Another interview done, another look back! For those who may not be aware, for every interview I conduct I tend to write a follow up reflecting on my experience. This one however took a little longer to write than the others, and for good reason.
I’ve been doing my best to let things happen naturally. Especially when it comes to my writing (and overall journalism). That’s how I tend to tackle everything in regards to interviews. I try my best to really think about questions deeply before I even type a thing. I feel the end result is much better and worth the wait. You can tell when questions have been really thought out.
(Obviously I know how to recognize when I need to kick it into 4th gear)
That being said I finally feel like I’m able to put into words my experience with the Megan Olivi piece. I proposed the idea to Tom (mentor, colleague, editor, the man that makes it all possible) right after I uploaded the Killer Kross interview. Tom green lit the idea and, being the G’ he is, he was on it ASAP. I believe within the week he had introduced me to Megan via email.
One day I’m proposing the idea, the next I’m texting Megan Olivi. Like… how? (I’m fully aware that having Tom is CHEATING. I view it as a performance enhancing drug for my career and I’m waiting for USADA to knock on the door) Prior to Megan I had only done two interviews (Jessica Rose Clark & Killer Kross). My interview with Jess was over the phone, and my interview with Kross was through Instagram. The only time I had done an interview in person was for my school paper (shout out to Star Maestas). I knew right away that I needed to do everything in my power to get this interview to be in person. Luckily Megan also lives in Las Vegas so it wasn’t an issue. We scheduled the interview for the following week at the UFC Campus. Next thing I knew, a-n-x-i-e-t-y like a mofo.
From the day we made it official to the day of the actual interview, it was the only thing I could think about. To me this was the moment I needed to actually “Do the Work”. I viewed that interview day as essentially my “big fight day” (like how a pro-fighter would). I needed to have a firm grasp on the narrative I wanted to tell. Basically I needed to know what my motivation was for the interview. What was the story I wanted to tell with Megan? That’s essentially what it ended up being, her story. There seemed to be WAY more then just an NFL/UFC broadcaster, and there absolutely was.
A day or two before the interview, I finally had my questions. I had been brainstorming throughout the week but it wasn’t till the end that I felt like it was set in stone. Next thing I knew I was driving to the UFC Campus. I remember doing my best to calm myself and believe in my abilities to get the job done. Funny enough I remember listing to “Right Above It” by Lil Wayne (Feat. Drake) to channel my inner Daniel Cormier for the interview. In my mind that drive was essentially DC’s run to the Octagon.
I had gotten to the campus 10 minutes early. I emailed Tom letting him know that the interview was about to happen. He sent me a quote that instantly eased my nerves by 50%. It was the exact mentality I was trying to have. Reading it oddly enough locked me in mentally. It was time to make the walk.
(*cue ‘Right Above It’ and me telling myself in my head “C’mon DC!”)
I’ve been to the campus multiple times before so luckily the front desk knew me. When I walked in they asked if I was there for Megan, I told them I was. They then told me that she was just here and they didn’t know where she went. I texted her to let her know that I would be waiting in the Cafe and was wearing a red flannel. However I forgot one big issue. For some reason my phone loses service right when I step foot in the building. After I sent the text I didn’t realize it didn’t go through. It wasn’t until she texted me telling me she was on a phone that I would notice the blue send bar still “sending”. As if I didn’t have enough anxiety right? Luckily that only lasted like five minutes but mentally it felt like 15 minutes. Next thing I knew I was talking to Megan Olivi.
I’ve been fortunate enough to meet a lot of pro wrestlers and UFC fighters throughout my life. But never have I ever actually sat down with one and had an hour long conversation. It is such an odd feeling actually conducting an interview with someone you’ve been watching on TV for years. You get so used to viewing them through a screen, next thing you know they’re right in front of you.
The interview went as planned. There were maybe one or two moments where I paused to glance at my notes to get back on track. Other then that it went so smooth. I mean what’s an interview after all? It’s a conversation. (Something Tom consistently reminds me of hahah)
About 10 minutes into the conversation I paused to record it on my phone. Me and her were talking about recording interviews and the entire time I couldn’t help but think, “What if my recorder isn’t working?” So I decided to be better safe then sorry. More then halfway through the the interview we were interrupted by UFC Hall of Famer, Forrest Griffin. I mean it’s not everyday you can even type that sentence! You can hear Forrest say sorry and that he would move. I made sure to let him know it was the best interruption ever. It wasn’t even an interruption in the slightest, it was a hilarious and memorable moment.
Once the interview was done, the weeks worth of anxiety and adrenaline had finally been dumped. I was brain dead. At the end Megan said, “If you ever want to talk to Joe, let me know!” Joe obviously being her husband and the #1 ranked flyweight in the UFC. But again I was so brain dead I responded with, “Joe?”. Then she said, “My husband.” Internally, biggest face palm of my life. No shit it was her husband haha! I am happy to say that it looks like (as of now) that will be my next piece! Hopefully schedules can align and we can make it happen.
The writing process was equally, if not more difficult than the research and actual interview. Belive it or not, putting my actual ideas and thoughts into words can be very difficult for me. Because as I’m writing I’m already thinking five sentences ahead so I end up frustrating myself because my hands can’t type as fast as my brain can think. I think I had my first draft done maybe week after the interview. I wrote my ass off. I revised and essentially rewrote it twice before giving it to Tom for edits.
Every time I give Tom my articles I always get nervous because I want it to be worth his time. I don’t want to send him trash. Whenever I get the gmail alert from him with the edits I always think, “Yup he hated it.” And of course that is NEVER the case. He loved it, and so did Megan. That’s really all that mattered at the end of the day.
Finally, here comes the part where I tell you what I actually learned. I learned soooo much from that whole experience. One major takeaway being that that was absolutely what I want to do for a living. Going to work after that interview was way harder than expected. I felt like I had made leaps and bounds after I was done with the interview. Going back to work where (no offense to my place of work) I make zero progress, career wise, was rough. But at the end of the day that’s even more motivation to put in the work and make things a reality.
Getting to research, write, and witness Megans journey was so insightful on what it actually takes. Years of a consistent grind and a consistent hustle. As if she didn’t have a fan for life, she really does now.
I really wish I could write even more on what I learned and took from it. Because I feel like I could write five more paragraphs about it. Oddly enough, I can’t even put it into words. I’m sure I’ll talk about it forever. It may be one of those things that’s easier to verbally explain.
I truly hope I am able to work with her more in the future. I hope I EARN the opportunity. That’s not something I deserve nor will it ever be. It has to be earned.