Television host Nina Parker, whom you may recognize from entertainment new shows TMZ, The Insider or, more recently, Access Hollywood Live, hosted a luncheon on Saturday that left everyone who attended full of not only great food, but inspiration.
The event was given by The B Firm PR, whose co-founder Erica couldn’t have been a more gracious hostess. The venue for the luncheon was a restaurant and lounge that specializes in South African food called Yebo, located inside Phipps Plaza in Buckhead. The waitresses brought plenty of appetizers out for us to try, and the food was delicious(the fish tacos were my personal favorite, but literally EVERYTHING, from the caesar salad to the fried chicken was good).
I’ve been a follower of Nina’s career since her TMZ days and to be that close to someone who is exactly where I hope to someday be can be, well, intimidating as hell! I had no clue what to expect of the event or Nina before I arrived, but I was pleasantly surprised by both soon enough. I arrived shortly before Nina and didn’t expect to end up seated right next to her, but that’s what happened. Now, in my mind on the car ride over, I had tons of cool things to talk with her about and we’d just connect right away and she’d be like the big entertainment sister I never had… but when I ended up close enough with her to split a dish of hummus… I clammed up, y’all! (Strangely enough, I had the exact same reaction when I met Bow Wow on a one-on-one basis when I was 13… not sure what that means though…) As everyone around me was buzzing with conversation, I fell into my normal introverted only child routine of playing with my phone and trying to look busy (which I’m trying to work on breaking out of but… you know the saying about Rome and all that jazz). After about 10 minutes of this, Nina noticed that I’d barely spoken(thankfully) called me out on it, noting “You haven’t said much!” We both laughed and went on to make small talk. After the icebreaker, I was much more engaged with those around me and the introductions definitely helped bring down whatever worries/insecurities about the event that I had left at that point.
In order to get things moving, everyone in attendance took turns introducing and telling a bit about themselves and it quickly became clear that we were not only a religious group, but a supportive one. Women and men at different stages in their careers, from seasoned entrepreneurs, to former strippers turned businesswomen, to award-winning authors and other members of the media turned out to show their support of Nina, but ended up showing it to everyone else in the room as well.
When it was time for Nina to speak, the atmosphere in the room felt more like that of a family than a group of strangers. We had all shared details about ourselves, and now it was time for the lady of the hour to do the same. Nina reflected on her time before getting into the industry and what inspired her to want to be a television host (which was, funnily enough, the same thing that inspired me… watching MTV and seeing VJ’s doing their thing). She talked about when she got her first position at TMZ as a runner and was nearly fired by Harvey Levin her first week for getting lost on the way to deliver some timely tapes and openly discussed the circumstances around her departure from TMZ and The Insider, both representing examples of knowing who you are and what you will or won’t stand for and learning to accept when it’s time to move on from a position, even if moving on is outside of your comfort zone.
Nina’s talk was engaging and entertaining, but the thing I loved the most was that her story was so real. So many parts of it resounded with me, from having to deal with friends and family wondering why you haven’t settled down yet, to trying to navigate a career that doesn’t have as clear-cut of a path as, say doctors and lawyers. It’s hard to always know that you’re taking the right steps when working toward a television host career path, but hearing and seeing how Nina has grown because of the confidence she carries, every chance she took, every bit of hard work she put in, every time she persevered, all were a great service to me and the other attendees, who are working toward success in their own personal views of success.
By the time I left the luncheon, I’d made a couple of great contacts, but more importantly, I felt a renewed sense self. Unless you’re a well-known talent or work for a top tier publication, writing can be a thankless job (though not at FanBolt!) and unless you’re already famous, navigating the entertainment industry to become a television host can be confusing as hell, to put it frankly, so hearing Nina, a woman who looks like me, speak about her own personal journey certainly helped put mine in perspective.
Thank you Nina.
5 Lessons I Learned From Nina Parker:
- Sometimes you just have to be still in order for things to begin happening
- Live righteously
- Stop trying to get validation from other people and be confident in your own work
- When you give your all, like sleep-in-your-car-to-break-news all, things will fall into line
- Never be afraid to ask for help
Photo Credit: Instagram