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Mastering profile interviews in the media

Steve Blears Media Training Podcast

5 tips for profile interviews in the media

Profile interviews are generally longer and can focus on your life, career, beliefs, achievements, and personality. They aim to give the audience a deeper understanding of who you really are.

Now, I'm doing this episode because MJ, a model based in the USA, has been in touch. She sent me a fashion magazine profile interview she appeared in called "The State of Plus Size Fashion." There's a link in the show notes.

MJ's issue was that she felt the interview was just a bit meh—it didn't do her justice. She asked me how it could have been better. I've already sent her my tips, and she's agreed to let me share them with you. So here are my five ideas to inject some sparkle into profile interviews.

Tip No.1 for media profile interviews: Share personal stories and challenges

This means making sure you offer anecdotes and stories about yourself. Make them specific challenges that you faced and overcame. This helps you resonate much more deeply with the audience.

You might think this seems obvious, but interviewees (whether in print or on broadcast media) often hint at something really interesting about themselves and then leave everyone hanging because they just don't offer any detail. This is what happened with MJ.

In MJ's article, we hear how in her first year at college she lost 40 pounds in weight, was immediately signed by a model agency, then started working while also making time for college classes. That's it. No more detail?

What? There's a lot to process here. How did you manage to lose 40 pounds? How were you discovered as a model? How did you juggle all of this and still study?

You can't leave your audience hanging here. This is partly the journalist's fault. It's their job to dig a little deeper, and that didn't happen.

When offering this level of detail, avoid a long rambling anecdote about everything that happened. Don't do that.

That said, we do need pithy examples we can visualise that bring a story to life.

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How strict was that diet? What did you eat? How exactly were you signed up as a model, and where? How were you scouted? What was it like on your first shoot?

You get the idea. Where is the colour? Where's the detail and interest?

Idea No.2 to inject some interest into media profile interviews: highlight your key achievements

This is another opportunity to paint pictures with your experience and the brilliant things you've done.

MJ's article continues: "A memorable gig was flying out to Cape Town, South Africa, for a shoot."

That's it!

Ok, that's pretty cool. Shame there's no more detail. What happened when you got there? What are attitudes towards plus-size models in South Africa?

South Africa is an amazing place but is also known to pose some challenges and potential risks to tourists. What happened when you were there?

In summary, if you are going to mention an achievement, elaborate on it. Showcase your career highlights.

This goes for whatever you do, whether you're a model or an accountant.

Idea No.3 to make profile interviews more interesting: consider offering practical advice

This is sometimes called take-homes. People love tips and advice. If you've been successful, others will want to hear your shortcuts and advice.

In your interview, MJ, you suggest there "should be programmes geared toward helping rising faces navigate the industry." Great idea.

But what are your specific tips for aspiring plus-size models? How do you find a supportive agency, navigate castings, and stay self-confident? If you're the token plus-size model at a fashion show, how do you handle that?

Whatever your background, people love advice. Here I am right now, dishing out advice myself, and I'm guessing you think it's brilliant! (At least I hope so.)

Sharing how you do stuff and offering actionable insights are super valuable to readers, viewers, and listeners.

That's No.3. Next...

Tip No.4 for an interesting profile interview: share your future goals

What's around the corner for you? What trends do you see that others haven't? How will you maintain your success and keep going?

So, MJ, the article you appeared in was, "What is the state of plus-size fashion?" Great, but where, in your opinion, is it going?

Opinions are great. They show people who we are and what we stand for.

Now, I'm not talking about being opinionated. Use your experience and wisdom to make a judgement call and comment on things that matter in your industry.

And finally, tip No.5 for great profile interviews: what is your call to action?

What do you want people to think, feel, or do after reading, hearing, or watching you?

So, in MJ's case, she could encourage readers and viewers to support inclusive brands and participate in body-positive campaigns. She could suggest involvement with initiatives or organisations that support body diversity in fashion.

You get the idea.

So, those are my top five tips for profile interviews. If you get the chance to do one, make the most of it.

At Marvellous Media Training, we help leaders become confident, on-air communicators so you can share your expertise and the great work you do. Drop me a line:

Thanks for listening.