In her career as a radio personality and entertainment reporter, Maz Compton has interviewed countless A-List celebrities.
Now it’s our turn to interview her…
When she was young, Maz Compton used to pretend to interview the Queen over afternoon tea and ask her Majesty about her life as a Royal. What Maz may not have known at the time was that the skills she was developing during her make-believe sessions with the Queen were laying the foundation of an illustrious career in entertainment reporting and radio presenting.
Maz first burst onto the entertainment scene when she gloriously landed her dream job as a Video Jockey (VJ) with MTV. During her five years with MTV, Maz travelled the globe, interviewing celebrities, attending music festivals and sharing the couch with all the big names including, Sandra Bullock, Margot Robbie, Sir Richard Branson and the Black Eyed Peas.
Her entertainment career then snowballed into a series of dream roles, including hosting red carpet events across music and film throughout the world (including presenting Australia’s VMA and ARIA Red Carpet Specials and the premieres of blockbuster movies), co-hosting breakfast radio show The Dan & Maz Show, launching her own digital interview series and world-first breakfast show concept. Did we mention she also won an ASTRA for the most popular female presenter?
But that is just the entertainment and reporting side of Maz’s working life. Maz can also add entrepreneur, Podcast host and now author (after launching her first book UnEdited on 8 August 2017) to her career reel highlights.
Here, Maz talks about her career (the ups and the downs), what it’s like owning two F45 gyms, her management strategies and her advice for women wanting to translate their passion into career.
- Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your background?
Hi I’m Maz Compton. I have spent the best part of my adult life in front of a camera or a microphone and I’ve interviewed your favourite celebrities, that’s been my gig! As a media personality, I’ve been lucky to travel the world and see some very cool things, meet some very cool people and I have a lot of very cool stories, so I thought I’d write them all down and release them in a book. A lovely little reflection on the decade of crazy media agendas and whirlwind insane my career has been.
My life looks very chilled these day, even though I’m always juggling a few hundred projects. Sound familiar? I own two gyms, which isn’t as random as it sounds, I like working out, a lot. I love nature, snowboarding is my favourite thing to do, other than write. I am super dog clucky and I host a couple of Podcasts, Healthy-ish with Dr Andrew Rochford where we find the little tips to help you live a healthy (ish) life and theright.fit Podcast which is about unpacking the dark and dramatic world of Influencer marketing.
- You landed your dream job as a VJ with MTV and your entertainment reporting and radio career catapulted from there. When did your passion for music and entertainment begin?
I have always been into music and loved going to gigs. Ever since I could, I was saving my pennies from my job at Video Ezy to buy a ticket to an all ages music festival like The Warped Tour. I’d dress in boy’s clothes, put my hair in pigtails to be cute and spend all day rocking out to MxPx, The Used and other bands that don’t exist anymore. My passion for music and cool hair styles grew from there. My teenage obsession with a ska band Reel Big Fish, from Orange County California really is where it started. And yes, I did get to meet them, eventually. I’ve always read music magazines and been interested in the biz itself, despite having zero musical ability. I can dance though, I used to teach hip hop.
- Being a presenter and talk show host is a very dynamic career. What about it sparked your interest? When did you know it was the right path for you?
I remember watching MTV’s TRL, Total Request Live – a live daily countdown show filmed in New York’s Times Square and I thought that would be a cool job. I liked talking to people, I had a bubbly personality and so I just thought I’d be really good at it. I was right! I also used to talk to myself a lot when I was a kid. I used to have pretend afternoon tea with the Queen after school and interview her about her life as a Royal. Yep, I was a really weird kid.
- This year you launched a world first breakfast show concept, Alt-breakfast. Can you tell us about the concept behind Alt-breakfast and your decision to design and host this new entertainment and news platform?
I was working with a group of people at a production company, Broken Yellow, last year on my first interview web series, Chatterbox. Alt-breakfast was something they mentioned to be back then and we finally found some time to commit to putting a weekly show together this year! It was their idea and they thought I’d be great host for the concept. It’s a tough market to launch anything, the landscape has changed so much, so I am treating as a fun side project.
Each week I sit down with my good mate Kate Peck, we eat breakfast with a guest and talk about what’s on our minds. It’s super casual and offers people a different way to get their morning news and entertainment.
- In your roles as a VJ for MTV, radio co-host of The Dan & Maz Show, host of red carpet events, entertainment reporter and now host of Alt-Breakfast, you have interviewed countless A-list celebrities and influential personalities on air. Surely this can be a highly stressful situation. What are your strategies for remaining calm and focused when working in high-pressure situations?
After a while, the glow does wear off and it just becomes a part of your day. ‘Oh so I have to get a cab to Acer Arena to interview 1D today, well there goes my lunch plans.’ It’s a treat to meet someone you totally dig, when I’ve met some of my idols like Pharrell Williams, Sandra Bullock, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, all you want is for them to like you. I am a regular human with as many insecurities as the next person, so I do my research and don’t put on an act. I am genuine, I ask intelligent questions and I take the high road, always.
I do often have to do a nervous wee before the big interviews. Then there are some interviews that are just bland and not all that interesting, you just have to suffer through them because their publicist is hustling. Some of my fave moments though have been with artists I just love, Ryan Tedder, Jordin Sparks, Jessica Alba, just very cool, lovely and talented humans, it’s a privilege to share the same space as.
- If you had to pick one, who would you say has been your favourite person to interview throughout your career and why?
Oh that’s a huge question. It changes all the time. I was obsessed with Sandra Bullock when I was younger and I cried when I found out I was going to be interviewing her. I wanted to be her Personal Assistant as my job until I decided I wanted to host MTV. The perfect interview comes down to timing and environment, so using that combination, I interviewed The Red Hot Chili Peppers, backstage at the Fuji Music Festival in Japan, and then watched their gig side of stage. That was a pretty amazing moment. Then again, Elmo was perhaps the most entertaining and least pretentious and most cuddly celebrity I have encountered.
- 2017 has been a busy year for you. This year you also published your first book, ‘UnEdited’, which is available online as an e-book. What can readers expect to learn about you and your life in broadcast media from your book?
The book is a collection of my best moments during my decade long career on air, that no one has really heard about. What you see and hear on tv and radio in on a small percentage of the full story, so I thought I’d give people a real glimpse behind the curtain and let them see how it’s really been. The ups, the downs and the inside outs!
- My guess is you like to keep yourself busy? As well as being an entertainment reporter, the host of a breakfast show and an author, you are also an entrepreneur who runs two F45 Gyms with your husband. What are some of your management strategies, including for managing time and people?
I am HUGE on purpose and culture. It wasn’t until I put down the headphones that I truly stopped and thought, ‘why was I doing that for so long?’ I know I was good at radio, I loved it, I kept getting better job offers but as far as purpose, I wasn’t 100% sure what box it was ticking in the purpose department.
I have had this year to figure out my ‘why’ and once you catch a hold of that, the ‘what’ doesn’t matter all that much, because all you want to achieve is the why. The gyms for me are a huge answer to my new-found purpose of empowering people to be better humans. I have seen people’s lives literally transform from being a part of our gym communities and it’s an incredible thing to be a part of. The other thing that I love exploring is ‘culture’. We have such a great rapport and friendship with our employees, over the two gyms, we have 10 staff which can be a lot to manage but we are all about transparency and creating the best environment for our staff to flourish and discover their purpose and live it out, in turn the clients catch this and it makes for a very unique and empowering community.
- Translating passion into career can be challenging. What advice would you give to women trying to achieve their dreams?
It’s not easy to make you passion a viable career, especially if you are juggling mortgages and family stuff. I would say, stick to your side hustle and let that fulfil you. That will fill you up enough to get through the business that you need to in life. The last thing you should do is chuck it all in and be irresponsible. The success stories are all huge journey’s, never overnight. So slowly build your side hustle to a place where it brings in what you need to take a responsible and calculated plunge. I had one gym set up and profitable before I left radio, then I let the first gym bankroll the set-up of the second. It was smart, stressful yes indeed, but smart at the same time.
Something I have learned is that your joy won’t come from things, or people. Not a relationship in it entirety, or a job, a career, an interview, a moment. It comes from within. So make some time away from pushing shit up hill and trying to change the whole entire world, and sit and reflect on how you are doing, are you with you?
- Social media has a tendency to portray a false image of what it means to be a leader, or a female entrepreneur. It can make it look easy. But embracing challenges and riding the ups and downs helps us grow and makes the successes even more rewarding. What has been the biggest challenge you have faced in your working life?
If I see one more Facebook Ad telling me that ‘I can change the world and become an entrepreneur’ I am going to throw my computer in the lake. Seriously. Don’t’ believe all the BS, those ads are that person’s way of making their side hustle into a viable income stream and it does my head in. The only ingredient, is bloody hard, relentless work. And then more work and even more work. Lucky for me I am super driven and have a great work ethic however my biggest challenge has been finding balance in my life and giving myself a break, learning to celebrate the wins and being kind to myself. That’s my personal struggle but I am getting there. Being in a relationship that is as fruitful as my marriage has helped restore the balance a lot, because I’d much rather hang out with my husband than draft another GD email! He’s been such a huge blessing and has shown me so much about myself since we’ve been together. I am actively OFF social media. Which means, I post things I want to share and I have unsubscribed from most feeds unless its TED Talks, Goodful on FB, Gaia or anything Oprah or Tony Robbins are doing. Oh and Ellen’s super cut scare videos are hilarious.
- If you had a mentee, what is the most important piece of advice you would share with them that you have learnt from your own experiences?
You ALWAYS have a choice to respond well. Even when something is utterly and entirely shithouse, you can choose your response. Choosing well will come back around and be kind to you. So, choose your responses wisely and remember you always, always, always have a choice. You don’t control the way the cards fold, but you always get to play a hand. Make it a good one.
- Have you had any mentors along the way? Who were they and what was the best advice you received?
My Mum is like a mix between Oprah and Yoda. She’s really wise, really cute and sometimes hard to understand especially on text. She is my spirit animal, we are really close and I have to say, she’s pretty much always right. Not only has she taught me that JOY in life is always available to tap into, she’s taught me to never never never give up, being kind is good for you, forgiveness is best for us, therapy is very helpful and it’s ok to wear ripped jeans on a bushwalk. I draw a lot of inspiration from kick ass women like Oprah, Amy Peohler, and the late Maya Angelou. I am always reading about women who inspire me to be better. And you know what, Beyoncé wasn’t built in a day. It’s one big long scary and exciting journey.
- As well as being open about the challenges we have faced, it is important to celebrate our accomplishments. What would you say is your proudest achievement?
The way I handled being unceremoniously replaced on Breakfast radio is one of my finest moments. It took all of my might not to be a brat about it, it took a lot of talking to my therapist to get ok with a decision that happened to me and made no sense. But I navigated it with grace and style and I am really proud of that season.
I also am super proud that I stopped drinking. It’s been over two and half years now since I have had a drink and a lot of my life has improved drastically sine that choice. I think it was the best decision I ever made, other that marrying my husband, that was a very good decision too!
- What’s next for you and your career?
I for once, don’t have a plan. Which for a control freak is a BIG deal. I have a few projects on the boil but I am letting the universe guide me into this next season. I am really comfortable with how my days play out right now, I’m enjoying not being on-air, I am enjoying working on projects that help me fulfil my purpose. I have time to be kind to myself.
I’ll probably write another book, finish off my Cert III and go on a holiday. Then who knows!
- And finally, what do you wake up looking forward to?
The little things; a morning off to enjoy a sunrise, time to have quick coffee with Mum, a walk along the beach, a nice wholesome home cooked meal. For me it’s all these tiny moments that make up who we are at our core. And being true to that person, is ultimately what defines you. I wake up so happy, it’s probably annoying! And I’d be lying if I didn’t say a good ol’ cuppa tea.
This is Issue No. 1 of The Aurum Collective’s LIKE A BOSS series, where we interview powerhouse business women in a range of industries who share their professional wisdom.
Want to learn more about the LIKE A BOSS series? You can read more here.
Do you have a role model or know of an awesome woman you would like us to feature? We would love to hear from you. Please email your suggestions to email@example.com or send us a message here.
Date published: 10 August 2017