Vonetta Logan is an all-around go-getter. She writes and produces her own show and breaks down the topic of finance in a hilarious way that everyone can understand. She. Hustles. Read below for some insight into her life and how she rose to the top.
Twitter handle: @vonettalogan
Location: Chicago, IL
Age: 27 on the show, 30 on Tinder, 36 in real life
School: Indiana University
Secretly Obsessed With: Oh man, I’m not “secret” about anything. It’s one of my pet peeves that people say “guilty pleasure” or secret obsession. Own it and don’t feel guilty about anything you love. So for me? God, just the basic awesomeness that is pop culture. Seriously, the Lifetime Movie about Toni Braxton? Amazing. The Grease Live Musical? I smiled the whole time! I love to script out who would play me and my friends and coworkers in the movie of my life.
On my nightstand: Like 6 different kinds of lotions. I like to moisturize before I go to bed. So hand lotion, foot lotion, knee lotion. It’s a wonder I don’t slide out of bed.
Last Thing I Read: 90% of my reading time is dedicated to research stuff for Nailed It or financial stuff for the show. For fun right now, I’m reading the biography of Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. Yes, I’m obsessed with the musical, but I’m also interested in Hamilton because he established the central banking system we know today. Obviously, the hip hop Broadway version of his life is way more entertaining, but so far his bio is a great read. I try to read a few pages on my Kindle before I conk out for the night, but at my current pace, I’ll probably finish it in 2020.
How did you get started?
Well, it was the late seventies and two people who loved each other very much put on some Barry White….oh! Like in my career? This is, perhaps, the single greatest job story ever. I found this job on Craigslist. But let me back up. Before this job, I did writing and comedy on the side. I went through Second City and Chicago IO. Writing, performing and even producing a late night sketch show called Sketchnicity (it was because our sketch group was diverse…we thought it was hilarious after several beers) I was having a blast doing a few very bad open mics while working full time in a “respectable” 9-5 sales job. Then through sheer internet luck, I found this very vague job posting under the “writing gigs” part of Craigslist. It basically just read: ‘do you love pop culture, are you sarcastic, do you have a way with words’... Or something.
So I applied, and that’s how I came to be a comedy writer for an eccentric millionaire (Tom Sosnoff) who wanted to create his own version of CNBC meets Howard Stern.
What is the best part about hosting AND producing Nailed It?
I take a lot of pride in the fact that Nailed It is a one woman operation. I watched the end credits of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and he has 8 writers on staff AND a research team of 4.
Researching, pulling video clips, writing, re-writing, creating costume and set ideas, hosting. It’s me. It is like writing a college thesis…every month. Also, Tom [Sosnoff] is a pretty great boss. He has supported the show from day one and when he does offer criticism it’s usually “it should be MORE controversial”. He lives to shake things up, make people mad, but he also gives me creative freedom to tell the types of stories I want. Which honestly is freedom I wouldn’t have if my show went to some “network”.
How did you come up with the idea for the Long and Short of It?
I thought, what if there was an ESPN-style “Pardon The Interruption” but for topical issues in the news? I am a die-hard news junkie. I love to wake up on Sunday mornings and watch all the political shows, but not a lot of people my age share that interest. I thought what if we could make the segments short, keep it topical, and cover lots of subjects in a short amount of time? That could reach a lot of people.
Tell us about your daily routine.
4:30 AM- I wake up. Working in the media is super annoying because I’m on air at 7 AM, so I can’t be a minute late to work, and I can never show up in some Lulus and my hair not did. We’re still a scrappy startup, so unless it’s a very special video shoot, I do my own hair and makeup every day. Have you ever tried to draw a perfect cat eye at 5:30 in the morning? That shit’s hard. But I wake up, feed and walk my precious Chihuahua, Calida and then get ready for work. It’s a 10 min ride to the office, music bumpin’ the whole way to get me pumped up.
6:30 AM- Arrive at the office. I do a final check of the news and earnings reports I’ve curated for the day and send the final copy to the show producer.
7:00- 8:00 AM- I’m live on the show keeping my bosses Tom [Sosnoff] and Tony [Battista] in line as they talk about what the market was doing over night, and I catch them up on what happened on last night’s edition of “the bachelor”.
8:00- 4:00- Crazy work day shenanigans. Hands down the best part about my job is that no two days are alike. I can guarantee one thing my day will involve an obscene about of food, traders like to eat, and a crazy amount of reading. I spend a good part of my day finding and writing stuff for tomorrow’s show. Did anyone IPO, any cool drone news, mergers acquisitions and other general stories are always good. And dog videos. Always looking for dog videos. Depending what week it is I’m either writing and prepping for shooting “Long and Short” with Dylan or I’m knee deep in 600 pages of research for the next Nailed It.
4:30- I try to hit the gym. I have this thing called Classpass which lets me workout at hundreds of different boutique studios across the city. So really loving boxing class to get rid of post work aggression and yoga to get my “zen” on even though I’m not bendy. AT ALL. Pretty sure all the girls in my class work for Cirque du Soleil.
5:30- Home to feed all of the animals! I am an accidental cat lady. Yeah you read that right. I have very precious doggie sidekick, a Chihuahua named Calida, and all of my life I have been #teamdog. But long story short, some stray cats ended up creating a camp on my back porch, so now I’m very involved in cat rescue and educating people about trap neuter and release (TNR), which, fun fact, is an excellent way to get someone walk away from you at a dinner party.
6:30- finally get to feed myself. I finish up the production of the news for tomorrow’s show. I finish pulling video clips and photos and then I send the final show order and images to the producer so she can have it keyed up.9:30- time for bed! I am a total nerd and I lay out my clothes for the next day, to save time, and I try to read a bit before bed, with varying degrees of success, then it’s lights out to do it all over again.
What key elements played into your success?
To quote Hamilton, (the musical, not the man): “The girl is non-stop…why do write like you’re running out of time?” I mean what else can you put here? I work really hard, sometimes taking on more stuff than I probably should. Also, my job is pretty objective. I mean, I’m in entertainment, and if people find me entertaining, then I’ll continue to work and have my work gain traction and all of that. I still feel like I have a ways to go on that front, but I’ll get there.
Finance can be hard to digest and sometimes be overwhelming. What do you do to break down financial information to a wider audience?
From way back when I was in school and trying to memorize stuff for a test, finding ways to make analogies to your daily life is key. So humor, pop culture references, etc. The format of Nailed It intersperses video clips with commentary from me. On a recent episode, I explained the complicated machinations pharmaceutical companies use to jack up prices, but I did it using funny made up names for drugs and analogies that people could understand. I wish I had the talent to do my job School House Rock style and make everything into a song, but alas, it’s not meant to be.
What struggles did you face getting to this point?
Before I created Nailed It, there was another lady at tastytrade actually hired to do an additional show that was in the vein of what I always wanted to do. At first, I was like what the what? But as I mentioned earlier, entertainment has a very definable measure of success: either people find you funny or they don’t. So instead of being hurt that this chick was given a chance and had a big budget thrown at her, I wrote and put together a pilot episode of Nailed It! about millennials and had help from a very talented editor here on staff who put it together. We screened it for my bosses and they loved it! Long story short, the other lady is no longer with us and I’m about film my 25th episode of Nailed It. So yeah, it sucks when you feel like someone doesn’t “believe in you”, but you can either get butthurt about it, or you can get your shit together and make an infallible case for why you deserve an opportunity.
What’s the best piece of advice you received?
My first question is, who are all of these people with sages in their lives giving them folksy yarns? Is that too cynical? Does anyone even give advice any more? Does anyone take advice anymore? My mom used to say “when someone shows you who they are, believe them.” Which is basically if you’re getting a vibe off someone good, bad, or whatever, that’s probably the truest reflection of that person.
Who has the biggest influence in your professional life?
I would have to say Alaric who is the director and editor of Nailed It. He’s been in the business a long time and has worked on a lot of prestigious projects. I value his feedback and input because he’s literally seen it all. If my show is great, it’s because he made it great. He has an editorial eye for content and show flow. I am in love with everything I write and shoot and I never want to cut anything out. He’s also very instrumental in “talking me off the ledge” when I’m being a delicate writer genius and frustrated by the system.
What accomplishment are you most proud of? When do you feel most successful?
My Nailed It piece about Uber, which is over a year old now, has half a million YouTube hits.
It was early in the Nailed It production cycle, so we didn’t even “promote” it on YouTube, Facebook or anything. These are all organic clicks. What I love most is the feedback from people on both sides of the debate saying how balanced and funny it is. Even though some of the information is out of date, because let’s face it, Uber is a beast of a company, I get people still emailing me, and tweeting at me saying how they just saw it and how great they thought it is. It even made it’s way to Europe! A bunch of British and French cab drivers tweeted at me saying how great they thought it was. So unreal.
But also people will watch that video because they’re very passionate about Uber in their own lives, but then they’ll write to tell me they binge watched 10 more of my videos on topics that don’t affect them as much, but were so engrossing they kept watching. My production budget for costumes and stuff for each episode is $100!! I have an intern who comes in for a few hours a day. It is an ungodly amount of work, but I am so happy that I am consistently putting out pieces that people enjoy and are talking about. I feel the most successful when I wake up every day and I literally get paid to do what I love. This isn’t something I do on the side. I get a w2 to do comedy. That’s pretty damn awesome.
What advice would you give to girls looking to enter your industry /space?
I feel like this is a trick question. Because the people who are going to survive and thrive whether it be in finance or in entertainment aren’t going to take “conventional wisdom”. They’re going to be contrarians, rebels, independent chicas who do their own damn thing. So to them I say “you do you, boo.”