LAST year, I won the 2010 MTV VJ Hunt. I’ve heard about it so many times that it has actually become very passe.
Every article and interview that I had been featured in only talked about what it was like being announced the winner in front of 15,000 people.
Fortunately, the spotlight has gradually moved towards my progress and current accomplishments on MTV.
Fact is, prior to my signing the contract, I had no experience and/or exposure to the media world. The only exposure I got was watching veteran MTV host Utt for 10 years. I have been seeing and hearing him on TV, and he made the work seem easy.
However, it was nothing like a “just-add-water” kind of deal. I remember my first horrible attempt at recording a voiceover – nobody told me that speaking into a microphone would require so much deep breathing and control! I listened to my voice on playback and swore that I’d never speak again.
Do I really sound that bad? Had I spent the past 20 years causing excruciating distress to ears everywhere? From Los Angeles to Jakarta, I apologise to all I had ever spoken to.
Luckily for me MTV decided that I will, through the help of a voice coach, attain a voice fit for regional television. I am also always eager to improve.
My voice coach, Tina, spent hours teaching me how to breathe and how to enunciate so that I do not sound like a robot on the verge of a technical breakdown. It took weeks but it was all worth it.
Upon learning how to speak with a fuller, more well-rounded voice, I stopped making those painful nasal sounds like I did before. In fact, I was so excited about this new “vocal range” that I started to speak more just so that I could utilise it!
Apart from voiceovers, being a VJ has given me the chance to travel more. At one point in my life, I wanted to be a flight attendant just so that I could vist many countries. Lacking the necessary ability to serve food and/or drinks, I thank God I now get to travel for work.
I have only been working for MTV for a few months, but I have already had the opportunity to visit places like Beijing in China, where I met Taiwan singer Harlem Yu; Shanghai, China, where I interviewed US singer Ciara (she showed me how to do the “one-two-step”!); and of course, my favourite neighbouring country, Malaysia, where I met Canadian rapper Kardinal Offishall for my segment of MTV Seen.
It has been surreal in more ways than one.
Never in my life did I think that I would be a part of a TV channel that has had so much influence over music. Representing a brand that has dictated so much of pop culture in the past and present, I tell myself how great it is to be part of it all.
Watching myself on television is very exciting. I tell myself what I like about my performance, and the things that I should not do the next time. I do admit that I, from time to time, leave the television on the MTV channel and get excited when I see myself, or hear my voice.
I jump up and shout, “That’s me!”. Then I’d see Utt and get recklessly enthusiastic over “being colleagues with the guy on TV”.
Unfortunately, I usually present my show alone, but hey, everyone needs a cheerleader. I refuse to wear a small skirt but I can scream.
It’s still early in the year, but I am really looking forward to all that is to come.

Holly Grabarek is an MTV VJ. She will share her experiences working on the network and meeting many stars on the last Wednesday of each month.

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