In the fall of 2004, I’d completed all my necessary classes at Ohio University and had a few hours of internship credits left. I decided to apply for an internship in Los Angeles. They would never call a small-town girl from Ohio, right?
They called. And I got the internship. Unfortunately, when I went out to LA, the internship went from, you’ll be helping us make TV show promos to, you’ll be helping us alphabetize tapes in the storage room.
Then, on a beautiful California day, fate stepped in.
My mom and dad came to LA to get me settled and we went to a taping of The Ellen DeGeneres Show (here we are dancing). While there, I decided to ask around about internships. I took a chance, made a connection, applied and was officially hired as an intern on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
At the time, Ellen was filmed on the NBC Universal lot in Burbank, which was conveniently less than two miles from my apartment. I was so incredibly excited on my first day, which happened to be a 10 hour, double show day. I enjoyed every minute of it. We got a tour of the office, the studio, dressing rooms, craft services (hello, food heaven) and the NBC Universal lot, which was also the home to Days of our Lives. We frequently saw the cast at the commissary.
The internship offered me the opportunity to try out different departments. We spent many hours calling people to let them know they were getting tickets to the show, which I always enjoyed. Their excitement never got old. In the afternoons, we would help organize the audience before the show and guide them out afterwards. This gave us the opportunity to hang with the audience overflow in the “riff raff room” to watch the show being taped.
I spent most of my days working with Rachel, a fellow intern in the human interest department. We had a wonderful boss, Vikki, who was incredibly supportive of us. Our days were full of reading viewer emails and keeping an eye out for segments the producers could use for future shows.
Occasionally we would have an opportunity to help bring together a human interest segment. One of my favorite memories was helping organize a surprise reunion of a service member with his family. We had the very important job of keeping them separate and getting them to the stage without seeing each other. The reunion was beautiful! We also got to help coordinate a successful surprise proposal.
You never knew what the way was going to bring. One minute we’re looking through videos of guys who wanted to date Tara Reid, the next minute we would be at a sound check for Tina Turner. We also got to be stand-ins while Ellen rehearsed and hand out giveaways to the audience at the end of shows.
We saw Ellen almost every day and she was incredibly friendly each time. I remember getting her a small pair of Chuck Taylor shoes for her birthday that the interns signed. When I had the chance to give them to her, she was so sweet and thankful. She joked that they were a bit too small, but that she still appreciated the gift.
My experience as an intern at The Ellen DeGeneres Show is still one of the best, most memorable times of my life. Everyone I crossed paths with was so kind, welcoming and supportive. From lunches with Tony (the DJ) and hours outside with the incoming audiences to late nights around the stage and seeing celebs in the hall, I truly enjoyed every single moment of this experience.
I will be forever grateful to everyone who helped make this internship wonderful. My “first” boss, Charlie, my amazing boss, Vikki and of course, my BIG boss, Ellen. Thank you for making a small-town girls dream come true.