At age 23, Pavlina Osta has accomplished more than many people have accomplished in a lifetime. She got a running start at a career in her early teens when she showed a talent for interviewing people for a local radio station in Daytona Beach, FL. One thing led to another and at age 17, she was asked by an executive at iHeartRadio to do a syndicated interview segment. In the ensuing couple of years, she interviewed celebrities including Ed Sheeran, Katie Couric, athletes, NASCAR figures and more. Her drive for success took a significant turn at age 18 when she left home and went to live and work in New York, a prescient move that opened the door to a career as a media personality, blogger, podcaster, guest commentator and now, author of 20 Things Every Motivated 20-Something Should Know.
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:00 Tom Kranz
Welcome back to the independent author podcast. I'm Tom Kranz, I appreciate you downloading my episodes. Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing a young woman who I met at a recent book expo in Roselle, New Jersey. She is an independent author like I am, but the reason I was interested in her and that she sounded like a great subject for this podcast is, she's done an awful lot in her life and she's only 23. Pavlina Osta, first of all welcome.
Thank you so much, Tom. I appreciate you bringing me on.
Yeah, of course. So Pavlina shared the tent that I was under with several other authors and she had a table where she was displaying her new book, 20 Things Every Motivated 20-Something Should Know. And I guess as a 20-something herself, she should know a few things and we will, we will get to that in detail. But first of all, the reason that I was interested, probably in you, is that you seem like you've got a really kind of a running start on life at a very young age. Tell me, first of all--What intrigued me was that when you were age 18, basically, when you became a demographic adult you basically went out on your own.
1:28 Pavlina Osta
Yeah, well and thank you. So I actually started my career in radio when I was 11 years old. I was playing steel drums because I just enjoyed it. I just wanted to play my drums somewhere and I should probably say I'm from Florida, so playing on the beaches was a semi-normal thing. You know, we typically had people, you know, come around the beaches and just do their thing, whether they were selling something or whatever. For me, I just wanted to play my drums and after, you know, some time of getting kind of acquainted with the city, I would play at different water parks and birthday parties and people just knew who I was because I played my steel drums and I started to get radio interviews from local radio stations across the, you know, in my area across Florida.
And one of the radio station managers was like, you should start your own show. Not knowing what to talk about because I was 11, I started doing interviews to sort of fill the time and my first interview was Kevin Jonas. I snuck in to a meet-and-greet, you know, told the manager that I had an interview which was a lie, I'm sorry, but it worked and I was able to get that interview and my celebrity interviews, sort of snowballed.
So by the time I was 18 and I moved up to New York by myself, which was terrifying. I'm from Florida. When you're 18, you still get that culture shock and you still, you feel very alone and it's just, it's a scary place. You know, New York is very intense.
Yeah, let's hold on one second. I want to go back to your radio your interview days. So, you did these interviews for a specific radio station or for a podcast for who?
3:13 Pavlina Osta
So, I had my show Pavlina's Kids Place, which I later turned into the Pavlina Show, and I actually syndicated that show, I self-syndicated it, which was not, that's not easy. I was just taking my air check. Basically, you know I got a reel in that way and I was just going to different radio stations and be like, can you play my show? Will you, will you take this, you know? And then when I was 18 or sorry when I was 14, I interviewed the CEO of, I Heart Radio, Bob Hitman and he was the one that was like, you should have this syndicated. So I HeartRadio syndicated the show all across the country after that.
And is that where you got your Guinness Book of World Records record.
4:00 Pavlina Osta
So that was technically, it's separate from the radio show. It was just something I decided to do one afternoon one day, you know. So the Guiness Record I did I interviewed, I was actually in New York at the Arthur Ashe kids day event, interviewing, you know, the different celebrities like they had, they would bring they have different performances and stuff like that, right before the US Open. So I was doing like the red carpet and I interviewed a country singer. His name is Hunter Hayes. I've done a few interviews with him actually, so we sort of like knew each other and he had just done a record like a Guiness world record for the most concerts, in 24 hours, or something along those lines. And when we saw each other again, he was like, you should do a record for the most interviews and I was like, okay so that just planted a seed honestly. And then that was, you know, during the summer and by the time I was able to get everything around for the Guinness World Record because it's a lot of work and there's a lot of rules, there's a lot of regulations. There's a lot of planning that you have to do and getting, you know, a team around and it's just, it's a whole heck of a lot of work, but I by the time I was able to get that around, I had to be in front of a venue that was open for 24 hours. So the only two places in my hometown of Daytona Beach, Florida, that were open for 24 hours, that's a Seven Eleven and a Walmart.
5:25 Pavlina Osta
Yeah, right. And I was like, okay, you know it's almost Thanksgiving I think I'd probably get the most traffic like the most people, the most bodies in front of me if I was in front of a Walmart that weekend before Thanksgiving or like the, you know, a few days before Thanksgiving and so that's sort of, you know, the thought process and the planning I had behind the Guiness world record. But it was, it was sort of separate from the radio show in the sense that I just decided to do it.
I got you but, but the point, the point is that you've done a lot of interviews with a lot of people both, I guess celebrities and non-celebrities, and are those interviews that you did? So what tell us about some of the celebrity interviews you've done, just give us a list of names of people you've talked to.
Of course, so I mean, I feel like my go-to's, there's been over 600 major celebrities, and they've all been awesome like everyone that's talked to me has been super, super cool.
And these were all from your days of the syndicated show.
8:30 Pavlina Osta
Yes. Because once I came up to me York, I didn't really have time for the radio show. I was finishing my high school online because I still wasn't done with school and then I started college and I was already working at, you know, a major media company. I didn't have time for the radio show but as far as some of, like, my go-to favorite interviews from the radio show would definitely have to be Ed Sheeran, Steve Forbes, Katie Couric, um, what's his name, Gene Simmons from Kiss. He was just crazy. And who else? Ziggy Marley, who's Bob Marley's son, we hung out for a long time. Jack Johnson was a lot of fun. Chris Daughtry. There have just been so many cool, so many cool people. Who else a lot of, you k:30 now, some NASCAR people, I wasn't allowed to go on to like the race track, the race track at NASCAR my entire life because of like insurance problems or something. So when I finally turned 18, I did an event there and I interviewed Jeff Gordon. And my gosh, my Daytona people would be disappointed in me. I don't know who the other guy was, it was one of them and yeah, those are probably a few my go-to face.
So you did quite a few of those. And then at one point though, you entered the world. So you got your, your, you got your college degree. I presume.
7:55 Pavlina Osta
Yeah. So I like I said, I finished my senior year of high school online up here. I actually finished a semester early in December. It's really easy to finish school online. But right after that, I start, like the next, that following summer, I started at The Kings College, where I studied media culture in the arts and I thankfully was able to graduate in three years. I'm not really a school person. I love school, I'm good at it. I just don't like to be in it. You know, I'd rather be out in the world doing my own thing.
Well. So then at some point you actually got--I was tempted to call it a real job, sorry--you got a job in kind of a more mainstream job in the corporate world. What was that?
8:32 Pavlina Osta
Yeah, so the reason I actually moved up to New York was because I got an internship at the Salem Media Group. It's one of the largest radio networks in the country and I was just an internship. Like that who knows where that can go, you know? But I was like no, I'm moving up here. Like this is my time I need to make it happen, kind of thing, and I was only an intern for about four months until I started producing the local show that I was on. And you know you're New Jersey-based, the show was for Joe Piscopo and he was, you know, really big on SNL in the 80s, so it was a lot of fun. And then I started producing that show for a little bit and then I moved over to one of our New York-based national shows where I was the associate producer. And then this is all within like less than a year. And then by the time I was 19, so a year later, I started the department along with, you know, the help of the VP of one, you know, one of the VPs of the company for podcasting live streaming, digital media for the company. So, I became the executive director and producer for national podcasts, and I was doing that all the way up until a few weeks ago and until I quit. And that was where I was basically working on one of our morning shows, doing all the video production for that. And I started all the, the video production for it. And for all of our seven other national shows and I was overseeing the other video producers and the work that they were doing and just making sure that it was all running properly. And since then the company has actually completely shifted gears in what they're doing and then they sort of are coming with the times and they want, they're going more into streaming which is really cool to see. So it's fun to be like, oh I was a part of that change for that company, for them to make such a big shift. It was, you know, the podcast live stream that I wanted to do, when I was 19, you know, a few years ago that that has changed the company so much. So I was glad I was able to make my impact there and then and then leave.
10:51 Tom Kranz
So so I'm not kind of brings us to your book. You have experiences in just five years of adult life, that many people don't have in a lifetime, which is pretty impressive, and pretty amazing actually. And I'm guessing that some of those experiences are actually grist for your book 20 Things Every Motivated 20-Something Should Know. I guess we should talk first about generation Z, which is your generation. I'm 66 years old, so I guess that makes me generation like, F, something like that. You know, you're two generations after me, I suppose. So, tell me, let's start with, like, what's the concept behind the book briefly, and why did you want to write it?
11:37 Pavlina Osta
Absolutely. So I started writing the book at the end of 2019 and basically the thought behind it, and what I wanted to achieve from it was I wanted a blueprint and a guide for young people and really all ages because it's not specific towards young people, although it kind of meant for young people, but it really works for all ages to succeed and not only life, but also in their career, because while I was doing all of my radio show, the Guinness world record, moving up to New York, you know, and everything that comes along with that, you know, starting the radio show, getting all these interviews, like every, you know, minute detail, I didn't have anyone to help me with that and I didn't really have anyone to look up to, or anyone to kind of guide me.
You made it up as you want a long basically?
12:28 Pavlina Osta
Yeah, you know, the metaphor I always said growing up was I always feel like I have like a flashlight so I can, I'm in like a dark forest, you know, like I can see exactly two feet in front of me, like I have no idea what I'm doing and it's just always kind of worked out and I think you know what's worked for me at least is I've always stayed in my lane, you know what I mean? Like, I've always been all over the place when it comes to media. Like now I do TV and radio and podcast hits where I talk about technology or business or politics or you know what I'm doing or self-improvement. So it's also over the board, but I have stayed in my industry. I've stay in my lane of, of media and I think that's definitely benefited me. But I mostly wanted to, you know, inspire people that your age is not an excuse but it's an advantage. That's my first chapter refocusing the negative. Because, you know, I think immediately people have negative thoughts. They have doubts. They don't believe in themselves. So, refocusing, that, and if you have a, I tried to, you know, motivate them to have if they have a dream, well, like go out and get it, you know what I mean, like so many people. And that's a huge reason why I left my job. It was a great job. It was a great company but I left because I knew that I wasn't going anywhere with it. There it wasn't you know, supporting me and the way that I needed it to and so many people stay in jobs that they don't like that they don't, you know, and the next thing they know 50 years goes by and they're like, oh my gosh how did I spend so much time at one place doing the same thing and it's just like I could not imagine doing that and I want to make sure that no one else, you know, spends their time in a place where they're not happy. Um, and then of course I talk about failure and overcoming that and obstacles and how that's obviously gonna come in your way. I just sort of go like I tried to dive into all of the struggles they're going to have and I try to give them solutions or you know, different ways they can face it or how to, how to make something easier. I even talk about budgeting because, go figure, millennials and Gen Zs are not the best with money. But I have had to learn, you know, pretty early on like how to budget my money and how to, you know, save properly etc. Um, so I just really try to dive into all of that. And then I sprinkle in my celebrity interviews and some of the advice that they had given me, some of my favorite quotes and that sort of encompasses the whole book.
15:05 Tom Kranz
Got ya. So somebody's obviously interested because you reached one of the Amazon bestseller lists. And at the book expo we were in, you had a table full of books and you sold every one of them. I w:ish I could have said that and I think most of the other authors wish they could say that as well. So somebody's interested in and I'm also interested in the idea that even though the title says 20 things every motivated 20 something should know, just in my cursory, you know, thumbing through the book, I think there's stuff in there for everybody, you know, and the universal idea of going after what you want, don't be hemmed in, you know, as you said, don't spend your entire life doing something you hate and then looking back with regrets, I think that's something that all this can more or less identify with. Do you ever run into any sentiment or awareness from somebody who says you're only 23, what could you possibly know about life? I mean I I know you obviously have knowledge about life because you've done a lot of stuff but you know 23 is young, I think, by any standard. How do you, how would you answer that question?
16:14 Pavlina Osta
Absolutely. I mean, I've come into those kinds of roadblocks my entire life. You know where people are, like, whether I was at dance and people are like why do you have a radio show? Why are you playing steel drums? Like what is that? What are you doing? You know, like I think my entire life that's sort of a question and like what are you doing and why are you doing it? Um, and you know, it's funny because right before I started writing the book, I was actually dating this guy and I told him like the concept, I had two different concepts for what I wanted to write the book on and the first one, I don't remember. But the second one was this one, right? And he was at the time, I think I was like, 22, right? And he was like, you're 22. Like, what do you know? And he was older. He was like, in his later 20s, like, 28 or so and he literally said to me, he was like, what do you know about, you know, anything, basically? And I was just like, wow, you don't know me at all. Like, I literally dumped him. I was just like we're not, we're not doing this like so when someone does do that, I usually just ignore them because that's, you know, probably going to be in everything.
Well, I guess it's about not being defined but what by what other people think of you or think you should do or think you know, you're only 23 act like a 23-year-old. What does that mean? You know?
17:39 Pavlina Osta
Yeah. And what will that do for me? But the other thing is like, I have had a whole career. I've been to like the White House and so many really cool venues and I've met so many amazing people that and I've gone through all of these things that I don't think experience has to have an age on it, do you WHATI mean, like, sure, you have to be a certain age to be, like, I know I've got, well, I've gone through this and I know what has been like. So I still think I have some sort of expertise on it, you know?
18:08 Tom Kranz
Absolutely. So the book is called 20 Things Every Motivated 20-Something Should Know. And where can we purchase your book?
Yes. Okay so the best place is probably PavlinaOsta.com that's P-A-V as in Victor L-I-N-A-O-S-T-A.com because that way I am able to send it right out to you myself. And yeah, I think that's the best spot.
All right. Great, Pavilina. Really appreciate this really interesting interview here. I wish you luck with the book and I can't wait to hear. What's next for you. Coming up, down the road, Paulina Osta, author of 20 Things Every Motivated 20-Something Should Know, we'll be keeping our eye on you. Thanks a lot for joining me today.
I've had a great time talking with you.