My First Award Was My Interview With Gloria Steinem - Pavlina Osta (American Radio Host and Celebrity Journalist)


Pavlina Osta

1. Tell us about your background and journey.

I started out as a street performer playing steel drums on the beach. As a native of Daytona Beach, I grew up in a relaxed, mellow environment. However, I wanted to do everything and pack everything into a 24 hour day! So right away, at the age of 6, I wanted to dance- not just one class but every class! Soon I also enrolled in gymnastics and then karate - all within one year! So by the time I was 10 and asked for a set of steel drums- everyone's question was "when are you going to have time to play them?". Luckily, my elementary school had a steel drum band that I quickly enrolled in. 

I wanted to do more than just practice with the band in the morning though so I asked my mom for a custom set. Here again, I was fortunate because close to Daytona Beach was a custom steel drum maker- Tommy Reynolds. Tommy a singer and instrumentalist for a 1970's band Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds. Once I had my drums (pans), I started performing everywhere in the area. 

I surprised me when the media started talking to me. Being interviewed was strange. Soon, I was asked by a radio station about doing my own radio show. At 11, if I wasn't at school, I was at dance or gymnastics or karate or performing steel drums! So, something had to go, unfortunately. The first to go was karate. I achieved a black belt and was working on a 2nd-degree black belt but not having time for the additional testings. Then I dropped gymnastics- probably because a fellow classmate broke her jaw in front of me but who knows lol. 

I continued with dance at Orlando Ballet School until I was accepted into the International Baccalaureate Program in high school. It's an intensive academic program that wouldn't be possible with full-time ballet. My ballet comrades opted to do online school at the dance studio so they had more time for dance. My interview with Steve Forbes finalized my decision in choosing media and academics over a dance career. Choices and risk-taking are difficult for all of us but I knew in my heart it was the right decision. 

My interviews on the radio station grew over the years and soon it was over 500 celebrity interviews on location. I had zig-zagged around the state of Florida and some other states across the country. Whether it was sitting in a tour bus with Ziggy Marley or snuck into a casino to talk with the musical talent- I adapted and enjoyed the journey. At one event, I had my first encounter with paparazzi. I was pushed, toppled over from a step ladder but still persevered. 

The early years I dealt with all the dynamics taught me how to handle situations much earlier than my peers. This also prepared me for opportunities in media. Besides grabbing the opportunities (which is only half the battle) I was also able to persevere and climb in my career. This was due to my early days of being able to make split decisions and handle obstacles.

2. You have won many awards and interviewed 600+ celebrities, how did you accomplish all of this at a young age?

Wow, I'd like to answer this humbly without ego. If you have a God-given gift and more importantly you identify that gift and use it then certain rewards will follow in your life. I never saw that celebrity as a celebrity. We were two people sitting down talking. They knew I cared. My first award was my interview with Gloria Steinem. 

We talked about the future of girls while outside there were protesters lined up and police. We ignored all this and afterward I walked with her and she asked what I wanted to do with my career. Shaquille O'Neal asked the same. So I think you accomplish things regardless of your age by proving yourself to others and the awards, accolades and whatever level of success we find in this world follows from all of this. 

3. Who is your favourite journalist and why?

The late Jessica Savage. She pioneered TV journalism for women and was superior to anyone. I watch some of her footage and I'm awestruck over her excellent improvisational skills. She would carry all the equipment on assignments and dealt with the snide male comments in media. 

4. How does your content vary across radio, YouTube and other mediums? Is there a method to it?

My radio show started out with just interviews and I'd say a few words about it or something currently going on. This changed over the years but overall it was mainly celebrity and newsmaker interviews.YouTube I edited and posted and made sure there was more flash going on to keep a younger audience interested. Know your audience and as a rule, the younger the audience the shorter you want the content lol. 

5. What is your message to all inspiring journalists and content creators?

I recently interviewed a journalist who was a prisoner of the Taliban in Afghanistan. We talked about his experience and then we talked about how isolation can be handled during the pandemic. So I think your ability to be proud of your work- don't just do anything and compromise your beliefs. It's important to be strong and proud of what you do. Secondly, when you come through - share your experiences and think about how it can help others because that will give purpose to your achievements in life. 

6. One dream interview that you wish to take which is still pending? You can talk about some of your other favourite interviews.

Many would think some of my favourite interviews would be the boy bands or the famous singers - whoever was hot at the moment. And, yes, they were fun. However, I enjoyed the real moments like spending the day with Tanya Tucker at the Strawberry Festival or Folk singer Arlo Guthrie and his family in Central Park. They were more than favourite interviews- they were favourite moments. Some of my favourites were of the people who have passed like Charlie Daniels, Eddie Money, and Al Jarreau. I wished I'd said more or said something different. 
A dream interview still pending?

I interviewed Steve Harvey because I was media at his event, The Neighbourhood Awards in Atlanta but I'd really like to sit down with him and discuss a variety of topics. I first met Harvey when I was chosen as a Disney Dreamer. The following year I was back at Disney as media for the event and then the next year I was one of the Disney Dreamer Alumni chosen for the 10th anniversary. There was never the opportunity to sit down and chat and that's what I'd like to do- about success, about BLM, about balancing life. 

7. What is your favourite book and why?

Naturally, I think my book, an Amazon Bestseller that came out August 2020 is one of my favourite books and getting great reviews! "20 Things Every Motivated 20 Somethings Should Know" explains how to be successful in your life, career, love and spirituality. It's geared for 20 somethings (Gen Z's and Millennials). 

Since I'm a Gen Z, I've lived through the good, bad and obstacles younger generations are exposed to. I've also interviewed over 600 celebrities and newsmakers who gave me their secrets and "slices of wisdom". I'm a host as well as a guest on various media platforms as an expert on Gen Z's and Millennial issues. So, I think "20 Things Every 20 Something Should Know" is an enjoyable and beneficial read!

- Pavlina Osta 

Pavlina Osta

Award-Winning Celebrity Radio Show Host - Celebrity Journalist
Executive Director and Producer of National Podcasts Salem Media Group NYC

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