By Rakhee Bhatt | March 11, 2016 | People
We catch up with E!’s newest on-air correspondent Zuri Hall to chat about covering her first awards season, working with Ryan Seacrest, and why Leonardo DiCaprio is the coolest.
Zuri Hall is the newest addition to the E! on-air family. Hailing from Toledo, Ohio, Hall landed the coveted gig last summer after earning a regional Emmy award as host for Indianapolis' WNDY, as well as working as a correspondent for BET’s 106 & Park and a variety of programs on MTV. She also created the #AlphaBabe social movement and career-centered lifestyle guide to empower young women in their own lives.
Here, we chat with the E! correspondent about her first awards season experience, why Leonardo DiCaprio really is the best, and the on-air moment with Ryan Seacrest that she will never forget.
Congratulations on finishing your first awards season with E! How was the experience?
Zuri Hall: It was such a whirlwind. I knew it was a big effort, but I did not realize just how many hands, how many minds it takes to pull it off so seamlessly. It was exciting for me to watch that because our team is so good at what they do. Awards season coverage is something that E! is celebrated for, so it was just such an honor to be a part of it.
What was it like working with the rest of the E! team?
ZH: It’s a well oiled machine. Everyone is really good at what they do. Of course, a lot of the red carpet coverage is headed by Ryan Seacrest and Giuliana Rancic. They’ve been such a dynamic duo, so it’s really fun to see them in action, be able to take notes, and learn up close and personal. There’s so much energy around the big award show days that it’s really fun.
Did Ryan, Giuliana, or Ross have any advice or tips they gave you on award show days?
ZH: I asked [Ross], who I have worked with most closely in the sky box for our E! red carpet coverage, if he had any words of wisdom and he was like just be yourself. There are no mistakes in live TV. Don’t beat yourself up about anything that happens or anything that doesn’t go the way you hoped it would go. At the end of the day you’re here for a reason, so just go with the flow. That’s something that I’ve had to keep in mind.
You wore a lot of stunning gowns this award season. Which one was your favorite?
ZH: I loved the black Stello gown that I rocked at the Grammys. That one was really fun and sexy, and it hugged curves, which is something that I love dresses to do. I love to make a statement. If I had to do a second, I’m going to say Hayley Paige just because it was such a fan favorite. In a weird way I felt like a bride. It was white and shimmery and sparkly, and it gave me wedding vibes. It made me start thinking about whether I feel like walking down the aisle sometime soon.
What was the highlight of the whole award season?
ZH: One thing that stood out to me was the first time that Ryan Seacrest said, “And up in the sky box we have Zuri Hall. Zuri, how’s it going up there?” To have Ryan Seacrest tossing to you, that was so exciting. Apart from that, Oscar day. It’s Hollywood’s biggest night, and I was blessed and fortunate enough to be a part of all of E!’s coverage for that day [across] four different shows. It was a 17-hour day when it was all said and done for me. It was just amazing. You’re talking about Leonardo DiCaprio and then he walks by you on the red carpet. You’re making predictions about Brie Larson and Alicia Vikander, and as soon as they win their Oscars they’re stopping to talk to you. It’s just surreal to be so up close and personal with such talented artists on their biggest night.
Which celebrity was your favorite to meet and interview?
ZH: Leonardo DiCaprio takes the number one spot because he oozes this sort of old Hollywood glamour. He’s such a talented actor. It was so exciting to watch his journey for The Revenant this season. Everyone was rooting for him of course, and I got to talk with him at the Hollywood premiere. He was so gracious and kind to me, and answered all of my questions. It’s nice to be a fan of someone’s work, meet them in person, and they’re just as cool as you’d imagined.
You also have a YouTube channel called HeyZuriHall. How was that born?
ZH: HeyZuriHall was just born out of me wanting a creative outlet to speak my mind whenever I wanted. It’s just a place for me to have fun and goof off, let people see my most true self. I feel like we all have a little idiot in us—in a good way.
What’s one piece of advice you like to give?
ZH: I’ve always been an advocate of big risk, big reward. No risk, no reward. I’ve always made my choices in life based on that fact. I’m always pushing myself to grow and step outside of my comfort zone. At one point I was just a kid from Toledo, Ohio who wanted to end in Hollywood on television. There were so many moments where I was afraid of the step that I was going to have to take to get to that next lily pad, and I just choose to do it anyway. I’ve been blessed enough that those choices have paid off.
With spring around the corner, are there any trends that you’re eager to wear?
ZH: My stylist, Cat Wright, keeps trying to convince me to wear something other than black, white, or beige, but I just don’t want to. I’m really into this trend of monochrome, especially flesh-toned colors, and then a pop of metallic gold. Beauty wise, I’m starting to experiment more with that just “rolled out of bed” look. More of the bare skin.
You’ve been living in LA since August. What are your favorite hot spots in LA?
ZH: I’ve been to the Soho House a few times with friends. I’m also starting to explore Studio City. I just love the vibes out there. I’m excited to try La Scala for brunch because I’ve heard it’s amazing. I’m going there soon. Where do I go a lot? In-N-Out Burger (laughs). There’s a really cute tapas spot called Vino Wine & Tapas Room in Encino. I’m still so new, so I’m excited to explore more.
Photographers: The Riker Brothers; Stylist: Adeel Khan; Hair: Caprice Green; Make Up: Anton K