On March 26th 2018, I got the opportunity of a lifetime to interview by phone, an expert in the field I am going into. The expert? None other, than reporter/ television host Paigion Walker.
While waiting around for her call, I decide to grab — well try to grab — a bite to eat. However, while in the McDonald’s drive thru pulling up to the first window, I receive an unknown call. I immediately got out of line and parked my car. The person on the other end of line is none other than Paigion.
We sat on the phone for about a half hour while she’s answered questions. But before we get into the Q&A, here’s the run-down on Paigion.
She was born and raised in Oak Park, Michigan, and graduated from Western Michigan University with a bachelor’s degree in Film and Media Studies. Paigion began her career as an on-air radio personality in Detroit with the hip-hop station Hot 107.5.
She was also one of four hosts on BET’s hit music countdown show, 106 & Park, back in 2012-2013. She has since worked for MTV’s WolrdStar TV and is now a correspondent for the very popular blog, “Baller Alert.” As a correspondent, Paigion interviews celebrities on red carpets, goes onto different daytime talk shows sharing entertainment news, and so much more. She does it all.
So with my time I had with her in the McDonald’s parking lot, here’s what I wanted to know.
SPARTANS INNOVATE: What do you think about the state of media today with issues such as fake news for example, being so problematic?
PAIGON: I feel that there is a certain level of responsibility you have being a part of the media and it always has been. But I think with social media being a lot more popular, a lot of things get lost in translation and lost in context. I think it’s just a level of responsibility and actually doing the work behind it and not so much for the social likes. People try to get the hits and it’s just like somebody’s life is being involved, somebody’s children- people are affected. It’s just a level of responsibility as a journalist.
What do you think about news being so easily accessible, especially with our handy mobile devices?
In one way I think it’s a plus because we stay informed. BUt on the other hand, hackers are clever. Things spread really, really fast. You’ve probably heard the notion of bad news spreads quicker than good news. And that’s one of the issues I have: The fact that things that are untrue, spread rather quickly.
What is a typical work day or even work week like for you?
I also act, so I’m on set a lot. That usually runs out a good part of my day.
Like this week, I have a ton of auditions. So I have study times; I have acting class; I have to get up and go to the gym early in the morning. I also shoot my own content and collaborate with other influences, so I shoot a lot during the week as well. With the red carpets, they are in the evening but I have a lot of prep for them during the day.
I really don’t have a set schedule anymore. When I was doing radio, I had a set schedule. That’s one reason I moved to L.A., so that I could just do what I want to do creatively, being a creative, that was one thing kind of holding me back. I couldn’t just do these different things and reveal these other layers to me.
How was your adjustment to moving to Los Angeles?
Freaking beautiful. Amazing. Blessed. It’s been everything and more. Adjusting has been — I thank God because it hasn’t been difficult at all. I can’t complain.
What steps did you take post-college, that led you to be in the position that you’re in now?
I interned. First I got very specific about what it is that I wanted. For everything that i’ve achieved has been very pinpointed. All of the opportunities that I’ve had have been because I spoke it into existence. It was a lot of footwork.
I’m so grateful that I grew up in that time and that I had the gorilla marketing and having the internships without getting paid. I’m so appreciative of the connections that I made back then because now it all came full circle for me. It wasn’t a social media wave back then. You had to physically do the work or get left behind and I made sure I was ahead of the curve.
What has been the highlight of your career thus far?
Being on television. Being under 30 and being on television Monday-Friday for something that I wanted that as a kid. I really made it happen without a connection to someone; I did it by doing the work. I think that is a major highlight for me.
Now you’ve interviewed a number of celebrities, who was your favorite interview?
I had a lot of great ones. But one my most memorable is during my first hurricane. I had just moved to New York — it was the first weekend — and we had to evacuate. They took us into Manhattan and we stayed in this hotel and they said, ‘Well, Denzel Washington is still going to come.’ And we were like, ‘But everyone else is closed; we’re in the middle of a hurricane.’
I remember going down there and we were the only people in that entire building and Denzel was there waiting and he said, “Well we’re safe right. I figured we could still get on with it, because we’re down here in the studio, it’s all concrete, nothing’s going to get us down here. We’re safe. The shows gotta go on.”
That not only inspired me to continue doing what I had to do and take care of my business. He was just so chill; he spoke to me as a peer. We talked about life, kids and that was off camera.
Oh and going on tour with Rihanna. Rihanna knew who I was. She stopped on the plane and was like, “Hey, oh my God, I watch you on TV everyday, you’re the new girl on BET.”
What advice would you give for those following in your footsteps?
Be specific about what you want. Go get what it is that you want and never be deterred from the process. When you’re doing things the right way and you’re not looking for the easiest route, you know you gotta put the work in but it’s that much more fulfilling on the other end.
Most of all to be a great person. I believe that I’ve done the work, but I also know that I reap a lot of blessings because of being a good person. It’s the posture of your heart that says a lot about your character.
What all would you like to accomplish in your career or what would you like to do next?
Be on the screens, Honey! I really love the creative space that i’m in right now and i’m eager to grow in that as far as even directing, producing, writing and furthering my acting career. I really want to submerge myself in that and be able to play multiple characters and just be a creative. Being that entertainer, making my mark.
Also, working with kids. That’s like one of my passions aside from entertainment, is working with kids. I really enjoy that. So that’s next for me is that I want to build on working with the youth and creating a platform and an additional space for them to go to. That’s another thing that I claim. I think that youthfulness is what keeps everything up.
This interview was edited for length and clarity.