Interview by Jorge Lara
Photography by Madison Vasquez
VIM: You are the founder of Skirrt.com. How did you come up with the idea and what is your vision for it?
CAMILLE CANNON: I like to describe the website as “a small corner of the internet where hip-hop, comedy and feminism grind together.” Those have been three of my biggest passions for years andthey don’t always align with one another, but my vision for Skirrt.com is to explore where they intersect.
I had ideas for the website for about a year and a half before I published anything. I was a full-time writer and editor at Vegas Seven magazine and constantly developing story ideas, but not all of them were a fit for that outlet. My “Skirrt” ideas lived in notebooks or on my phone until I had an “A-ha” moment about the name in January 2016. (“Skirrt” is a popular saying in rap music, and also represents what I wanted the site to be about.) Since then, Skirrt.com has produced written and video content that, I believe, reflects the mission. I want to create content that demonstrates an appreciation for the music while also having fun with it. I want you to listen to your favorite rap song a little differently after you’ve come across our site.
VIM: You’re an on-air personality on Mix 94.1. What have been the advantages/ disadvantages of radio compared to the other medias you have been in?
CAMILLE CANNON: Radio was a huge challenge for me when I first started. When I was a child, I used to whisper in my mom’s ear so that she could talk to other people for me. Part of me is still that little girl, so talking live into a microphone took a lot of getting used to. Writing is a very solitary habit (at least, until the editing phase.) Radio forced me todevelop a new level of self-confidence and I’m so grateful. I don’t really allow myself to get nervous in new situations anymorebecause I know that radio used to terrify me, and now I have the opportunity to do it every week. I owe so much tomy boss, J. Love, for taking a chance on me.
VIM: You recently appeared on Wake Up with the CW. What on-air topics would you like to touch upon in the future? Was that your first experience being on television?
CAMILLE CANNON: Thank you for checking that out! I am so thankful for those opportunities. I have been asked to offer suggestions for various holidays since March 2015, when I was an Associate Editor at Vegas Seven. That was actually was my only on-air experience prior to starting at Mix 94.1 in June 2016. The Wake up with the CW team and the organizers of those segments have been so wonderful to me, I’ll gladly come back whenever they’ll have me!
VIM: Tell us about your upbringing; what are some of your influences growing up. Was being a media journalist your first career choice?
CAMILLE CANNON: The earliest thing I can remember wanting to be is a filmmaker. I used to keep notes—not a journal, but like, writtennarrations, on things that happened in elementary school in a folder labeled “My Life as a Movie.” (Now I’m kind of embarrassed to admit this.) I used to make little movies on a camcorder and ask my very sweet younger brother and older sister to act in them. By age 12, I wanted to be Rachel Ray. I was watching a lot of Food Network and doing a lot of cooking at the time. When I got to college, I had no idea what I wanted to be, I just knew what I loved, and that was pop culture and media, so that’s how I picked my major: Media Studies. I knew I could get good grades studying what I was passionate about, writing research papers on The Real Housewives and Beyoncé.
After graduating college in 2012, I moved to Las Vegas to follow my family (I was born and raised in Northern California, but my parents and siblings moved here while I was in school to be with my grandmother). I spent a few months applying for hospitality jobs because that was the type of work I did while I was in college—I thought that would be the fastest route to a full-time job. I never got pastinitial interviews, so then I decided to apply fora journalism internship at Vegas Seven. My careerstarted there and I’m so grateful. “Rejection”is truly a blessing in disguise.
VIM: You graduated from U.C. Berkeley. What do you remember most about your alma matter and what was the best advice you received while being there?
CAMILLE CANNON: Every day I felt really lucky to be there. My siblings and I are the first generation in my family to graduate college. I never wanted to mess up that opportunity. Berkeley was such an incredible experience. I remember the people most of all, though. I made my closest friends while in college and I’ve learned in the years since how rare they are. They inspire and support me daily.I would do it all again and do everything the same just to have these people in my life.
The best advice I got was always from my mom. She told me that I can do anything I set my mind to. She’s sacrificed so much for me to do what I’m doing. I owe it to her to believe in me, too.
VIM: You wrote an article for Vegas Seven about Girl Nation, a local organization for young girls and the pressure they face in today’s society. Being in a position of influence, what advice would you give a young girl that listens to you on the radio or reads your articles?
CAMILLE CANNON: Thank you for reading! It was an honor to help spread the word about Girl Nation. I like to think that no one reads my writing or listens to me on the radio because it makes me less self-conscious, but you have clearly done both and I am very appreciative. I would tell any young girl the same thing that my mom told me: You can do anythingthat you work hard at. If what you want to do doesn’t exist, learn how to create it yourself. Always look for the silver lining. Andnever let them pay you less than a man.