Celebrity Guest Kit Hoover
by Kirsten Akens
When we jump on the phone with Kit Hoover, she’s just recently received notice that she and Access co-host Natalie Morales have been nominated for a Daytime Emmy in the Outstanding Informative Talk Show Host category.
“Can you believe it? How great is that?” she exclaims when asked about it. “We’re in the ‘Informative’ category. We drop knowledge, that’s what we do here,” she adds, laughing.
Though she may joke about it, the broadcast journalist has been doing just that for more than 20 years, for ESPN, FOX News Channel, Access (formerly Access Hollywood) and more.
While Hoover was on set awaiting her next Access stage call, we spoke with her about that experience, what inspires her, and, when she gets time off, what kinds of adventures she likes to tackle.
Adventure Girl: What does the behind-the-scenes of your work life look like? What do your days and your weeks look like?
Kit Hoover: To me, I think it’s the greatest job of all time because I get to interview really interesting people. I love talking to people and hearing people’s stories, which I naturally do, so I feel like, for me, I just hit the lottery. My days are up at five o’clock; I’m a morning person. The only bummer is I don’t get to see the kids before school, but other than that, I feel like I still get to be a full-time mom. So, I’m up at 5 and then I come in to my second family here that I love. We have the best hair and makeup team of all time and I really feel like they’re my family and my friends. And then I go up to my producer meeting where we banter around the ideas through the day and the news from the night and what we’re going to talk about. We go over the A-block of any topic we want to discuss or any story that we want to highlight, and then go over who the guests are.
And then we do our first live show at 8 a.m., which is really fun. I’m an athlete, so, for me, it’s the equivalent of game time. Every day, I have that heightened sense of excitement, a little nerves, excitement like, “Here we go” ’cause when you go live, there’s no turning back. I’m totally addicted to live TV (laughs). We go live 8 to 9, then we have a break between shows, and one thing I love to do, which they like to tease me on, is I try to workout in between shows, even if it’s a hike or a walk. So, I come back nice and sweaty, which is very good for my hair and makeup team —
AG: (Laughs) They have to start over again.
KH: (Laughs) They’re like, “Here she is.” And then I study the script for the nighttime show Access, which we tape at about 11:30. And then at about 1:30, depending on any live hits we do to affiliates or whatever, I’m usually in the car heading home, and my first pickup for my son is at 2:40. I get in the carpool line, and then, my other job starts.
AG: What would you tell someone interested in getting into the hosting biz — how to go about doing that?
KH: If you want to get into the talk field, which is what I did at ESPN and what I’m doing here at Access, I think you have to be willing to share all of your voice about what makes you unique, and that’s not always easy to do. Lucky for me is that it’s what comes most natural. But I think when you’re authentically yourself is when you’re most successful. So, flaws and all or just whatever makes you unique is, I think, the key to hosting in this talk genre.
AH: You’ve talked about how you love talking to people and interviewing and that it’s the greatest job — what inspires you each day?
KH: I think, for me, it’s interesting: I got this job at age 40. I’m 47 right now, I’ll be turning 48 in July. And I think a lot of women can relate to that time in your life where you’re sort of like, OK, I didn’t know actually if I was going to work again or whatever. I’m 40. I had my babies. I didn’t know if that was it for me. And so, every day, I feel so grateful that I was given a platform that I love, to surround myself with great people and to try to tell interesting stories. … I feel more relevant today than I did in my 20s. …
I can’t count the number of women — I’d say well over 100 — that have called me throughout the years for advice on how to get back in the game, or what they should do. They have all this creative energy and they need a different outlet. I really feel and love these women and always try to help direct them in whatever field they want to go in. Don’t give up and keep an open mind and sort of explore every opportunity, and things will come around.
AG: At Adventure Girl, we talk a lot about travel but also just about trying new things, which I think fits with what you were just talking about, whether that’s at home or in jobs or on the road. How do you tackle those new challenges in your life?
KH: OK, I’m obsessed with new challenges (laughs). Last year, at 46, I took up wakeboarding and golf; neither is going well (laughs). … But I love sports and athletics, and golf, I’ve become completely obsessed with. I wish I had more time. I have a horrible swing, but, god, I love it. And I just love trying new things and I like anything that — I just went skiing again recently. I love snow skiing. Boy, that’s definitely like riding a bike, but I don’t like to fall these days. I’ve learned one big thing: I used to be fine when I was younger, but nowadays, I don’t like to fall.
AG: You want to be able to get out of bed in the morning (laughs).
KH: Yeah, I gotta be able to get out of bed. Definitely a little stiffer these days. But yeah, always try something new and surround yourself— I have a great group of girlfriends that love new adventures so they’re up for anything.
AG: Are you on the road a lot?
KH: Not as much with this job, which is one thing I love about it. I needed consistency with the kids ’cause they’re my first priority, so I like that part. But we have a lot of time off in the summer and then I drive my husband crazy with my travel plans because I have a need for speed and a need to go.
AG: (Laughs) I saw in an interview, I can’t remember where, but it said when you go on family vacations, you all run together, as well?
KH: Oh yeah, we go running together. We bring this whiteboard where we write, like, what we’re going to do for the day, put those darn phones down, including mom, and just go for it. I like action-packed vacations with the kids. I’m not the mom that just can sit on the beach; I can do it for about 20 minutes and then I start getting squirrely. I like to ride the waves, play beach games, go on a run, play tennis. I need a lot of action. I like to be exhausted at night.
AG: Where are some of your favorite places to travel?
KH: You know, Hilton Head down in South Carolina and Isle of Palms, we’ve been going to for many, many years, and what I love about it is just the natural beauty. There’s not much around. I like that the kids have to create their own fun. And it’s just very tranquil, so I love that. It’s just literally play in the water and run around and make up beach games and all that good stuff.
AG: There’s some golf down there, too, in that area?
KH: There’s some golf down there (laughs). You know, my kids aren’t into it yet — we did do round-robin tennis, and they had a basketball court, so a little five-on-five was fine. But my kids, through me — and I’m lucky enough my parents loved to travel — we, every year, have been doing a trip with my mom and dad. So, we went to the Galapagos, we went to Italy, we went to London. … I love that special time with them. It was supposed to be just a trip with the grandkids and I piggybacked years ago on the first one and I was like, “I’m not letting go of this” (laughs) because I love the time with my mom and dad.
Kirsten Akens is a freelance writer, traveler, and restorative yoga evangelist. She’s a lover of books, Boston terriers, blogging, (cowboy) boots, Browncoats & baked goods. And she has an unnatural affection for alliteration. Follow Kirsten @kirstenakens on Twitter.