There’s no denying it; smart is the new sexy. From real-life trailblazers like Shonda Rhimes and Diane von Furstenberg to big screen heroines like Sloan in The Newsroom and the now infamous Olivia Pope, strong women are the taking the world by storm. We got in on the action with this week’s WWL: on-air host for Huffington Post, Jacqueline Howard.
She’s the face and leader of Huffington Post’s original video series, “Talk Nerdy To Me,” which is all about making science simpler for the rest of us. Her series breaks down big topics in the science world for the everyday person, as well as features the greatest thinkers and latest research in science, health and technology. She also recently partnered with The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to host a series of videos, in partnership with The Huffington Post, about why it’s important to empower and invest in women and girls around the world. But with us, Howard discussed advice from Ariana Huffington, how to promote yourself, and what makes smart sexy to her…
HOW DID YOU LAND THE JOB AND WHAT STEPS DID YOU HAVE TO TAKE TO REACH THIS POINT IN YOUR CAREER?
I’ve always wanted to be a journalist, even from a young age. I used to write short stories in my journals, read teen magazines cover-to-cover, and imagined seeing myself on TV, anchoring the nightly news.[…]
While in [college], I completed many internships, from working with CBS News Productions to producing content for USAToday.com. After earning my bachelor’s degree in communication studies from the University of Michigan, I knew I wanted to go to grad school, but felt as if I needed more real-world experience first.
So, I briefly worked as a weekend morning show producer for an ABC affiliate in my hometown of Cincinnati before moving to Los Angeles to earn a master’s degree in broadcast journalism from the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism in 2010.
After graduate school, I joined the AOL Company as an editor with the AOL platform Patch, where I started focusing on scientific stories. I then transferred within AOL from Patch to the HuffPost Science team, where I first worked behind-the-scenes on the “Talk Nerdy To Me” series before stepping in front of the camera.
WHAT IS A TYPICAL DAY LIKE FOR YOU?
Oh my, we could be here all day! Each day begins at 7 a.m., when I join my HuffPost Science team online to select which stories we plan on covering that day – it’s a process that we call the “morning rush.” We update the website with a few new stories that one of us writes while the others edit.
Every Tuesday after morning rush, I appear on HuffPost Live for a segment called the “Nerd’s Forum,” where I discuss the latest news in health, science and technology with a panel of fellow experts.[…]
If I’m filming “Talk Nerdy To Me” that day, then after morning rush, I’m probably completing my hair, make-up, and wardrobe and then rushing to the Tremble Productions studio to shoot the show. After we shoot, I like to have a meeting with the production team to quickly brainstorm the animations, graphics, and video we will feature in that “Talk Nerdy To Me” episode to bring the science to life on screen. See, I told you we could be here all day!
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST THING YOU’VE LEARNED IN YOUR CAREER?
I’ve learned that you must be your own biggest cheerleader. In other words, don’t be shy in promoting your work – whether that’s through social media or simply writing an email to your boss about a big accomplishment you’ve made for the company that day. If you don’t point out your successes, no one may notice – and that’s not being vain or conceited, it’s simply being a smart businesswoman.
WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?
Arianna (Huffington) said this before and even repeated it in her book “On Becoming Fearless,” but she suggests that whenever you feel nervous or anxious about something and get those dreadful butterflies in your stomach, don’t think of those butterflies as a sign that you are afraid, but rather a sign that you are excited!
Believe it or not, this is also backed by science. Studies show that our bodies process the emotions of anxiety and excitement similarly as high-arousal emotions – whereas calm emotions are low-arousal – so you can kind of trick your body into turning a feeling of anxiety into a feeling of excitement.
WHY IS BEING SMART SEXY?
When you’re well-informed and have an understanding of the world or how things work and operate, that breeds confidence in yourself and your abilities – and that confidence is not only attractive but it’s also very valuable and serves as something no one can take away from you. It’s powerful.
WHO ARE A FEW SMART/SEXY WOMEN YOU ADMIRE?
I definitely admire Arianna (Huffington) and her efforts to redefine “success” from being about money and power to being about building a life of well-being, wisdom, and wonder.
My mother also inspires me and the women in my family who are all trailblazers in their own right and have always placed an emphasis on the importance of an education.
WHAT IS A DREAM SEGMENT OR INTERVIEW YOU’D LOVE TO DO IN THE FUTURE?
I would love to do a series or segment on what it is that inspires the greatest thinkers and personalities in the world today – from Richard Branson to Bill Gates to Sheryl Sandberg to Shonda Rhimes. The list goes on!
Check out Howard in action here for The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation here: