Paris was born in Richmond and grew up with her parents and younger brother in Chesterfield, Va. Growing up, Paris remembers that she’s always had an interest in entertainment. BET’s 106 & Park was one of her favorite shows. She loved this music meets hosting hybrid so much that she decided to get involved in her interests early. A graduate of Meadowbrook High School, Paris was one of the few students with an internship before even graduating! There’s definitely something phenomenal about finding passion early. Paris adds drive and vision to complete the equation.
Paris and I met at a local lunch spot in Richmond. The way the conversation started was funny. Paris, being the radio host that she is, was interviewing me! Unknowingly asking me all the question that I had prepared to ask her lol. What a lot of people don’t realize is that Paris has been in the entertainment business almost eight years now. Clearly she’s a natural. As fellow Hamptonians, we chatted about a few mutual friends from school and how everyone is doing. Then she went on to confide one of her secret aspirations, and from the strategies we discussed, I’m pretty sure her dream will become a reality in due time. Glad to feature her for this week’s #ShineHard conversation.
What is your passion and when did you know?
Paris: Radio.I like talking to the people. Being able to touch people through music.
I knew early. That’s one thing I feel like put me in the position that I’m in. I started interning when I was in high school at like 16. While other people didn’t know what college they were going to or trying to figure out who they were gonna take to prom, I was literally interning like every day after school. I was first with Light 98 and they played alternative which was different *chuckles*. Then I got on with The Beat and eventually started doing “Saturday nights at the beat”. Then I started co-hosting weeknights, and then I got the opportunity I’m at now with Power 92. After I was on the air it was like, “They can’t take me off, like, I’m good.”
Who do you look up to in the industry?
So what do you read? What is your source of industry news?
Paris: I read a lot of blogs (Audio). But um, I would say NecoleBITCHIE.com. It’s my job to report the entertainment news, music, and the gossip. I’m constantly on the blogs to make sure I don’t miss a story, to see what’s breaking, and to be the first one to report it.
What inspires you to Succeed?
Paris: My family and just wanting to be successful. I have so much ambition. Nothing is ever good enough.
So tell me about your experience at the 2014 BET Awards
Paris: It was really cool. We flew out on Thursday and left on Monday. We broadcasted live from LA. We do the Radio Room. That’s when all the artists come through and we do interviews. Pretty much everyone is there; Usher, Chris Brown, The Game, can’t even name them all. Sunday is the actual award show and it was cool to actually see how it really works. It’s literally like they do their little speaking part then it’s like “Five Minutes!” Like when you see commercials on TV people are like coming in and out, its crazy! “Doors close in 30 seconds,” It was fun! I had the opportunity to meet with Stephen Hill. It was a great experience.
What frustrates you the most about today’s culture?
Paris: Nowadays the word “Brand” is used so loosely. That word annoys me at times because I’m just like people who don’t even know what they’re talking about are hollering “My Brand”. But what do you do?? Everybody is like, “Oh I have a brand,” but can’t tell you their goals or purpose. Like with social media where everyone wants to be a celebrity. Instagram and Twitter give people the platform to be whoever they want to be, but that’s just the world we live in.
Johnny: Right, a thing I read in a book called The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was like, it’s much more important to BE rather than to SEEM. Perhaps too many people are trying to seem like they’re more than what they are, or seem like they’re something else.
In what ways have you pushed yourself to achieve your goals?
Paris: Probably when I was at Hampton. I was still working at 106(The Beat) in Richmond. It was hard because I had to go home every week. I went home literally every Thursday to do my show or meetings. I was a freshmen in college! That was a lot of sacrifice for me, you know what I’m saying? I was missing out on a lot of stuff, but I didn’t care because I knew it was going to pay off. Looking back it’s like, “Wow, I really used to make that drive back and forth like it was nothing.” The thing with positions like that, there is always someone there that is trying to take your spot, so you just can’t let that happen.
What has been your biggest challenge thus far?
Paris: The opportunity. Radio is all about finding the opening. People don’t leave. You gotta literally get there and be like “Moooovee!” There’s some people like 70 years old still tryna do 2-Chainz radio. People get the prime time positions and just hold on to them.
So how do people breakthrough? Create our own station? create a podcast?
Paris: That’s the thing. Nowadays everyone has their online radio shows, which are cool, I’m not knocking them, but getting into commercial radio is completely different from that. You know, an online show you’re talking most of the time and many of them don’t have a real structure. What I mean is, with Radio we have 4 to 5 breaks an hour, sometimes three. In and Out, they don’t want you talking longer than a minute thirty unless it’s something super informative. “Thats 2 chainz, yadi yadi now here’s Chris brown.” We have ratings of course. Major Markets are hard to break into.It’s all about who you know and being at the right place at the right time.
How important is social media to the career of a Radio Host?
Paris: I haven’t had one person really ask me about my Degree. It’s all about what have you done and what can you do for me. You can be in an interview and they might just jump out and ask “how many twitter followers do you have?” and it’s soo crazy. They wanna know about the power of your influence.
I gotta be better with my tweeting. Because people want to know. The people want to know every little detail. What you’re doing, who you’re with and that’s what creates a brand and a following. Its just nobody wants to be that person who’s “Doing too much”. If you’re in a room with Diddy and Russell Simmons you’re supposed to network, but if you take too many pictures you might get looked at crazy *laughs*
Johnny: True haha. When it comes to social media I like to use planned consistency. Not always randomly taking pictures then mulling over the details… then probably don’t even like it later *laughs*.
Paris: *laughs* And take forever to think of a caption! I’ll take a picture and be like “oh my gawddd I don’t know a caption!” and take an hour to post the damn picture. Its like the caption makes the picture!
What is the #1 secret behind your success?
Paris: My Drive. Hard work and determination.
What advice do you have for young people trying to break into radio?
Paris: Know what you want to do early and do an intern. Those internships are one of the few ways to get in. When you get one; Work really really hard, especially if you’re a female. It can be a challenge because radio is a male dominated industry. You have to be willing to do the non-glamorous stuff. You really have to #GrindHard if you want to break into this industry. Keep your head on straight and don’t be a groupie!
Johnny: Ha! They can’t say you don’t keep it real. Keep Shining P and welcome to the #ShineHard Family!