November 21st, 2007 07:04 EST
Chase Von Interviews Crystal Myrick, Rising Reporter
Interview on behalf of the Student Operated Press with...
Crystal Myrick, Entertainment Reporter
Chase von: Hi Crystal, and thanks for doing this interview. I haven't really been doing these very long, so I am sure you're going to teach me a thing or two. (smile) You have been writing, it appears, almost all of your life. I read where you published your first piece when you were in the third grade; and, yet another story you wrote by yourself was published the following year. Also, you started the first ever newspaper in your school at the young age of 10 and held the title of Editor. What was your first story about when you were in third grade and where was it published?
Crystal: My first story was published in the school literary magazine. It was about a homeless boy and girl who lived in an old abandoned car. I remember the librarian who was in charge of the project kept badgering me to change the story because the two children died in the end. She said the story was too depressing. I just thought it was realistic and I wanted to be different from everyone else. The next year, I was inspired by the game Clue and I wrote a story called "Who Killed Mr. and Mrs. Jenkins." One of the teachers who read the story thought something was seriously wrong with me because the couple committed suicide and left a note.
Chase von: And what was the name of your newspaper and how popular was it in your school?
Crystal: I don't remember the name of the newspaper, but I think it had something to do with a bulldog because that was our school mascot. It was pretty popular because each class had its own reporter. They, much like myself, would get excited about seeing their name in print.
Chase von: I understand you also sang in the church choir and in your school's choir as well. And also that you play the piano. Do you have any songs of your own you're working on? And if so, does talking to so many celebrities give you an opportunity to share your love of music with them? And also, I read you also wrote for your local newspaper as well. Are you somewhat a celebrity yourself in your own community?
Crystal: I remember when I started learning about chords, I tried to put a song together, but it just wasn't happening. I do tend to mention music one way or another in an interview whether it's about what artists they like to listen to or who inspired them to sing or rap. I used to write for my local newspaper, but I have since moved on.
I'm from a small town, so everybody knows everybody. A lot of people know I write, so I have some repeat readers.
Chase von: I was on my high school newspaper's staff, as well. (smile) For the life of me, I can't remember anything I wrote. That was... (clearing throat), a few years ago though. (smile) Well, MANY years ago.
Do you still have copies of your school newspaper and do you sometimes look back at them to see just how far you've come? You also pursued writing and a degree in Mass Communication at Saint Augustine's College. Did you always know that interviewing celebrities like Adina Howard was in your future? I didn't see it mentioned in that interview, but did she, well, you know, ask about me? (smile)
Crystal: My bad. Adina and I were talking and your name must have slipped her mind. (laughs) Actually, I threw away all of my newspapers and I deeply regret it now. I won't name names, but there was a teacher who told me that I would never have a future in writing and that I should find something else. Because she was a teacher, I figured that she knew what she was talking about. Shortly after she made that comment, another teacher praised my work and told me that I should seriously consider a writing career and to not let anyone say anything different. I haven't dropped my pen since.
As far as interviewing celebrities, I knew I wanted to, but I didn't know how to get in contact with anyone. I just happened to luck up one day and find a website that had the names of celebrities and their publicists.
Chase von: My boss here, Judyth Piazza, happens to sound a lot like you. (smile) She got the bug early as well when it came to writing. I can't remember it verbatim, but apparently when everyone else was interested in Clark Kent as Super Man, she was interested in Clark Kent, the reporter. (smile)
Actually, I wrote my first poem at 12 or 13. I've done various other things in my life, but I have to admit my first love is writing. You seem to have known exactly what it was you were placed here to be. Is there anything else you do or have done aside from writing? And, where do you ultimately want your reporting to take you?
Crystal: That's funny you mentioned Superman because I was a Lois Lane fan. I was a Peter Parker fan, too. I remember that I was one of the few students who enjoyed learning how to write. Doing writing exercises was my favorite part of the school day. When I knew I was writing sentences without the help of others and that they made sense, I was so proud of myself. I can't see myself doing anything besides writing. I've worked as a pharmacy technician, a photographer, a sales representative and a barista but nothing has been more satisfying and fulfilling than being a writer.
I hope that through my writing career I will achieve fame, but not for the reasons that some may think. I have a 2 ½ month old son and I want him to be able to look at me and say, "Wow! That's my mom. She has done so much. I want to be like her when I grow up." This will sound very cheesy, but I want him to see through me that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. And I want to jump on Oprah's couch. Tom did it and got away with it, so why can't I? (laughs)
Chase von: You have done articles on R. Kelly, Boyz II Men's new CD, interviews with Adina Howard, who is huge, and Tiffany "New York" Pollard, who is quickly making a name for herself.
My interviews are written, but were yours with just the two I just mentioned above over the phone? Or in person? And are there certain guidelines you follow or rules that you've learned to ensure that the subject is comfortable? Also, are there certain questions that are just off limits? I know that I prefer doing written interviews, at least for now, because it allows for the one interviewed to be comfortable. It gives them time to ponder the answers they give, and also to simply not answer if they don't like the question or feel as if it is probing into an area they would rather not entertain. Some journalists seem to get a kick out of catching someone off guard. How do you feel about that kind of journalistic reporting?
Crystal: Most of my interviews are over the phone, but I have done some in person and through e-mail. Questions that I feel are off-limits are the ones where I wouldn't feel comfortable answering myself. The point is to make the person you are interviewing comfortable. Just because they make larger deposits in their bank accounts, they are still real people just like you and me. If I want to catch someone off guard, it won't be in a negative way. For instance, I wouldn't bring up the Superbowl Halftime show to Janet Jackson. I would rather ask her a question about how do the friends of her nieces and nephews perceive her being that she is Janet, Miss Jackson if you're nasty. She may possibly laugh and humor is always a good thing in an interview. I want the person I am interviewing to know that I truly care. Otherwise, I wouldn't have interviewed him or her. Once you make them feel uncomfortable, they close up and you won't get the type of responses you want.
One of my favorite people to listen to interview someone is Wendy Williams. Sometimes you can actually tell the celeb is nervous because you never know what will come out of her mouth. With Wendy, expect the unexpected and with Oprah, expect to cry. (smile)
Chase von: I have many people who I admire, and that list grows daily. Often I am asked, because I write poetry and song lyrics, who I look up to in those regards. I often say Kahlil Gibran, Jovan, Sade, Smokey Robinson, Maya Angelou, Bryant McGill, Aberjhani, Ed Roberts, Langston Hughes and Taalam Acey; but, the list is so long I would spend the rest of this interviewing naming names. (smile) Are there any reporters or journalist besides myself-- just kidding (smile)-- who you truly admire and look up to? And is there any one out there who you feel has blazed a trail so that others can follow? Or, are you making your own path? I think of Barbara Walters initially when I think of female journalist, but are there people who you admire who, perhaps, are not quite as well known as she is?
Crystal: Right now, I don't have anyone in particular. I will read anything and anybody because I still feel like I'm a beginner, and compared to a lot of people, I am. I'm still learning. I enjoy reading mainly female journalists because I feel I can relate a little more to them. Oprah has definitely blazed a trail for black female journalists like myself. To make it on her show, you have to be somebody. Besides my parents, she was definitely a role model for me when I was younger. I wrote her a fan letter back in the day and I got an autographed photo of her. I am working hard to make my own path. That way, I will feel a sense of accomplishment once I've gotten to a certain point.
Chase von: Do you have anyone in particular you can't wait to interview? Or a few of them? And how does it feel to be on this side of the fence? Being the interviewed, and not the one doing it?
Crystal: I would love to interview Jamie Foxx! (smile) I believe he is so multi-talented. There's a letter to the editor that I wrote to Sister2Sister Magazine years ago, that now appears online, where I talk about him. I already have my questions together. Being the one interviewed feels…different. It feels like a job interview. One wrong word can make me or break me.
Chase von: I read a very informative article written by you called, "Achieving Beauty Under The Knife." Sadly, Kanye West lost his mother to this. For my part, I think that people born with abnormalities should, of course, if they can, get corrective surgery and have those things taken care of. Years ago, most people would just have to suffer with their conditions for the durations of their lives. But modern medicine has made huge leaps in that area. A friend of mine has a grand daughter who was born with a giant nevus on her face. And this child has already undergone, I believe, nine operations to correct her face. There is also a book about it which I am blessed to have two poems in as well called "The Anthology Of Candace." But in those situations I totally understand. There is also another book by this same friend called "My Name Is Not Monkey Girl." I bring that up because I think there are legitimate reasons to have corrective surgery done, and there are some that just don't seem worthy of the risk at all. Burn victims, people that have been born with defects, accidents and the like, but do you think our culture has gone off the deep end when it comes to physical appearances?
Crystal: I think society is too consumed with beauty. Who is to say what is beautiful and what is not? For example, Dr. Donda West was a beautiful woman, but not because of her appearance. I listened to an interview that she did and she had an incredibly beautiful spirit. Every time I saw a picture of her, she was smiling. A smile can make anyone gorgeous even if they don't have a single tooth in their mouth. If there is something actually wrong with a person health-wise, then get the surgery necessary to fix it, if you can afford it. But, if you think your breasts are too small, then get a push-up bra and some padding. It is so much cheaper and nowhere near as painful. When I look at before pictures of some celebs and look at them now, I can only think what was going on in their minds that made them feel that a nose job or a boob job would make them look better. There are some who have gone from being beautiful to looking cartoonish. Going under the knife has crossed my mind before, but then I said to myself no way, because I don't believe in going through unnecessary pain.
Chase von: How important is family to you, and what is your take on the state of our current world?
Crystal: Family is very important in me because if it were not for them, no telling where I would be today.
The state of the world today is a scary thought. Discriminating against someone because of his or her race or beliefs is just outright ridiculous. It is truly sad.
Chase von: What would you say if you were standing in front of a microphone through which you could be heard by every child on the planet and, regardless of what language it was they spoke, they would understand you? What positive advice would you give the children, if that were possible?
Crystal: No matter what, believe in yourself and pursue your dreams. There will be so many people who will try to shake the ladder from under you, but just keep going.
Chase von: I know you have a myspace page where people can find you and your works, but what are some of the other places our readers can locate you and discover more of your articles and interviews?
Crystal: The majority of my articles can be found at Associatedcontent.com/cmmyrick, but definitely hit me up at myspace.com/kyriamichele. Kyria Michele was my pen name for about six months.
Chase von: When I grow up, and become a famous author, will you want to interview me? (smile)
Crystal: Sure, but I'm the type who wants to interview people before they become famous. That way, I might get a shout-out in the thanks section of a CD or in a book.
Chase von: On behalf of The Student Operated Press and myself, Crystal, thank you for taking the time to be interviewed. I also am willing to bet that if you wanted to also be a Mentor here, because of all your past accomplishments, many of the student writers here would gain immeasurably from your expertise and encouragement. I can tell you that the rewards of being a Mentor here and contributing work and just being a part of the Student Operated Press is something that can't be measured, monetarily anyway. Would you be interested in being a Mentor for the Student Operated Press? And do know that your answer is going to be seen publicly. (smile)
Crystal: If someone needs my advice in any way, then I'm just like the Jackson 5 and I'll be there. (smile)
Chase von: Again, thank you, Crystal, and wishing you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving and mountains of success to you in your career!
Crystal: Thank you so much for wanting to interview me. Have a great holiday as well.