We’ve all heard the saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” when it comes to career success. That seems especially true for the highly competitive industry of TV writing. But recent alumna Victoria Nelli ’16, ’21M, who is a social media manager for MILE Social, a digital marketing agency in New Jersey, has taken both pieces of advice to heart.
Nelli has been using the opportunities offered by her Monmouth education to augment her lifelong love of television as she plays the long game in her ultimate goal of being a TV writer.
“I did any TV or newspaper stuff I could in high school,” says Nelli, “so I knew that’s definitely what I wanted to go into in college.”
She continued that work ethic throughout her undergraduate career at Monmouth, writing for several online outlets such as TV Goodness, The TV Addict, and The TV Junkies, doing interviews, TV recaps—anything related to television—in addition to her coursework in communication and media studies.
Then, while she was completing her master’s degree in strategic public relations and social media at Monmouth, Nelli secured two internships: one with NJ/NY Gotham FC, a professional women’s soccer team, and another with UIA Talent Agency, which represents a slew of Broadway and classical opera talent.
“I also did one with Adapting Social, which is a New Jersey social media marketing agency,” says Nelli. “So when the time came for graduation, I really wanted to stay in the realm of social media communication.”
One of the projects Nelli’s most proud of during her time at Monmouth is an ongoing interview series she created called TV’s Unsung Heroes, which is a way for television students to have access to insider information on the TV world from some of the industry’s top content creators.
But while Nelli was building her entertainment industry résumé, she also began volunteering for LGBTQ organizations, particularly Make It Better For Youth, a nonprofit organization of educational professionals and community partners working to improve outcomes for LGBTQ youth.
“I do their social media because I can’t really help with inclusive lesson plans since I’m not a teacher,” says Nelli. “But I wanted to do something more that I could help out with.”
That’s when she had the idea of interviewing “anybody in the LGBTQ community that would let me interview them,” and publishing the interviews in a similar format as her TV’s Unsung Heroes series. The new series, called if i knew, showcases a broad spectrum of LGBTQ folks—authors, broadway performers, athletes, teachers, students, and more—and their experiences in life and work.
“The whole premise is, if they knew what coming out would mean back when they were younger, what would they tell their younger self?” says Nelli. “It’s been really rewarding to hear all of the different stories from people all over the country and in all different professions.”
Today, Nelli continues to grow her if i knew interview series and expand her entertainment industry network while building her PR and social media skills for MILE Social. But she’s also keeping her eyes on the prize of her ultimate goal of TV writing.
“I feel like whenever I’m in a place where I can move to LA, I will pursue that more,” says Nelli. “I’m very grateful, because I made a lot of connections in the TV industry just through my internships.”