We had the good fortune of connecting with Nicole Koch and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Nicole, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking.
On the other side of risk is where pure magic, our wildest dreams and all of life’s treasures exist. One of my most favorite quotes is “A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there”, author unknown. I love it so much because it’s a reminder that we have two choices every day when we wake up. We can evolve or we can repeat. We can lay with our comfort blankets and feel safe, or we can risk it all and possibly get everything we’ve ever wanted. On a personal note, risk is something my heart is still learning to do. After the death of a parent, other deaths, losses and heartbreaks, it’s a process. My mind gets the importance of it but as you know, our hearts like to feel safe at all times, so taking leaps don’t always come as easily as I want them to. A big risk that we’ll all feel at some point or another is the risk of being in love; loving someone but actually letting them love you back. As someone who has had my walls up for years and is still trying to bring them down fully, letting someone love you is a real feat. Without letting yourself fall into something or someone completely, you miss out on one of life’s greatest magics. Something I’ve asked myself a lot is, “What’s the bigger risk here?” Letting myself fall completely in love and *maybe* getting really hurt down the line or never letting anyone in and looking back on my life and realizing it was wasted because of fear? I don’t ever want to hand my life over to fear. I’ve learned that when we block out pain and fear because they’re too ‘risky’ to feel, we block out everything else too – including love and happiness. We’re soulful beings, here for human connection. To live a life feeling nothing is to not live at all. Our hearts are stronger than we think they are – we just have to trust. On a career note, risk has always played a major role. There are so many amazing TV hosts out there, all doing their thing! How can I stand out? Do I ask the same questions that every host is asking or do I ask questions that are riskier, more personal, and out of the box? When talking to talent and celebrities, most of the time, we’re strangers to each other, so risk in our conversation already exists. I can ask them the same old questions they’ve heard a million times and bore them to death or I can take the risk of trying to have a real, genuine conversation with them. Most of my favorite, most viewed conversations are those where I took a chance – whether I asked them about their love lives, how they feel about heartbreak, etc., Luckily, I’ve been blessed to have worked with wonderful people in this industry who are open and receptive to deeper conversation topics, but I know negative reactions do happen. You either stick to the status quo and be forgotten or you take the leap and be known for something great. Celebrities are human like all of us, and love and suffer the same ways we do. If I can use my time with them to make them feel less alone and more understood, that’s ideal. That’s how I want them to remember our conversation. In all aspects of life, when taking a risk, you either succeed or you learn, and both are wins to me.

Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I’m a TV host and Digital/Social Media Manager, and I love what I do! I mentioned this in my previous feature with you guys (thanks for asking to feature me again!) and I feel it still rings true – what sets me apart is my genuine interest in the depths and darkness of our psyches and emotions. Those topics don’t scare me – mental health, heavy emotions, etc., and I love to question everything. I also don’t care about who celebrities are wearing on the red carpet! If they want to show off their outfit, let’s do it because we can celebrate all things, but to me, personally, I care more about why they’ve showed up. Because of that, I’ve gotten amazing feedback from the people I interview – that they love talking to me because I made them feel safe, heard and seen. That’s what I’m most excited about and proud of. How powerful it is to make another soul feel safe and at home, even for a moment… I believe that’s all it really takes for people to love and feel loved. Humans are so intricate, yet so simple. In a way, we’re all identical. Our hearts beat the same way, our blood is the same red and at our core, we all want the same thing, to feel like we belong. I also like to think of my interviews as just humans talking over coffee or beers; connecting, understanding and loving in the present moment, without the pressure. I want to be as real and as authentic as I can be, and share that with someone else, and experience them in the same way. A question I always get from aspiring hosts is “how did you get your foot in the door at your first gig?” and I say the same thing every time. I was offered a remote internship at Young Hollywood and accepted, but made an offer to come into their offices to be a helping hand when I didn’t have class. I drove in ridiculous LA traffic (spent 3-4 hours in the car each time) to file paperwork and answer phones. I was also writing articles for their Editorial Department and that’s how I was noticed – showing up in person allowed me to meet the CEO of the company, who ended up offering me my first job out of college before graduation. Put yourselves out there people, you never know who’s watching. It wasn’t the easiest journey to get here and I overcame the challenges by finding reasons and lessons in everything. Sure, someone could argue that some things just happen, but I like to make sense of it all. It’s so much easier for me to keep pushing forward when it feels like there’s a purpose in it. For example, in this business, everyone gets a lot of ‘no’s and it’s up to you to realize that it’s not because you aren’t worthy of what you’re going for, or any other narrative you tell yourself. It’s simply because it’s not meant for you at that time and something better will come along. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is to trust my intuition. Our hearts, minds and bodies give us nudges all the time. It’s all about silencing the inner chaos so you can hear and feel the intuitive messages more clearly. Whether it’s for a career move, business contract, romantic relationship, family, etc., our intuition is one of our most powerful tools. Also, take the time to learn to the difference between intuition and fear. Sometimes we think something’s true when actually, we’re operating out of our fear and wound spaces. Learn to check yourself when needed to make sure your perspective isn’t just old baggage trying to play a trick on you. What I want the world to know about me… I’m always down for a deep conversation and we don’t have to know each other to engage in one. I’m still learning how to be the best human I can be, for others and for myself. I love a good glass of red wine and I can probably guess your zodiac sign. Also I love nature and wildlife (wild cats especially!), so if you’re ever trying to take a trip around the world, hit me up 😉

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Woah this is a BIG question… the most interesting and exciting experiences always come when we least expect them. I’ve gone out to the same places in LA so many times and more often than not, something wild happens because I’m trying to be in the present moment. I’m really attracted to artsy and creative people and places, that can show me something new.

Since I’m the tour guide for this question, check out my itinerary full of ~very~ LA spots that a newbie would love to see: 8am: Wake up and discuss messages from the Universe that came via our dreams. Get ready for a coffee run and a hike! 9am: Coffee stop at Alfred’s or Verve on Melrose. Both shops are ~so LA~ and very aesthetically pleasing. The Melrose street art is always changing and so fun to see. 10am: Hike in Malibu Canyon or Runyon Canyon (I know, I know… basic. But this is a friend from out of town, remember? Gotta show them the nature views) 1pm: Late breakfast, brunch, snack time at The Butcher, The Baker, the Cappuccino Maker, Mel’s Diner on Sunset, or Swingers on Beverly. I love a good mid-day pancake. 3pm: Come home and NAP. Play with my cats. 5pm: Take Sunset Blvd. through the mountains and all the way to the beach with windows down, blasting a musician I heard at The Troubadour that week. Tarot, manifestation conversation and wine once we get there for grounding vibes and fresh air. 8pm: Dinner at Pinches Tacos on Sunset, Craigs in West Hollywood, La Scala in Beverly Hills or Petty Cash on Beverly. 10pm: Drinks at Mama Shelter rooftop in Hollywood, The Spare Room at the Hollywood Roosevelt or Laurel Hardware in West Hollywood. Or, some immersive theatre or a comedy show if we can find some! Or, BOTH 😉

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Ooh, I love this question. With this answer, I’m calling all of the beautiful people who have built protective walls around their hearts in order to remain strong – this is for you! I love to read and the first person who comes to mind is researcher and author, Brené Brown. For those who don’t know her, she’s dedicated her life to studying courage, vulnerability, shame and empathy. She’s BFFs with Oprah Winfrey, another badass woman, so you *know* she’s good. I own most of her books (thanks Mommy, another honorary shoutout!) and it’s truly an understatement to say that she changed my life with her storytelling. I first found out about her back in 2017 when I saw her TedTalk on vulnerability. Guys, you gotta watch it if you haven’t yet. I swore she was talking directly to me, and it felt like a message from the Universe. Yes, I totally believe in signs from higher powers. In my last feature with you guys, I spoke about my past struggles with true vulnerability, emotions and human connection. As a TV host who gets to chat with celebrities, and as someone who wanted to be great at it and as authentic as I could be, I realized I needed to make real connections with these people. When those walls around our hearts are too high, connections can be unfulfilling, empty and eventually, non-existent. Brené breaks emotions down so artistically and constantly reminds us that we aren’t alone in feeling them. Since our emotions are so personal to us, we tend to think that nobody understands us, but that’s not the case. One of her most famous quotes that you’ll hear in her TedTalk and read in her books is: “We dress rehearse tragedy to beat vulnerability.” Think about that for a sec… Think about all of the days you may have spent (wasted) time on dress rehearsing things that weren’t going to come. Practicing disappointments and tragedies that never happened… if they do happen, we just end up putting ourselves through it twice. It makes sense why we do it – we want to feel more prepared and in control of our circumstances. But, that’s no way to live. As a Virgo, I love knowing as much as I can and it’s been a real journey of mine learning to go with the flow and release the fear of the unknown. I give so much credit to Brené (a Scorpio, hehe) and her teachings because with risk comes reward, and the only way to experience real connection and a full life is to take the leap. Lowering the walls, giving ourselves the permission to be ‘soft and strong’ at the same time (Brené’s words), and creating the magical space where real connection can be cultivated can bring happiness and success in all areas of our lives. She teaches us that we can be brave and afraid at the same time. When we’re in touch with our hearts, we’re in touch with everything around us, which means we’re in touch with our purpose.

Website: http://voyagela.com/interview/life-work-nicole-koch
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nicoleckoch
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicoleckoch
Twitter: https://twitter.com/nicoleckoch
Other: Link to my hosting reel: https://www.instagram.com/tv/B9e8gxjjMk-

Image Credits
Brandon Mahk

Nominate someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.