INTERVIEW: Alex Clark Goes Behind The Scenes On Her Hit Show, POPlitics
Image Credits: Alex Clark ? Instagram
On October 28, 2019, Turning Point USA released the first episode of POPlitics with host Alex Clark. Dubbed as the show about “pop culture without the propaganda,” POPlitics airs every week day at 4pm ET on IGTV, YouTube, and everywhere you get your podcasts. Clark got her start as a radio host, but made the switch over to pop culture show host for a conservative organization last summer! A lot has changed since we last talked to Alex Clark in our last interview for Future Female Leaders in 2018 so we were overdue to discuss her new show, being an proud conservative, and lessons she’s learned along the way.
Ladies and gentlemen, Alex Clark.
How did you get connected with TPUSA and what made you decide to leave your radio show hosting job for this opportunity?
I had gone to Turning Point USA’s Young Women’s Leadership Summit in 2018 and little did I know TPUSA had been following my work as an outspoken conservative in mainstream media. A few months after our interview they reached out to me to see if we could work together. I took that opportunity to shoot my shot and told them I’d be down to do a complete 180 on my career! I pitched them this idea of a conservative daily show that covers entertainment news and they loved the idea. They offered me the job, and I packed up my stuff, told my friends and family goodbye, and moved across the country!
What were the first steps of creating POPlitics?
The first thing I did was try to figure out what I wanted to be known for. What was my specialty that would differentiate me from other conservative women in the movement? I knew I had a strong background in pop culture after working in Top 40 radio for so many years, so I thought that would be a good place to start. I tried to figure out what I desperately wanted to see in the movement from a female perspective that I wasn’t getting. I realized it was bonding with a host or conservative female personality like she was my friend. I never really got that vibe from any of the conservative women I look up to. Do they keep me informed and have good clapbacks on social media or Fox News? Yeah, but what else? Could I picture myself hanging out with them in real life? The answer was no.
Conservative women already feel lonely and ostracised at school or at work. Most of the time, we’re desperately lacking that sense of community, which is exactly what the left wants. I wanted this show to be more than just a show, a lifestyle, a sisterhood,a movement. I wanted to make sure conservatism was branded as fun, pretty, empowering, and relatable. The truth is, conservative values are all of those things but we don’t do a great job of marketing it that way to young women. I wanted to make that the new norm. Charlie Kirk has said several times that most students are conservative, they just haven’t been exposed to conservative ideas. I think the solution to that is to approach some apolitical or self-proclaimed liberals with a gentler approach that focuses on a subject we have common interests in, which for me and my audience, is pop culture.
Your social media following has boomed, what is that like? Do you face more criticism or more support? Do you share more or less of your life now that so many people are watching?
Since we last talked my following has doubled and keeps growing! I have definitely become more conservative with what I share, no pun intended. I also have people who follow me that work for the White House, congress, and other important roles in politics. So I now have more filters in my brain that I try to go through before clicking “post”. I actually think I receive less criticism as a whole because the followers I’ve gained for the most part agree with my views.
I have become a lot more private with my dating life since taking this job though. Having this many eyes on me makes me want to be extra sure I’ve got it right before posting about it. The next time I share someone publicly you’ll know they’re special.
Did you have any doubts about fully immersing yourself in the world of politics?
I definitely did. I had never seen anyone attempt to do the type of show I was wanting to create, so I had no idea if it would be a success or a massive failure. There was this dream of doing a show that wasn’t super serious and buttoned up, but I also had insecurities that conservatives wouldn’t like it for that very reason. To be completely honest, some don’t! They’re not my target audience though. If your ideal conservative show is dry, analytical, and no-nonsense, POPlitics isn’t for you. And that’s what I prefer.
What does your everyday life look like as you’re putting out shows every weekday and does that require research, filming, editing, etc?
I wasn’t expecting it but somehow doing a 5 minute IG show takes 10x more work to be successful than a 5 hour radio show. Probably because it’s scripted so that it stays as short and tight as possible. In radio I had all the time to talk in the world (to a certain extent) and with this show I need to try to come up with one liner jokes or find funny clips to splice in which can sometimes take hours. I am reading and watching every single piece of news from the moment I wake up, till the moment I go to bed (which isn’t until around 1am most nights). I try to be aware of all the stories in politics and pop culture so I can start brainstorming what I want to cover in the show the next day.
After we film each day I’m also trying to manage our social media with the help of our intern and responding to cuteservatives as much as possible, as well as posting breaking news to our story. My vision is for POPlitics to be as much of a trusted news source as TMZ or E!, which requires almost 24/7 management so we stay on top of things as they come out. It takes me about 45 minutes to get home after work, and after eating dinner I’m back to answering social media and writing the script. I write, we film it the next morning, and my very talented producer Abigail Hall puts it all together for about 3-3 ½ hours into an episode. Then we post! I don’t really have much of a social life on weekdays, so I try to make sure I have some me-time on the weekends.
What has the response to POPlitics been? Has adding it in podcast form seen a boost in viewership?
The response has been incredible. Seeing this vision come to life is so surreal and I feel blessed every single day to have a job where I won’t be canceled for being me. Watching girls meet up and make friends across the country and learning that it’s ok to be conservative is very emotional for me. The other day two girls that are in our cuteservatives Facebook group discovered they lived in the same apartment complex! There was a fear I lived with every single day on the radio when it came to getting canceled for being conservative, and I’m acutely aware of how special it is to be able to post and not feel threatened that I’m going to lose my job. No one in America should have to live with that anxiety, which is why we need to be very intentional in making sure we’re voting for candidates that will continue to fight to protect our precious freedoms in this country. The show is growing every single day. I think having the option of listening to the show on all podcasts platforms is definitely an added bonus, but most people probably prefer to watch the show on instagram because of how visual it is!
You’ve met many people since beginning your time with TPUSA, who have been your favorites and why is the answer Donald Trump? Jk, but who have you enjoyed meeting and who has surprised you?
Sean Spicer actually reached out when the show VERY first got started (like within a couple weeks of launch and no one knew who I was) and invited Producer Abigail and I to Dancing With The Stars as his special guests. Totally a once in a lifetime experience and I’ll never forget how kind that was of him.
One of your biggest fears before your big leap in conservative politics is that you felt that you didn’t know enough about politics. Now that you know that you are 100% qualified and looking back on how much you’ve learned, what would you say to others who may feel that exact same way?
Over the past year, I’ve learned so much, but I know that there is still more to learn and I strive to absorb as much information as I can and continue to grow. I have been blessed to be in the same room as some of the most influential leaders in the conservative movement and I have learned so much from them.
One of the most important lessons that I have learned is that sometimes you have to take the risk and bet on yourself. By doing that, I have said ‘yes’ to some offers that have turned into incredible opportunities. When I first got hired in radio, they hired me to be a personality, but I said ‘yes’ to the opportunity to learn how to run the board. It was similar when I launched POPlitics. I was hired to be the host of the show, but I also took on more facets that make the show what it is. I learned how to market an idea, how to manage a brand, and so much more.
I would encourage other young women to bet on themselves, even when it makes them feel uneasy. This will open doors for them that they never thought were imaginable. Just over a year ago, I never thought that I would host a show at Turning Point USA. I was unsure what the big move would mean for me, but I bet on myself and it was the best decision I ever made!
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned since leaving what was comfortable for you and jumping into politics full time?
Be nice to everyone, all the time. You have no idea who you’re going to be working with or needing something from in the future. Politics is a small world. Everyone knows everyone and if you have a reputation for being difficult, rude, or unkind, you’ll burn every bridge before you get there.
And lastly, a lighter question, what are some things you want people to know about you outside of what they see online?
Even though we film in the morning I am NOT a morning person. However I ABSOLUTELY LOVE BREAKFAST FOOD. So if you want me to show up somewhere early, there better be sausage links. I think I’m pretty similar on and off camera and online, but I do appreciate alone time even though I come off as an extreme extrovert. I love going shopping or eating out alone once in a while to have a break from talking since that’s what I do all day.
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