Emily Curl (ABJ '14), national digital and social host for iHeartRadio, is one of six Grady College 40 Under 40 honorees in 2022. (Photo courtesy of Emily Curl)
40 under 40 honoree profile: Emily Curl
Congratulations to Emily Curl (ABJ ’14) on being named to this year’s class of 40 under 40 honorees by the UGA Alumni Association. Curl is the national and digital social host for iHeartRadio. She started her career working at Refinery29 as a production assistant, working her way up to an associate producer, and eventually a producer on the branded content team, working with brands including Ulta and the NFL. She worked as the red carpet correspondent for the show “Carpet Diem”. Curl became a full-time host for iHeart Radio in January of 2020. We are pleased to highlight Curl in her own words.
Looking back at your time at Grady, is there anything you wish you had done (classes you had taken, skills you would have liked to have learned, clubs to be involved with) that would help you with what you are doing today?
Yes! Grady had such incredible opportunities to advance your skills outside of the classroom. Looking back on my experience, I wish I would have taken more advantage of the Grady Lab, the workroom that allowed you to practice your skills within the Adobe Creative Suite. For example, I still use Adobe Premiere and Photoshop in my job today, and I wish I would have perfected those skills while still in school. On the other hand, there are a few organizations I was involved in that still tremendously help me today and that’s working with UGA Orientation (where I was an orientation leader the summer of 2012), and working as a tour guide at the UGA Visitor’s Center all four years of UGA – those gave me some invaluable skills and were also some of my favorite memories of UGA! I can’t recommend it enough for other Grady College majors.
What experience during your time at Grady College had the biggest influence on where you are today?
One of the most challenging and most rewarding experiences I had at Grady College was being a part of Grady Newsource. We spent the semester running a live newscast, writing scripts, shooting our own footage, pitching ideas and problem solving in the control room. Not only did it give me real life journalism experience, it also gave me lifelong friendships. My peers have gone on to do incredible things – we’re talking sports sideline reporters, ABC correspondents, news anchors in huge markets like Miami – and it’s so nice to have those people who truly understand the industry that you can call at any time. Even though we all went different paths in media, we all started in the same Grady newsroom and it’s inspiring to get to see where we are all now. Make it a priority to stay connected with fellow Grady grads – in the wild world of entertainment, seeing a familiar face makes all the difference.
What would you tell your 20-year-old self?
Chill. (Ha!) But honestly, the #1 piece of advice I tell students is that you are not running out of time. In fact, it’s the opposite. It takes a while to truly find your voice, to hone your skills and create things you’re really proud of. I spent over five years in production before I even got my first shot at being an on-camera talent. Those five years gave me the foundation to build off of — I understood production, I was a better co-worker and teammate, and being a better producer made for being a better host. Stay curious, ask questions, and take the time to absorb the knowledge of those who have done it before you. Don’t get discouraged just because someone on Instagram got there faster than you. Your time is coming. Make it worth it.
What accomplishment or moment in your career are you most proud of?
This past May, I attended the 2022 Met Gala and covered the buzziest moments from fashion’s biggest night. I’ve loved fashion for as long as I can remember, so to have that combined with my love of entertainment? (and let’s be real, Jack Harlow too) was unmatched. It was pure magic meeting with the biggest names in the industry and walking up the iconic Metropolitan Museum of Art staircase in New York City. Getting to cover that event was a dream come true and I hope I’ll be back again this year!
How do you get inspired?
With anything you do, there is always, always, always room for improvement. I remember watching an interview with Ed Sheeran, and someone asked him if growing up he was naturally this talented. Immediately he let out a laugh and a “no” and went on to say he practiced every single day. I like to do the same. I also get really inspired watching other people who are in my line of work doing their thing. Today Show’s Hoda Kotb is so effortlessly comforting and inclusive, Apple TV’s Zane Lowe’s listening and interviewing skills are unmatched, and I think Nikki Glaser is one of the funniest hosts of all time (if you’re not watching FBoy Island –you should!). I love working in an industry that constantly challenges me to get better and improve my skills, and I can’t wait to be on their level one day.
Favorite Podcast? Seek Treatment with Cat & Pat
One job-related tool you can’t live without: VSCO (not only can you edit photos, you can also create cool montage video/photo moments. It’s great to use when marketing yourself on social!)
Favorite restaurant in Athens: Trapeze (I always ask for an extra side of the raspberry ketchup).
Favorite place you’ve traveled: I just returned from Mykonos, Greece! It was absolutely unreal.
Item on your bucket list: Interview Taylor Swift (fingers crossed!)
Students are encouraged to connect with Emily Curl on social media:
Six Grady College graduates are represented in this year’s UGA Alumni Association 40 under 40 class. Grady College alumni honored in 2022 include:
Emily Curl (ABJ ’14)
Lauren Culbertson Greico (ABJ ’09)
Christie Johnson (ABJ ’07)
Chad Mumm (ABJ ’08)
Kevin Schatell (ABJ ’16)
Michael Waldron (ABJ ’10)
We will welcome five of the honorees back to Grady College on Friday, Sept. 9 for a “Message to My Younger Self” panel. Please join us in the Peyton Anderson Forum (room 238) at 10 a.m. A light breakfast will be offered.
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