Pretty faces often get a bad rap for disguising the vapid among us, particularly in Hollywood, but with Adrianna Costa, this is anything but a “nice house, nobody home” scenario. Down-to-earth, funny, and sharp, it’s easy to see why people are so at ease talking to this lovely correspondent who’s gained celeb status in her own right.
When I caught up with her, Adrianna had just landed in Los Angeles, making one of her frequent flights from Las Vegas, where her current gig with Extra keeps her busy, to spend time with her California-based fiancé, Scott Gorelick. While she had a few free moments, we chatted about her start in the industry, channeling Ryan Seacrest, and why sometimes it’s important to just . . . breathe.
You’ve really developed a lot of reach in your niche, which is very specific. Is entertainment news something you always wanted to do?
When I started . . . I made myself more valuable, I guess, because I didn’t do just that — I learned to write and produce, and edit my own stuff at the very beginning. And then I went to CNN and that was kind of like boot camp, because I woke up at 2:30 or 3 in the morning every day (which is really ungodly and you never feel normal after that). And it was really a matter of being in the trenches, because any news that’s breaking, you find out first, and you’re reporting on it doing it all, traveling, updating the stories every morning. And that gave me a really good understanding and love of the news, but I still preferred the entertainment side of it.
The thing that’s most important that I tell people is that, once in awhile, you get really lucky and get hired into a job and they want you to focus on one thing . . . but what I’ve come to understand is it isn’t really like that anymore. I mean, I came to Vegas to work for Extra, and I became like this bureau chief — I book my own stories, I produce them, I write them, I go on air and report them — you really have to be a jack and master of all trades at this point, not just one.
Being one of CNN’s youngest ever correspondents when you started at 24, how’d you get your foot in the door there?
It was such a big deal at the time but I was so reluctant to go because I was living in LA and all I wanted to do was be on an entertainment news show. So when CNN came knocking, I was like why would I want to go to Atlanta, move away from my dream, and report in a big news bureau? But my agent said, "If you don’t go, I’m dropping you." So I was like, okay, I better go. So I went there, and it was hard to adjust but it was just an incredible opportunity. I was actually working in Palm Springs as a feature reporter and Rob Silverstein brought me over to Access Hollywood to do some reporting and I think that’s when CNN saw me.
You’ve talked about being in awe of some of your interview subjects (like Johnny Depp, and who could blame you?) but how on earth do you get your nerves under control?
Oh, I’m telling you! For the most part, I’m okay — I’m not even joking, I’ll just channel Ryan Seacrest or something — oh god, that sounds pathetic. But I mean you think about these people who’ve done this so much, so long, and so professionally and you just remember what you’re there to do, which is a job, but it’s not like jury duty or something — you’re there to entertain, keep it fun and light. If there’s a hard question you have to ask, in a way I like those better because it’s all about navigating, it’s like a chess game at that point.
So it’s just about keeping it professional and remembering that you’re entertaining at the end of the day, and really not over-thinking too much. Because I feel like when you do that, and I’ve done it myself, you put so much pressure on yourself to say something spectacular and you’ll always fall short. You just want to have a conversation with these people. And also I breathe ... a lot. It’s nerve-wracking, but the important thing isn’t to have that experience with Johnny Depp, it’s to bring back the best story. So I feel if I’m not getting good answers I’ve failed, and that’s what I get nervous about.
If you could look back and give yourself a piece of advice as you were starting out, in the industry and in the world, what would it be?
Don’t take things so seriously, and have fun. Because honestly, I’ve loosened up a lot. I used to take things to heart in the worst way — not like sensitive, but just so hard on myself. I was so stressed out and would hold on so tight, but at the end of the day, I finally realized it does no good. And I owe a lot of that [loosening up] to my fiancé, because he’s a little too chill and we met somewhere in the middle.