Happy Monday, friends!
I’m so excited to kick off another week with our next What I Wore to Work feature!
What I Wore to Work is a series designed to be one part workwear style inspo, one part career inspo–stories of YOU GUYS–driven, incredible women from all walks of life, shapes and sizes, ages, backgrounds and all careers–living their lives to the fullest and going after their dreams.
Thank you thank you to everyone who has applied thus far. I’m going through applications on a rolling basis and we have so many great ones flowing in! I have a whole bunch of inspiring interviews lined up so far, and today, I can’t wait for you to meet my new friend and fellow reader, Shelby!
Here are some highlights of what Shelby Hintze covers in our interview:
- How she got into news production and what it’s like to work at an NBC affiliate.
- How to “flip the script” (see what I did there, Shelby? 😂) on road blocks and adversity, and leverage challenges to help you!
- Her tips for women who are sometimes (or unfortunately, often) under estimated at work.
- How to approach work-life balance at a job that is “always on.”
- Her favorite work wardrobe staples for curating a wardrobe that is professional yet still joyful and filled with color.
Name: Shelby Hintze
Location: Salt Lake City
Job title: Producer at NBC affiliate in SLC
Tell us a little bit about yourself, Shelby!
I’m a single lady living that single lady life in Salt Lake City. I love everything pop culture, history and sometimes, unfortunately–politics. I love to go to the movies, out to eat and I spend way too much time (and money) at Target. Also, I enjoy painting and handlettering as well, when I can get myself to just.get.started. I love to listen to audiobooks by, and about, strong women. I’m constantly trying to challenge my privilege and learn about other people’s lives.
What do you do for a living?
I am a news producer at the NBC affiliate in SLC. I manage whichever show I’m working on that day. So I pick the stories, write scripts, map out how I want the show to look etc. I also produce a political talk show so I spend a lot of time researching, cultivating relationships and booking guests. I try really hard to get diverse opinions and expertise on the show. It’s hard to do and I don’t always succeed but that is always top of mind for me. People might say I’ve had to overcome a lot to get to where I am but I believe I am where I am BECAUSE of the roadblocks I’ve faced, not in spite of.
What’s your typical day look like?
Right now, I work pretty normal hours but I’m also always ON. I’m constantly checking emails and social media and I always have to be ready to run into work if there’s big news! When I get in in the morning, I check emails, see what is happening locally for the day and then start putting together the newscast. It’s a lot of reading articles and headlines, scrolling through Twitter and seeing what needs to be followed up on from the morning show. I also chat with our production crew to let them know about any guests I may have on the show or special requests I have, like music or shooting a segment outside. I worked overnights for about a year so I’m very grateful to be on a normal schedule.
Can you tell us a little bit about how you got to where you are? Did you always know you wanted to go into TV production? Did you go to school for that, or what did that path look like?
I actually went to school for Public Relations. I have always been interested in media and news but I didn’t really have any interest in being a journalist. I love sharing stories, writing and holding people accountable–but I wasn’t really interested in knocking on strangers’ doors. But I had the chance to go to the Today Show one summer before graduating and realized all the other people involved in getting the show on air! I came to the conclusion that I wanted to give that a try so I audited some classes when I got back to school, got an internship at my current station and was able to get a job out of that.
I saw this shirt at Old Navy and just thought it was hilarious and comfy! Turns out, so did everyone else I work with and like 5 of us all have the same one. 😂Tank: Old Navy (old) Sweater: J.Crew (Surprise!) Skirt: I got it at a bazaar.(Similar)
I love your attitude about roadblocks above–(I couldn’t agree more!) but sometimes it’s hard to get out of that negative state of mind when life puts big roadblocks in our way. What advice would you give to someone who is facing adversity? In what ways have the challenges you’ve faced made you a stronger woman?
Buckle up folks! I have lots of opinions here. Not a single one of these things is meant to be the end-all-be-all answer to any problem, by the way. We often feel like we have to exist on one end of spectrum instead of living in this grey area I like to call life.
First of all, as a disabled woman (I say disabled instead of person with a disability because I view my disability as a part of my identity, not a diagnosis. I believe my personhood should be implied.) lots of people would say I have “overcome” my disability to be where I am. I am where I am because of my disability. One of the biggest soft skills I use every day in my job is problem-solving and making contingency plans – If this doesn’t work, what do we do next? That’s totally second nature for me. It sounds cliche but what can you learn from the adversity? How can you leverage it to help you? I often say “life rarely gets easier but we get better.” Everyone has challenges.
Second, as women, we are often told to just be positive; don’t be angry. Sometimes you gotta be mad! It’s ok to be upset! It’s ok to take a mental health day if you have that privilege. I don’t believe any emotion is negative – it can cause you do negative things but the feeling itself isn’t wrong. Our bodies and brains are very good at telling us if there is something wrong. It may be that you need to make a change in your life, it may be that you need medication to help with a chemical imbalance, it may also just mean you need to eat something! Listen to what your brain and body are telling you and trust that you know what you need.
I often say “life rarely gets easier but we get better.” Everyone has challenges.
Finally, we need to be so much easier on ourselves. We can have it all, but sometimes not all at once. It’s ok to ask for help. We aren’t designed to do this all alone. It’s ok to say “You know, I’m happy in this job here and I’m not a bad person if I focus on this other part of my life right now.” For a long time, I thought the only way people would take me seriously is if I had some high-powered job.
Well, I got this really cool job and realized that I still have to work extra hard to prove myself to strangers because of the way I look, and I still have an immense amount of privilege that makes my life easier. My job title, relationship status, my cute clothes, none of that was going to “save” me. So, I just had to let go of these expectations I had for my life and be happy with where I am right now. (Easier said than done!!!!)
What are some common misconceptions people have about your job?
That it’s glamorous and we make a lot of money. The majority of local news producers and journalists are just making enough. And eating a lot of meals at our desks or in the passenger seat of a car. It’s a tough business that is always changing. I can only speak from my limited experience but your local news station likely doesn’t have a huge staff and everyone is doing several different jobs.
One of the really cool things about where I work is all the women! At my station, most of the people behind the scenes, making decisions, are women. This is just a small portion of the people that work to make the news happen every day.
Being a news producer is definitely a highly sought-after, competitive position. Do you have any advice to those looking to break into your field? How does one stand out from the pack?
When you’re in college, do internships if you can. I know unpaid internships are huge burden for lots of people but if you can swing it, do it. If you can’t, see if there are jobs you can do at your local station, perhaps in production. Whichever way you get your foot in the door, ask for more. If you want to be a producer, ask if you can help write some stories. Go help on a weekend show, and be ready to work pretty crappy hours in the beginning. I worked overnights for my first year. I learned SO much, but it was pretty miserable.
Every station is different, but stepping up for projects and being willing to pay your dues will get you far. Finally, watch a lot of news. Look at how local and national news shows are put together. Take notes of what works and what doesn’t and implement those ideas into your show. We’re all learning from each other.
How do you define success? What does that look like to you?
I think that something that leads to a lot of unhappiness is the idea that success is only met once you’re at a certain point on the “corporate ladder.” You can be successful no matter your job title. Success to me is being able to answer yes to these questions: 1. Am I still learning? 2. Am I comfortable enough to experiment and take risks? 3. Do I feel supported by my coworkers? 4. Do my coworkers feel supported by me?
I also wouldn’t hate being able to order lunch a couple times a week. 😉
As someone who is always “on” for work–what does work/life balance look like for you? How do you toe the line between the two, and how do you make it work for you?
I think the biggest thing is compartmentalizing. You need as many support mechanisms as possible–work, family, friends, hobbies, community–because inevitably there will be a problem with one of those aspects of your life and you’ll need the others to keep you afloat. I think getting out of the mindset that my job is the most important and most defining part of my life, especially as a single woman, has helped me set more appropriate boundaries.
Right now, my job is probably the most important thing in my day-to-day life, but it’s not the ONLY thing. If I’m with friends, I try really hard to not be checking my phone. If someone really needs me, they’ll call me. As much as I don’t want to, I have to stop paying attention to every single thing that is happening in the White House. And remembering that everything will still be there when I get to it.
Here’s one of my favorite scarves! Just adds a perfect pop – not that this outfit really needed any MORE (but you can always have more!) Dress: Old Navy (Similar) Cardigan: (Similar) Scarf: Madewell (Similar)
What’s the dress code like at a news station? What are some go-to staples you gravitate toward?
My works dress code is business casual but lots of people interpret that differently, depending on their duties.
How would you describe your personal style at work?
My work style is very comfortable while still being put together, fun and colorful. I want everything to fit impeccably because no one wants to spend 8 hours tugging at a shirt that just doesn’t quite fit right. I try to air on the more professional side because you never know who is going to go walking through the newsroom. A lot of times, strangers walking through the newsroom don’t think I’m the producer, so I try to be a little more dressed up.
Being underestimated is truly one of the worst situations that any woman can encounter at work or in life – how do you deal with that? Any tips on handling this with grace and not letting it get to you?
Once, on a shoot on location, someone asked me (in a very condescending tone, might I add) if I was the reporter’s assistant (local news reporters don’t have assistants.) I just smiled and said, “No, I’m the producer. I’m in charge here.” I’m a firm believer in not shouldering discomfort on your own. Marginalized groups are expected to constantly absorb discomfort and that is exhausting! This article by Nicole Chung really changed the way I think about my responses to people. When people make comments that are condescending, microaggressions or just rude, they often don’t mean it that way. But that doesn’t mean you should let them off the hook.
Brene Brown in her Netflix special talks about how being uncomfortable is the only way things are going to change. W. Kamua Bell talks about “hot potato-ing” racism right back to the perpetrator. I have responses to the most common microagressions that I can toss right back to people. They are jokes but also show I don’t think their comment was very funny–or very original.
Them: “You’re really good at that thing!”
Me: “Thanks, you’re pretty good on those things” and point to their legs.
Them: “No speeding!”
Me: “Wow, that just gets funnier every time someone says it!”
I like to be prepared but having a response to those needling comments really helps me from stewing on them all day. I don’t really have anything unique or original to say about standing up for yourself but just know you are worth it!
MY TOP 5 PICKS:
I have a OBSCENE amount of these sweaters. I’ve found the size that fits mE perfectly and I just buy one any time I see them on sale. I NEVER spend more than $40 on them, although I think most I’ve gotten were close to $25. They are the perfect weight that I can wear all year round.
This is another one I have in a laughable amount of colors. Again, only ever buy it on sale. It’s also the perfect weight and the double button at the top is just a sweet little detail that sets it apart from other cardigans.
I’ve loved scarves for a long time but have really recently gotten back into wearing them. I don’t love wearing necklaces. But I like having a little something to add some interest to an outfit. I joke I rarely, if ever, wear an outfit that doesn’t have some element of a print. I just can’t do it! I’ve gotten most of mine at thrift stores.
I’ve never met a stripe I didn’t love. I love the versatility of a striped tee paired with a floral skirt (love pattern mixing!) or just jeans, one of my cardigans and a scarf.
A GOOD TAILOR:
Ok this isn’t an item, but it will make you love your clothes SO MUCH MORE. We’ve only been buying clothes off the rack basically exclusively for maybe 40 years. For literally the rest of history, your clothes were made to fit YOU. As much as we want to make fashion inclusive, our bodies are all so different and it’s not going to be possible in every situation.
The first step– understanding and accepting that not everything is going to work for everyone. Then alter the crap out of those clothes! Make them work for you! Nordstrom will do a lot of different services for free on clothes you buy there. You can even buy things at the thrift store that maybe are a little big or need a little refresh.
Make the clothes work for you, don’t make your body work for the clothes.
What staples are worth investing in, in your opinion, and what isn’t? How do you decide what to splurge vs. save on? You mentioned you’re an expert deal hunter – any tips on finding the best deals?
My high end pieces are all things most magazines would call low end pieces so I’m not exactly the master of splurge and save – usually more of save and save some more.
I do find that I’m more willing to spend a bit more on knits though. $20 or $30 more can make a big difference in the quality of the fabric, read: it feels WAY better and if you take care of them, they’ll last forever.
I have some awesome sweaters from the ’50s I get at thrift stores and estate sales. Taking care of your items will go a long way. My biggest “splurge” advice would be, when you find something that works, whatever it is, buy multiples, either in multiple colors or just several in the color or wash you know you’ll love. I definitely am very guilty of buying things just because they are inexpensive and I am…working on it.
This is probably the most “glamorous” thing I get to do as part of my job. Every Christmas, the Governor has an open house for members of the media, politicians and community leaders. It’s my one excuse to buy a fancy outfit every year and I definitely put way too much thought and effort into it.
Dress: Kate Spade Kids (very altered!) (Similar)
Has style always been a constant in your life? How did find your own personal style, and how has that changed over the years? Do you have any advice to share for women who are still struggling to find their personal style?
I have always loved clothes and fashion. All the fashion magazine movies and shows of the early 2000s had me convinced that that was what I wanted to do. I’ve since discovered some other interests as well but I noticed that when I put some creative energy into what I’m wearing and mix it up a bit, I feel better all day long.
My style has evolved but I’ve always liked being unique (except for that brief stint in middle school when I only wanted to wear Hollister and Abercrombie tees that WERE NOT designed to fit my body. Thanks mom for resisting!)
When you’re trying to decide what you like, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with just copying from magazines or bloggers. You’ll start to figure out what works and what doesn’t. You’ll never know if you don’t try. And if you like something, wear it! I think we get really caught up in having an “aesthetic.” If you think something is cool and you feel good in it, it’s ok if it’s totally different than something you would normally wear (but only if you’re actually going to wear it!)
Do you have any advice to those who are looking to be more creative with their work wardrobe and still remain professional? It seems like you toe that line beautifully and would love your tips!
Something I learned really young is you can get away with having a lot more personality if your clothes are appropriate, fit well and are well taken care of. Someone in clean and well fitting jeans, a t-shirt and a blazer will always look more professional, in my opinion, than someone in a wrinkled and ill-fitting button-up and slacks. If you’re worried, start adding in fun pops of color with your bags and shoes. As you get more comfortable, you can add a little more color, a little more pattern. Just work up to it.
For me, I am able to fit into kid-sized clothes. That helps sometimes in the playful department but I do have to be very careful that I still look like an adult. Sneaking in a quirky, sparkly tee every once in a while is fine but I do have to be careful. But I say all this to suggest getting creative with where you shop.
I love Nordstrom and J. Crew and the Loft but that doesn’t mean you are sequestered to the business casual section for the rest of your life. Throw on the vintage dress you got at the thrift store with a cardigan or blazer. The button up in the boy’s section at Target could be the perfect boxy fit–for a fraction of the cost. Or try those funky earrings you got at the farmer’s market. You can find things you like lots of different places–don’t limit yourself to the “approved” places to shop.
Any parting words you’d like to add?
Thank you SO much for being part of this feature, Shelby! Reading your style tips and words of wisdom has been the best way to start our week, and I know I speak on behalf of all of us when I say we loved getting to you know you! ☺️Stay tuned for more WIWTW profiles on more inspirational women coming soon! If you’d like to apply, you can do so on this page! Have a wonderful Monday, everybody!