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Meet the Industry: Karli Henriquez


I had the amazing opportunity of interviewing one of the most successful Latinas in the industry! From working for MTV, KIIS FM, NUVOtv, Apple – Beats By Dre, and now as VP of Pop Programming at DASH Radio – Karli is doing it all!  In this interview, Karli and I talk about her journey into the entertainment world, her best piece of advice for someone that’s trying to break into the industry, and so much more!

Jocelyn: What would be your best piece of advice for someone trying to break into the industry?

Karli: Which industry, Lol?

Jocelyn: Lol, good point!

Karli: The crazy world I’m in! The exciting part about the entertainment industry is that it’s evolving into different things now. It’s not just ‘I want to be on radio, I want to be television’. It’s now, ‘I want to be a writer, producer, composer, etc’. It’s all this amazing huge industry that you have the ability to jump into with a simple Mac computer. Back in the day, I’m not trying to age myself, but it was literally like go to college, get an internship – boom, you’re in. That’s how you get in the door of a big network. I was interning at CBS, NBC, and at Clear Channel – all at the same time. Now you can’t do that, and now it’s even harder to get an internship opportunity. So, just building your own brand and starting your own free website/blog, that alone could really catch the eye of a lot of industry people when you do apply for your dream position. If you want to become a writer at a magazine, they’re going to go into your Instagram, Twitter and Facebook account, so you have to be very careful on how you perceive yourself online, because that’s where everyone goes. So if you want to break into this industry with a clean slate, start early by not making the wrong mistakes. Now everything is very transparent. If you went to jail, I could go online and find that out. Start with a clean slate and use everything you have access to. Read things that you’re excited about. You have to really dive into the lane that you want to be in, in this industry. Because it’s not just radio; it’s everything.

Jocelyn: Did you always know you wanted to be in this industry?

Karli: I grew up in Hollywood. My father was a media tech, so when I was younger he would also come home with really cool flower arrangements for my mom, and he would tell us all these crazy stories about this amazing Oscar party he went to, or this concert he just witnessed. He would always get us excited about these experiences that he had. The older I got, the more I understood his job. He would be a technician behind a huge concert, which is a really exciting job. Sometimes he would sneak me in with him and I would be underneath the sound boards just watching my dad work. I knew I wanted to do something in music, I just wasn’t sure what. I always had a dream of becoming a MTV VJ. When I got the opportunity, I could just not believe it. I felt like I made it!  Karlifornia was something that was created by one of the producers of TRL. They dove into my life – they were like, “Your grandma is this crazy? Your best friend does that?” and I’m like, yeah, this is just me. I never said I wanted my own reality show, I never said I wanted to be on the #1 station in Los Angeles. My parents told me to go to school, see what I loved, and every door that opens go through it. Don’t say no to anything; say yes to everything – except sexual favors, lol. It worked for me. I worked 8 months for free at KIIS-FM, and I knew that was exactly where I wanted to be. I wanted to grow in that field, and I knew that that was home after being there so long. From there it led to opportunities – auditioning for TV stuff, which then led to auditioning for MTV 7 times. They flew me out to New York City to audition.  I came back not knowing what was going to happen, and then I finally got to be a VJ for MTV Tr3s.

Jocelyn: How do you feel knowing that so many young women look up to you? Do you ever feel like that’s pressure?

Karli: I really put my family first. Everything I do, I keep my family in mind. Like, would this make my sister proud?  Would my mom be okay with me posing this way? At the end, I always ask myself, “Are you going to be proud after doing this project or taking this job?”. I think that helped guide and mold the personality that I’ve become on TV and radio. I don’t call myself a role model; I think calling yourself a role model is weird. We’re all equal and we’re all just trying to work hard. I love how they’re really embracing the females in this industry. I love how they’re being put forward, rather than hidden. It’s taken women a long time to get here. Being a part of that wave and just experiencing that here at DASH Radio; being the VP of Pop Programming. The Hispanic factor also plays a big part that I’m very proud of, because it’s a community that I hold really close to my heart. It’s an honor; it’s great. I don’t think its pressure; it would be pressure if my mind wasn’t right. It would be pressure if I didn’t balance myself as much as I do. But, I think so far, so good.

Jocelyn: I feel like there’s a misconception that you have to show too much to “make it”. What are your views on that?

Karli: Sex sells – that plays a big part in this industry. Listen, I’ve been in this industry for 12 years and you won’t find a picture of my ass on the internet, or me in lingerie. It hasn’t been hard for me and I haven’t had to show my cleavage, or get work done through a radio endorsement. It’s just been me and knowing better. Not feeling like I’m someone I’m not. It’s honestly about me consistently making myself a better person, whether it is hiking, reading, spending time with my grandmother and family. It’s simple, it’s not that complicated. “If you don’t lie, you never have to remember anything”. Stay true to who you are from day one. People might say she’s on camera because she’s beautiful; we have to remember I’m not a size 0 and I’ve been on national television. I was never looked down upon, because when I do my interviews I educate myself; I prepare myself. I have proven myself to be a television host. If you really prepare yourself there’s no reason why you wouldn’t get hired for the position.

Karli: And its longevity. Women have come and gone, they’ve burned bridges by being promiscuous – showing a little too much. You just become a trend, and trends fade. If you want prosperity and you want a long career in this industry you have to be stay humble, be true to yourself, and believe in everything you step into the door with. Never stop going. Just be yourself.

Jocelyn: Was there ever a point in time when you questioned your journey and felt like quitting?

Karli: Absolutely! There’s been plenty of times when I‘ve had to question my journey. Times when my contracts would be over. Times when I was eating tuna for a week. Times when I would get in arguments with my boss every day. Times when I felt like I wasn’t being appreciated. You really just have to take a step back and say “do I want this? do I want this, this bad?”. They say once you hit the ground there’s only one way to go, and that’s up, and it’s so true. If you’re not happy doing what you’re doing; change it. It’s so simple. People that have a 9-5 and hate it – change it. You want to go back to school? Go back to school, get a loan, and figure it out. Figure it out! The journey has not been easy for me – at all. I don’t think I’m even there yet. I think my journey is just starting right now at DASH radio, because I’m getting to be a part of something that’s changing the culture. When I say culture, I’m talking about the music industry and how everything is evolving into the digital space. It’s an honor to be a part of something that will make history one day.

Jocelyn: If you weren’t working in the music industry, what would you be doing?

Karli: I could see myself being an agent. I love making dreams come true and people counting on me. I love the thought of creating something out of nothing. I think that’s a beautiful thing. I would love it.

Jocelyn: You’ve had much success in your career, what do you think the secret to success is?

Karli: I stayed loyal to myself. I stayed loyal to what I see myself being. I can’t say the key to success is eating gluten-free bread. It’s honestly just staying loyal to what you want out of life, and keep dreaming big. It’s simple; people try to complicate things all the time. The media will always try to tell you if you don’t get blue extensions, you’re not going to fit in.

Jocelyn: What piece of advice would you tell your younger self?

Karli: Don’t be so hard on myself, because I’m extremely sensitive. I’m a cancer, so I’m extremely emotional. I put a lot of pressure on things going wrong. I blame myself for it, even though it’s not entirely my fault. I would tell myself not to trust so easily. I trust people very easily.  I see the good in people, before I see the bad in people.  So I would tell myself not to be so hard on myself and don’t trust easily.

Jocelyn: You’ve done so much, and I’m sure you’ve experience some amazing moments, but can you tell me what has been one of the biggest highlights of your career?

Karli: It had to be when I saw my Karlifornia promo air repeatedly on the New York Time Square MTV marquee. I was standing there with my friend, and we had sidekicks at the time, we didn’t even have iPhones. There was no one around to take a picture, or anything. I only have one picture of this moment, and It was me pointing at my marquee and watching myself. I had never been anywhere where snow falls, and the moment when that was happening it started snowing. It was such a big moment for me, I will never forget it! MTV use to have a memorabilia store, and my show was running in the store. That was the first time I got recognized for my show in New York City. It was one of the most awesome moments in my life.

Jocelyn: What are you some of your pet peeves?

Karli:-Pet peeves: Bad breath, people that chew with their mouth opens, and liars.

Jocelyn: Three things we don’t know about you?

Karli:  (1) I’ve watched Maid in Manhattan like 50 times, I know the whole transcript!

             (2)I’m obsessed with coffee. I own every coffee machine you can think of. I will own a coffee shop one day.

             (3) I love, love!

Jocelyn: Do you like falling in love?

Karli: You know what, I thought I had met the man of my dreams, and then life hit. So, now it’s like, I love real love. I see what love is, from being on my own and seeing it from afar. Seeing couples together, married. It’s a beautiful thing when that happens; when you find that right companionship. I love the thought of ending up with my prince charming. I love, love.

Jocelyn: You know it’s going to happen.

Karli: Oh, yeah! I love to manifest things into reality. My friend Gina Rodriguez just won a Golden Globe Award., and I was like “You’re winning!” You manifest things into reality for yourself.

Karli: (Bonus 4)I love crystals, horoscopes, the universe, ancient aliens on the History channel, I love the moon. I’m the happiest when it’s a full moon.  I think I’m a witch, I think I may have special powers or something! I follow NASA on Instagram and they recently took a picture of the galaxy and I thought it was so amazing. That’s more than 3 things that I love, but still.

Karli, thank you for sharing some amazing moments with us! Continue inspiring!



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