Boarding the plane, Ann Marie Leonard’s emotions were all over the place: excited yet nervous feelings running all through her body. She sits down in row 12 seat A. Looking out the window, she tries to imagine what this summer has in store for her. Staring out into the horizon, Leonard sits back and waits for what little does she know will be a summer she will never forget.
photo courtesy of Ann Marie Leonard
Leonard is a senior majoring in journalism with a focus in public relations and a minor in business. She spent this past summer interning in Beverly Hills, California with a small boutique talent agency called JB Talent.
“I remember being in the waiting game with a big company for an internship and ended up stumbling upon Auburn’s Journalism internship website,” said Leonard on how she found this internship. “After seeing that there was an Auburn graduate at a talent booking agency in Los Angeles, I decided to reach out to her. Just by having ‘Auburn University’ in my subject line, I heard back instantly and had an interview the week before Thanksgiving. Heading into Christmas break I had secured the internship; it was such a natural fit.”
Leonard spent 12 weeks in California performing various tasks that would only help set her apart from other candidates when the real job search starts.
“Each morning I would update JB’s personalized computer system with industry updates like castings, green-lit movies, newly released books, tour dates, season pick-ups and truly anything that had happened in entertainment while we were sleeping,” said Leonard.
The entertainment industry is constantly going, so Leonard was always on her toes and had to act fast.
“You would be surprised with how much happens over night; I loved having the inside scoop in Hollywood,” said Leonard. “At the end of the day, I would create what the office calls the ‘Daily Juice.’ Since the bookers were so busy securing talent, they didn’t have much time to keep up with entertainment news, so my job was to pick the top 10 stories of the day and briefly describe each in an email. This was always the time of the day that I looked most forward to.”
photos courtesy of Ann Marie Leonard
Auburn and its professors can truly take any student where they want to go and help them excel in any career field.
“I definitely think that the journalism and public relations curriculum helped me with my writing and verbal skills,” said Leonard. “Overall, my experience was amazing. I don’t recall a day that I was unhappy about going to work.”
Leonard always knew that she wanted to work in the talent industry, but was unsure what specifically she wanted to do.
“After working in the entertainment industry, my career goal was solidified,” said Leonard. “In this season of life, I can’t imagine working in any other industry. Being an agent or manager has always been an idea that I entertained, but having met talent in the industry, I know that I want to one day be a backbone and mentor for them.”
photo courtesy of Anne Marie Leonard
It’s easy to see how much this experience impacted Leonard. When she talks about it with anyone who asks, her face lights up with a huge smile. Leonard is willing to talk to anyone who asks about this summer of a lifetime, and won’t hesitate to dive right in to telling stories.
“Driving down the notable Sunset and Wilshire boulevards, I would remind myself of how amazing my opportunity was,” said Leonard. “It was easy to allow those small things to become ordinary, but I wanted to always remember how blessed I was to be experiencing life in this way.”
Upon graduating, Leonard plans to move back to Los Angeles and is currently in the process of waiting back for a job with William Morris Endeavor. WME represents some of the most talented people in the entertainment industry.