By Jamé Jackson
Considering video may be the way of the future, many editors who once were solely focused on editorial or digital are now being asked to step in front of the camera. So what do you do when your boss asks you to do a live segment with an in-house guest in the studio? Don’t worry, young whippersnapper—Ed’s got your back.
You wouldn’t do an edit test without looking at the magazine, right? Likewise, you shouldn’t interview someone without first finding out more about them. “I recommend doing a lot of research prior so you know what direction you want your interview to go in,” says Tula Afredo, CEO and founder of TulaTalks Entertainment, LLC. “Not knowing your environment and not being prepared with questions are common problems beginners tend to make.” To avoid looking like a novice, dig into old interviews and seek out details about your interviewee’s latest projects. You’ll look like a pro—and you’ll be able to pivot to a new topic with ease.
Consider your appearance carefully.
You want to make sure that you physically look camera-ready, starting with your makeup. “I often see women trying too hard with very heavy makeup. Less is more,” says Camara Aunique, a professional celebrity makeup artist. “But if the glamorous look is for you, always remember to blend. Blend is your friend!” Nnenna Ngwu, a beauty influencer and Youtuber, also recommends trying out foundation and lashes, as both can make a big difference to your look.
As for your wardrobe, it’s best to keep things simple. “Always try to show your personal style but don’t overdo it with accessories and patterns,” says Meah Denee, founder of ReelReality. “The same goes for your background. You want to keep it clean.”
Finally, once your makeup is blended and your look is #onfleek, you want to make sure you’re not obscuring your face on camera. “When you’re interviewing someone, always keep a majority of your face facing the camera while they talk,” says Afredo. “It will feel super awkward but it looks great on camera.”
Don’t stress yourself out.
The reality is, at some point we all make mistakes on-camera, whether it’s missing a line, messing up a fact, or if you’re like me, dropping an entire product in your lap! However, no matter what happens, stay calm, shake off the nerves, and keep moving. “When you mess up on camera, you have to just go with the flow,” said Afredo. “If you made a factual mistake, correct it and move on. This is the time where you kick your charm into full gear, especially if you’re live!”
Learn the craft inside out.
To truly ace your segments in front of the camera, you need to know what goes on behind it too. “As a host, the most important asset you can have is to also be a producer and understand how a show is created,” says Denee. “Those are the things that will allow you to stand out because not only are you an on-air talent, but you are a business person.”
Jamé Jackson is an on-camera personality and a fashion and beauty editor based in New York City. She is the founder of TheBlondeMisfit, a media brand geared for the positive portrayal of women of color in the fashion and beauty industry. Follow her random musings, beauty tutorials, and blonde hair over on Theblondemisfit.com and her IG: @TheBlondeMisfit.