In this episode of Magical Mornings, we featured Shira Lazar. She is the Founder/CEO of the Emmy Nominated digital media brand, What's Trending. In October 2018, she became the host of the afternoon drive show "Lets Go There" weekdays on the first national LGBTQ+ station Channel Q syndicated and on Radio.com. In her spare time, she loves sharing her passion for curiosity, joyful living and mindfulness on her own social platforms .
Here’s the interview of Shira Lazar with UnitePod.
Q. You are a host, an actress, a writer, and a blogger. Can you describe how you started your journey and maintained this diverse range of genres up to this point?
Shira: Hey, I am Shira Lazar. I am super excited to be on this podcast. I am a host interviewer, Media entrepreneur; Story teller and I guess I have done many things in my career. But it’s all pretty much connected and I think that I am hustling curious and creative so my expression can find itself in many forms in many mediums and it happens to have gone at top mostly on social media and now we have audio, radio broadcasting. I am really passionate about what I do so I am always open to places that I can do that. I never wanted to be restricted by a medium. I was like where is the place where I can do this, do the things that I like and I found that on Social media. And so I think my openness and mu curiosity had led me to do many things and think creative no matter what and having fun with it as well.
Q. As the founder of “What’s Trending”, an award-winning and a multi-platform video property, what do you contribute its success to and how do you ensure your audience is engaged?
Shira: What’s Trending was the perfect collusion of timing of everything from my background, what I saw was happening, my instincts as to where I saw things going. No one was actually covering social media culture digital culture and pop culture and if they were, they didn’t get inside it. I really wanted to create at that time a live show for the people by the people. And that’s when Damon comes in, that was all his idea, what’s trending on social media, the trends. You can just easily have a conversation about politics, conversation about Kim Kardashian. I didn’t feel like I wanted to be put in a box as a broadcaster. I didn’t feel like I was buying airy. I felt like I had to put layers to me and what I wanted to talk about or care about. So that’s how What’s Trending came to be. I think we have grown very big because of the change of the landscape and models. I wasn’t scared to make it smaller again and learn and do things in the way. I think that in order to build something you can’t be too attached to one way of doing it because this world and media is changing too quickly now that you need to know when it’s time to shift and to move the ship. A lot of time bigger companies fails to do that, they just can’t because its hard and challenging and that’s a benefit we have being a smaller company. I think that my natural passion and curiosity for this as a CEO allowed me to do that because I myself was interested and I was in attention with my team as a creator myself too. So we were approaching it from a different way and we continued to do that.
Q. When did you first take interest in the world of Internet news?
Shira: I took interest in internet news before it was called internet news. I was using phones to do interviews and I saw the power of that and started working with Webby Awards their webby connects on it. Now, interviewing people on phone and all these people who had digital projects and I realized how interesting that intersection was of media and digital culture and news around it. And because of my background in news, I don’t call myself a professional journalist because I am opinioned and I am very clear about my biases, I thought that there was something very interesting at this intersection and so I approached CBS news as a place to do that. So I was doing that in 2007 or 2006 and then I went to Las Vegas and that’s where I realized that there was something happening beyond just the viral starting off quick. I was already doing interviews. Interviewing all these people. We were going viral and getting blogs up and no one was capturing them on camera and at that time, I was getting exclusives before the morning show and talk shows because no one cared about what they did on YouTube. So they were like yeah we do YouTube interview and come to our studio. It’s fine. I was getting those interviews for them. And then when you searched their videos, mine would come up to. So that was the beginning of it and after a bit, it was obvious to me that there is something really interesting here and I would love to be a part of it. That’s what led me to create what’s Trending. So the coverage of internet started even before What’s Trending.
Q. What were some of the challenges you faced early on in your career?
Shira: I think like anyone who is entering a space where you have a natural passion for it but you might not have a community or mentors and you haven’t established yourself, so it’s about getting to know people, building contacts, networking and figuring out what your angle is like what would you like to bring to the table. And also dealing with a lots of knows or redirections. I think that’s really key that the knows aren’t necessarily assigned to be doing what you doing or presumably doing what you are doing but there might be a different way. An understanding that it is easier to understand. I also had to really learn how to not judge myself. I think I still have that issue. It’s so easy including when you are on camera and as talents because your work is about getting response from people. It’s a feedback part of it and a lot of time you can use that in a negative way and it can work against you because you need that validation. And if you are a people pleasing person, it’s a perfect setup for you to feel constantly needing that. In a place of either a hi or a hello, if you are not getting it. So you get a really great sense of yourself, it builds a thick skin definitely. And realizing that even if someone doesn’t like you, that’s their opinion, it’s okay. You have to get back up and do your thing and focus on what brings you joy and love and have the confidence that you just deserve it all.
Q. You have hosted some of the most important events in the field of entertainment; do you find anyone to be the life changing one for you?
Shira: Yeah, I have hosted many different things in the world of entertainment. Everything I do, I feel like when I look back they are all special moments. I think hosting The Grammys; I remember that it was the first ever Grammys Live stream. It was such a fun time. Then it was Oscars that was a big deal because the Oscars have not done a live Stream before. They ended up winning an Emmy for that experience. And that was really cool because it was everywhere in the Press, I was working with some traditional talents and it was such a big deal like they even let us sit in the front row after we hosted. And after that, I think I realized the bigness as in that was a next level production and event. The world is watching so it definitely felt special. Working on What’s Trending from the very beginning, it been 10 years and it had many ups and downs. When we started there was definitely a feeling that there were onto something really special. We were getting the response that we felt that we deserved for the works and the idea. When you put an idea out there, you can’t do it in the hopes of the response but I find that there is a lot of meaning in something when you do it and bring value to people, when you feel like its creating an impact. So when we started What’s Trending, I think we definitely felt that it was something new and something no one really has done in that way. So that was a big game changer for me. When I hosted my first show, I remember my first TV show, Alex TV. I was a host of a lifestyle show at NBC. And I remember that at its premiere when it aired, it was very emotional for me because It felt like this dream. So moments like that I think you have to take in every moment because we tend to always look at the next. I think that everyone should celebrate this small wins as someone said this guy is aquarium to this company called PIM, it like a mental health company, they said it’s about the small lightning bolts not always like the huge ones. I think that when you appreciate the small ones, like the small steps forward versus the leaps, change happens eventually. So you got to appreciate those moments waiting for the huge moments. And that could adapt making you feel disappointed or not in the process. And you have to enjoy the process. You can’t just be about waiting for those moments to enjoy what you are doing.
Q. What does it take for you to prepare for the events you host? How do you visualize the entire event before to actually get into action?
Shira: Prepare for live events, yeah there are lot of preparations. I mean if you are doing something like the Oscars or the Grammy’s, you are not confident. You have producers that put together the whole document for you which gives you background on whom you are interviewing, sample questions. So going through that and looking at the social media feed of the people you are talking to, to get an insights of what they have been sharing, looking at if they have been in news for anything so that you can get reacts and also getting yourself in the zone like your mindset to feel fully confident, to feel yourself, to feel on your dame, getting sleep, meeting up to it, making sure you are eating healthy, that you are exercising. You are not partying so that you can be clear grounded, in control, confident, on your game, powerful and that also requires doing a lot of visualizing, Journaling around it about how you want to feel when you are experiencing these events. When its over and in the morning while recovering yourself up and going in the shower and just be like telling myself affirmations and every day I just choose this. So its definitely about preparation and also about pumping yourself up so you are in a mental head space to do your best and take on the day and treasure this experience. So it’s a bouncing act but the more you do it the more you get into that flow and the more you get what you need and you learn from your failures and learn about your weaknesses. So you get to focus on those things and learn from them.
Q. Do you have any event that you would love to host in the near future? What is it and why?
Shira: One event that I would like to host in the future. I have done a lot of red carpets already. Not that I wouldn’t want to do it again but I would like to do that on a different level. Working for bigger show or on an innovative platform where they are doing something differently at an award show level or a corporate carpet level. I mean I have worked for TED before, the TED events and conference that was really amazing. So hosting that would be cool. I think that anything that uplifts people and creates an impact, working with United Nations. I am trying to think that there is nothing bad that top of my mind because I have done a lot of different things and I think I am more into continue working with organization and individual that I align with, where I feel like I am adding value to people lives and doing something very innovative.
Q. Who would you say has influenced you the most and why?
Shira: Definitely. I think, on the broadcast, I OBRA, Katie Craig, Barbara Walters ,people don’t realize she created a view and she was a interviewer as well along side Obra. Brian Secrest also inspired me and has because of his work on the broadcast side, as a host and also he has his own company where he does a lot and a median entrepreneur that way. I am also inspired by people who are constantly looking to what’s out there and be part of it and innovate what they are doing and level up. So they are part of businesses and help other people elevate their businesses and definitely expressing themselves. That’s very inspiring. There are also some amazing women now whom I look up to like Shane John, women who are really taking life by the horns and creating impact from their works and empowering communities and using that platform for real impacts and to really support voices that had typically not been heard or seen. It’s something I think about constantly with what I do and how can I empower a better ally to my work and be in service constantly through my story telling and media through what I do.
Q. What have been the most memorable interviews you've done and why?
Shira: What have been my most memorable interviews! I have had so many great moments. Definitely the one that goes down for me was interviewing Joan Rivers on the second day of Siege Internet Week in New York. I always come back to this because we had a really long amount of time and I went into that interview somewhat intimidated. I have watched her documentary before interviewing her and before the interview I said that I really loved her documentary. It was really impressive and congrats and she was like oh Shut up. You are just flocking me up. We did the interview on stage and it was powerful because in a space in front of an audience, there is just this bubble which is created between you and the person you are interviewing and you are kind of building a kind of flawless performer and connecting with one another.
Q. If you could step into my shoes, what would you have asked yourself that I didn’t?
Shira: If I step into your shoes, I would ask why you would do an interview like this. I mean you reach out. I mean people reaching out all the time, I don’t know, I don’t question, I don’t research, I just don’t feel like researching, I just check it out a bit because I am interviewing people and I am always reaching out myself, there is a bit of a juju that I like to create, like a good vibes of myself giving back and people reaching out to me and following me because that’s what I know I hope to get from another. I think it’s a reminder to be an example like what you want from others gives that back to others. So I want people to be open to me and be curious and say yes when I ask them to do an interview so that’s the energy I give others who reach out to me even if I don’t know them and comes from a place of curiosity.
Q. What message do you have for our listeners and all your fans and where can they connect with you?
Shira: Just keep doing your own inner work. Keep asking yourself questions and keep asking questions to others and be curious, understand what brings you joy and what brings you pain and do what brings you joy because life is short. The more you found your inner satisfaction, the better you can be to those around you and to your craft to your work. So that’s a tip I keep on giving.
Wow! You have end this podcast on such a good note. But not only have you inspired your fans and our listeners out there but also me as a host. I would like to thank you for joining us on our show Magical Mornings.
Shira: Thanks for inviting me. I am glad to be on this podcast. I am Shira Lazar. See you on social media.
That’s a wrap of another episode of Magical Morning featuring Shira Lazar whose passion for media lead her to set up her own interactive television show called What's Trending which has been nominated for a 2012 Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media, Original Interactive Television Programing.
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