Alicia Quarles

Meet the entertainment expert turned media entrepreneur

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From a behind-the-scenes role as global entertainment editor for the Associated Press to a camera-facing gig as an on-air reporter for E! News, Alicia Quarles knows a thing or two about storytelling. Still, entertainment wasn’t always her plan. “I was the kid who would run home on a Friday night and watch 20/20,” she says. “My dad’s a journalist, so I grew up surrounded by it. I idolized Barbara Walters and Christiane Amanpour.”

But after going to school at the University of Southern California, she began to gravitate more toward pop culture reporting. And as her experience at the AP and E! evolved, Alicia discovered something else: She was good at it. “I covered major things like the deaths of Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson to the Supreme Court hearings for Sonia Sotomayor,” she says. “A lot of people think entertainment can be very vapid, but there were so many major moments in history that I got to be there for and cover.”

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On the best part about being her own boss. "Every day is unique and exciting. One day, I could be working with corporate executives on major brand campaigns. The next day I am find myself in a newsroom reporting on-air about vastly different topics ranging from breaking news, to sports, to the latest beauty trends. I am truly blessed to love what I do. I have so many opportunities to mentor students, plus I am able to utilize my experiences and skill set to add value to companies, including my own.”

On her most memorable red carpet interview. “George Clooney. He’s really funny and smart, and if you ask him a good question, he’s going to give you a good answer. He’s also a prankster and has that twinkle in his eye anytime he’s up to no good, so I always enjoy interviews with him.”

On the coolest event she’s ever covered. “The Oscars. It’s basically the Super Bowl of red carpets. You’re prepping for weeks in advance because it’s a live show, which means you cannot mess this up. And you’re not just interviewing celebs we all know, but celebs who are big around the world, so you really have to know your stuff. There’s a team of producers helping you out, but you go into it feeling like you’re about to take a final exam.”

On the most insightful career advice she’s ever received. “Nobody will work for you like you. In other words, while you want to have advocates and people who are looking out for you, you’ve also got to work really hard. If you want something, go get it. Because there’s somebody around the corner waiting to take that job and that opportunity.”

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