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South Florida's Best and Brightest
Originally published: Monday, August 1, 2011 (12:03:32 a.m. ET)

Jill Martin
"Today Show" and MSG Network contributor Jill Martin. (Photo courtesy of Katie Winter/ABM).
Jill Martin
She earned her sportscasting chops toiling for five years as an anchor and reporter for South Florida-based WFOR. Nowadays, she can be seen alongside Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb on NBC's nationally syndicated "The Today Show," as well as on the Madison Square Garden Network during telecasts of New York Knicks home games. As if that weren't enough to fill even the most indefatigable journalist's schedule, she just completed her second book, "I Have Nothing To Wear," which comes a little more than two years after her publishing debut with "Fashion For Dummies." The path and trajectory of Jill Martin's career is one all aspiring TV hosts should emulate. She interned for both "Geraldo" and "Regis and Kathie Lee" before landing her first job as a production assistant at the "Maury Povich Show." Martin has subsequently reported from the Emmys, Golden Globes, and Oscars. In 2009, she earned two New York Emmy nominations in the "Societal Concerns: Program Feature/Segment" category.

Q: What advice would you give youngsters who want to embark on a career in your industry?
A: What really prepared me for what I'm doing now is that I interned at a lot shows. So working for free for a while is your best bet. And then it's to just stay on your path. I think a lot of people will tell you when you try to do a job like this that it's unattainable, and I think staying on your path and believing in yourself are about the best bits of advice I could give.

Q: Of what professional accomplishment are you most proud?
A: I loved working in South Florida. Working for CBS Sports was an amazing job, working with Jim Berry and Kim Bokamper and the entire CBS4 sports department. But it was a real challenge because you really have to know your stuff. We all know how passionate South Florida fans are about their Dolphins, their Marlins, and their Heat. So that was definitely a challenge. And my first book, "Fashion For Dummies," I had to write with my co-author Dana Ravich, in six months. So we were up morning, noon, and night writing it. I think being a woman in sports and finishing my first book in six months are two things I'm most proud of.

Q: What's the most challenging part about your work?
A: Definitely the hours. A lot of days I leave the house at 5 a.m. and don't get home until midnight. So that's definitely a challenge, not only physically packing for the day and making sure you have all the things you need, but mentally, getting up in the morning knowing you have a day like that. And being at the top of your game, not letting anything slip. I don't like to ever feel like I'm not giving one thing 100 percent. So the only thing that's suffering at this point is my personal life.

Q: What did you envision doing for a living when you were growing up?
A: Everything. I knew I was going to be a workaholic and I knew I was going to be in the entertainment industry, sharing information with people. It's what I always knew I wanted to do. I don't know how to do anything else. I interned for "Regis and Kathie Lee", who I just co-hosted with a few months ago, which was interesting coming full circle. She's the most incredible woman. I interned at "Geraldo" and "The Maury Povich Show". It really ran the gamut. You just need to be around TV to be in TV.

Q: In ten years' time, I will be _________________.
A: In ten years' time I will probably be doing this. Be doing the same thing. Except by then I will have traveled the world. I hope to take a year off to travel the world.

Q: Who are/were your professional role models and why?
A: The one person who I can say really crafted my career was Amy Rosenbloom who was the executive producer of "The Maury Povich Show". She was the first person who put me on TV and believed in me and taught me about what works and what doesn't and what rates and what doesn't. She believed in me. So not only do I admire her, but I'm also very grateful to her. Growing up I was just a ham, I performed. There was never one person who I saw and said that I wanted to be like.

Q: If you could do anything else in the world for a living, what would it be?
A: I wouldn't change. I'm working on a new television show with Tony DiSanto and Liz Gateley, they are the former honchos at MTV Television. It's a new show based around my new book, "I Have Nothing To Wear." It's going to be a new fashion late-night talk show that I think will reinvent television. It's going to be interactive whereby viewers can buy everything off the screen, which I think is the next wave in TV. That's why I wouldn't change one thing because I feel like I'm on the brink of exposing dealers to something new.

Q: What's the best part about your job?
A: At "The Today Show," I work with the "cool kids." It's like being with the best of the best in the business. I learn every day and it's an honor to work there. It's such an incredible place. Working with Kathie Lee [Gifford] and Hoda [Kotb] is always so much fun. We get to drink at 10 a.m. And working with the Knicks is just amazing. You get to be with one of the greatest teams. And we made the playoffs this season for the first time in seven years. I have the best of both worlds.

Q: What's the worst part about your job?
A: The hours, definitely. I think it's just keeping up and the stress of making sure you're at the top of your game, figuratively and literally (because it's sports). It's very stressful. But I wouldn't even be able to name the worst parts about my job. I wake up every day excited to go to work.

Q: What's the one most important thing that experience has taught you?
A: You have to really want something. Especially in entertainment, everybody wants the big jobs. You have to really want it and really want to work. My thing is that you can't have it all. You have to pick and choose what's important to you and make that happen. That could mean having a family, which I think is an amazing accomplishment. But it's very hard to do everything. I think you have to pick something you want to do and concentrate on that. In your career, you have to pick what you want and go for it. You can't waiver. You have to pick something and go for it.

Q: What's the best career advice anyone has imparted on you?
A: I guess it was Amy Rosenbloom. She said stay on a straight path and don't look around. I never look at what other people are doing. I only concentrate on what I'm doing. It's just to forge ahead and stay on a straight path and only worry about yourself. She is now at the NBC local station in New York.

Q: What one thing would you do different/better if you could start it all over again?
A: If I could do it all again, I would take every language possible. I would take all different languages because it's hard for me now. If I were fluent in so many different languages, I would be able to report from so many more places and do so many more things. So if you have the opportunity to take different languages and learn about different cultures, do it. I wish learned French and took more languages. I can't do a report in Spanish.

Q: What's your favorite South Florida charity?
A: I was very close with Alonzo Mourning. And he did ZSG every year and I always dedicated time to that. I think he is a tremendous asset to the community. And I love his wife, Tracy, too, who does Honey Shine, for young girls. Between the two of them, they have me locked in. I was very close with Alonzo Mourning. And he did ZSG every year and I always dedicated time to that. I think he is a tremendous asset to the community. And I love his wife, Tracy, too, who does Honey Shine, for young girls. Between the two of them, they have me locked in.
Archive: 20 Good Questions
Best & Brightest: June 2011