Zuri Hall ’10 came to Ohio State already engrained with a passion for theater and the stage. Once on campus, she learned how those interests could be transformed into a successful career.
Hall has put her skills and talents to good use. She’s an Emmy Award-winning television personality and will return to television to anchor E! News Academy Awards red-carpet coverage this Sunday night. Hall’s success as a television host and blogger undoubtedly has roots in her experiences at Ohio State.
“My classes on campus really taught me how to think strategically, how to sharpen a brand message and then how to communicate that effectively to large amounts of people,” says Hall, who majored in strategic communications and minored in theater at Ohio State. “That is literally what I do every day.”
The Toledo, Ohio, native recently shared more insight into her career successes and time at Ohio State.
How did your combination of major and minor impact your career?
“It really set me up—especially my strategic communications major—to think strategically for, what I imagine will be, the rest of my career. I love plans. I love lists. And so when I decided to major in strategic communications, I focused on communicating to mass external audiences. That’s kind of what I do on the day-to-day, week-by-week, every month or year with my content. As a TV host, especially one in this day and age, it’s very much about your personal brand, (and) about building a relationship with your audience.”
What out-of-classroom experiences did you have at Ohio State?
"The Black Student Theatre Network was something that was new when I was around. Some of my friends were a part of starting it and it had this cool community theatre vibe. I decided to audition for one of their productions and I ended up getting the lead in their play Wine in the Wilderness. Also, I tried out for the university productions and I got the lead in one of Ohio State’s productions. It was a traveling children’s play called Just Like Us. In those moments, that’s when I was like ‘okay, this is something I still love, it’s something that I feel I’m good at, my community of peers seems to think I’m good enough at it to put me in their productions,’ and so I’d like to minor in it."
Do you have any advice for young people at the early stages of the careers?
“Be tenacious. Obviously, it’s a really competitive market out there. It’s so oversaturated. Your competition is a click away. I understand that and I can only imagine how overwhelming it is. My advice is always to set yourself apart from a lot of your competition because you would be surprised to know just how many entry-level applicants aren’t getting it right when it comes to applying for jobs or reaching out. I get emails all the time where the punctuation is terrible, it’s super informal, they don’t even attach a resume or references."
What do you miss about Ohio State?
“Ohio State was a really special time that I miss because it’s one of the only times in your life that you are going to be young and have the world ahead of you and so many opportunities at your feet and to be surrounded by like-minded people. I think the older you get, the more you appreciate the opportunity to learn, and the more you realize just how much you don’t know. There are so many questions I have now, so many extra courses or different communities that I would have been a part of in my spare time just for the sake of soaking up that knowledge.”