Live from New York, it’s Kristen Kiasaleh! In addition to her recent internship experience at Saturday Night Live, Kristen has interned at Late Night with Seth Meyers, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and E! News. Here’s how she did it.
Sometimes, there are dreams that seem so out of reach and so far away, that most give up before even trying. Saturday Night Live is this intangible ideal internship for many aspiring comedians and entertainment executives.
However, getting to SNL is far from impossible. Kristen Kiasaleh, a recent New York University graduate, interned at SNL for close to 9 months, working for the Writer’s Research and Music departments. How did she do it without any personal connections within SNL? She started out by targeting other companies within the NBC umbrella, SNL’s parent network. In the span of a year, she went from Late Night with Seth Meyers to The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to E! News. By the time SNL was recruiting new interns, Kristen, already a practical NBC veteran, made the cut in a very selective process.
“No task is too small,” Kristen says about how she took on each position. “Even the menial tasks are important to the larger picture of the production.” Now a Motion Picture Talent Assistant at ICM Partners, the talent agency which has packaged shows such as Grey’s Anatomy, Modern Family and The Ellen Degeneres Show, Kristen shared her prior internship experiences with us.
GS: What is your background?
Kristen Kiasaleh: I was born in LA but I grew up in Texas. I moved to New York to attend New York University as a Media, Culture, and Communications major. Once at the university, I took on the Business of Entertainment and Media Technology minor, which is a cross-school minor between the business school, Stern, and the arts school, Tisch. Through those courses, I learned about both the business and creative side of the entertainment industry, and my passion for television and film grew.
GS: What was your high school and teenage experience like?
KK: In high school, I was very involved in the arts. I had a twelve year acting and violin background. I was a part of my high school’s orchestra and I was the Vice President of my high school theater. We put on great productions, and those people were some of my best friends. I took on as many leadership positions as possible, and made sure to be active in extracurricular activities in school. My first paying job was as a lifeguard when I was sixteen years old. I even had an internship in high school with a non-profit organization, Mission Possible Kids. That was my first internship and I still keep in touch with my boss today.
GS: What steps did you take to prepare for your SNL internship?
KK: I had multiple internships prior to SNL. My first entertainment-related internship was with KickinNutrition.TV, which was started by a former Executive Producer of Sesame Street to teach children [about] healthy eating. The next summer, I did two internships; one as a publicity intern with Fox Broadcasting Company and another as a production intern at ABC Television’s The Chew. These experiences combined landed my first NBC internship with Late Night with Seth Meyers. Directly afterwards, I interned for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and then went to LA for the summer to intern at E! News, which was also under NBCUniversal. I made sure to make a good impression in all my internships and receive reliable references in order to continue within the company. With three NBC internships under my belt, I went on to spend my senior year interning at Saturday Night Live.
GS: What is the most crucial thing you did during the application process?
KK: I always made sure to update my resume with relevant experience and professionally contact and follow up with the right people.
GS: What does the internship experience look like and what was the highlight of your experience?
KK: It differs depending on what department you’re in, but you’re mostly helping with production tasks and assisting your department with whatever they need. You’ll be given different projects to help the department run smoothly. It’s like you’re assisting the assistants – no task is too small. It’s not just coffee runs, you’re also helping with research and distribution.
The highlight was definitely working with all the incredible people at the show and being able to soak up everything around me and learn from the best in the business.
GS: Where do you hope your career will take you?
KK: I hope to continue to work in casting and live television!
GS: What is one thing you would tell your 13-year-old self?
KK: Don’t give up, and trust your instinct. Everything will work out the way it’s supposed to.
Some facts about Kristen:
- Her favorite TV show is “The Sopranos.”
- Her “brain” is her most treasured possession.
- Her ideal job is “CEO of a television network.”
- Her favorite SNL character is “Stefon.”
- Some of her role models include “my parents, Michelle Obama and Meryl Streep.”
- Her style inspiration is “Drew Barrymore in the 90s.”
Cover photo captured by Molly Meisels for The Glam Salad ©