ESC, On the Real with Alicia Quarles

Every month E! News correspondent Alicia Quarles shares her latest musings on Hollywood and what it's like in front of—and behind—the lens.

I love designer gear as much as the next fashion aficionado, but sometimes, the glam outfits and red-soled heels I wear on camera don't show the sheer amount of grit, pavement-pounding experience and smarts that it takes to be an entertainment news correspondent.

Recently, on the red carpet, a major celebrity, who I've been interviewing for at least eight years in both on and off camera capacities (I joined the E! family three years ago), tried to "dumb" me down. I'd done my research, so I knew the questions were good.

This person was condescending in their answers and saw me as just an airhead TV personality with an A-list look and a mic in my hand. Star X then moved on to be interviewed by the journalist standing next to me and said, "See, this is what I was waiting for: a real news outlet and a real reporter."

ESC, On the Real with Alicia Quarles, Book

The reporter's response? "Oh, that is funny, because you just spoke with a real reporter and a real outlet. Alicia was my boss for years and taught us a lot."

Years before I had a glam squad and jetted around the globe for E!, I paid my dues at one of the world's most respected and largest news gathering agency, The Associated Press. I started out as just another reporter/producer, but through hard work, I eventually became a global entertainment editor, where I oversaw a staff of 75 people for digital, print, TV, radio and photo publication. 

The road to stilettos was paved in blood and sweat. I've stood in the bushes to get great access when covering the funeral of Ronald Reagan, waited in the freezing cold for 12 hours while covering the inauguration of President Barack Obama (historic, but man was it frigid), lugged heavy camera equipment around as a one-woman production band to get stories, only to then come back and work until the wee hours of the morning to produce the pieces that went on the air.

There was a lot of hard work to get to the glam-squad level. But I'm always working on my craft, learning and putting in the discipline that is needed to go to the next level.

I still get up at the crack of dawn on a weekend after working a 60-hour week for my TV appearances. During the week, the glitzy premieres are mixed in with hours of audio tracking for stories, working my sources to produce breaking news for all formats, writing and doing copious research for my interviews, plus running around from shoot to shootsometimes without pausing for a bite to eat.

My motto is hustle hard, and that has never stopped—even if I've graduated to doing it in Jimmy Choos. I'm constantly on the grind, and that mentality has put me in this position today.

I want young people who think, "I want to be on TV" after they see E! correspondents in fabulous clothes or talking to celebrities to understand that it's not all glamour—and it can all be taken away.

When it comes down to it, I'm a journalist, and those are the skills that carried me from the AP to E!—and will carry me for the rest of my career.

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