World Black Belt Blog
Journeys Extra Extra
Alina Akram is no stranger to the glitz and glamour of the entertainment industry; lights, camera, and action is what she experiences daily working for one of the hottest entertainment television news program and nationally syndicated, Extra TV. Currently a Field Producer for Extra TV, she has also been a Segment Coordinator and Media Librarian for the show as well and has enjoyed every moment working for the show. Originally based at Victory Studios set in 1994, Extra TV moved to The Grove at Farmers Market in 2010, and made Universal Studios Hollywood its home in 2013. With the show currently residing at Universal Studios Hollywood, The Entertainment Capital of Los Angeles, fans from around the world get to be up close and personal with their favorite film and television stars, be part of a live audience, and have the opportunity to win a plethora of prizes from the various locations they are filming around Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal City Walk.
Along with working for Extra TV, Alina is also a host/producer, books guests, produces content, and transcribes interviews for a show created by Maria Menounos and Kevin Undergaro called AfterBuzz TV. AfterBuzz TV started with the purpose of discussing popular television shows and the need for a place where fans can gather, discuss their thoughts about those particular shows, and participate in the chatroll or by calling into the show. One of the great aspects of this network is that fans get the opportunity to watch this show live immediately after their favorite TV show has aired by visiting AfterBuzzTV.com. This entertainment network has had cast members from shows such as The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Teen Wolf, Game of Thrones, and many more. They have also had guests such as Mario Lopez, Michael Jai White, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Derek Hough, and Karina Smirnoff, just to name a few. With such star studded line ups per show, it is no surprise that Variety Magazine featured AfterBuzz TV in the January 2014 Issue.
We get to see Alina’s fun loving persona through the shows she is a part of and get a glimpse into the life of an entertainment industry professional and her experiences working in the City of Angels.
Linda Bustamante: How long have you been working for Extra TV and what has your experience been like working for the show?
Alina Akram: I have been working at Extra since 2008, but I interned for them in 2006 when I was still in college. My experience at Extra has been great; I started out as an intern and have learned so much along the way. My jobs have included data entry as a tape librarian, assisting producers as a production assistant and asking the public their opinions as the Man on the Street producer. And I’m still learning, field producing is so much fun because I get to experience so many different facets of the business, whether it be an interview on set with one of our talent or covering a red carpet premiere on my own.
LB: How is it working with Mario Lopez and Maria Menounos?
AA: Mario Lopez and Maria Menounos are amazing! I know this sounds cliché but they are like any great coworker, well maybe a little bit better looking than the average Joe. Both are kind, compassionate and generous with the whole crew and they are such hard workers. Extra is only one of the many jobs they have. Both are very busy and have so many projects. Working with Mario, I have learned he is like most guys- a big sports lover, a major foodie and always up for a good laugh. Another thing I learned working with Mario is what a big family man he is, they are the center of his universe. Maria is a guy’s girl herself, again a big sports fan, huge dog lover and as sweet as can be.
LB: Was there a time when you were star struck by any of you all’s celebrity guests? What was your reaction and how did you feel?
AA: It’s funny because the novelty of meeting celebrities really fades after a while, but of course I have had my moments. One that stands out for me was meeting Stevie Wonder, a living legend and talent unlike any other. He was so kind and even sang and played the harmonica, all 10 feet away from me! It still feels like a dream, maybe it was, haha. Otherwise, I get star struck over random You Tube sensations like Antoine Dodson, “hide ya kids, hide ya wifes, and hide ya husbands”.
LB: What has been a memorable experience for you with any of the guests that have been on the show?
AA: The most memorable experience for me had to be meeting Stevie Wonder and seeing him perform.
LB: What advice would you give anyone following his or her dreams or wanting to get involved in the entertainment industry?
AA: My advice for anyone following their dreams and wanting to get involved in the entertainment industry is to intern, intern, intern. You have to start somewhere and making connections and a lasting impression is the way to go. Also, do not give up and do not get discouraged!
This University of California graduate has definitely earned her place in the entertainment industry. Alina is not only a beautiful woman on the outside but has such a lovely personality on the inside as well. She is a shining example that with hard work, persistence, and staying grounded, one can be successful in the entertainment industry and through life. She is grateful for the opportunities she has been given throughout the years and never takes anything for granted. Whether she is on the red carpet, interviewing celebrities, hosting for AfterBuzz TV or on the set of Extra TV, one thing is for certain; with her intelligence, charm, kindness, humility and amazing personality, there is no stopping this woman from continuing to be a success.