Join Jeff Conway-Hollywood/Entertainment Contributor at Forbes-and IHMEC January 21st
My favorite part about interviewing celebrities and other notable individuals is my dedication to make them feel comfortable to answer openly and genuinely. I truly believe that I have a very rare ability to read people quickly and adapt myself to mannerisms and behaviors that will make them not only feel comfortable speaking with me more like a friend than a journalist, but also trust my words and feel my sincerity.
Test your knowledge on everyday heroes from local music icons like CHANCE THE RAPPER and COMMON to social justice icons like RUTH BADER GINSBURG and MALALA, and everyone in between. Hosted by Jeff Conway!
Meet Jeff Conway: Hollywood/Entertainment Contributor at Forbes
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago.
Where do you live now?
I currently live along the lakefront in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago.
Where did you go to school?
I attended Illinois State University in Bloomington-Normal.
What did you think you would be when you grew up?
I honestly thought I would be the reporter or writer that I actually am right now, as funny as that may seem. I always loved creating things and always had a love for movies & television, often mimicking popular quotes in front of my siblings during car rides, whether they liked it or not.
What do you actually do for work?
I am a journalist, with a focus on sharing with the world meaningful entertainment stories that matter today. After graduating from Illinois State as the “Outstanding Senior in Journalism,” I joined an entertainment television show on NBC5 in Chicago that was called ’24/7.’ I went from being one-of-five non-paid interns to the show’s sole producer in just a matter of months. From there, I was offered to host and produce my own around town Chicago entertainment television show on a privately-owned Comcast network, followed by writing for an international men’s contemporary magazine based in London. I have also happily given back to new broadcasters with my skills by becoming an occasional video instructor to students at the Illinois Media School. I am now the Hollywood and Entertainment Contributor at Forbes.
What do you do for fun/to relax?
I am dedicated to fitness. It is my mental health enjoyment and escape, especially during this pandemic. I also love watching movies, having a drink with friends, and dancing when dance floors are open. Boy, I miss that.
Top three things on your Chicago bucket list?
I feel like I have already done everything I would want to do in Chicago since I grew up around here. My bucket list for other Chicagoans or tourists would be to eat Lou Malnati’s deep dish pizza, visit the breathtaking Tiffany Dome in the Chicago Cultural Center and attend a Cubs game at the historically amazing Wrigley Field.
What is your favorite part about interviewing?
My favorite part about interviewing celebrities and other notable individuals is my dedication to make them feel comfortable to answer openly and genuinely. I truly believe that I have a very rare ability to read people quickly and adapt myself to mannerisms and behaviors that will make them not only feel comfortable speaking with me more like a friend than a journalist, but also trust my words and feel my sincerity. Speak to these well-known people like a normal person. Most of these people do not want to be treated like they are on a pedestal; however, show your respect for their career and their work by asking questions with facts about them involved from your extensive research before the interview.
How have you stayed motivated during the Pandemic?
I have stayed motivated by finding purpose with my skills, regardless of these difficult times. Staying productive and creating is the best thing for my mental health and sanity right now. I suggest everyone find purpose during this pandemic, even if it’s a hobby you can focus on or a new daily activity that brings joy and a sense of normalcy to your days.
What is your favorite part of working from home?
Least favorite part of working from home? My favorite part of working from home is I can wear a nice shirt on-screen for a Zoom meeting or interview, but I can be comfortable in shorts or pajama pants from the waist down and nobody has to know. My least favorite part of working from home is missing the interaction of colleagues and the in-person interaction that we all somewhat need, at least on occasion.
Are there any stand-out Jewish pop culture icons you’ve interviewed?
I would say some of the standout Jewish Hollywood names that I have interviewed include Robert Downey Jr., Woody Allen, and Dave Franco.
Is there a pop culture icon who inspires you most?
I would say it’s William Daniels, who played “Mr. Feeny” on the popular ‘90s TV show ‘Boy Meets World.’ I just had the most amazing Zoom interview with the 93-year-old actor and I wrote a Forbes article that I am so very proud of on his real-life love story with his wife Bonnie. Before interacting with him, however, he remains a pop culture icon to me and so many others. He played a teacher and neighbor on-screen that gave the best wisdom weekly to us young viewers at the time. Even though he was simply acting and saying lines from a script, I know so many people of all ages still look to him as a voice of reason and a role model that inspires us to do the right thing and be our best selves. It’s truly incredible the lasting impression he continues to make on so many people.
Why is supporting the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center important to you?
Supporting the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center is important to me because I believe we grow better into our future by understanding where we came from. My first tour of IHMEC was an experience I will never forget. The top-notch technology, the artifacts, and all the history shared there is so eye-opening, insightful, and emotional, no matter what your background is. So much unfathomable tragedy and heartache happened during the Holocaust but the IHMEC shares that era with such personal detail of survivors within the community and almost a sense of optimism, also showing us visitors all of the good things that have been occurring throughout the world since then.