Best known from her hilarious pop culture podcast Chanel in the City on IHeart Radio, and her nightly show on 106.1WBLI Nights with Chanel, Chanel Omari has spun her unique brand of humor to write for The Maury Povitch Show, Anderson Cooper, The Bill Cunningham Show, and The Donny Deutsch Show. Chanel Omari has interviewed people and worked with George Lopez, Hugh Jackman, Paris Hilton, Kevin Bacon, Lindsay Lohan, Cedric the Entertainer, Diane Von Furstenberg, Tommy Davidson, Countess Luann De Lesseps and Dorinda Medley from The Real Housewives of New York, Heather Mcdonald and more. But Omari is best known for her Bravo TV character role on Princess:LongIsland. Omari shares her thoughts on dating, bullying, setting the record straight on her journey.
You own your own independent full service production, booking and casting company; CO Productions. Can you tell me about CO Productions and how that came about?
CO Productions is a full-service production, management, booking, and casting company, that books celebrity talent, cultivates unique brands, and produce/pitches compelling comedy scripted and unscripted shows in the entertainment industry. We build show ideas around talent too. Most people come to us wanting to be famous or have their brand be well known and we create the formula and steps to get you there with our resources. We produce podcasts, scripted, digital, and unscripted series, films, and more!
I created CO Productions because after I did Princesses Long Island, I realized that I was typecast, there’s nowhere for me to go. I kept getting the same answer as to why I couldn’t be booked on TV again. I was known as the Princess of Long Island.
I wanted to create more opportunities for people like myself who didn’t have them. I realized that lots of people wanted to have the opportunity to showcase their talents digitally and on television and were looked over or didn’t have the resources to do so.
I realized with the network I built, I can help people get their shine in the business. I am also working hard to separate myself and my brand Chanel in the City as someone who can evolve with the times and bring some compelling culture to the listeners and viewer’s lives.
I wanted to find a space for actors and other talent to strive and be placed in the right shows for their brand instead of being overlooked and pushed away. I believe that there’s always a place for everyone to continue their journey in this business. I don’t believe in NO. I believe in creating opportunities for yourself despite the limitations people put on you.
What are some obstacles you’ve faced with a career in the media industry?
As a Colombian-Jewish woman in the industry, I have encountered many challenges in the media industry, especially it being mostly white male dominant. I struggled as a minority. I had to overcome it by not feeling sorry for myself and making the best out of my situation. I had to think outside the box for my podcast.
I remember when I was djing for a top 40 radio station, I had earned my dues as the next male did, but he got the promotion and I was pressured to keep proving myself. I was constantly skipped over for promotions, didn’t get equal pay, was silenced a bunch, put down for being who I was, etc. I had to really be my own best friend. I am also doing standup comedy now, have been for years, and a lot of people have put me down or told me I will never make it. People in the industry have told me I am not pretty enough, skinny
enough, cool enough, talented enough, etc. I always had to fight for myself and work hard to get to where I want.
Comedy was a way for me to escape. Whether I made my friends laugh or people laugh at my shows, I always felt better that I was making someone feel better after a bad day.
When I write comedy, I usually take experiences from my own life or my friend’s lives and implement them in my stand up. I have a bit now about being a Jewish singleyentafrom Long Island in my mid-30s still looking for Mr. right because of the pressure of my Jewish parents and living at home with them, never getting laid or having any privacy.
There were moments I worked hard as a producer or as a talent and I didn’t get the job.
After Princesses: Long Island, it was hard to get back on my feet because I had been at the height of my career and when it was over it was tough to figure out what I was going to do. I felt typecast, I also felt a stigma stamp put on me! I worked hard to create a safe space for myself and others for people to find out what’s cool etc with Chanel in the City.
How did your childhood influence your career?
I’ve always been in to film and writing comedy in general since I was a kid. I remember being 7 years old, writing scripts, and making my family members act out different character roles. It was a way for me to tell a compelling and witty story. I was bullied as a kid so I always took that pain and put it into something creative. I would always love to sing, dance, and act. I would make sure to film myself after a hard day at school and would come up with these funny characters to make myself laugh and my cousins laugh. I had a big family growing up and I always had to host and entertain them. I guess that’s where I really began to fall in love with entertainment in general and comedy.
I’ve also worked my way up in show business. I started out as an assistant to Lindsay Lohan, where I learned all my administrative work and acting work. I also was a producer for The Maury Povich Show and Anderson Cooper Show. I have also reported for ABC and NBC! I worked my way up from a production assistant to a producer to an on-air talent reporter. I had to find ways to separate myself from things people typecast me as like Princesses: Long Island, which is why I ended up doing My Crazy Love on Oxygen. I had to show up for my fans even though the reality tv show didn’t work out. I had to know who I was regardless and find my own identity, which is always challenging.
People always thought I was just “a princess” but I worked hard in my life. I worked from producer/ behind the camera to in front of the camera as an on-air host and actress. I think
you need to do many things in show biz to evolve and become successful. There’s always a time and place to create.
I believe my childhood experience and passion for film and television got me prepared for where I am at now in my career. I have had a taste of everything in the industry.
Between your podcasts, CO Productions, teaming up with charities, and creating hilarious Tik Toks, how do you balance work and self-care?
It’s very hard to balance it all even though I want it all. I do believe we can have it all. Taking care of my mental health is my priority. I always make sure to take care of myself first by changing my hair color, getting massages, going to health spas, mediation, aligning my mind-body, and soul. I also dive into writing jokes for my stand up comedy. I am collaborating with Stand Up NY and you can check out my future shows on standupny.com I’ve been doing Stand Up all my life. I have been doing open mics, producing my own shows at comedy clubs, and just really writing my own scripted digital series.
I love creating funny Tik Toks and interviewing different celebrities on my podcast to constantly stimulate me in life so I can be a better person. I like to balance that with a healthy lifestyle or at least try to. I try to meditate, exercise, eat well, and creating is a form of living my best life and a healthy lifestyle!
How are you staying connected with your audience during the pandemic?
I am always podcasting. I realized the reward in podcasting after I left Top 40 radio and wanted a platform to just speak my mind with no rules. I discovered podcasting and it’s been true love and passion ever since. I love sharing what’s hot and in the know with my listeners! I love bringing them the truth about celebrity and pop culture, and of course, making them laugh!
My Chanel in the City podcast is a big way of me staying in contact with my fans during the pandemic. I also am hosting a zoom fan room live Saturday, September 12th for fashion week, where my fans can buy tickets on FanRoomLive.com and connect with me virtually, asking me anything they want and do a virtual meet and greet! It’s going to be so much fun. I am the host and co-EP of Fan Room Live along with Cedric the Entertainer, Jeff Kraus, and Mich Faulkner.
As a public person who has an active voice and platform in society, how important is it for women to stick together and support each other? In your opinion, why don’t we do it already?
I think it’s super important to empower other women, especially since women historically have had challenges to fight for themselves to be in power in society. I think if we don’t continue to empower one another than the patriarchy will have the right or excuse to continue to have power and control over our decisions. The reason I have my podcast is to empower women to be themselves, love themselves, and empower others despite the challenges they are facing with the patriarchy in society or despite societal pressures.
For Example, I also started a podcast with my business partner, Dina Lohan. It’s called Listen to me, The OG MAMA D! I co-host with Dina Lohan and I am the Co-Executive Producer on the project. It’s about setting the record straight on celebrity tabloid gossip, pop culture, giving women the confidence and courage to believe in themselves no matter what age and more! You can hear it now on iTunes and Spotify.
Are you supporting any specific causes we should mention to the readers? How did you get involved with these causes?
I love giving back! I support Rescue Dogs Rock NYC, City Harvest, Black Lives Matter, and more! I love giving back. I think it’s very important to give back. It’s a way of keeping myself humble and just making sure I am contributing to society any way I can. I have such a passion to work with dogs and important causes like City Harvest and Black Lives Matter.
Since you’ve started your own podcast, was there an episode or issue covered that stands out for you?
I love the live podcast event I did with Countess Luann De Lesseps and Chanel in the City. It aired on Real Housewives of NY on Bravo TV. It was for an anti-bullying cause which, we are both passionate about. We both went through bullying at some point in our lives and we felt it was important to come together and raise awareness. Interviewing her on Housewives of NYC.
I also interviewed celebrities from Kevin Bacon to Heather Mcdonald. I love interviewing celebrities who have gone through obstacles and have overcame them and made careers out of them! I love it when the celebrities open up to me and explain their side of the story; their truth. I love how the audience can relate to their past experiences.
Of all the roles you took on throughout your career, which did you find to be the most challenging? Most rewarding?
I would say the most challenging throughout my career was navigating being a radio host because it’s so competitive and it’s such a male dominant industry. I would get bullied a lot behind the scenes in the industry whether it be radio, reality tv, or comedy. Lots of people telling me I couldn’t do it. I felt like I couldn’t make it the way I wanted to. I wanted to be the voice of daytime but always got stuck with the night shifts even though I knew I was good enough to be on during the day!
You really have to be patient and wait for a long time to be promoted.
I would say comedy is the most rewarding. You get on stage, make people laugh, and feel good about yourself. It’s a rush that you can’t shake off.
For more info on Chanel Omari visit her website: www.chanelomari.com
Listen to the Chanel in the City podcast on the IHeart App
Photography by: Olga Piseranko