ESPN began the second season of its hit show “Dream
Job” earlier this week. The Michigan Daily caught up with one
of last season’s finalists, Maggie Haskins, to find out what
goes on behind the scenes, what she has been up to since
“Dream Job” and what she thought of “Dream Job
II.”

The Michigan Daily: What have you been doing since the
show ended in March?

Maggie Haskins: I returned to Brown University, and I
really wanted to just soak up the last six weeks of school. The
previous part of the semester had been so crazy with the commuting.
I really enjoyed my last six weeks, and my biggest supporters (on
the show) were my best friends, so I was very happy to spend that
time with them. And then I went up to northern Michigan near the
Glen Lake, Traverse City area. I waitressed there for six weeks,
and my parents have been going up there forever. I stayed with my
grandma, and just sort of had that time (with her). Then, I was a
production intern with NBC Sports at the Olympics, which was an
amazing experience. So I was in Greece for the entire month of
August. And I worked swimming and wrestling on the production team.
That was absolutely amazing, being at the Olympics. And then I went
to Chicago for a week and got some affairs in order. After that, I
went to New York to write for Sports Illustrated on Campus, which
I’m really excited about because I have a background in
college sports. When I was writing for the Brown Daily Herald, and
especially as sports editor my senior year, I focused on college
sports. I also played Division I softball for two years. So I have
an insight that way. I’m really excited about (Sports
Illustrated on Campus). I mean, it’s Sports Illustrated. You
can’t start out at a better place, in my opinion, in terms of
building your writing skills.

TMD: What was it like on “Dream Job” last
year?

MH: Well, it was an amazing experience. Especially having
just watched “Dream Job II”, it was very surreal to
look back on it. To watch that, and not be a part of it, is very
strange. Because when you’re setting the precedent for a
show, you don’t know what to expect, and it’s just so
very weird. I loved the experience. I met amazing people, and I
learned a ton. My background is basically been in print journalism.
The previous summer I had interned at a local Fox station in
Chicago and that was my first experience working in broadcast, and
that was fabulous. I got to do locker-room interviews after Cubs
games and stuff like that. But I hadn’t really done any
on-air training. So (my training) was definitely a trial by
fire.

TMD: Did you guys party a lot?

MH: Yeah, we bonded. I don’t know if
“party” is the right word. One of the best nights
though would be Sunday night after “the show.” For
everybody who moved on, after the show, we would have a bit of a
debriefing, and then we would go to this bar next to our hotel. We
would all drink and usually at some point they would be playing the
show, which was real funny. It was just great because we bonded
with both the cast and a lot of the crew members, too. It’s
funny because when there is a television show you see people in
front of the camera, and I think you can tell when they’re
getting along and they’re bonding – and I genuinely
feel like, for our cast, that was evident. But we also really,
really bonded with all the production people who were around us.
There were producers who were our camp counselors, as we called
them, and some camera people who shot the behind the scenes stuff
that they used to use for the advertisements. So there were like 15
people at the bar on Sunday. We had a really fun party after the
show ended, after Mike won, which was great, where Zack (Selwyn)
and Stuart (Scott) freestyled, and they tried to bring me in. And I
got about four lines into it and stepped out knowing that my
white-girl freestyle was lacking.

TMD: We did an interview with Michael Quigly — a
“Dream Job” contestant last year — last semester,
and he said that you guys played some pranks on him. Is that
true?

MH: Yeah, I read it. It was funny. We did play some pranks. I
think I made up something to Quigs along the lines of Kevin Frazier
was getting fired from ESPN because he invested in porn films. And
I kind of got other people to go with it. We had a lot of time
before we shot the show at night. We had to be sequestered all day
because we couldn’t know results of any games. So we would go
nuts in the green room just bouncing off the walls. There would be
peaks and valleys of no energy then just going crazy. During those
crazy moments, I had to think of something to do. So that’s
when I made up the Kevin Frazier-investing-in-porn rumor.

TMD: Did you get to talk to LaVar (Arrington) and Tony
(Kornheiser) at all?

MH: Yeah, we got to talk to them briefly. During commercial
breaks, things would go back and forth. It was really funny. At the
beginning of the show, Casey Stern mentioned that he was a (New
York) Giants fan, and (Arrington) was making cracks about how he
was going to come after Casey. I would say that Tony was the most
removed from interacting with the guests. We had gotten to know Al
Jaffe from the interview process and Kit Hoover was just bubbly
like Kit Hoover is. I love Tony Kornheiser, too, but he was
definitely the most removed.

TMD: What was the fan response when you went back to
Brown?

MH: That was great. What was really great about the show was
that I got to go on and prove myself and improve week by week. I
was able to prove myself to the community. Because when anybody
puts themselves out there in that way it’s very
nerve-wracking because you don’t want there to be backlash.
You’re doing something that’s on television. I was very
aware. I didn’t want to carry it around and be like,
‘Oh yeah, I’m that girl from “Dream Job.”
I’m so cool.’ But there wasn’t any of that
negative stuff. People saw that I was going out there and trying to
improve and trying to do my best, and I wasn’t assuming that
I was a professional. So, the response was great. And there was
some funny times in the bar where someone would like notice me but
just not say anything. There were just funny experiences, but
everyone was really supportive. It sounds really cheesy, but I
thank everybody at Brown for that. It’s a tough experience
because you’re getting criticized. You are reading the nasty
stuff on the Internet about what you’re doing wrong or how
much you move your head when you talk. It’s great to have
people come up and be like, ‘Hey, you’re doing a great
job.’ The response I got from the people that I didn’t
know was super-supportive. You guys were great. That was cool.
Hearing from people who were writing about sports and genuinely
care — that was especially neat because you want to be
respected by people who care. And then I got this one email from a
bunch of flight attendants from Southwest (Airlines) who said that
they were horribly upset when I got cut because they would all
gather around and watch and root for me. There was a wide variety
of support and that was really helpful.

TMD: Have you kept in touch with the other people on the
show?

MH: Yeah. I actually have. Last night I went to Nick
Stevens’s apartment, and we watched the debut of “Dream
Job II” together. And randomly Aaron Levine was in town and
stopped by Sports Illustrated to chat. And I talked to Mike (Hall)
the other day to just catch up and see how he was doing. So yeah,
we do a decent job. We are bonded by this experience for a long
time. And, hopefully, we’ll all be able to help each other
out as years go by.

TMD: So you watched the premier? What did you think?

MH: It was pretty surreal. I thought it was really good. Any
time a show is done a second time in terms of production quality,
it’s going to be tighter. They know what they’re
dealing with; they know what they’re getting into; they know
what to cut. It was interesting because I thought that Anish
(Shroff) did an absolutely stellar job on all his stuff. That was
really cool. I think you could tell that they had some sort of
advantage in knowing what to expect and being prepared in that way
because they had seen us. Something I was talking about today
randomly with my mom is that I saw a different type of nervous
energy out there than we had. I felt like because we had no idea
what was going on, our nervousness was sort of amped. For them, it
was like, “If we mess up, we know we’re going to get
laid into.” It’s on at like 7 p.m. Eastern, so
it’s not the best time for people to be catching the
show.

TMD: What would you pass on to these new “Dream
Job” contestants?

MH: The biggest thing I learned is that sometimes they can be
harsh with the criticism, but you have to take it and you have to
improve upon it. I think that’s why I stuck around for so
long, because I really paid attention to what they were telling me.
No matter whether or not I was going to be judged on it the next
week, it was something I worked on. In week three I was criticized
when working with Lori that we didn’t have good chemistry up
there. So the next week, when Mike and I were writing our scripts,
I made sure to pay more and more attention to that stuff. And
that’s just something that you learn as you go along. So my
biggest advice is that whatever they throw at you, even if
it’s super hard, you take it and you run with it and really
think about it. Because if you’re not willing to do that, why
are you even in this business? Nobody’s perfect up there
– it takes time and it’s not something that you can
accomplish in six weeks. I was really happy with the strides that I
made.

TMD: What are your favorite sports?

MH: My favorite sport to watch is baseball. I love baseball, and
love the Cubs. I’m furious that they can’t get out in
the wild-card lead. My favorite sport to play is actually
basketball. I grew up in Chicago with Michael Jordan. So that does
something to you.

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