'Entertainment Tonight' host Nischelle Turner returns home with message for her alma mater – Columbia Daily Tribune

'Entertainment Tonight' host Nischelle Turner returns home with message for her alma mater – Columbia Daily Tribune

Nischelle Turner remembers a line repeated out of her grandmother’s mouth.
“Dream bigger than your surroundings,” Turner was often told.
The Rock Bridge High School and University of Missouri School of Journalism alum returned to her hometown Thursday and shared that same message with students at her high school alma mater.
Turner, who graduated from Rock Bridge in 1993, now works closely with some of today’s most well-known celebrities as the first Black woman host in the 40-year history of the television show “Entertainment Tonight.” 
She spoke with students at Rock Bridge on Thursday afternoon as part of the Columbia Public Schools Foundation’s 25th-anniversary celebration before delivering the keynote address Thursday night at the foundation’s anniversary event held at the Sorenson Estate just east of Columbia.
“Being able to come back to my high school that I haven’t been inside for probably 20 years is wild to me,” Turner told the Tribune.
Students asked questions about her career choices, life challenges and celebrity interview stories, all of which she answered with enthusiasm, recalling unexpected, weird and nerve-wrecking moments of her career. 
One story featured New York Yankees legend Derek Jeter when Turner worked for Fox Sports. Her crew had told her not to look at or interact with Jeter, but when she was in the dugout preparing for the game, he approached her, asking what she was doing there so early. The interaction led to an unexpected friendship with the baseball star.
During her time at Rock Bridge, she did not belong to a particular clique and got along with everyone, which she believes has served her well in her career, she said. She wrote for the school newspaper and always felt supported by teachers, she added.
Alongside her post at “Entertainment Tonight,” Turner hosts and produces “Secret Celebrity Renovation,” contributes to CNN and hosts a podcast called “The Big Podcast” with former basketball star Shaquille O’Neal. 
“To know (the students) really were interested and had great questions and maybe I sparked something in one of them, that’s all it means for me,” Turner said. “I come from a family where we are taught to be servants of service, so whatever you can pay forward, that’s the win.”
Lauren Tronstad covers local government and politics for the Tribune. Contact her at [email protected] or on Twitter @LaurenTronstad.


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