GV student lands an internship with Ryan Seacrest Productions

Courtesy Photo / Ashley Elzinga

Courtesy photo

Courtesy Photo / Ashley Elzinga

Jessica Smith

She grabbed a suitcase that night and packed everything she could fit inside of it. She stuffed the rest of her belongings into the backseat of her car, and without a single goodbye, Ashley Elzinga and her family drove across the country for an experience that changed her life.

As a broadcast student at Grand Valley State University, Elzinga has big dreams of working in the entertainment industry. She’s already worked her way around Grand Rapids with internships at the 104.5 WSNX and Thunder 94.5 morning shows. After that she worked for Cumulus Media, and then moved on to a news internship with Fox 17. She was gaining all this experience in hopes of landing one big national gig before she graduated.

The first time the unknown number flashed across a hesitant Elzinga’s screen she ignored the call. Shortly after, she had a voicemail from a recruiter, who had news that would take her on the adventure she had been striving for.

“I dropped my phone when I heard her say it was Abby from Ryan Seacrest Productions,” Elzinga recalls with a laugh. “Literally, my phone fell out of my hand.”

After a grueling application process, Elzinga received the phone call inviting her to L.A. to intern alongside Ryan Seacrest, and she only had a week to get out there.

“It was so terrifying,” she said. “I had never been to the city before, and it was just huge. My first day at work was the most intense. I left there with a migraine it was so overwhelming. I just thought there’s no way I can do this, I just have to go home.”

It was her little brother, Steven, who gave her the push she needed to stick it out. He told her that if there’s anything that was meant to happen to her, this was it. It was going to be hard, but it was going to be worth it.

The expectations were high, the office was cutthroat competitive, the locations were almost surreal, but there was no time for daydreaming – Ryan Seacrest was her boss.

“My hand was shaking [the first time she had to turn an assignment in to Seacrest], but I had to be super professional, super calm and cool,” Elzinga said. “I kind of got over it the first time I saw him and worked with him. The whole star struck thing was kind of gone because he was my boss. I had to be professional. I was nervous at first, but he was really sweet. He helped me and would coax me along.”

After she got over the initial I’m-in-L.A.-working-for-Ryan-Seacrest jitters, things fell perfectly into place and she found herself at events she had fantasized about. Elzinga worked on the set of Fashion Police, where she met Kelly Osbourne, whom she described as the “sweetest person in Hollywood,” but her favorite day was covering the Video Music Awards.

“We had one of the E! conference rooms, and we were watching on a huge monitor,” she said. “We lost the feed for a minute, but then it went back up right when the show started doing the red carpet stuff, and I was covering the red carpet. So, it was absolute chaos.”

Chaotic is a good word to describe Elzinga’s experience as an intern at RSP, but she’s glad that she didn’t pack up her bags when things seemed tough. After coming home she said she’s positive that she wants to pursue a career in radio, and she already has contacts in place to make her dream job a reality.

“I’m coming back a different person,” Elzinga said. “My confidence is completely boosted. You have to take huge risks to find your passions. If you’re going to find a career you truly truly love, and be lucky enough to do what you really love, you have to break the rules. You have to pick up and go. Don’t think about it. Just go.”

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