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Help! What Do I Wear for My TV Interview?

July 1, 2013 Bradford Group Administrator


You or your public relations firm has secured a television spot for your business. Congrats! That’s the hard part. Now you’re panicking about being on live TV. Luckily, this Nashville public relations firm has some tricks of the trade for TV interviews.


The first question a client asks me after I’ve scheduled a television segment for them is almost always the same: “What do I wear?” The days that grown men ask me about makeup and clothing choices make my job fun. One client even asked where he could buy foundation. All kidding aside—it’s important to make sure your appearance is set for your TV interview, and there are definitely some dos and don’ts.


  • DO dress up. Even if you wear jeans in the office every day, a TV interview is time to step it up and break out the business casual. For men, wear a button down shirt and slacks, at the very least. A suit can’t hurt. This rule changes for local consumer segments. For example, if you’re doing a cooking segment for a local affiliate, a polo shirt with your company logo works.
  • DON’T wear a white shirt. Unless you’re wearing a dark suit jacket over it, a white shirt will wash you out on camera.
  • DO touch up your hair. If you have white hair, it will wash out on camera just like your skin would. Black mascara can save you here. Just take the brush and carefully run it through your hair along your forehead line to darken it to more of a gray color.
  • DON’T wear a lot of flashy jewelry. Added jewelry often goes hand-in-hand with dressing up, but you don’t want anything that will cause a glare on camera. You also want to avoid the noise from clanging bracelets.
  • DO wear makeup. If you’re doing a national segment—either by satellite or in-studio—they may have a makeup artist at the studio that can help you. If not, women should stick to their normal routine. There’s no reason to cake it on. Men can borrow some foundation or powder from their wives.
  • DON’T forget about your hands. If you talk with your hands, apply foundation to them as well so that they aren’t ghost white compared to your face. You can also hide your hands, but you want to make sure you’re talking naturally on camera and not focusing on leaving your hands at your sides.


Of course, there’s more to a TV segment than your appearance. Your behavior matters, too.


  • Turn off your cell phone. The last thing you want during a live interview is for your phone to ring. Not only is it embarrassing and unprofessional, the TV station will definitely not invite you back. Leave the phone in the car.
  • Arrive on time. The time that producers give you isn’t a suggestion. If the segment is live they are counting on you to be there or they are faced with dead air. If you’ve never been to the studio before, give yourself extra time to get into the building. Sometimes it can be hard to find the right entrance and you often have to buzz up to get in.
  • Make the most of it. Your public relations firm will prep you with talking points, but you can also bring props or samples for added publicity, depending on the show you’re on. For example, if you’re doing a cooking segment, bring an entire setup for the table, including multiple menu items. You can also have more fun with your attire. I’ve had clients wear Halloween costumes and Santa hats on local morning shows, and the producers and anchors loved it.


TV is a great publicity opportunity so you want to take advantage of it. For every TV interview, you want to be prepared with talking points, but how you look and behave on camera matters too. Being friendly—both on camera and to the staff—will go a long way for your business.


Photo credit: Edwart Visser

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