Update: Diane Mizota, Actress, Host, VP of Pop Culture
When we first met Diane Mizota, she was a seasoned host and actress and, at the time, a self-proclaimed “shameless spammer” participating in a contest trying to become VP, Pop Culture at popchips. As you might’ve read here, popchips was running a contest to find a VP to work under Ashton Kutcher, their new President of Pop Culture. Diane made a very clever application video, quickly got up-to-speed in the world of social media, started getting votes and winning fans and…
Well, she WON the contest!
We thought it would be a good idea to check in with the new(ish) VP of Pop Culture for popchips, find out how she likes the gig, and what exactly the gig is. So we gave her a call…
YII: Congratulations! Way to make it happen.
Diane: Thank you very much! Thank you for your help on the campaign. It was so nice that you wrote that piece and put it up on Facebook.
YII: Absolutely. I loved your video, and I felt like you had something fresh to offer them. So tell me, me how did you find out you got the job?
Diane: They sent Guillermo from Jimmy Kimmel’s show over to my house with a mariachi band. He knocked on my door about 9:00 am that morning and said, “Congratulations, you’re the new VP!” Then we shot a little video with him and the mariachi band and the whole celebration.
YII: That’s great. What happened after that?
Diane: Well, after that, they told me not to tell anyone because Ashton was making a video to announce it. So I was sort of in my house by myself in a bubble after the celebration left.
YII: Did you meet with Ashton right after the announcement?
Diane: The meeting with Ashton was a couple weeks after I won because he’d been in New York finishing up a movie shoot. In the meantime, I had met with the Los Angeles ad agency, and the popchips people had come down and spent a day with me. I got to tour the plant where they make popchips, which is here in Southern California.
YII: Oh, cool.
Diane: Yeah, that was actually really neat. I love factory lines and seeing all that stuff was really cool. And then I met with the ad agency and we sort of talked about what our goals would be for this year. They asked me what events I wanted to cover. I told them I really wanted to go to fashion week. They were like, “Yeah, of course.” And I was just going, “Are you kidding me?” Amazing.
And then I had my meeting with Ashton at Katalyst, his company. That was great. They told me that it would just be a meet-and-greet, for us to get to know each other. But as soon as we sat down, he asked me, “So what is pop culture?” I’m like, “Aren’t you the President of Pop Culture?” (laughs) He starts talking about brands and why brands need to have a message. It turned into a fascinating conversation about what I (meaning, in this case, me personally, as well as, of course, me in the context of representing popchips) stand for.
I consider myself a worker bee in the entertainment industry. I’ve had a career, but you probably don’t know my name or my face, which I’m perfectly fine with. I’m usually hired on to facilitate someone else’s vision, or I have a very specific job. For him to be asking me about my interests, my viewpoint… it was a really cool opportunity for me to figure out what it is that I want to say in conjunction with this position. The bottom line is that he doesn’t want me to just report on Pop Culture, to regurgitate the same information that everyone is asking on red carpet. He wants to get people to talk about what they are passionate about. That’s the stuff that gets people’s attention.
Of course, things will change and flow and evolve with this position, but it was a really fantastic start. The sign outside the front door to his office, “DREAM BIGGER,” really says it all. He is challenging the people around him to dream bigger and to think bigger and to truly think outside the box. So that was a great jumping off point from which to start the year.
YII: So give me a little bit of an overview about what you’ve done since then.
Diane: The first big project that that they sent me on was to interview Bruno Mars at his rehearsal right before his tour launched. Popchips is sponsoring his tour. They got me exclusive access to interview him, and to get content that his fans wouldn’t normally see. I watched a lot of footage of what has already been asked of him and what you can see in interviews on YouTube. We thought we would come at it a little bit left of center and just get his personality to shine through and just sort of have fun and be loose and relaxed. And that’s exactly what happened.
That was probably the most fun I have ever had in an interview. We got to ask silly questions. He was very quick, and very funny and playful. So I think we got a fantastic interview out of that. We also got to talk to his band and some of his crew, and then we got to watch a full run-through of his show, with lights and everything. I was screaming like a teenage girl. I know his fans are going to love the show.
YII: Do you have time for other work besides this popchips gig?
Diane: Yes. I’ve had a relationship with Yahoo for the past four or five years. I’m hosting a show on their OMG page called “Inside and Out” where celebrity trainers give tips and tricks of how celebrities work out and stay healthy. I just got back from Vancouver where I shot with Halle Berry’s trainer, Ramona Braganza. I’m also hosting a parenting show on Shine called, “This Week in Mom.” Where we do funny kid videos, but then also have interviews, including one with an etiquette expert recently.
Also, someone saw my popchips application video online and called me in to audition for a kid’s game show on Hub network. I went all the way to the network test. I didn’t end up getting it, but the opportunity stemmed from me being proactive and getting my video passed around on Facebook, so that was really cool.
YII: Seeing your video, not even knowing you, you get a sense of a nice, authentic person. Your humor and your warmth just came through.
Diane: Thank you. I got a really great response from it. I’m glad that people got that my essence came through. It’s just ‑‑ just who I am, basically.
YII: So what should we look for first from you?
Diane: I’m really excited for this Bruno Mars interview. It’s our first video project with me as VP; plus, it was just something that I just had so much fun doing. It’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.
YII: You’ve come a long way from your shameless spamming days.
Diane: I just need to teach those kids out there that shameless, excessive spamming can turn into a job.
YII: And YII is here to help get the word out. Congratulations again for taking the time to bring us up to speed. Well, we here at Your Industry Insider can’t wait to see what you do next.
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