Getting into the entertainment bizz is all about WHO you know. You also have to intern, have good work ethic and have a passion for it. In this case Tessa Cevaal has it all and knew all the right people to get to where she is now.
If you don’t know her already then you’re about to find out! Tessa is a production assistant for E! News and an entertainment reporter and host AfterBuzz TV.
As a production assistant, Tessa's job involves assisting show-producers, pitching and writing stories, track scripts with talent and much more. And if you haven't heard of AfterBuzz before, it's an online network that was founded by former E! host Maria Menounos and producer Keven Undergaro, to discuss all of your favorite TV shows.
She currently hosts season 7 of ABC's "Scandal After Show and Review" and FOX's new show "The Four: Battle for Stardom After Show and Review" on Thursdays at 8:00pm and 9:00pm PST in webcast or podcast form.
Tessa found her passion for journalism while attending the University of Colorado Boulder. The flame was ignited through theatre.
“I grew up heavily involved in the theater, but knew that I didn’t want to continue pursing it professionally,” says Tessa.
“However, through acting I realized that I had a passion for people, which probably sounds a little odd, but I love interacting and talking to people on all walks of life and realized that I had a passion for interviewing.”
Tessa then realized she also had a passion for storytelling and began taking more communication and journalism classes during her undergrad, which made her become a journalism major with an emphasis in broadcast news. Once she found her field of study, Tessa began interning and working as a production assistant for TV shows including VH1’s “Bye Felicia!” and MTV’s “Are You the One? Ethan and Amber Baby Shower.”
“I was hired as a production assistant through the production company that I was interning for at the time, Lighthearted Entertainment. They were the ones producing the shows that I was hired for,” says Tessa.
“I was able to land the internship through school. The head of the company came in as a guest speaker in one of my classes and I built up enough courage by the end of class to go introduce myself to him after. I told him how passionate I was able television and how compelling his talk was that he told me to come work for him that coming summer.”
Tessa continued to be heavily involved in internships, completing 8 while in college. This is what ultimately landed her an internship with E! News after graduating in spring 2015.
“I became close with my internship coordinator who knew that my goal was to ultimately get into entertainment news,” says Tessa.
“My last semester she told me that she had recently met an old alumni who was working and E! News and connected us. Once we connected, he was kind enough to connect me with the internship supervisor at E! News who ended up hiring me.”
Once hired as an intern, Tessa had to uproot her life from Colorado and move to LA. While there, she said her best friend helped her with her living arrangements.
“My best friend from growing up helped me a ton. She was finishing her degree in LA at the same time and integrated me into her friend group who all helped me find a place to live.”
Through E!, Tessa was able to go out in the field on shoots, carpets and junkets and get hands on experience with taking notes, pictures and assisting crew. One of her favorite experiences as an intern was being able to meet people including celebrities. Her internship essentially helped her get her production assistant position at E! News in May of 2017.
Being a former intern additionally helped Tessa become an on-camera host for AfterBuzz TV.
“I was able to build strong connections and demonstrate my hard work ethic. Upon leaving my internship, I made sure to maintain the relationships I had created which ultimately lead to an interview for my job later down the road.”
“I found out about AfterBuzz through Maria Menounos. I had met her as an intern at E! News while she was still hosting there after she had given an internal talk about her experience in the industry,” says Tessa.
“She had talked about starting AfterBuzz and I was really interested so I approached her afterwards. She was kind enough to connect me with the staff at AfterBuzz.”
Once connected, Tessa had to audition for the hosting position and did so by creating and submitting a self-tape along with a formal questionnaire. Tessa has now been hosting for the AfterBuzz for one year.
One thing’s for certain and that’s Tessa is determined and has a zeal for journalism and entertainment news. And if it wasn’t clear already; it’s all about experience and who you know in this field. But there’s other important pointers necessary to pursue this type of career, according to Tessa.
“My biggest advice would be to work hard, and stay true to who you are. I think a lot of people try to be like their idols or mimic what they think they need to look and sound like, but it never comes off as truly authentic. And who wants to watch someone that is unauthentic?”
So now you know her! You can watch or listen to Tessa host and interview guest for AfterBuzz at Afterbuzztv.com/shows.