Secrets Of Reality TV + Tips To Getting on a Show

Reality TV has been a hot topic for me lately. While I don’t often talk about work, I spend a lot of time with clients developing reality TV shows from start to finish. It is something I just fell into and wound up loving. While each project is unique and exciting, it has also jaded me from watching TV like a normal person. With every new scene, I watch it through a “man behind the camera” lens.

Last week, I chatted with Mary Mel of WRUW about my love for Erika Jayne, work and the change of going back to school to get my masters in PR/AD. Reality TV, more specifically Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, has always been my guilty pleasure. When I am stressed, I numb my brain with their complaints about their 15 nannies and gossipy glam sessions.

With so many people consuming reality TV and a new show popping up every week, I wanted to share some behind the scenes facts and tips on how to land your own TV show and what really goes down behind the camera, because let’s be real: I know some of you lead crazy enough lives to deserve a camera crew.

1 | Although it is “reality,” nothing is unplanned. Every conversation is sketched out in a plot-line. While this does not mean scripted, there is a general guide of what the subjects will talk about and when. If the producer does not catch a scene exactly as they need it, the subjects may be asked to create it again. On a different note, even late night talk shows are scripted. Producers will check with a celebrities publicist to get talking points and the host will rehearse them with the interviewee.

2 | Reality TV shows seek out “flawed” individuals. Whether it is having a harsh temper or being terrified of flying, you bet that  producer is going to pick on your weaknesses. Take a TV show like The Bachelor for example, there can only be one winner. That means that of the 30 girls in the cast each season, only a few can be “normal.” They have to fill the season with other tune-in worthy stuff to keep viewership high, and that means c.r.a.z.y. Imperfections set you apart- sometimes in a good way.

3 | You only see a small portion of the action. Something that drives me crazy is when I see hundreds of angry tweets about a specific moment on a show and in reality producers are master manipulators. They have 50 hours of video content, and cut together different scenes into a half hour episode. If someone gets eliminated on a talent show for bombing, remember that all of their applause could have been cut out and they could have been eliminated simply because they weren’t as interesting as other contestants.

4 | A show cast or contestants on a talent show are chosen to play specific “characters.” People are cast to fill specific roles, for example “the mean girl” or the “girl next-door.” The cast signs onto these roles and agrees to play to that role for the camera. Ex. Corinne from The Bachelor.

5 | Getting a show picked up by a network isn’t easy. Having a show go from concept to on air can take many, many years. Typically, a production house will fund your concept and then try to sell it to a network. People think it is glamorous, but in reality it is a lot of waiting around! There are many different ways that a network can order a TV show, so it changes depending on the case. Your best bet for getting picked up for a TV show is to send an email directly to a production company, such as Story Monster, to see if they are developing anything.

Obviously every case is different and some shows are filmed with honesty, but a large chunk of the TV we consume on a daily basis follows these steps.

Did you know any of these things before? What is your take on reality TV?

<3 Al

Spring Time Apparel

 

Dress: Ellie Kai // Shoes: Target!! (Buy one get one 50% off!) // Purse: Sarah Jessica Parker

It’s Monday and Spring is (actually) HERE. We are slowly learning what sunshine is in Chicago and I love it. Spring time in Chicago is the best with colorful tulips on Michigan Avenue, strolls on the river walk, bright colors and spring dresses. I have been dying to wear my red sandals out and about and not only are they comfortable, but they come in so many different colors! The Who What Wear line at Target is coming in clutch with its shoe collection. I’m in love with my Crochet Knit Dress by Ellie Kai because it is so comfy and can be dressed up or down! It’s the perfect dress for a Sunday Stroll, day time brunch, (did someone say Easter?!), or even for a Hamptons party (thank you Al for hosting!) If you haven’t heard of Ellie Kai before, make sure to check them out! This made to order clothing line has so many different styles, patterns, and fits to choose from. Not to mention the brand prides itself in making its clothing in an ethical way, in hopes to eliminate waste. The company also donates to organizations that focuses on bettering education for women and girls. Love me some Ellie Kai.

You can never go wrong with a white dress and a pop of color for a day in the sunshine. Can’t wit for more spring fashion inspiration. Let’s just hope this sunshine in Chicago is here to stay for awhile!

XO.

Lex

Photography by: Meghan @ Lincoln Park Minute

This post includes complimentary product. 

Fit Fridays: Working for that Summer Bod

Happy Friday! We are so close to summer which means lounging by the pool, boating on Lake Michigan, and runs on the lake front! Days at work have been a little longer due to a busy but exciting summer season ahead, so I have to work out at home a few days a week. One of my main fitness gals, Erin Murray, is a yoga and boot camp instructor (you MUST take her bootcamp class at Yoga Six!) and taught me a few workouts perfect to do at home that help me get a good sweat in, are great for toning, and of course kick my butt. The workout below is a circuit where you go through the circuit as fast as you can for 5 minutes, 4 times, with one minute rests in between

Want more tips? Check out Erin’s blog, La Vigueur and comment with questions below! YOU GOT THIS.

XO.

Lex

Plank: 1 Minute Hold

Squat + Twist: 20

This one is pretty straight forward. You squat with around a 5 pound weight, and bring your knee to the weight while twisting towards your raised knee, squat, and do the other side!

Push Up + Low Squat (10)

For this, you do a push up, jump your feet towards your hands, and bring yourself up into a very low squatting position. From there, plant your hands on the ground, jump your feet back out for another push up, and repeat.

The Dirty Dozen

Start at 1, do 1 rep (in and out), do another one but this time hold your legs straight out for 1 second. Then do 2 fast reps, and then hold your legs straight out for 2 seconds, do 3 reps and hold your legs straight out for 3 seconds… and so on. One you get to 12, you bring it right back down. If it gets too hard, modify to go up to 6! Sounds like death right? I believe in you.

High plank to low plank: 15

Start by doing an elbow plank, and then rise up, one arm at a time, to a high plank. Then you will lower one arm back down at a time, and repeat.

Stretch Stretch Stretch.

This is imperative to your success. Touch your toes, do some twists to open up your hip flexers, and stretch your inner thighs by bending into one leg while keeping the other straight. Do your body a favor and stretch for at least 10 minutes after your workout. This is not a drill.

What are you doing in preparation for summer? Hustle hustle hustle to get your workouts in!

 

Photography by Brittany Benson

Organically Gorgeous

 

Over the past few months, my skin has completely changed. This is not something I normally talk openly about, but I think it is important to know that not everyone is perfect! I went from having crystal clear skin with a few bumps here and there to having flare ups of tiny little bumps all over my face. Let me tell you: it isn’t fun!

I have always stuck to a strict skincare routine involving a lot of high-end products that worked wonders for me for years and I had not recently changed anything so I was puzzled. I go for a monthly facial at Cowshed Spa in Chicago (I see Ashley- she is a miracle worker!) and found out that my sudden little bumps were not acne, but bodily toxins trying to expel themselves through our largest organ: my skin. Ashley had me switch all of my beauty products over to being 100% plant based, organic + all natural and I was totally lost. I started researching brands that are gentle but effective and stumbled upon TULA.

Each TULA product nourishes your skin with a balanced meal of good-for-you ingredients, the same way a healthy diet nourishes your body. At TULA, they are not just looking at what we put on our face, but looking inside at internal medicine to improve the health and appearance of our body’s largest organ, the skin. That means leveraging the power of probiotics, “the newest breakthrough in skincare.” TULA uses carefully selected skin superfoods and probiotics AKA good bacteria to help skin reveal it’s best self.

My personal favorite and new hero product is the Exfoliating Treatment Mask. I have never used a mask that has exfoliating particles in it, but was pleasantly surprised at the texture. This particular mask contains Lactic acid and Bentonite clay to gently peel away impurities, dead skin, and debris and the tiny beads are plant-based and biodegradable. They release hydrating nutrients including Jojoba and Vitamin E to heal and calm skin.

If you have sensitive skin like me or are

 making a conscious effort to switch what you put on your body to being plant-based, TULA is the perfect line to dip your toe into. They offer this great little started pack so you can try different skincare items to see what works best for you.

 

PS: how funny are these products from Anese? The silly names make me laugh every time I look at them. Currently obsessed with this hair elixir. PSS: take 20% off your order with code FIRST20. No…I do not earn anything from this.

 

<3 Al

Thank you TULA for working with me on this post!

Birthday Weekend Outfits

 

This past weekend I turned 24! My family has always celebrated “birthday weeks” and I look forward to it every year! My parents and I tried out a new restaurant in Chicago called Giant. Not going to lie- I was a little nervous when I first took a glance at the menu, but everything they put down on the table was more delicious than the last. It is in Logan Square, about a five minute drive from Lost Lake. I have professed my love for Lost Lake here before, and recently made a tiki cocktail inspired by their tiki drinks. Needless to say, we stopped at Lost Lake for a cocktail to top off the night.  Saturday night we went to The Aviary– my all time favorite cocktail spot in Chicago. If you have not been to The Aviary- you need to RUN there right now! The things they do to alcohol are truly incredible. We ended the night at Swift & Sons. I got a few questions about the outfits I posted on Instagram, so I thought I would share them!

My mom called me last week when I was in Nashville to see if there was anything I had wanted for my birthday. Honestly- I 100% forgot to tell my mom that I wanted anything because of my foggy Lyme brain.  Whoops. BUT- my mom found this beautiful python lips bag from designer Gelareh Mizrahi- you can scoop one up exclusively at Barney’s or on her website, here. Fun fact: you can order a custom bag of your face. I collect (hoard) bags (and shoes and clothes- HA) and this was the perfect, unique addition to my collection.

 Oxford: JCREW: Skirt: JCREW (now on sale, similar here, also on sale.)

Loafers: Madewell (Also obsessed with these that Jenn Lake recently wore- but alas they do not have my giant size.)

Leather jacket: All Saints. Striped T-shirt: (Similar) JCrew. Belt: Louis Vuitton.

Jeans: Good American. Bag: Gelareh Mizrahi.

<3 Al

So What Do You Mean When You Say “Digital”

When you think of the term “digital,” you automatically think “digital = social media.” You’re off to a great start but there is a little more to it. A few things I wanted to break down about the digital sphere is what does it really mean and what should you know about it?

It’s crazy to think that the apps we are so familiar with now: Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook, will be completely different in 3, 5, and 10 years. Think about when we are older and see our kids on their iPhones, will we be able to comprehend what ever their newest obsession is on social media? I hope so. *GASP* As I think about not being able to keep up with social media someday.

SO WHAT DOES DIGITAL MEAN?

In today’s day and age, brands cannot thrive if they don’t have a digital presence. It is one thing having a Twitter account on behalf of a brand but what is the strategy behind it? What is the voice/ tone of the brand? Is it playful? Serious? Goofy? A combination? Having a digital presence on behalf of a brand means being up to speed with day to day news stories, and engaging yourself into conversation when appropriate. If an alarming dairy study came out and had the possibility to negatively effect the dairy industry, brands like Horizon Valley and Darigold might make a statement via social media channels where they see fit. A cereal brand MAY be able to enter the conversation because milk + cereal are essential to one another (obvi), but it might be trying a bit too hard if a poultry or chip brand tried to enter the conversation. Milk is to cereal as chips is to guac. Chips to milk? Mission abort.

Digital takeaways that I think are important may be different than someone who doesn’t have a background in public relations. In fact, someone who has been in public relations for 10+ years might have a different outlook on all things digital and where it is going. But, as far as my millennial self goes, here are a few key takeaways.

  1. Digital is always changing.

    And with that, it’s a marathon and not a sprint. Take the realm of social media with a grain of salt. We as millennials can adapt to just about anything and if one thing is for certain, we can quickly adapt to digital change and transformation. Just last week, Facebook launched it’s rendition of Facebook Stories, which is similar to SnapChat and Instagram features. “How will we keep up with all of our stories?” is a question I think many of us have along with how will our phone batteries withstand all of the different networks. I am curious to hear people’s feedback at the very least. And in case you were wondering, Facebook creeping is no longer anonymous when it comes to FB Story.

  2. Brands are creating “influencer programs” for just about anything.

    If you have a passion for financial planning, colorful floors, or new and inventive cocktails, there is most likely someone out there who has worked with a brand who’s core values match that of the brands. Amazon just had a soft launch of an influencer program into beta where the new program will offer influencers commission on products sold, but is not open to the public. So in short, if you consider yourself an influencer, there is most likely a brand that fits your image and what you like to write about. And in case you were wondering, Amazon influencers must submit an application to be included.

  3. Digital platforms can tell a story from beginning to end.

    It is one thing to read a blog post about someone’s travel experience. But what was the actual story of it? Brands are continuing to work with the customer and not just for the customer, which is well stated in HBR. The customer continues to be kept top of mind and at the forefront of conversations. What are the consumer’s tastes changing to and how can brands quickly adapt? Digital strategy is essential to story telling and paralleling with the mind sets of consumers.

  4. Ways to measure a digital campaign is essential to success.

    You would not believe the tools companies use on the back end to measure success, especially for digital campaigns. Facebook ads are measured in so many ways (think engagement, click throughs, point of sale). It is every brand’s dream to be on the front page of the New York Times, and can you guess why? It has the ability to reach so many people. As of 2016, the NY Times has 72.9MM unique monthly viewers. Where do you even begin to measure the success of this kind of placement? Different measuring tools help answer different questions: How many people viewed the article, how many shared it, commented on it, how was SEO involved. One tool I recently learned about can track who viewed a certain page, clicked on the “donate now” hyperlink on the page, and then actually donated! 50% incredible and 50% creepy. I think you get the point.

What do you think is the next turning point in the digital space? I am curious to hear from my millennial pals and digital experts as well! Hope this helped clear up any questions you might have had about all things social media/ digital!

XO.

Lex

Pretty in Pink: Wedding Season Fashion

Dress: Topshop *On sale!* // Shoes: Charles Jourdan // Earrings in PINK: Bauble Bar // Clutch in BLACK: Nordstrom (not pictured but cute to go with!)

‘Tis the season for weddings and there isn’t anything better than celebrating a forever love over a glass of bubbly. I had the most wonderful time celebrating a friend’s marriage in sunny Orange County, California. My dear friend has nothing short of great taste, so I knew it would be stunning. The venue was at the Monarch Beach Resort and if you ever have a chance to stay there, I would highly recommend. Ocean views and amazing hotel amenities? For those who are stuck in this chilly Spring gloom, I will leave it at that.

My favorite color has always been pink and I love that it is a popular color. I hopped around Nordstrom and luckily found most of my outfit in one place except my shoes from Nordstrom Rack (Nordies clearly has my heart…). I kept it simple finding a pair of tassel earrings I could wear with a messy up-do, and black heels to compliment the black bow in the back of my dress. The up-do was in part that I didn’t want to overheat in the sunshine and I wanted to show off the cute little bow. To top it all off, I was feeling fabulous with my lashes done by Amazing Lash Studio Chicago in Streeterville. I love this dress so much I might sport it for the Kentucky Derby with a black hat and black gloves… thoughts on it being cute or more so aspiring to be Audrey Hepburn? 😉

I hope you get to go to a wedding and celebrate love soon, too! <3

XO.

Lex