University of Florida - Telecommunication + Business Administration
Kaycee Smith will tell you that her job is like living her dream and paying her dues at the same time. Officially she is a production assistant (PA) and Web correspondent for "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" and unofficially she is the host of "On the Lot with Kaycee," which like anything cool these days has an accompanying acronym — OTLWK. This Florida girl is one of those ladies that's going to go far, and we're honored to introduce you to her. And since we're not as funny as Kaycee, we'll let her words take it from here …
Don't be afraid to walk that line between aggressive and annoying.
How did you discover your current job?
I was hired as an NBC page and then moved up to production assistant for "The Tonight Show." After a few months working as a PA, I finally mustered the courage to pitch my idea for “On the Lot with Kaycee” (OTLWK). Thankfully, the powers that be liked the concept enough to let me create a pilot, and I suppose the rest is history … or rather, the present.
What is your typical day like? What types of things do you do in your job?
As a production assistant, I’m all over the place -- I get lunches, run errands, pick up/deliver tapes, help out on shoots, put together furniture -- you name it, and I’ve probably done it. All of these activities combined with Southern California weather and some overactive glands make me sweat quite a bit.
“On the Lot with Kaycee” starts with a pitch meeting with our producer to decide on a topic, then we shoot the episode and edit it into a (fantastically entertaining) show that gets posted on "The Tonight Show’s" website. When we edit OTLWK, I sit at a computer inside a studio with air conditioning. That’s less sweaty.
What is the most rewarding part of your job? The most challenging?
Most rewarding: Making people laugh. That’s definitely the best reward. No, wait, it’s money. Money is the best reward.
Most challenging: Making people laugh. Seriously, you try it.
What is the biggest personal sacrifice you have to make because of your job?
Living across the country from my family. I miss them a lot. Sometimes I can’t remember what their faces look like. Good thing we are friends on Facebook.
What is one lesson you've learned in your job that sticks with you?
Not to take myself too seriously. In all of my successes and failures, I’m still the girl who ate grass and was (okay … is) afraid of the dark.
What do you feel is the biggest challenge for women today, particularly females in your industry?
Balancing the pursuit for your chosen career path with your personal desires for a significant other and/or family. Hasn’t that always been the biggest challenge for women? Well, that and finding the perfect bra.
Who are your role models?
Tina Fey. Amy Poehler. Ellen DeGeneres. Chelsea Handler.
What are some of the rules you live by?
I’m like the Outback Restaurant: “No rules, just right.” Wait, that’d be a rule though, right? Shoot. OK, just one rule then: Don’t be a hypocrite. Also, don’t lie. And always say "yes" to cake.
What advice do you have for girls who want to be in your industry?
Be aggressive, B-E aggressive! Don’t be afraid to walk that line between aggressive and annoying. You have to go after what you want. No one is going to do it for you. Unless you pay them. (See the ‘most rewarding’ question.)
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
I hope to be appearing as a regular on-air correspondent for "The Tonight Show" and performing improv and stand-up at venues throughout Los Angeles. So, if you’re reading this five years from now, come see a show!
What are three things you love aside from your job?
Is there anything else you would like to add?