Emmy-winning host and TV personality Lilliana Vazquez is no stranger to hard work and determination. Born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas to a Puerto Rican father and Mexican mother, Vazquez was the first in her family to attend college. She says her parents’ investment in her education is a gift she has never taken for granted.
An early adapter of digital media, she launched a bargain hunting blog, CheapChicas.com, in 2008, which turned into the bestselling book The Cheap Chica’s Guide to Style: Secrets to Shopping Cheap and Looking Chic. Vazquez has since become a fashion correspondent on The Today Show, founded TheLVGuide.com, and now has her dream job as the host of the new E! News morning show, Pop of the Morning.
Vazquez tells Thrive about her game-changing early morning productivity trick, and how she motivates herself to take career risks. Steal her tips to help achieve your own career goals.
Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?
Lilliana Vazquez: Kiss my husband and then check the news on my Twitter feed.
TG: What gives you energy?
TG: What’s your secret life hack?
LV: Amazon Prime. I use it every single day, multiple times a day — shoes, groceries, Tiki mugs, a brow pencil… and that’s just today’s orders.
TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?
LV: It’s complicated. I’m working on it. But it sleeps next to me on the nightstand if that tells you anything.
TG: How do you deal with email?
LV: I apply an email triage method using Gmail labels. The VIP labels get answered first, then flagged messages, and then all the others. I try to reply to as many as I can before the “normal” day starts at 8 am. Getting ahead is key for me.
TG: When was the last time you felt you failed, and how did you overcome it?
LV: Surfing in Hawaii. The last time I tried, I got knocked in the head by my surfboard, had to paddle in, and cried on the beach while I felt sorry for myself. Then I took inventory of my gorgeous surroundings, said a prayer, and realized that sitting on the beach in Hawaii is pretty f*cking awesome, and whether I can surf well or not isn’t the point. Realizing that the fun is in trying, sometimes falling, and finding balance got me over my fears and back in the water.
TG: What advice would you give your younger self about reducing stress?
LV: In my twenties and early thirties I would almost get a “buzz” from feeling stressed or anxious about work. It was a status symbol to be so busy with work and activities. What I didn’t realize then — that I understand now — is that they are in direct conflict with each other. Stress doesn’t equal success.
TG: What’s a surprising way you practice mindfulness?
LV: I suffer from “mindfulness ADD,” so instead of doing a focused session, I practice little bursts of mindfulness throughout the day — as I leave my apartment, when I walk back in the door after work, and when I say good night to my husband.
TG: Tell us about a small change you have made in your life to improve your sleep.
LV: No reality TV before bed. And that’s very hard for me, because Bravo is one of my favorite channels to watch — but Real Housewives and Vanderpump Rules don’t exactly encourage rest and relaxation! I do slip up here and there, but I try to binge on weekends so that I’m not tempted during the week!
TG: What’s your evening routine that helps you unwind and go to sleep?
LV: I wish I had a routine! With a 3 am wake up call, I force myself to get in bed at 7:30 or 8 pm, but I often feel like a toddler with FOMO. Some things that help are putting my phone on Do Not Disturb 30 minutes before bedtime and a chamomile tea!
TG: This month, you will make your debut as the morning host of E! News. What do you hope people feel or learn when they watch your show?
LV: Right now, there are options for politics, business, sports, and your usual headlines at 7 am, so why not have one for entertainment news? My goal is to inform our audience while keeping them entertained with the most topical celebrity and pop culture moments. Instead of having to check your Twitter, IG, and FB, plus your go-to sites, let me do the hard work for you — all you need to do is turn on the TV, grab a cup of coffee, and wake up with your favorite celebrities every morning!
TG: What is your advice for those just entering the entertainment industry, or other industries with equal amounts of pressure?
LV: This industry will tell you “no” all the time, and it will try to make you feel like you’re in a losing game that’s out of your control; you have to seek out activities and passions that give you a rush of personal accomplishment. For me that’s getting outdoors, hiking, and pushing myself outside my comfort zone. You will never control the external factors, but you can control how you react and how you face those challenges, and that’s incredibly rewarding and nurturing for me.
TG: From author to style expert to TV host, you have made your mark in multiple industries. What is your advice for people looking to make a career pivot and try something new?
LV: Jump — with a parachute. That parachute can be your partner, your faith, time, or just your bank account. My career path has never been linear, and sometimes I didn’t know if I was going up, down, crashing, or cruising but I always had my parachute(s) to soften the landing.
TG: What are three must-haves on set that help you Thrive?
LV: My iPhone, a hard copy of the script, mints.