Interview: Danielle Kool

Danielle Kool
Freelance reporter celebrating her third year living in Los Angeles. She writes for Dutch media.

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Why did you decide to move to Los Angeles?
I worked in journalism in The Netherlands as well, at newspaper Sp!ts the last five years I was there. At the end of 2012, there were two press events in Los Angeles planned a week apart. I decided to not fly back after the first one but stay in the US, to attend election night at the Obama camp in Chicago and to have a few extra days in LA. That’s when I realized that being based in LA would give me a lot of work opportunities: for those couple of days alone I was offered another interview and covered a big premiere. So that’s when the idea of moving set in. Also, I didn’t mind the weather here.

In 2013 I made the actual move. I wrote for Metro and Sp!ts at the time, both dailies so I had a good amount of articles published every week. My first year here I mainly worked for them, adding Veronica Magazine after a couple of months. When Sp!ts ceased to exist I started writing for De Telegraaf, Holland’s largest newspaper with about 1.5 million readers daily. For most of my outlets, I cover both film and TV-shows, interviewing cast and creators.

What are you working on now?
The Oscars are coming up, I’ll be covering a lot of it for Dutch national newswire ANP. This week I filed stories on the new HBO-show Big Little Lies, my interview with Oscar nominee Viola Davis was published and I wrote about The Walking Dead after visiting the set of that show in Atlanta last fall.

How do you see your career here evolving?
The Dutch media world, like that in any other country, is changing rapidly. Print is suffering everywhere, although it is still a big force in media. Freelance budgets have gotten more strained over the last three years, but there’s still a need for stories. And I believe that won’t change, we’ll just have to see in what form they will be told.

What has been one of your most fun interviews that you’ve done?
Jennifer Lawrence was a fun one, she was joking around for a bit of it but was also really honest. Another interview that comes to mind was with Jane Fonda. I got to talk to her a little longer and she has great stories on how Hollywood has changed.

What’s the difference between Holland and Hollywood?
Press events here are a lot more structured because they are so much bigger. Sometimes that’s a good thing, but it can be annoying at times too when you get very little time with actors. Publicists are very strict: when your time is up, you’re out the door, no exceptions.

Can you ask whatever you want to ask or do they give you a lot of restrictions?
Publicists will often tell us not to ask any personal questions. But usually, actors don’t mind getting a little personal. I remember talking to Blake Lively last year for the movie she did with Michiel Huisman, The Age of Adeline. They told us ‘no personal questions’, but she was a new mom and couldn’t help gushing over her baby.

Another one that I thought was very funny; we were told not to ask Kim Kardashian any personal questions. That was a bit of a joke to me, because she is a reality star. What else am I supposed to ask her; her thoughts on the political situation in Syria?

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What is your ‘Hollywood Highlight’?
The moment I had to pinch myself was the first time I attended the Oscars. That’s why it’s still my profile picture on LinkedIn. Of course, it made sense for me to be there as an LA-based journalist, but the moment was just very surreal. This event was something that I’d always seen on TV and now I was actually there on the red carpet.

Any dream candidates for an interview?
Two: Madonna and Oprah. I always had three but I recently interviewed Miss Piggy so I could scratch her off the list.

Interview by Carla Lekkerkerker & Hidde de Vries
Illustration by Nelson Navarro

 

 

 

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