Ashley McDonald

Entertainment and sports journalist and TV host for Glamour, The Talk, and Dancing with the Stars, Jessica Radloff brings out the best in red carpet and celebrity interviews with her contagious energy, smart questions, and warm personality.  Jessica’s path to the red carpet is an unlikely twist having overcome three learning disabilities that resulted in isolation and painful shyness in high school.  Conquering her fears and academic challenges, Jessica graduated with honors from the University of Arizona in three and a half years with degrees in media and journalism—proof that you can overcome anything if you put your mind to it.  Having worked at NBC Sports - St. Louis, The Tonight Show, and Glamour magazine interviewing celebrities like George Clooney, Scott Foley, Ty Burrell and the cast of Mike and Molly, Jessica is sharing the secret to compelling journalism, a great celebrity interview, and how you can overcome your obstacles to accomplish your professional dreams too.


I want to be proud of my work, and I want actors to feel respected as well.


Glamour Girl

What content do you find most inspiring and empowering in women’s magazines? 

Relatable content is inspiring to me.  Of course, no women’s magazine can be one-size-fits-all, but Glamour comes closer than any other magazine.  We do that by featuring women that are forging their own path and making a difference.  Glamour also reports on causes or issues that women are facing now, like sexual health, relationships, money matters, career obstacles, and more.  I love that.


Be relatable and know your purpose.


Do you think women in the media are fairly represented?

Working in the entertainment industry and representing Glamour, I'm fortunate in that I've always been treated fairly.  Part of that has to do with the fact that Glamour is such a well-respected brand, and the other part is that I work hard to make sure I ask fair, thoughtful and timely questions.  Regardless of whether I'm doing a 1:1 interview with an actor, or asking a question in front of 100 other journalists, I want to be proud of my work, and I want actors to feel respected as well.  It's our job as journalists to set that precedent.

What is the secret to a great celebrity interview?

Be friendly!  Talk to the person just like you would a friend. I can’t tell you the number of journalists that I see who conduct interviews like they’re talking to a wall.  Have a personality!  And listen.  And if that fails, bring them food.


You never know where things can lead if you take a chance.


What is your advice for sharing your personal brand on social media?

Be relatable and know your purpose.  Why do people follow you?  What information are they coming to you for?  What do they want to see?  And never brag.  Unless of course Oprah tweets that you’re awesome.  Then RT the heck out of that.

What has been your gutsiest career move?

When I first started at Glamour, we didn’t really have a video division for red carpets and celeb interviews.  I hired a friend of a friend who happened to be a videographer and paid him out of my own pocket for a little bit to show what we could do and how we could make red carpet videos different.  Thank goodness people liked it and our video division took off, because interacting with celebs on camera is my favorite thing to do.  They just come alive when you have a camera crew with you.  Because of those interviews, I got called in to do things like the Dancing with the Stars pre-show on, and The Talk.  You never know where things can lead if you take a chance.


Talent, hard work and timing will get you there.


Glamour Guide

What are you most proud of accomplishing working in entertainment and sports?

Not fainting when George Clooney hugged me.  Just kidding (although that is a true story).  I’m most proud of the fact that I never gave up.  There were so many disappointing moments along the way that I truly began to wonder if it would all work out.  You just gotta stay in the game.  Talent, hard work and timing will get you there.  


If there’s something you’re going through that's awful, then find the fight within you.


Who was the coach or mentor who influenced you the most and why?

Barb and Stuart Radloff.  Otherwise known as my parents.  I learned my writing skills and business smarts from my Dad.  I learned about being funny and playful from my Mom.  I also learned that if you introduce my parents to celebrities, they will invite them over to their house in St. Louis for a barbeque.  I had great teachers along the way, but no one comes close to the support and advice my parents passed on to me.  To this day, anytime I interview Scott Foley, Ty Burrell, or the cast of Mike and Molly, they always say, ‘How’s your parents?  Give them my love.’  It’s really sweet.

In what ways did your training at the Groundlings prepare you for a successful career in journalism?

It taught me to get out of my own head and focus on the situation at hand.  It forced me to really listen to what the other person is saying and react to that.  And be authentic.  People can spot a phony a mile away.  And if you embarrass yourself, oh well.  It also taught me that I was not meant to play anyone other than myself.  I leave the characters to the professionals.


I truly don’t know if I’d be where I am now if not for the thick skin I developed as a teen.


What is your advice for overcoming obstacles to achieve career goals?

How long do you have?  To be honest, it’s truly amazing I’m doing what I’m doing.  I was so painfully shy growing up, and I was made fun of so badly (even in high school) that I ate lunch in the bathroom stalls every day to avoid awkward looks or mean comments.  I was never asked to Homecoming or Prom.  I looked like Ugly Betty and privately struggled with three learning disabilities.  I had the maturity level of someone three times older than me, but that of course meant that I totally did not fit in with kids my own age.  And because my Mom almost died in an awful car accident, I was terrified of everything.  I turned it around by going to a great coach who worked with kids with learning disabilities.  She helped me understand that things would get better.  And I would listen to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” and Corey Hart’s “Never Surrender” over and over again.  I kid you not.  It sounds ridiculous, but it worked.  I had to learn that my peers didn’t define me and the best revenge was proving them all wrong.  And thank G-d for parents who knew what I was capable of if I just gained some confidence.  But truly, it starts from within.  If there’s something that you’re going through that is awful, then find the fight within you.  I truly don’t know if I’d be where I am now if not for the thick skin I developed as a teen.  I learned if I can get through that, I can pretty much survive anything.


I was terrified of so much, but I was willing to learn.


How can we be smart with a career in media and journalism?

I’ll never forget my first internship at the NBC affiliate in St. Louis.  They asked if I wanted to make a demo tape, and the thought of it scared the crap out of me.  I know what you’re thinking.  You’re interning at a news station with hopes of becoming a journalist, and you’re scared of making a demo tape?  You’re in the wrong field!  But here’s the thing … your career will always be a work in progress.  Some kids were poised and polished at 18.  I was not.  I was terrified of so much, but I was willing to learn.  Society puts so much pressure on us to know what we want to be at a young age, and if you haven’t published your first novel by 25, or become a top magazine editor by 30, you’re behind.  That’s so not true.  Everything happens at the pace it’s supposed to, but keep working on furthering what you’re passionate about.  Be driven, but don’t drive people crazy.  Don’t just work hard, but work smart.  Write hand-written thank you notes.  Be sincere.  Offer to help out whenever, and don’t give less than 150%.  Give people what they don’t know they need.  And if that doesn’t work?  I have some songs I can recommend. ;)


Don’t just work hard, work smart.


Spotlight on Jessica Radloff 

Neighborhood: Los Angeles, CA

Occupation: West Coast Entertainment Correspondent,

Women I Admire: The ladies of CBS’ The Talk. They could not be more gracious, and they have all forged their own path so successfully. And my Mom, who taught me everything I know about talking to just about anyone.

Dream Mentor: Kate Middleton. She’s not really a mentor. I just want to hang out with her.

Ultimate Accessory: A great personality :) (Sure, go ahead and laugh, but it’s true)

Favorite Store: BCBGMAXAZRIA

Can't Live Without Product: Conditioner. You know how they say use like a quarter size amount? Yeah, I have so much hair, I use about 10x that amount. My hair craves it. I love Nexxus Humectress and L’Oreal Paris’ Sulfate-free line.

Salon Recommendation: Roman Salon in Los Angeles. Sheri Roman is brilliant.

Signature Scent: Sunscreen. Coppertone sport. You would not believe the amount of people that come up to me and say I smell so good. And then they are shocked when I tell them it’s sunscreen, because I always wear it. It has that coconut and beach-y scent! I also love Prada Candy and Kate Spade.

Beauty Essential: YSL Touche Eclat Radiant Touch Luminizing Pen for underneath your eyes

Cocktail of Choice: Trop50 Orange Juice, water, and hot chocolate (but not all together!). Not a fan of alcoholic beverages unless they’re really sugary, and well, that’s just not healthy.

Best Date: Dinner at Benihana followed by skeeball at Dave & Buster’s and then an amazing makeout session back home. I love romantic and fun dates.

Travel Destination: Aspen, Positano, London, Chicago, and St. Louis (home).

Current Craving: Pretzel challah

Best Advice: Stay true to yourself. Do what makes you unique, and always follow through.

Favorite Quote: When all else fails, take a nap.

De-Stress Technique: Napping. I highly recommend it. 

University: University of Arizona




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