by Michele Salinas
While studying journalism in college, it was inevitable to feel like there was someone who may know more or have more experience than you. I quickly realized how difficult landing opportunities and obtaining success is in the field. If you want to succeed as a journalist, just like in any other field, you need to be extremely passionate and motivated. It is also important to have role models who, through their own personal journey as journalists, can guide you in your pursuits. In a generation where a lot of people on social media considers themselves a journalist, it can be difficult to know who is legitimately worth taking notes from. As an aspiring journalist, I'll be highlighting some women in the field who have proven themselves and who inspire me to keep pursuing my dreams especially when I feel discouraged.
Gia Peppers is a 26-year-old multi-talented entertainer who has worked for multiple platforms such as BET, Vh1, and Essence Magazine. The Washington DC native began her journalism career writing for her high school newspaper and anchoring for the morning show during homeroom. Gia's passion for both journalism and entertainment led her to NYC to do just that. From hosting, Black Girls Rock, Vh1's #Behind the movie to Insecure Fest alongside celebrities such as Issa Rae, Yvonne Ori and one of TGR fave’s Saweetie, Gia's face is everywhere! Her work ethic, passion and determination has set her a part from the saturated field and most people would say she's a game changer.
Aside from freelancing on-air talent gigs, Gia and her industry friends (Sapphira, Bex, Alysha and Scottie) have created their own audio series called "Black Girl Podcast" which you can stream on Apple Podcast. As I mentioned, Gia is a busy gal. Come January 2019, she will be hosting her own show, #Pepptalk, where she will continue to inspire people how to go about following their dreams no matter what obstacles they may encounter.
I'll definitely be tuning in and you should too!
Jamila Mustafa has done it all. At only 25-years-old she has starred in commercials, is a four time beauty pageant queen, and became the youngest committee board member of the National Diabetes Association helping to raise over $80,000 dollars. Jamila is now an award-winning broadcast journalist from Wilmington, Delaware. She has been featured on networks such as Fox, MTV, A&E, and BET. After traveling to Beijing and creating a documentary explaining how social media affects China’s entrepreneurs, she continued in serving as a content creator and host. Jamila has sat down with countless celebrities and has been featured on a wide array of lists including Top 40 under 40 women in media, BET's 30 under 30 Young, Black & Lit list, HBCU Buzz’s 30 under 30 college graduates and Forbes 30 under 30 nominee and summit attendee. Talk about #Goals.
Jamila's website proves that people are beyond enthusiastic about her charisma and talent with LJ Smith; former NFL Eagles Player saying she’s the “future Oprah Winfrey.” Her Instagram account is further proof that she is grinding towards becoming the best broadcast journalist she can be as her bio says “Aim to be significant...not famous.”
Nessa Diab is one of my favorite on-air hosts and has become very well known throughout the industry. She started her career on YouTube and as a nighttime radio host for Wild 94.9. She is now a TV personality and host with over 10 years of experience. Nessa has been on shows such as Girl Code, hosted reality t.v. show reunions, and has since taken over for Angie Martinez on Hot 97’s Afternoon Drive.
Most recently Neesa hosted the four-time Emmy Award-winning program ‘Stooptalk’ and the VH1 Music Awards. She also has her own platform called ‘Nessaonair’ the #1 rated Hip Hop show in NYC, where she features countless celebrities discussing a variety of topics. What I personally love about Nessaonair is being able to witness her growth throughout the years. Her journey has motivated me to keep pushing towards my dreams. Nessa uses her platform to not only keep her followers in touch with celebrity news but she also uses it to discuss social justice issues while also flaunting her NFL star boyfriend Colin Kaepernick. Even with all the experience she’s gained throughout the years, it’s evident Nessa has so much more to show her followers.
Thatiana Diaz is a beauty writer for Refinery29, and has previously worked for Entertainment Weekly, PEOPLE en Español, and People Chica. While attending Pace University, she was a feature writer for the Pace Press and during her undergraduate years she interned for Vogue, Sony, Latina Magazine, Seventeen Magazine and Wilhelmina...Whew girl!
While working at Refinery29, Thatiana has published beauty pieces giving us all some extra tips on the latest trends. During her time at PEOPLE en Español and People Chica she interviewed countless celebrities from Romeo Santos to Jennifer Aniston. She’s proven to be versatile, which is so important within the field. I discovered Thatiana on IG as she shared clips of interviews she conducted with celebrities and now I read her newly published articles. Her energy, charm and transparency is what attracted me along 12k other followers who genuinely want to support her dreams.
Angela Rye can be seen on CNN and NPR and has been featured on BET, NBC, and HBO. Rye is an influential politico and even though she isn’t a journalist per say, her commitment to on-air politics can be seen as influential to any aspiring media journalist. Not only is she a political commentator, but she’s also a lawyer, a Principal, and the CEO of IMPACT Strategies. She’s been featured by publications such as Marie Clare to Ebony and The Washington Post. Her passion for advocacy was learned through her family’s political and community activism. Her aspiration is to make a difference and to #IMPACTYourWorld is evident through the enthusiasm in her voice while on-air. Through her platform, she posts her clips on CNN as well as comments about various topics and proves that she is not afraid to speak her mind and on her beliefs. Her boldness has acquired over 20 awards/ recognition from 2010 - 2015. As someone who wants to be more engaged in politics Angela Rye is definitely someone you can learn from.
As you can tell, building and growing your platform is important in this day and age. All of the women listed above are positive reminders that the limit does not exist. Start filling your Instagram feed with women who want to motivate you, provide tips and push you to follow your dreams regardless of what obstacles come your way.
Who are some of your favorite journalists on the rise?