Big dreams

A college student's journey to the Emmys

Photo provided Rebecca Vanderkooi Rebecca Vanderkooi | Demo 64

I have always had big dreams of working in the entertainment industry, but, coming from a tiny West Michigan town, it never felt like it could become reality.  

However, that all changed when I was hired as an intern with a company in charge of a Pre-Oscar gifting suite. A few months later my boss reached out to me, asking if I was interested in working as an assistant at the Emmy event. Of course, I said yes and took a long weekend working vacation out in Los Angeles.  

Coming back after the Oscars, I felt like I knew what I was doing and was more comfortable working on the celebrities. Something I quickly learned was that while some of these people may be well known household names, they are just people like the rest of us. Knowing that, I no longer worry about nervousness around them.  

Additionally, being able to reconnect with a couple of my coworkers from the Oscars was so nice. The crew who runs the event spends so much time together over those few days that we become close, and it is bittersweet when we wrap at the end.  

While the twelve-hour workdays we put in are not anything to bat an eye at, the experience of meeting writers and directors for shows like “Ted Lasso”, “Handmaids Tale” and “Cobra Kai” is inspiring. As a writer myself, talking to the best of the best and gaining knowledge and advice from them is a unique experience that I will forever cherish.  

The two-day event I spent touring Emmy nominees and other celebrities through the gift suite. Think of it as an expo but with fancier products and celebrities as guests.  

Getting to work with stars like Billy Porter from “Pose”, Eileen Galindo from “Why Women Kill” and, most notably, Tyra Banks from “America‚Äôs Next Top Model” was a once in a lifetime opportunity.  

It is always great to make connections with people in the industry, as that is something much harder to do here in Michigan. This event offered me the unique opportunity of connecting with an up-and-coming actress on a couple different shows. After exchanging contact information, we set up a meeting and I am now helping as her social media manager part time.  

As someone who has always had big dreams, seeing them come true, even if it is simply by touring celebrities through an award show gift suite, is a step toward my ultimate goals.