CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Sept. 4, 2015 — Southeast Missouri State University alumna Kimberly Speight Nordyke of Woodland Hills, California, spends her days interviewing the stars we all wished we knew — rubbing elbows with those only seen on the silver screen by most.
Kimberly is the deputy editor for “The Hollywood Reporter” online department. In addition to editing breaking news and features, she also is responsible for overseeing awards show coverage (Oscars, Emmys, Globes, Grammys, etc.), coordinating and optimizing the rollout of print stories to online, working with the public relations team and top editors to promote approved content and coordinating with their sister publication, “Billboard,” on music coverage.
“Some of the best parts of my job are attending the awards shows and covering red carpets at various events, from movie premieres to awards shows, along with interviewing the top actors and actresses and other talent,” she says. “My favorite interview so far has been Morgan Freeman; he is personable and very nice and super smart — he exceeded all expectations I had before I met him! Even more impressive, I’ve interviewed him three times now, and he has remembered me each time! Some other memorable people I’ve interviewed recently include Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Lopez, Kristen Bell, Jim Parsons, Ashley Judd, Harry Connick Jr., Jeff Probst, Ryan Seacrest, Heidi Klum, Tim Gunn, Jon Hamm, Chris Harrison and more.”
At Southeast, Kimberly earned a Bachelor of Arts in mass communications with an emphasis in journalism. She also holds a Master of Arts in journalism from the University of Missouri.
Kimberly couldn’t wait to get out into the world she had always dreamed of. Her passion was and still is in the entertainment industry.
“I moved to Los Angeles in June 2000 hoping to find a career in entertainment journalism. I got very lucky in that I was hired by ‘The Hollywood Reporter’ about a week after I moved here,” she said. “While I hadn’t previously thought I’d wanted to be a copy editor, I considered the position a stepping stone to reporting/writing/editing, which is what I really wanted to do. Fortunately, I’ve been very lucky and have found my dream job at ‘The Hollywood Reporter’ and have been here for 15 years, and I don’t plan to go anywhere else!”
Kimberly says she chose Southeast for numerous reasons but atop that list was the Governor’s Scholarship she was awarded.
“I chose Southeast because of its location, reputation and size, plus I also received a Governor’s Scholarship (full ride) to attend the University, and that made it a no-brainer,” she said.
While on campus, Kimberly was the president of her sorority, Alpha Delta Phi. She also got a little taste of her passion as editor of the Capaha Arrow, now The Arrow.
“I was involved in a range of organizations, from Greek Life (I was president of Alpha Delta Pi and an officer on the Panhellenic Council) to the honors program (served on the Honors Council) to the Capaha Arrow (I was editor of the paper in my last year at Southeast). I will always cherish the experiences I had and the friends I made during that time,” she said.
“I have so many great memories of my time at Southeast,” she said. “I think my biggest moment was being named Woman of the Year during Homecoming 1995. It remains one of the biggest accomplishments in my life, and I am still very proud of that.”
In the little free time she has, Kimberly can be found spending time with her four loves, husband Brett; Braden, 6; Brianna, 3; and Brooklyn, born Aug. 14, 2015.
“I love to take part in activities with my kids, from swimming to going to the beach to camping. Swimming is probably tops on the list for us! We also love traveling, whether it’s staying somewhat local (Legoland, Disneyland, Big Bear, Las Vegas, Palm Springs) or going a bit farther (Hawaii is one of our favorite destinations),” she says.
To Southeast students she offers this advice:
“Get involved in as many activities as you can while at Southeast. That truly will enrich your time there. Plus, you’ll get to know people from all sorts of backgrounds and with varied interests. You’ll make some of the best friends you ever had. For graduates, I would advise you to follow your dream; you’ll never know if you can achieve something if you don’t even try. I moved 2,000 miles without a job to a huge city where I knew only one person, and 15 years later I am still here working at my dream job. You never know until you try,” she says.