Driven and ambitious, Sim Kaur Hothi shares her experiences of working on the TV show America’s Next Top Model as an executive assistant in our 10th article of “Kaur Careers”! Often times a lot of us just aren’t aware of all the career options out there. So, in an effort to highlight non-traditional career paths and to inspire Kaurs to explore different educational and job options, Kaur Life launched a new series called “Kaur Careers.”
Occupation: Executive Assistant to the Vice President of Development at 10×10 Entertainment, a TV production company in Los Angeles, CA.
Education: Master’s degree in Film and TV from Syracuse University. Bachelor’s degree in TV, Radio and Film with a sports concentration from San Francisco State University.
Describe what you do: I assist with development for 10×10 and assist my boss who is a supervising producer on America’s Next Top Model. In addition to regular assistant duties, like scheduling and handling phone calls, I get to do a lot of other stuff. I help with researching ideas and topics, pre production and production for development projects and reading scripts.
How did you get this job?
During the last part of my Masters program, I needed an internship, so I made a list of all the TV shows and companies I wanted to work for. I went on IMDB and did Google searches to find a phone number or an email address of anyone who worked at these shows. I still don’t know who I talked to at America’s Next Top Model, but I got through to an assistant, sent her my resume and a month later, I was interviewed for the internship. Towards the end of my internship, I was hired as an office production assistant.
When and how did you realize this was the career path for you? Growing up, I was dead set on being a sports reporter for ESPN. My sister and I grew up playing soccer, basketball, tennis… really everything and I’ve been a huge fan of basketball, so sports production was something I loved. Senior year of high school, my career counselor suggested I shadow the local morning news anchor. I was really lucky in that after the shadow they offered me a summer internship. I ended up working there through college. I also worked for a local sports show that gave me a lot of great experience.
What do you enjoy about your job the most?
I love that it’s not mundane. There’s something different all the time and something is always happening. It’s also great being around creative people and coming up with projects and looking into different things together. It’s an exciting and fun environment to work in with a lot of really different and fun people. It’s also interesting to see the “behind the scenes” action and watching so many talented people work together to create a television show.
Considering it is nontraditional, what were your parents’ reactions?
My parents have always been really supportive. Initially my mom was a little nervous but I expected that. It was something different and we didn’t know anyone working in this industry. My dad was always very interested in it and thought it was great; both my mom and dad have been very supportive and I know I’ve been lucky to have such a great support system. It’s a tough career choice to explain to people in our community. It’s not the traditional job where you graduate and get a job right away; I started with an unpaid internship after my masters program and I’m working as an assistant now. It takes time to move up but it’s something I’m passionate about and my family understands that.
How do you feel Sikhi inspires your work?
Growing up in a Sikh family, we were taught the values of hard work, respect, and love. I try my hardest to carry that with me every single day in every job I have. I try to treat people the way my parents would.
What Sikh lessons have you learned in your work?
Teamwork, and working with others; cooperation is so important as is working well with those who are different from me. There are so many different types of people in this industry and I think it’s really important to remember that being around different people is great and everyone brings something to the table.
Does the idea of working with models ever come into conflict with your Sikhi?
I came to America’s Next Top Model not interested in the modeling world, but interested in the production side. I’ve never felt like I’ve broken or disrespected any Sikh values and to me I look at the models as our cast. For me, this job is about learning and watching people work together to create something unique. It’s been a really inspiring experience to watch so many women working on this show. There are women who are producers, editors, camera women, etc. I’ve never once felt like we objectify women especially since we have male models who are treated just the same as the female models.
My attention is on the production and creation of the show. I look at the creative process as a whole and I see what goes into making the show. I see strong women who are leaders, developing creative products, and who are paving the way for other women in the TV and film industry.
What advice do you have for young Kaurs who are unsure of what career they should pursue?
Sometimes it feels like you should know exactly what you want to do and then stick with it forever, but that’s not the case. I’m 28 and still navigating and still searching. My advice is to talk to as many people as you can and try out as many things as you can. There’s no harm in asking to shadow someone or pick their brains. Ask for an internship! You’re not going to know what you like or don’t like without trying it first. Even if you have a job you hate, you learn that you don’t like it and that’s a big step in narrowing down your passion.
I’ve worked on Anchor Man 2, ESPN shows, and interned with the Oakland Raiders production company.
I currently serve on the Sikh Lens Film Festival committee.
One day, I hope to have a role where I manage talent or produces content.
The above photo is by Jeff Meyer