Industry Spotlight: Early-Starter Cassidy Gard on Bringing Other Women Along for The Ride

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Entertainment reporter Cassidy Gard is proof that hustle and kindness don't have to be mutually exclusive. Her passion for media and female empowerment drives her to run CiGi TV, interview fan favorites from Jennifer Lawrence to Benedict Cumberbatch, maintain a stellar blogand continually dish out content on her YouTube channel.

We recently had the chance to chat with the dynamic Cassidy about how her dreams led to a truly fulfilling career at a very young age (she graduated early from high school at 17-years-old to dive headfirst into work!). What comes next is one woman's inspiring story to chase after your vision despite challenging obstacles. 

What did you want to be when you grew up?

TV personality. I always knew I wanted to work in entertainment. I was very strategic about landing in a city that would be a hub for that. When I was a freshman in high school, I decided to graduate in three years so I could move to New York City at 17-years-old. I knew long term I wanted to be bicoastal between New York City and L.A. I graduated from Hunter College at 20-years-old with a double major in Media and Women Gender Studies.

My work opportunities started to grow when I utilized YouTube to create my own content. The best thing I did for myself was become a producer because it made me a more multi-faceted journalist. I feel empowered to be comfortable both in front of the camera and operating it.

What would be your go-to first move?

Pre-online dating, when I was in college and living in New York City, I used to just go stand near a cute guy I wanted to talk to and fake-spill my drink on my arm. They would notice, help me grab napkins from the bar, and it was the perfect ice breaker to start a conversation.

But I haven't done that move in years. With Bumble, I just think of something witty pertaining to their profile and write an off-the-cuff remark about it. Usually, it warrants a response!

Interviewing Rachel McAdams for  About Time. 

Interviewing Rachel McAdams for About Time. 

What does a healthy relationship look like to you?

Two people in an equal balance, supporting one another in both career endeavors and home-life. The type of connection where something humorous happens and you both look right at each other bursting into laughter because of an inside joke that no one else is in on.

What does it mean to have an empowered connection in dating?

I used to associate being "chill" with what men find attractive in women. I'm not naturally a laid-back person. For years, I tried on that persona to not rock the boat. But those relationships never lasted, because I'm too headstrong to just go along for the ride. Being empowered in dating is me being strong enough to speak up and share my point of view without fearing I'm going to rock the boat. Trust me, the right guy finds that attractive and isn't turned off by it. It has helped me sift through a lot of misogynists that are just looking for a bobble-head.

What does it mean to have an empowered connection in business?

For me, it's leaning into the community of content creators in Los Angeles. I feel the most empowered collaborating with other people to bring a project to life. We all have these very curated skills that we've mastered over time. I constantly get requests from publicists asking me to spotlight events, using my background as a reporter and producer.

My favorite is when they are for initiatives that I truly believe in supporting. Knowing I can help them get valuable press makes me feel powerful because I'm utilizing a platform that's taken me years to grow. We are all stronger together and it shows me how to use social media for good.

Who would be your ideal mentor?

Ellen Degeneres. As an entertainment reporter myself, I really look up to the way that she connects with people by going for the off-beat nugget that most interviewers would overlook. The people she's interviewing always look genuinely happy to be answering her questions. The art of an interview is one that I'm always trying to perfect, but the candid moments are always the most memorable.

I read once that if someone interviews two job candidates and both people are equally qualified, they usually just go for the one that they can stand being around for 8+ hours a day. So much of the Millennial generation is about hustle, hustle, hustle but I think it's equally important to be someone that people want to have around because you raise the energy of the room, not pull it down. I see that in Ellen Degeneres and really admire that quality in her.

Who is the one connection — be that a mentor or colleague or friend — who has changed your professional career?

My friend Sarah Zurell is someone I have known for seven-ish years. She is someone I would run into all the time because we run in the same circles and live near each other. We have so many things in common. We are both from Florida, she was a stand in for Zooey Deschanel on 'New Girl,' I was a stand in for Blake Lively on a 'Gossip Girl,' and we both left acting to focus on business endeavors.

She went on to co-found Pavemint, a peer-to-peer app that connects people looking for parking with people who have spaces to share. She is pure positive light and one of my biggest support systems in L.A. We run ideas back and forth with each other but also indulge in pasta and wine at Eataly to wind down.

She's really inspired me to connect with the tech community in Los Angeles. She's one of those friends that, even when we get crazy busy, we can always touch base with each other for a quick catch up. She's just good people and cultivating a community like that is integral in this town. She is also on Bumble Bizz!