Hustle Chat with Zuri Hall

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Photography by Riker Brothers
Photography by Riker Brothers

LH: Tell us a little about yourself?

ZH: I'm Zuri Hall -- a TV host and actress. I'm a new E! News correspondent, and have a popular YouTube channel for girl talk & style, "HeyZuriHall."

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LH: Have you always known you wanted to be in front of the camera?

ZH: Yep! As a child I was always in the mirror singing, dancing, and practicing my poses, haha. I wrote skits, cast my cousins as my supporting characters, and forced our family to watch the shows at holiday gatherings! I just love to entertain. I always knew I wanted to be on stage and in front of the camera, but I also experimented a lot with the idea of which way it would end up happening.

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LH: When did you first get into hosting and being a television personality?

ZH: I entered into a competition to become the face of a local TV station in Indianapolis. After rounds of auditioning, I won the role and a one year contract with the channel.

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LH: What are some of the most valuable lessons you've learned in your career?

ZH: No one has to understand your vision, except for you. They'll get it once you've made it happen! Also, diversify your skill set. I pride myself in not just being "a pretty face" -- I can produce, write scripts... even shoot and edit, when necessary. The more well-versed you are in whatever it is you do, the more of an asset you become. Finally, tunnel vision is fine but be open to the universe and the plans it may have for you. Don't be so stubborn staring at a closed door that you're blind to an amazing opportunity waiting behind an open one.

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LH: Winning an Emmy! That is so exciting, congratulations. How did that feel?

ZH: It was such a natural high! It's an amazing feeling to be acknowledged by your peers -- those are the ones who are voting, and deciding on winners; they know how much effort and skill it takes to do the job properly. So for them to agree that I should take home an Emmy for my work as an on-air host meant a lot to me.

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LH: What made you start #AlphaBabe? 

ZH: The #AlphaBabe Movement is a social movement and lifestyle brand, where glamor and 'the grind' collide. I wanted to launch a movement that celebrates and inspires strong, sexy, smart millennial women who know what they want and aren’t afraid to hustle hard for it! 

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LH: What do you hope to accomplish with this movement?

ZH: The #AlphaBabe Blog (featured at ZuriHall.com) is a curated guide of tools, inspiration and advice for career-minded young women ho want to balance it all: work, love, and life -- with substance and style. I want young women to have role models to look up to who may have beauty, but much more importantly: have brains. Kerry Washington. Tina Fey. Taraji P. Henson. Amal Clooney. Beyonce Knowles. These are women who are talented, work hard, and look fabulous doing it. Highlighting young women who are #AlphaBabes (whether they're famous or not), and empowering them is a major part of what I hope to accomplish.

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LH: The television industry can at times come off as extremely competitive. What sets you apart, or what do you feel you and your hustle bring to the table thatis different from the rest?

ZH: My tenacity, hands down. I simply do not give up. I never have, and will not. The most "no" has ever meant to me is "not yet." I'm always willing to reevaluate and try another path, but I believe in my ability to get to whatever destination it is that I'm aiming for.

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LH: What would you say is the most challenging part of your hustle?

ZH: Convincing other people (especially people in positions of influence or power) that I'm capable of or ready for things that I haven't had the opportunity to prove myself in yet. Someone always has to be the first person to take a chance on you, in a new area. And I'll be forever grateful to the people who were willing to bet on me for each "first" in my career: my first job in TV, my first live show, my first national TV hosting job, etc.

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LH: What are some of the most rewarding parts of your hustle?

ZH: Meeting and interviewing interesting, talented people is pretty cool. Most importantly though, my job gives me a platform to reach a wider audience. And it means so much to me when young women reach out and tell me how my journey has inspired or helped them. That's priceless. 

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LH: Top three things you can't live without. Go! 

ZH: My loved ones (does that count as multiple things?!), comfort food and my phone!

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LH: Who or what are your hustle inspirations?

ZH: I love Kerry Washington. She's so intelligent, talented and stylish. Taraji P. Henson is awesome -- her journey to Hollywood is so inspirational, and that sort of tenacity and hustle is something I admire in others and see in myself. Oprah is queen! She's a self-made mogul, who's just as in control behind the scenes as she is in front of the camera. That's what I aim to do.

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LH: Who is your current favorite music artist?

ZH: My tastes are so eclectic! I love Sam Smith and Ed Sheeran. My boyfriend got me hip to a Belgian artist named Stromae -- he's SO dope. And neo-soul/classic R&B is a constant that always mellows me out.

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LH: What are some words of wisdom you'd like to share with your fellow Lady Hustlers, and aspiring Lady Hustlers?

ZH: Well what I can tell you is that my career philosophy has been pretty simple: Work hard. Stay humble. Be kind. Pray often. Oh, and don't forget to enjoy the moment! Ambitious people (myself included) have the tendency of moving straight into the next goal, without taking a moment to savor whatever it is they just accomplished. You've gotta stop and smell those roses!

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LH: What's next for Zuri Hall? 

ZH: Right now my main focus is E! News -- I love my new job! I also have some exciting plans to expand the #AlphaBabe brand and my YouTube channel, HeyZuriHall. The best way to keep up with everything I have going on is to follow me on social media

-- I'm always giving updates and behind-the-scenes peeks on Instagram, Twitter & Snapchat: @ZuriHall

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Photographers: Riker Brothers

Stylist: Adeel Khan

Hair: Caprice Green

Make Up: Anton K