Kendra L. Saunders interviews Jamie Steinberg
Everyone has someone they wish they could sit down and chat with, whether it’s a musician or an artist, a favorite author, a designer who pushes the boundaries of fashion or a scientist who is teetering on the edge of world-changing developments. Most of us will never get to have that conversation, so we look to the professional interviewers of the world to do it for us.
In this world of internet and cell phones (and TVs on gas pumps) we are connected to media for most of our waking hours, allowing us access to people and things we never could have taken advantage of before. So how frustrating is it when we hear, read or listen to an interview conducted by someone who clearly doesn’t know or care about their subject? And, worse, when the interviewer is only one of a string of interviewers that asks their guest the same five questions that everyone else has already asked?
Jamie Steinberg of Starry Constellation Magazine is just the sort of interviewer who gives interviewers a good name. She has chatted with an exhaustive list of celebrities in her time, but continues to approach her interviews with excitement and genuine interest.
Recently I had the pleasure of placing her on the other side of the interview desk and asking her some questions….
1. You’ve interviewed everyone from Nicole Kidman and Elijah Wood to Daniel Craig and Emma Stone. You must have had some memorably experiences in your years in the business… any in particular that stood out to you as ‘wow’ moments?
There have been a number! I confessed to Ed Helms that he was my geek crush. I sort of stammered a bit talking to Jason Mraz because I admire his talents so much and adore his music. Last year, I spoke with Demian Bichir who starred in the movie A Better Life. There was quite a lot of Oscar buzz surrounding him and the film and I assured him he was going to be nominated. He told me it would not be happening, but if it did he’d treat me to dinner. Of course, we now know he did get the nomination and I recently caught up with him to discuss his new FX show “The Bridge.” I reminded him of our encounter and he laughed and said, “That offer still stands.” So, I am hoping some day to take him up on the offer. Often times, we get told when we talk one-on-one with a celebrity they say that we should come to their set and that they will gladly show us around. I think that’s one of the biggest compliments you can get as a journalist. It’s a nod to the fact they liked your questions, enjoyed the conversation and are willing to personally extend themselves on your behalf. It’s also really nice when a celebrity says they want to stay in touch with you and/or often shares information about your work with their fans and followers.
2. How long ago did you form Starry Mag?
Starry Constellation Magazine began in January of 2003 when our Editor In Chief, Lisa Steinberg, came up with the idea for an online magazine about her passion; movies. She had already been contributing movie reviews to another online magazine run by a friend. Lisa decided to venture out on her own and begin her own online magazine.
Originally, the magazine included funny TV show quotes, movie reviews, television show reviews and a few sparse columns. Now, the magazine includes celebrity & musical artist interviews, movie & DVD reviews, television show episode guides, television show reviews, CD reviews, contests and much more. The magazine has now expanded from an e-zine, done strictly through email, to this amazing website!
3. Who is your dream interview at this point?
I’d have to say Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood would be my dream interviews. First, they are just lovely ladies and they are filled to the brim with talent. I’m in awe of everything they are and their abilities. Plus, they are just good people. They truly care about their fans and appreciate their support. They seem like the most sincere and genuine women in the music industry these days. I’d also love to meet Paul Walker. The man is pretty close to physical perfection…
4. What is your greatest suggestion to beginning interviewers?
Be polite. Saying “please” and “thank you” can take you FAR. The saying “you catch more flies with honey” applies to your personal and professional life. Also, when conducting an interview, try and stick to discussing their most recent projects. They want to promote the current projects that they are working on so they aren’t going to want to focus most of the conversation to a film or show that they did some years prior. You can probably ask a couple questions focused on past work towards the end of the interview, but try and make them few and far between. They definitely won’t want to discuss their favorite pizza topping, spend their time giving shout outs to different countries or individuals and they might not be up for talking about their future travel plans.
5. You’re a whiz with social media, especially twitter. How important is social media in building a career in the entertainment business?
Social media is a VITAL part of building a career in the entertainment business. Honestly, I hesitated to join Twitter because I figured my interviews wouldn’t get that much attention. Boy, was I WRONG! You actually meet a lot of fans and they share your interviews – to places and with people all over the world! It also allows celebrities to share your interviews with their fans, which increases your attention. Not to mention the fact that other media outlets notice you and your work. I have recently become a guest commentator for HuffPostLive (a new live streaming network from the Huffington Post) thanks to the interviews they saw me promoting online.
6. Who are some of your favorite fashion designers?
I do like Christian Siriano. He’s got amazing taste and I’ve loved watching him go from an unknown talent on Project Runway to a successful and sought after designer.
7. I notice you tweet a lot about shows you love. What are some of your current favorite TV shows?
Once Upon A Time, Suits, Pretty Little Liars, Glee, Psych, Parenthood, Parks and Rec, Falling Skies, New Girl, The Mindy Project, The Amazing Race
8. What’s the best way for people to keep up to date with Starry Mag?
The best way to keep up with us is to follow @StarryMag and @NotYerAvgChick on Twitter. You can go to our website http://www.starrymag.com via computer or cell to read all of our present and past interviews.
9 Can fans request for you to interview a celebrity? If so, how?
Of course they can! We are always open to interview suggestions! Simply send us a tweet with your request or you can email them to us at StarryMag@Aol.com. Don't hesitate to write us! We'd love to hear from you.
10. Who are some of your favorite interviewers?
I think Piers Morgan asks tough questions, which I enjoy. He’s not fond of letting people off lightly when it comes to serious topics. As far as entertainment interviewers go, I’d say Andy Cohen on Bravo. I know he’s actually a Bravo executive, but he became so popular that they gave him his own talk show. He does a lot to make sure his guests have fun. My top favorites though would have to be Jimmy Fallon and Chelsea Handler. First, Jimmy is a blast! He finds a way to make every guest feel like they are talking to a best friend and ensures they have the time of their lives on the show. He’s a constant smile! Chelsea has a different approach to interviews. Not only does she call a celeb out on their stuff, she has balls! She isn’t afraid to ask questions that are direct and often unpleasant, but her acerbic whit and lack of airs makes her fun to watch.
And now for the “wacky questions”…
If you could choose one Disney villain to be your minion for everyday tasks, which would you choose and why?
This is a difficult one! I’d have to say maybe the Evil Queen from Snow White. She could transform herself into different appearances and use her magic to convince people to give me free/unlimited Cherry Coke, Starbucks and Cheesecake. I think she’d probably be able to twist a few arms to get me into Paul Walker’s trailer too…
Let’s say you get stranded in the jungle, Romancing the Stone style, and you can choose between Adam Levine or Prince Harry as your hero/guide in the two day journey out of the jungle. Who do you choose?
That’s a good question! I’d go with Prince Harry. I know he’s sort of a rogue and a bit cheeky; however, he is trained military man. He’d be able to protect me and keep me alive! Plus, I don’t think I’d mind needing to snuggle up to him for body heat!
-Kendra L. Saunders is the author of Inanimate Objects, upcoming dark comedy Death and Mr. Right and the serialized novella Levitate, which can be read for free on her website (www.kendralsaunders.com) She has conducted interviews with NYT Bestselling authors, award winning fashion designers, steampunk personalities, musicians and many other artists. She also is the creator of the popular “Five-Headed Muse” panel and loves to talk about writing, fashion, music and dark-haired guys on twitter @kendrybird