DiscoverThe New School Podcast with Christine Hong
The New School Podcast with Christine Hong

The New School Podcast with Christine Hong

Author: Christine Hong

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Welcome to a new kind of school, where we talk about career paths you don’t normally get to hear about in the classroom. Every episode, I talk to someone with an interesting life path and learn about how they got to where they are today.

We feature successful people in a mix of traditional and nontraditional careers. Join us as you learn from others what it’s like to make a living as a comedian, become a culinary director, start your own non-profit, become a CMO, get your own magic show in Vegas, become a foreign war correspondent, and much more!

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17 Episodes
I always used to feel self conscious growing up because I didn’t have a single passion and always felt jealous of others who knew exactly what they wanted to be when they grew up. Even on the show, we’ve had a few guests who told me there’s only one thing they ever considered as a career like Jen Kramer, who knew she wanted to be a magician as a child, and Matt Miller last week, who grew up only wanting to skateboard. That’s why I loved talking with this week’s guest Juliet Obodo who’s had many career changes like me. She started as a top sales rep and manager, then published 2 books (a travel guide & fantasy novel which both became Amazon bestsellers), then had her own six figure freelance mobile app design business until she burnt out and decided to try hypnotherapy. In this episode, I chat with Juliet about what being hypnotized for the first time was like, why that experience caused her to give up her six figure sales business to become a full time hypnotherapist, and what her day to day is like. To learn more about Juliet Obodo, check out our show notes at
When I was growing up, I remember stressing about how to make money after school especially as high school graduation approached. I never even really considered if I just focused on casual hobbies I enjoyed they could be a way to make money. That’s not the case for Matt Miller, who grew up eating, sleeping, breathing skateboarding. His passion for it paid off as he started getting sponsors just by hanging out at the local skate shop and ended up riding for the skateboarding brand Expedition, who turned him pro in 2010. He even got DC shoes as his shoe sponsor. In this episode, I chat with Matt about how he created his first skateboarding tricks, how he got his first sponsorships and went pro, what it’s like to have your own signature sneaker,  and what the day to day is like for a pro skater. To learn more about Matt Miller, check out our show notes at
Growing up, I used to binge interviews with my favorite celebrities on TV and Youtube. What’s it like to be the person on the other side interviewing celebs on TV and on the red carpet? I get the answers today from Sanyee Yuan. She’s achieved her hosting dreams as a Disney Channel Movie Surfer and as a regular Hollywood reporter on the red carpet and awards shows. She has interviewed numerous stars including Sandra Bullock, Ryan Gosling, Ryan Reynolds, Tom Cruise, Chris Pratt, Chris Evan, Chris Hemsworth, Billy Bob Thornton, Jordan Peele, Salma Hayek, Marion Cotillard, Greta Gerwig. She’s also been featured on the Ellen Show and Jay Leno show. In this episode, we chat about how she started her career in entertainment, how she achieved her hosting dreams, and what it’s like being multi hyphenate in Hollywood. To learn more about Sanyee, check out our show notes at
If you’ve ever gone to a live concert, I’m sure you’ve noticed not just the music but the amazing lighting that really gives you the full concert experience. But who is behind designing this lighting? Today, I’m getting the answers from Jeff Maker, who has been working as a touring lighting designer for concerts the past 14 years and has worked with some BIG groups like Good Charlotte, All Time Low, Dropkick Murphys, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Yellowcard, Boys Like Girls, and Click Five. He’s been nominated for one of the top honors in the touring industry, the “Lighting Designer of the Year” at the Parnelli Awards. In this episode, we chat about how he started his career in lighting design, what it’s like to be doing lights live for concerts for huge bands like Good Charlotte, and advice he has for other aspiring lighting designers. To learn more about Jeff, check out our show notes at
If you’ve binged Sex and the City like me, you’ve probably been obsessed with Samantha Jones and her job, PR. Is it really as glam as the show? Do you really get to go to exclusive parties all the time and work with celebrity clients daily? Today, I’m getting the answers by sitting down with Emily Johnston, an experienced publicist in the media landscape. She got her start by interning with the woman who was Miramax’s “Oscar Whisperer,” predicting which films would make it big at the Oscar, and has worked with huge clients like Netflix, Prime Video, Fatburger, Waldorf Astoria, Hilton, and Marriott International. In this episode, we chat about what PR is really like, how to get into PR, and what the different levels of the PR career ladder are. To learn more about Emily and get a clean version of this episode, check out our show notes at
For some people, their favorite time of year is Discovery Channel’s Shark Week. I’ve always wondered why some people are so fascinated with a creature they fear as much as sharks. Today, I chat with someone so into sharks he made it his job, Dr. David Shiffman. Dr. Shiffman is a marine biologist who has turned his passion for sharks into a career focusing on their conservation. People are paying attention to his work too, as evident by his more than 50k followers on his Twitter handle @WhySharksMatter. In this episode, I talk with David about how he turned his love for sharks and the ocean into his career as a marine biologist, what conservation research is really like, his thoughts on who he thinks should become a marine biologist, and how he really feels about Shark Week. To learn more about David, check out our show notes at
In a time of astrology apps like Co-Star and The Pattern, there’s clearly a lot of people interested in learning what their horoscope says about them. However, if you type in “Do you believe in astrology?” into Google, you’ll find equally divisive opinions on the matter. I’ll admit that I’ve been a skeptic when it comes to horoscopes printed in newsletters (“There’s no way people born the same month have the same personality!”). However, I failed to realize these newsletter horoscopes are generalizations created to appeal to the masses and not “real astrology” until I sat down with Janelle Belgrave, who lives as a professional astrologer. Janelle’s astrology advice has been featured in multiple publications including New York Magazine, Women’s Health, Yahoo Lifestyle, Bustle, Essence, and Refinery29 (who has dubbed her as “one of our favorite astrologers”). In this episode, I find out how Janelle learned the art of astrology, her beliefs on the art, how she built her astrology business, and what she thinks astrology is telling us about the current world situation. To learn more about Janelle, check out our show notes at
When I first met Lucas Sin, he was running a pop up restaurant every Friday night in the basement of a Yale dormitory. Little did I know he would go on to design the entire food menu for the successful chain of fast-casual restaurants, Junzi Kitchen. Junzi Kitchen’s mission is to update the American understanding of Chinese cuisine and has been dubbed “the sweetgreen of Chinese food” by Vogue magazine. Since starting Junzi Kitchen, Lucas has been named on Forbes 30 under 30 and Eater Young Guns, which names the future leaders of the restaurant world. In this episode, we talk about how he developed an interest in food, how he helped launch a successful restaurant chain, and what his day to day is like as a culinary director and chef. To learn more about Lucas Sin, check out our show notes at
How does one become a C-Suite executive at a major company? I get the answers today from Blair Shane, who has been CMO of multiple huge brands including Sequoia Capital, one of the top venture capital firms, Stanford Business School, and the California Academy of Science. In this episode, we chat about how she got into marketing, how she worked her way up to CMO, and what it is like to build and grow a brand and business. To learn more about Blair, visit  Want the ultimate guide on how to turn your passions into a meaningful career? Sign up for The New School weekly newsletter at!
What’s it like to be a foreign correspondent? Are you actually putting your life on the line regularly just for a story? How do you even become one? I get the answers today from Alex Pena, digital journalist and producer at CBS. In this episode, we talk about how he got started in journalism, what life was like as a foreign correspondent in Kenya, how he got hired at CBS and won an Emmy for his work there, and what he thinks it takes to be a good journalist. To learn more about Alex, visit
Next Monday, The New School is back and better than ever, with amazing new guests including a Emmy Award-winning foreign correspondent, the former CMO of Sequioa Capital, the culinary director of Junzi Kitchen, and much more. Subscribe to stay up to date, new episode out every Monday!
When I first met Jen during college ski team weekend trips, she’d wow us with her magic tricks at the cabin. Now she’s Vegas' only headlining female magician with her own magic show at Westgate Resort & Casino every Wed-Sat. She has also been featured on The CW’s Masters of Illusion, and NBC’s TODAY Show. In this episode, she talks about how she grew her career as a professional magician and what it’s like to headline her own magic show in Vegas!
Fan Yang started playing Heroes of the Storm as a way to hang out with his friends. They entered competitions together until one day he realized he was making more money from HOTS tournament money than from his day job, so he left to play HOTS full time. In this episode, Fan walks us through how he ended up on the Heroes of the Storm world championship team, how he played video games full time competitively, and then how he pivoted to being a Twitch live streamer full time.
When Sophie Ascheim was just 16, she helped start a non profit called the The Pad Project, which gives access to menstrual products and pad making machines for women in low income communities throughout the world. In India alone, 23 million girls drop out of school early when they start menstruating because they are unable to handle their periods properly. For the Pad Project, she helped produce a documentary called "Period. End of Sentence", on Netflix now, which later got her an Oscar at age 19 for best documentary short. The passion Sophie has for what she does is super inspiring, and it really shows no matter what age you are, anyone can make a difference in the world. In this episode, Sophie talks about how she helped start a non profit and how their documentary ended up winning an Oscar.
Joey Roth was working full time as a program manager at Airbnb in San Francisco when he decided to give it all up to move to Hawaii to fulfill his lifelong dream of building his own treehouse… even though he had no experience working on a house ever. Since then, he lives full time in Big Island, Hawaii  Airbnbing out his treehouse and other properties on the island. In this episode, Joey talks about how he built his house on his own with no prior experience, how the house is completely sustainable, and how he lives off Airbnbing houses in Hawaii.
At 23, Larissa Russell co-founded a healthy vegan cookie company called Green Pea Cookies, but even though customers wanted the cookies… they couldn’t get them on major grocery shelves because of high food distributor costs. That’s when she and her cofounder decided to shut down Green Pea Cookies and start Pod Foods (, the only food distributor designed for startup food brands. Her company has recently raised 3 million in seed funding and she and her co-founder Fiona Lee were just named on Forbes 30 under 30. In this episode, Larissa talks about how to stay sane when building a complicated business and the path to getting funding.
When I first met Richard, we were both software engineers together at Yahoo in the Bay Area. Now just five years later, he is living full time off comedy in Los Angeles already making six figures a year. In this episode, Richard talks about how he pulled off this transformation and how he makes a living off performing standup comedy, running two standup clubs, The Setup ( and The Bunker (, and producing the biggest comedy festival in Los Angeles, the Southland Comedy Festival (
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