The media industry is a tough crowd, it’s cut-throat and even more difficult to break into. That’s only half the battle…what happens when the door of opportunity has opened for you? How long you remain in the entertainment industry is ultimately up to you as an individual. What are you going to do to leave your mark?
Vanessa Barnett a.k.a. “The Media Maven”, is the epitome of modern day woman. Her work ethic is impeccable and she carries herself with integrity and a great deal of poise. It goes without saying that what young women need is more woman like Vanessa. Women who understand the value of taking full advantage of the opportunities laid out in front of you. A woman who knows getting the “dream job” is the easy part, how do you keep it is the real challenge. Vanessa has graced the television world both on-screen and behind-the-scenes on shows like Entertainment Tonight, The Real, Access Hollywood, HipHollywood, Revolt TV and Dr. Drew just to name a few. The supermom chatted up with us and dropped some lyrical bars on us. You might want to grab a pen and paper and take notes.
What makes you a Media Maven?
Good question! So often titles are just given these days, but this one I earned. With over a decade of experience in entertainment, including in-front and behind-the-lens, I truly consider myself an expert…and I would like to think I’ve proven that as well. I wear many hats within media and pride myself in being able to wear them all so well. Whether it’s hosting, writing, reporting or even editing; my goal is to excel at the task.
How did you get your first break in the entertainment industry?
My “big break” came when I decided to leave the small news market I was working in at the time and move to Los Angeles with $1,000 in my pocket and my friend’s couch waiting for me. Two days later, I scored an interview with Entertainment Tonight and that same day they offered me a position as a Production Assistant. Every move I’ve made since then has somehow, someway been connected to the amazing people I met at ET. This industry really is about who you know (but, you have to work hard too!)
What have been your biggest challenges?
Getting out of my own way! So often we think we know what our road to success looks like but that’s never really the case, especially in the entertainment industry. I’ve had to learn patience…the hard way. And I’ve had to just trust God’s plan. Praying has been paramount for my survival in this business.
What are some of your biggest accomplishments?
I’m so incredibly thankful for the doors God has opened and the opportunities he has laid out in front of me. I’ve been able to do so many extraordinary things and I don’t take for granted the fact that I get to live my dream daily. But I don’t know if my biggest accomplishment is on TV. When I look at my life, I am so immensely proud of my family. We’re stronger as a unit, so any individual success I may have achieved, while incredibly exhilarating and fulfilling, feels like icing on the cake!
How do you manage your personal life and your work-life? How do you create your work-life balance?
I couldn’t do it without God guiding me and my family supporting me. But even still I am not perfect. There are days when I give 100% in one department, but that just means I’m disappointing somewhere else. My goal is to never fail in the same department multiple days in a row. But I also don’t beat myself up about it. “momma gotta have a life too” #WordToBabyBoy lol. So, if I need a girls night, I call my crew. If my husband says it’s date night, well then I’m all his. If work is incredibly demanding that day, then I pour myself into that. If I feel my kids are craving more of my attention, then nothing else in eh world matters. And on days when I need alone time, I take it! Self-care is so important and sometimes we as mamas think we need to be all things to everyone else, but neglect ourselves. I’m no good to anyone if I’m not A-OK. Oh, and I’m no good to anyone if I don’t have my planner. I write everything down and crave organization…it’s my saving grace.
Sidebar: If you thought your day was hectic, you have no idea how insanely busy Vanessa is! Just look at her daily schedule…
4:30am Wake Up/Get Dressed
5 – 6am Get kids up and dressed
6:00am Head out the door
6 – 7am Drop kids off at school
7:15am Get to work (HipHollywood)
10:30 -11:30am Shoot Access Hollywood
12 – 2pm Interview the cast of The Real (for HipHollywood)
3:00pm Arrive at school
3 – 6pm Study, Eat & Facetime kiddos
6 – 9:30pm Class
10pm Arrive back at home
10pm – 12am Study
What is your motivation?
My family! My husband is my biggest supporter and encourages me in all I do. His faith in me makes me want to be better. I think we push each other towards higher levels of achievement. I also look at my children and I know they’re watching me. I want them to be proud of me and I (along with my husband) am their first role model. I want to be their example of Black excellence and I want to show them the importance of hard work, integrity and fervent prayer!
What advice can you share with young women who are looking to get into the business?
You are enough! Do not change who you are for this business. I see young women try to become who they think they need to be to achieve success. But, honestly, everyone is intrinsically unique and integrity goes a long way. Highlight what makes you special and use your gift for good. Also, find a good mentor and hold on tight. You don’t have to follow their advice (each person has their own path), but I do think it’s important to have someone to talk to that’s been in this business for a minute. They’ll give you the good, bad and ugly.
What is next for Vanessa B?
My next move will be my best move! But I’ve learned from Lil Wayne … “real G’s move in silence like lasagna.” Haha! I will tell you this though, my ultimate goal is to fulfill the purpose God has for my life.