Carly Steelfor Entertainment TonightHollywood, CAPhotos & Story by Lauri Levenfeld
1. What were you like as a child? Who are you today?
I grew up as an only child of 2 only children, so no brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins etc. I also grew up in the Scottish countryside so the combination of those two elements made me quite independent, a go-getter, a dreamer, introspective, often in my own world and not good at sharing! I think I’m pretty much the same today, only a little better at speaking to people as I was very shy when I was young and I went through a phase of not even being able to go into a store for fear the store employees would speak to me. Now I professionally accost people on red carpets for a living! There is an irony there.
2. Describe your life’s work.
I have a law degree from Durham University in England and graduated top of my class with a first class law degree with honors. But I never ended up practicing law. Instead I went to work at Vogue Magazine in NYC, then moved to LA and transitioned to TV. I started out as a producer at E! behind the camera, then after a year moved to on-camera correspondent work for a digital platform. From there I moved on to TV Guide Network, Dick Clark Productions for the live red carpets, and Entertainment Tonight after a stint on The Insider. I wear many hats – host, producer, writer, actor. My goal is to entertain, make people laugh, and create quality content.
3. You have covered so many fascinating people, tell us some of your favorites and why.
It’s hard to choose favorites because everyone I interview has a unique quality that I enjoy. If I had to choose my most memorable interviews it would be my first one, which was Richard Gere – he’s such a gentleman, so charming, he made me feel so comfortable and that interview cemented my wanting to pursue this career, which initially wasn’t something I had imagined for myself as I was much more interested in filmmaking and producing. Tom Cruise is a favorite because he is so magnetic and inspiring to be around – he is incredibly kind, the consummate professional, and after observing him and his endless energy on these past few press tours it made me realize I can push the boundaries of what I thought I was capable of, work-wise.
And lastly Kate Hudson because if you could ever pick the ultimate girlfriend it would be her – she has an amazing lightness of energy and is so warm and fun to be around, yet simultaneously has a great heart and substance – her whole family is fabulous.
4. On Jet to the Set you fly off to amazing movie / tv sets, how did this concept come to fruition?
This concept started with my co-creator and co-host Laurie Feltheimer and I having lunch at the Hotel du Cap at the Cannes Film Festival 2 years ago. Which sounds glamorous, but wasn’t because I was about to interview Leonardo DiCaprio for The Great Gatsby and had succumbed to a bout of hives for no apparent reason. Which is not the look you want to adopt when speaking with one of the world’s most handsome, charismatic movie stars. Laurie was consoling me, and we were chatting about having wanted to work together for years, as we had done a couple of shoots in the past and had great on-air chemistry which is rare. We discussed what the perfect platform would be and we decided on bringing together Laurie’s Hot in Hollywood concept (her successful company that takes hot Hollywood trends and translates it for every woman), my background in film and TV and interviews, and our combined love of travel. And JET TO THE SET was born.
During this time, I had also been a brand ambassador for St Regis for a couple of years and learned through the Bora Bora and Princeville properties that there was a powerful microcosm of tourism where people wanted to travel to iconic film and TV locations, and not only visit those places and take selfies, but also go to all the hotspots where the stars stayed, ate and hung out at in their down time. So the concept of JET TO THE SET is essentially traveling like the stars and living like the movie, both on set and off. And showing that even seemingly nondescript locations in the US can be as glamorous and cool as international jet setting, as there are so many hidden treasures at these locations that are attainable and don’t require spending a lot of money to visit.
5. Who is your greatest mentor?
My greatest mentor is my mother who seems to be good at just about everything, and is the most insightful person I know. She gives me great advice and has saved me from many a sticky wicket (as they say in the UK-it means a tough situation!). She has amazing style and is the reason I got my first job and start in entertainment at Vogue and was able to do so well there, as she really helped me with the work. She has supported all my crazy career moves – first to NYC from Scotland, then LA, and wanting to pursue a career in one of the most volatile industries, when I could have had a much less stressful path and more stable path had I pursued law. I really owe everything to her as without that foundation there are many times I would have given up or fallen apart.
6. You have three movies coming out in 2016- what is your favorite part of the film process?
I love dipping into being someone else, as hosting is so much about being an exaggerated version of yourself, so it’s nice not to be so self-aware all the time. I love storytelling and adventure and above all I like comedy or playing the villain. It’s good to be bad!
7. What has been your biggest curve ball?
My biggest curveball has definitely been when a show you love working on is cancelled – this happened a lot during the economic downturn – first The Hollywood 411 on TV Guide Network – I just adored that whole cast and crew, and then, co-hosting the live red carpets for Awards Season with Chris Harrison. We had this amazing studio just below the Hollywood sign. It makes me really sad just thinking about how that no longer exists.
And then, there’s the part where a lot of people you thought you had relationships with aren’t really interested in you anymore if you aren’t doing something they perceive to be valuable. In Scotland, we call them fair-weather friends. And then of course the challenge of finding steady work you love, after getting used to having that. Losing a job is sometimes worse than never having had it at all, as you get a taste for it and know what you are missing. It’s a very nostalgic and depressing feeling. I think I have that anxiety – FOMO – fear of missing out, so it can be quite depressing. To endure these slumps you just have to stay very strong, be with close family and friends who love and support you, draw from inner resources of strength of character, resist the urge to quit, and every day do something positive, even if it’s a baby step, to get you back to where you want to be.
8. Describe a day in the life for you.
Honestly there is no typical day in the life for me – part of why I love being in this industry is that every day is different, which can have its pluses and minuses. The pluses are the excitement of variety, the minuses are it’s virtually impossible to make any plans and there are so many moving pieces. But if I had to describe a typical shoot day in the hosting realm, it would be up at 6am, make a quick protein shake to go, into hair, makeup and wardrobe by 6.30am. By 8am, meet with the team who is supervising and producing the shoot to go over the tone and goals, constantly check online to make sure there is no breaking news, by 9am start shooting. Depending on the day, you can have anywhere between 1 – 3 different shoots at different locations (especially at film festivals or during Fashion Week and awards season). If I don’t have to cover or go to an event in the evening, I’m often in bed by 10pm. Somewhere in there I try to squeeze in a reformer Pilates class, with varying amounts of success.
My Favorite Go-To’s in LA…
1.Erewhon, Café Gratitude and M Café for healthy, delicious food and juices
2.Chateau Marmont for its’ “Old Hollywood” feel, the wonderful staff, and for a great night out with good friends.
3. Melrose Pilates for semi-private Pilates sessions on the reformer
4. Nobu Malibu my ultimate fave, because it’s right on the water and I find the sound of the waves crashing very relaxing. Plus the food is delicious!
5. Meche Salon on Robertson for incredible color by Tracey Cunningham, plus there is always a fun scene– it’s definitely a hotspot!
6. The Grove for its Disney-esque shopping experience and The Beverly Hills hotel for the ultimate Beverly Hills atmosphere.
7. My favorite spa is at the Beverly Wilshire because they do Natura Bisse facials which is a must before any major awards show, they transform your skin.
10 . What charities do you most identify with?
The Art of Elysium because it benefits both children’s hospitals and artists, Art for Amnesty because of the creative ways in which it brings about change, and anything animal related. If there is one thing I cannot stand, its cruelty to animals in any form.
11. Where do you see yourself in five years?
My ultimate goal is to build my production company, Reel Steel Entertainment, further, and create quality content both in the unscripted and scripted realm. I would like to continue to travel both for hosting and Movie/TV roles, and continue to work with people I respect and admire.
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