Goodbye, Examiner.com

I can’t remember how I heard that they were hiring. Maybe it was on Craigslist? I started writing for them in December 2010 as a Cleveland nightlife journalist, and I really didn’t know what I was doing. I treated my articles more like blog posts than professional content, but Examiner.com gave me the freedom to figure out my writing style. I also had (nearly) complete latitude when it came to choosing what people, places, and events I wanted to cover. This autonomy is rare, and it was amazing.

When people ask me why I moved to NYC, I say, “Career.” The long answer is that Examiner.com gave me the inspiration, confidence, and contacts to become an entertainment journalist. Less than a year after I began writing for them, a publicist at Sony contacted me. They wanted me to come backstage at the Cleveland leg of the Scream Tour, and interview their artist, Jacob Latimore. I thought it was a joke at first. How would Sony know who I am? At the time, Examiner.com was getting tens of millions of hits per month, and was a top 100 site. That kind of traffic is extremely valuable, and opened up countless doors for me in New York.

After working with Sony, I thought I would try to make a career out of my passion for entertainment journalism. Examiner.com gave me the platform I needed to gain access to top celebrities and events, and I knew I had a knack for interviewing. Before Examiner.com, I co-founded an urban lifestyle blog called Media-n-DaHood, and created DoloHustle.com as an entertainment blog. One of my first interviews was with Dolla Boy (now known as Dillon Saks) of Playaz Circle. I met him and Tity Boi (now known as 2 Chainz) at a meet and greet in Cleveland, and Dolla asked if I wanted to interview him. Afterwards, he told me that they had just come from radio station Z107.9, and I conducted a better interview than the radio personality. And this was off the cuff! I remember my brother nodding approvingly as he listened to the recorded interview. I was on my way!

I informed Examiner.com that I was moving to New York, and picked up New York Nightlife and Music beats. It wasn’t long after I moved to Brooklyn that I was attending exclusive events, interviewing and partying with celebrities, and making memories that I will hold onto forever. As I started covering more celebrity charity events and product launches, I picked up a New York Celebrity beat as well.

Now, I get about 50 emails per day from publicists and business professionals who want me to cover their client or brand. I have interviewed dozens of celebrities, and some have become friends. I’m very happy and proud with what I’ve accomplished as a journalist, and I’ve had a wealth of amazing experiences in New York. I haven’t decided what my next move will be, but this is one chapter that is closing. Examiner.com emailed all of their contributors about two weeks ago, and told us that they were shutting down. Our content may or may not remain on online, and the full-time staff was laid off. I’m planning on reposting the articles that readers enjoyed the most on this blog, maybe in #tbt style. I am still writing for AXS, and am deciding what the next move will be. It has been an amazing journey, and Examiner.com was the catalyst for this adventure. I will always be grateful.

Bella Dahl photo shoot [PICS]

I am very excited to be back, and to share some awesome pics!

I am very excited to be back, and to share some awesome pics! Bella Dahl is a women’s clothing company that offers stylish, comfortable, quality clothing, and I was grateful to receive some samples from them. Of course, I had to have a photo shoot to show off the items, so I hit up my photographer friend, Decater James. The rustic location he chose was perfect, and the impromptu addition of his two pitbulls added to the All-American feel of the shoot. (Btw, I don’t normally let dogs lick my face. The things we do to get the shot!)

My article on Bella Dahl was published on Examiner.com, and you can see their full collection on BellaDahl.com. You can see more of Decater’s photography work on his Instagram page (he is also a stunt professional), and feel free to reach out to book a session! I used to model back in the day, and it felt good to be back in front of the camera again. Check out the slideshow for the Bella Dahl photo shoot pics, and there will be more photo shoots in the near future!