are always watching what people are doing.
From leaving your job to pursuing your goals in L.A., how were you able to find your voice?
I’ve always had a strong opinion and I quickly realized that there were some organizations that loved that and others that needed me to scale back. When I started working for certain places that needed me to tone down my loud, fun and opinionated personality I didn’t feel genuine. People always talked about my TMZ days when I was being myself and I saw that was okay being flawed. It made it very relatable. I’m going to be me and any place that wanted me to scale back wasn’t for me. You have to stay authentic when you’re trying to grow your brand and following. Anything other than that just won’t work.
What are some techniques for standing out in such a crowded space?
It’s hard to fool people these days with social media. The more relatable you are the more people will see you. Who do you want to be interested in your project? The problem is that companies and entrepreneurs aren’t paying attention to their customers and people they want to target. There are so many misses because the players in these companies and ideas aren’t involved. Get on the ground and find out what your customers want. Study them. Talk to them. See what is working and keep up with the trends of their groups. Creating that authentic message it what will separate a business.
Nina is truly an inspiration to us all to go for what you want until you get. To catch up with all that Nina Parker is doing, follow her at @mzgossipgirl.