Kamaron Leach is one to watch.
Many people move to New York for a purpose. Whether it’s for a job or to just experience something new, there’s always someone doing something. It’s very rare that people at our age know what their purpose is but Kamaron is in a league of his own. Whether he’s on the red carpet talking to some of your favorite celebrities or creating content for his website, he is on the fast track to success and no one can stop him.
I spent the afternoon talking to Kamaron about his views on journalism, his favorite interview so far and his advice on how to build a personal brand.
SS: What do you do full-time?
KL: I’m a journalist full time. I got started once I graduated, even during college a lot of my internships and fellowships were business journalism. Business journalism was my niche and to understand any industry you have to understand how the business works and that’s how I flowed that into entertainment.
SS: Cool! When did you first know you wanted to be a broadcast journalist and then specifically in entertainment?
KL: I knew I wanted to be a hard news journalist in high school but it wasn’t until college and I started hosting parties and working on homecoming at Howard University was when I realized money could be made. I also enjoy entertainment so it was a good decision.
SS: I was in print journalism and I never understood the broadcast journalism appeal [laughs].
KL: The good thing about all of it, is broadcast stems from being able to write and if you can’t write you won’t do well on television. It comes down to whether you just want to be a talent or the best in the business. You have some personalities who can only read a teleprompter, which is a skill in itself, but if you can’t write your own script then you’re just a talent. And when you get older you’re going to have a problem getting a job or paying the bills. If you can’t produce yourself that’s going to be an issue.
SS: You’ve done a lot of interviews, which interview has been your favorite so far?
KL: My favorite interview to date was my Kevin Hart interview. I did that right before graduating college. Kevin Hart was a big deal at the time and he still is, he sold out a football stadium which was absurd. At the time he was doing “About Last Night” with Regina Hall and what made it special was I got to see him backstage and talk to him briefly and he was so serious. Whenever I meet personalities I’m myself and as soon as he hit the stage he cut the funny on. And that really made me realize, “wow this is really a business” so I had to adjust my thinking.
SS: Do you ever get nervous interviewing famous people?
KL: I don’t know if I’ve ever “fanned out” I try and view them as regular human beings. I wouldn’t say nervous but I definitely get gitters because you never know how things are going to go or what your interview subject is going to throw you. It could go good or bad. I think those gitters come because I want the interview to go well but if I ever lost that feeling I’d feel like it was time to hang it up.
SS: Has anyone ever said anything wild to you? [laughs] You don’t have to say names!
KL: As far as live audience interviews no. I come off as a very strong personality so I don’t give people that space to take it too left. I will say when first moved to New York City, after a press junket me and some fellow journalists got a drink after. Another journalist asked me “so what’s your name?” and I say “Kamaron” and she says “huh?” and I repeat myself and say “Kamaron” and she was like “oh you mean like Cameron?” … “No Kamaron.” Then she says “You should change your name.” So from that point on I made sure to say “Kamaron Leach” in front of the camera because I’m going to prove her wrong.
SS: That’s crazy she told you to change your name! Who are some journalists that you look up to in the industry and how have they inspired you?
KL: I like Johnny Carson because I read a book on him and he had a lot of internal problems he was dealing with but when he got on the tonight show you would never see that. He was just really good at what he did, he can give his information, he can crack a joke, or he can get a script and communicate with America. He did this every night for years.
Of course Terrence J. From making that transition from 106 & Park to E! News and now he’s producing for Viacom, that is what we need. We need someone trailblazing that space. Honestly that’s a lot of people and I could really pull a lot of things from a lot of people so I can’t just say one specific person.
SS: So as a fellow journalist, do you think the art of writing or reporting has been lost due to the influencer world we live in?
KL: Honestly I put those in two different boats. There’s a big difference between being a journalist and being an influencer or a host. A lot of people want to be a host because they have 10,000 followers or 15,000 followers. You ask them to write down what they’re going to say and then throw it up on the teleprompter, how well spoken are you? How well can you get this information out to the world? There’s a craft to journalism that you cannot skip. You don’t necessarily have to have the traditional education of going to college to be a journalist but you definitely need to through those experiences to learn.
SS: Yeah I’m a J-School snob [laughs].
KL: [laughs] You also can’t be too big headed either. Some people just learn naturally. It’s kind of like how older comedians get on internet comedians. You have to find that middle ground and you have to embrace that new talent. Digital is allowing people to pick up those skills to be a journalist and you have to embrace the changing times.
SS: Since you’ve have a lot work experience, yes I did my research [laughs], what made you want to branch off and start your own brand with KamaronLeach.com?
KL: When things slow up you have to continue working. Just because someone else isn’t hiring you, you can’t slow down the grind. With my unique and small brand it keeps me intertwined with what’s going on in the business. Even if Nike, ABC or AOL isn’t calling me to host something I have my own stuff I can do to contract myself out for.
SS: So we’ve kind of talked about this on our own but I want to get into how everyone always says “we’re young, we need to be kickin’ it, don’t stress” but you’re out here building your own brand, I’m out here building my own brand, how can we kill the stigma. It’s okay to kick it! But how can we enforce that there needs to be a balance?
KL: There definitely needs to be a balance! I was out last night but I knew I had responsibilities I had to do today. I had to work on my vlog and edit an interview I had recently done. If you can’t go out until 2AM and wake up at 8AM…sit your ass at home [laughs]. Sometimes you have to have those real conversations with yourself. Before you know it you’re going to brunch every Saturday and your time is gone and so is your money. You just have to be honest with yourself.
SS: So what advice would you give to a high school student or a young college student trying to get into this industry?
KL: I would definitely say don’t focus on the entertainment aspect but focus on the journalism. Just get really good at what you do. Find somebody in the industry that you admire and try and build a plan based off of how you think they got to where they are. Find those key milestones. Find out where they interned, where was their first job right out of college and the crazy thing about that is you’ll end up finding your way.
SS: Awesome, this is the question I ask everyone. If you could go back in time what advice would you give high school you.
KL: I’m trying to think of what my concerns were in high school…live it up now because you’ll have bills to pay.
SS: Very real [laughs].