Ryan Shea's picture

My Life as a Red Carpet Reporter Has Been Nothing Short of Fabulous

A career in journalism was one that I always thought about doing but never knew how to approach in my younger years. It’s something that I didn’t even go to school for, as my creativity was pointing me in a different direction at that point. Thankfully, oddly enough, the recession was a big reason as to why I was able to begin my journey into the world of writing, which eventually led me to partake in something that I never thought in my wildest dreams I would do: work the red carpet.

I come from the generation where no one was really hiring (late 2000’s-early 2010’s). All kinds of grads, from community colleges to ivy leagues, struggled with finding any sort of employment in a very depressing time economically. It got to the point where many of us were left stumped over how we were going to move past the starting line and begin our desired careers.

A friend of mine knew how much I loved the music industry (I used to be a Billboard chart freak) and recommended that I apply for a now defunct website called Examiner while I spent my days endlessly applying for jobs. I then became a contributing niche music writer for their page, where the pay was god awful but wasn’t the purpose of me doing it as I found pleasure in writing what I felt as opposed to the dollar value I would receive. 

I did this for a couple of years and then started my own publication in 2013. Six months into the beginning of my own pub, I was lucky enough to be granted access to my first true red carpet event: the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards. What’s incredible about all of this was that to this day I still have no idea how I scored a spot on what is considered to be the hottest night in music… it just happened. Even better: this wasn’t just some random no-name experience, it was the mac daddy of award shows that I was lucky enough to attend. 

I didn’t get a chance to talk to, well, anyone. I told Taylor Swift she looked gorgeous when she walked past me (she said, “thanks”) and was too nervous to try to call on anyone’s name as I was brand new to all of this by then. All I knew was that I wanted more of this, as the energy from the carpet is indescribable and something I wanted to do over and over again.

As luck would have it, a major celebrity publication hired me as one of their freelance writers three years ago. I almost fell out of the chair at my old job when they emailed me back with the good news. This was a tip in the right direction for where my career was headed, and I couldn’t wait to see what was next.

Between then and now, I've been able to interview hundreds of the biggest stars in movies, music, television… and even the adult industry. Something that I enjoy doing while there is making a connection with whomever I’m talking to. The red carpet is exhilarating, fun and so much more, but at the end of the day it is a job and can be an absolute pain the ass to do on certain nights.

You have to fight for who you talk to while there, meaning that the biggest names at the event will be harder to get unless you stake your claim.There are other times where minimal reporters show up yet major stars actually attend. This makes the situation that much easier, in particular when I went face to face with Hollywoo icon Meryl Streep back in 2016. I still get goosebumps just from looking at the photo of me and her at Cipriani’s Wall Street, where she spoke at a Christopher Reeve benefit. 

Something that I’ve also numbed to over the years was the understanding that these celebrities ARE JUST PEOPLE. They don’t have halos around them or magical fairy dust that shoots out of their pores. They are there to do a job, just like I am, so me freaking out about how much I love and adore them really isn’t a good thing to do. Sure, I have paid some of them compliments in the past, but my enjoyment in the experience is just simply being two feet from them as they discuss why they are there and my interaction with them before they head to their seats.

There have been a couple of celebs (who will remain nameless) that weren’t particularly friendly while there. I can chalk this up to them having a bad night, not feeling well, etc. It goes back to them being real people too and not robots that we worship on our computers and cell phones. 

Still, every time I go to an event and leave, I feel happy. I get to go home and create my own story from what I saw and heard that night. It gives me satisfaction knowing that thousands if not millions of people are reading what I wrote, whether it's about celebrities, food, the LGBTQ community, travel, business or more (my writing runs through a lot of avenues).

I think what the point I'm trying to make here is: do what you love and love what you do. It doesn't matter what the field is, how much you get paid, or how long you've been doing it. Simple as that. 

This post was created by one of our Contributing Writers and does not reflect the opinion of Instinct Magazine or the other Contributing Writers when it comes to this subject.