Next Gen 2019: Hollywood's 35 Rising Executives 35 and Under

6:00 AM 11/6/2019

by Rebecca Ford and Bryn Elise Sandberg

What do a ballet dancer, a badminton star and a guy who sold to Spotify for $50 million have in common? They're on The Hollywood Reporter's annual list of young execs leading "a seismic change" and poised to take the industry into the future, in whatever form it takes.

Jai Lennard

They've shepherded massive movie franchises, brokered game-changing deals, worked on industry-shifting platforms and helped create critically acclaimed TV. THR's 26th annual Next Gen list — featuring 35 execs, 35 and under — highlights the agents, producers, studio execs, creators and representatives who are leading the way as the industry undergoes unprecedented showbiz shifts in both culture and content.

Profiles written by Ashley Cullins, Rebecca Ford, Mia Galuppo, Natalie Jarvey, Borys Kit, Bryn Elise Sandberg and Tatiana Siegel.

  • Ken Basin, 35

    Executive VP & Head of Business Affairs, Paramount TV

    Jai Lennard

    "I decided to be a lawyer when I realized I didn't want to be a doctor and didn't want to engage in a very difficult negotiation with my Russian-Jewish immigrant parents," says Basin with a laugh. He did start USC pre-med, but changed his major to international relations before going on to Harvard Law. Prior to becoming a studio negotiator, Basin handled litigation and transactional work at Greenberg Glusker and was Amazon Studios' second-ever business affairs employee and was hired by Sony after closing a deal for Mad Dogs on a seemingly impossible deadline. Basin (who has appeared on both Jeopardy! and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire) joined Paramount in 2017 and was promoted to his current post in April. "It's the hardest job I've ever had, the most stressful job I've ever had and by far the most fun job I've ever had," says Basin, who spends most of his time problem solving when "things hit the rocks." He also still directly oversees Netflix's 13 Reasons Why and Apple TV+'s Shantaram ("the biggest, most complex show I've ever seen").

    THE PERSON I'D SWITCH JOBS WITH FOR A DAY

    Ira Glass

    TALENT I’M DYING TO WORK WITH

    Bill Hader

    MY MOTIVATIONAL MANTRA FOR 2020

    “Don’t panic; there will be plenty of time for that later.”

    MOST SURPRISING SHOW IN MY NETFLIX QUEUE

    Queer Eye (love you, JVN).”

  • Mandy Beckner, 34

    Director of Original Independent Film, Netflix

    Jai Lennard

    With an eye toward breaking in new directors, Beckner is building out Netflix's homegrown film slate after joining the company two years ago from David Heyman's Heyday Films. She just wrapped principal photography on the first project she brought to Netflix, the horror film There's Someone Inside Your House from Shawn Levy's 21 Laps and James Wan's Atomic Monster. On the horizon is Liz Garbus' serial killer drama Lost Girls, the anticipated sequel to The Kissing Booth and the Édgar Ramírez-fronted crime thriller The Last Days of American Crime. The Washington, D.C., native lives in Culver City with her husband of one year, I, Tonya producer Bryan Unkeless (Next Gen Class of 2012), with their two dogs and tortoise.

    FOOD/DRINK I LOVE BUT WOULD NEVER ORDER AT A BUSINESS MEAL

    "I love a good lemonade. But sometimes at work meetings I'll order an Arnold Palmer instead. For some reason, I think it sounds more sophisticated."

    TALENT I’M DYING TO WORK WITH

    "Greta Gerwig, Coralie Fargeat, Lulu Wang and Olivia Wilde would all be at the very top of my list."

    MY MOTIVATIONAL MANTRA FOR 2020

    "Work hard, be kind, and try to speak at a normal speed and volume."

    MOST SURPRISING SHOW IN MY NETFLIX QUEUE

    "Big Mouth. I don't usually watch adult animated sitcoms. However, Big Mouth is incredibly funny and perfectly depicts the confusion and chaos of those middle school years."

  • Steven Brown, 35

    Talent Agent, ICM Partners

    Jai Lennard

    The New Jersey native has helped his clients, many of them women of color, land some of Hollywood's biggest genre film and TV projects. After her turn as Black Canary in Warner Bros.' Birds of Prey, Jurnee Smollett-Bell will head to Jordan Peele's HBO sci-fi series Lovecraft Country, while client Lashana Lynch (Captain Marvel) will next be seen in Bond film No Time to Die (and on the cover of this magazine). But the agent, who joined ICM in 2009, says the job satisfaction is rooted in the work that comes before a deal is inked. He cites the trajectory of The Politician star David Corenswet, who auditioned for the Ryan Murphy show as a guest star, booked a series regular role and will now lead and exec produce Murphy's new series, Hollywood. "You get so many close calls and so many nos until you get that yes," says the Syracuse grad, who lives in L.A. with his chow chow named Gryffin. Another standout moment came while walking the Croisette at Cannes with longtime client Ruth Negga ahead of the premiere of her Oscar-nominated movie Loving. He remembers: "Maybe it was the jet lag, but I definitely cried more by the end of the movie than I did the first time I saw it."

    WEIRDEST WAY I'VE MET A CLIENT

    "Boxing."

    TALENT I'M DYING TO WORK WITH

    “Denis Villeneuve. He is flawless in my mind. Otherwise, Robert Zemeckis because Forrest Gump is one of the reasons I’m in entertainment.”

    CHILDHOOD TV SERIES I WANT ON STREAMING

    Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

    MOST SURPRISING SHOW IN MY NETFLIX QUEUE

    "If you’re counting Hulu, The Good Doctor. I watch every episode."

    LAST TIME I TRULY DISCONNECTED

    “Fiji this past May, with the exception that I called a potential client every single day from vacation until she signed with me.”

    BIGGEST CHANGE I’VE WITNESSED IN HOLLYWOOD

    “I think people are more interested in personal relationships and finding people with mutual taste, as opposed to being represented by a used car salesman.”

  • Kudzi Chikumbu, 32

    Director of Creator Community, TikTok

    Jai Lennard

    As a child in South Africa, Zimbabwe-born Chikumbu idolized Oprah. But the University of Cape Town grad took a detour from his entertainment ambitions, working as an accountant and consultant for his first few professional years. After he graduated from the Stanford MBA program, he took a role at social media startup Musical.ly. During his three years with the company — which in that time was acquired by China's ByteDance and rebranded as TikTok — he's risen through the ranks and now oversees the team that helps creators make the most of the fast-growing platform and its 1 billion users, including establishing creator education initiatives and supporting diverse communities. Chikumbu — who in his spare time reviews candles on his humorous Instagram account @sircandle­man — helped organize TikTok's first appearance at VidCon in July, where the company's at-capacity party was the talk of the conference. Says Chikumbu: "It was truly the debut of a platform and a creator community."

    THE PERSON I'D SWITCH JOBS WITH FOR A DAY

    Rihanna

    TALENT I’M DYING TO WORK WITH

    Oprah Winfrey

    PODCAST I’M CURRENTLY OBSESSED WITH

    "Super Soul Sunday is the only one. Outside of that, I’m mostly a video person. I play videos in the background as podcasts, haha."

    MY MOTIVATIONAL MANTRA FOR 2020

    “I am open to receiving the blessings the universe has to offer me.”

  • Max Cutler, 28

    Founder and Managing Director, Parcast

    Jai Lennard

    The L.A.-raised son of a radio producer has devoted his career to a more modern audio format: podcasting. Cutler started Parcast in 2016, and when his first show, Unsolved Murders: True Crime Stories, reached more than 100,000 downloads in its first month, he knew he was onto something. Over the next three years, he built Parcast into a home for dark, gritty storytelling, from true crime to conspiracy theories. In March, Spotify acquired the company for around $56 million, even though at first Cutler wasn't looking to sell. "For the first time, because I didn't raise money, it [gave me] resources to actually grow Parcast," the University of Arizona alum says of why he changed his mind. Cutler, who celebrated the deal by taking his friends to Las Vegas for the weekend, has indeed expanded Parcast, tripling his downtown L.A.-based staff to 80 people, launching ambitious podcast series Horoscope Today and prepping a slate of 35 new shows that will debut in 2020.

    WEIRDEST WAY I'VE MET A COLLABORATOR

    "On a Bumble date. We quickly realized our path forward would be to work together instead of dating!"

    TALENT I’M DYING TO WORK WITH

    “Chrissy Teigen. She is substantive yet hilarious and has a point of view that would captivate a podcast audience.”

    FOOD/DRINK I LOVE BUT WOULD NEVER ORDER AT A BUSINESS MEAL

    "Ribs — too messy for a business meal.”

    THE PERSON I’D SWITCH JOBS WITH FOR A DAY

    “Jeffrey Lurie. My goal has always been to own the Eagles one day. Fly Eagles Fly.”

    BIGGEST CHANGE I’VE WITNESSED IN HOLLYWOOD

    “I used to have to explain what a podcast was. Now everyone explains to me why they need a podcast.”

  • Melissa Darman, 34

    TV Lit Agent, Verve

    Jai Lennard

    Working at an agency that has signed the WGA Code of Conduct has its perks: Darman is one of the few lit agents in town who can still work with writers. Despite telling herself she'd never get into the representation business ("In my mind, every agent was Ari Gold," she says), the Syracuse grad became agent No. 11 at Verve in 2014 after stretches at ICM, ABC and Lionsgate TV. The Boston native helped secure screenwriter clients J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay one of last year's most coveted assignments: showrunning duties on Amazon's Lord of the Rings series. She's also been instrumental in securing showrunner gigs for many of her scribes, including Karl Gajdusek on season one of Stranger Things, Captain Marvel writer Jac Schaeffer on Disney+ series WandaVision and Robin Shorr on Disney+'s Gina Rodriguez show Diary of a Female President.

    THE PERSON I'D SWITCH JOBS WITH FOR A DAY

    "Bob Iger or Beyoncé. Depends on the day."

    WEIRDEST WAY I’VE MET A CLIENT

    "After class at SoulCycle, someone politely told me I had a rip down the back of my pants. The rest is history."

    MY MOTIVATIONAL MANTRA FOR 2020

    "'Work smarter not harder.' It’s something I am constantly thinking about."

    LAST TIME I TRULY DISCONNECTED

    "Last summer. I was under anesthesia for three-plus hours."

  • Colin Davis, 29

    Content Executive, Quibi

    Jai Lennard

    In 2018, Davis took a risk by leaving TBS (where he worked on Search Party and brought in former SNL-er Nasim Pedrad's Chad) for a role running comedy at yet-to-launch mobile video platform Quibi. "The future is always a scary step for anyone to take, but when it's Meg Whitman and Jeffrey Katzenberg, that's the most assurance you can get," says the avid surfer. The UCLA grad is optimistic about the lineup of shows he's helped to assemble, including its first drama, #FreeRayshawn, as well as Dummy starring Anna Kendrick and the Darren Criss musical Royalties, ahead of Quibi's April 2020 debut. Raised in Westlake Village, Davis wanted to be a film director when he was a child, but he has comedy in his blood. His late grandmother was a writer on I Love Lucy and his father was a producer and assistant director on Murphy Brown during its original run.

    TALENT I'M DYING TO WORK WITH

    "I'm a big fan of the Andersons — be it Wes, Paul Thomas or Cooper."

    FOOD/DRINK I LOVE BUT WOULD NEVER ORDER AT A BUSINESS MEAL

    “I’m not afraid to order the occasional piña colada and encourage table-wide participation.”

    LAST TIME I TRULY DISCONNECTED

    “British Airways flight 269 from LHR to LAX didn’t have working Wi-Fi.”

    BIGGEST CHANGE I’VE WITNESSED IN HOLLYWOOD

    “I’m hearing less ‘This is how we’ve always done it’ and more ‘What if we tried this?’”

  • Jessie Dicovitsky, 30

    VP Original Programming, Showtime

    Jai Lennard

    Dicovitsky went to Princeton to study politics but set her sights on Hollywood after taking a creative writing class taught by Toni Morrison. "She taught me that when you get people emoting and connecting to a human story, that's how you can make the most change," says the former NBC page, who joined Showtime in 2012, starting out as David Nevins' assistant. Over the past eight years, her fingerprints have been all over the cabler's comedies (Shameless), dramas (Billions) and docuseries (The Circus) — championing female voices along the way. Dicovitsky, who lives in Studio City with her film producer husband and their German shephard-husky mix, Graham Cracker, is currently tackling the network's long-gestating Halo adaptation and the L Word reboot (debuting Dec. 8).

    THE PERSON I'D SWITCH JOBS WITH FOR A DAY

    "Chris Harrison. I could really shake up the storylines on The Bachelor next season."

    TALENT I’M DYING TO WORK WITH

    "It’s a toss-up between Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Yorgos Lanthimos. If they teamed up, the world might implode!"

    WEIRDEST WAY I’VE MET A COLLABORATOR

    "I keep on running into writers at Joan’s when I order the French toast. Never when I get the chopped salad."

    MOST SURPRISING SHOW IN MY NETFLIX QUEUE

    "The Great British Bake Off … because I’m a notoriously awful baker. Sorry, Paul Hollywood!"

  • Lindsay Donohue, 34

    VP Limited Series, FX Networks

    Jai Lennard

    Donohue was in college at Brandeis when she stumbled upon an article about former ABC chief Steve McPherson's part in the success of Grey's Anatomy and Desperate Housewives. "That was the first time I learned that development was a job," she says. The New Hampshire native scored an assistant gig at Innovative Artists in New York, where she worked in lit and then talent representation for close to two years before relocating to L.A. in 2009. She soon landed at FX on John Landgraf's desk, and eventually was promoted to a limited series exec in 2013. Since then, she's had a hand in such critically acclaimed anthologies as Fargo and American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson. Next up: the anticipated Cate Blanchett miniseries Mrs. America, and affair drama A Teacher, starring Kate Mara and Nick Robinson.

    CHILDHOOD TV SERIES I WANT ON STREAMING

    "Melrose Place. I even have a piece of the courtyard hanging in my office."

    TALENT I’M DYING TO WORK WITH

    "Barry Jenkins. He makes such beautiful, poignant work. I’d also love to do something with Greta Gerwig. Her work as a creator and performer has such specificity"

    FOOD/DRINK I LOVE BUT WOULD NEVER ORDER AT A BUSINESS MEAL

    "Quinoa. It’s delicious, but dangerous during a business meal."

    MOST SURPRISING SHOW IN MY NETFLIX QUEUE

    "It’s my Hulu account that is more surprising — lots of Bachelorette, Bachelor in Paradise and Pamela Smart: An American Murder Mystery."

    LAST TIME I TRULY DISCONNECTED

    "A last-minute trip to Oahu in May. It was the perfect combination of adventure and relaxation."

  • Josh Fagen, 31

    Senior VP Film & TV, Point Grey

    Jai Lennard

    "I cannot walk in wearing a suit — they'll never hire me" is what Fagen was thinking before his job interview at a then-fledgling banner headed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. "I changed from a suit into chinos and sneakers, which was the right move because Seth was in sandals and a Vancouver Grizzlies hat." Fagen, who owned Freaks and Geeks on DVD and went to the midnight premiere of Superbad as a teen on Long Island, was an assistant at UTA before landing at Point Grey, where one of his first on-set experiences was running through a staged frat party for Nick Stoller's Neighbors with a GoPro strapped to his chest. In the seven years since, the exec has made the transition to full-fledged producer, shepherding recent hits like Blockers ($94 million worldwide) and Good Boys ($110.6 million). He says: "I want to keep making comedies — ones that push the envelope, surprise people and have a sweetness to them."

    CHILDHOOD TV SERIES I WANT ON STREAMING

    "It would be wonderful to come home after a hard day at work, cue up an episode of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and prepare some Kraft macaroni and cheese with cut-up hot dog slices in it."

    THE PERSON I’D SWITCH JOBS WITH FOR A DAY

    "IndieWire film critic David Ehrlich. I have a real love and respect for film criticism. I’d like to go to a film festival, watch movies and feverishly write a couple of reviews, hoping I find something thoughtful to say. If I’m lucky, I’d even get into a heated debate on Film Twitter."

    MOST SURPRISING SHOW IN MY NETFLIX QUEUE

    "They’d be more surprised by what I don’t watch — which is anything other than Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown."

    WEIRDEST WAY I’VE MET A COLLABORATOR

    "This is crazy, but I once worked with someone I met through a general meeting."

  • Ryan Feldman, 33

    Motion Picture Lit Agent, WME

    Jai Lennard

    At the Toronto Film Festival in September, Feldman was running around with the directors behind two of the fest's buzziest films: Joshua and Benjamin Safdie, the brothers behind the Adam Sandler-starrer Uncut Gems; and Trey Edward Shults, the writer-director behind A24's heartbreaking drama Waves. Indeed, Feldman, a UC Irvine grad who started out in the Paradigm mailroom, has built a list packed with the next generation of auteurs: The San Diego native also works with horror helmers Ari Aster (Hereditary, Midsommar) and Mike Flanagan (creator of Netflix's The Haunting of Hill House) and Sam Levinson, the mind behind HBO's Euphoria. "They all have very different sensibilities, but they're all writer-directors who create something with some level of truth," says the agent, who wed in 2018.

    FOOD/DRINK I LOVE BUT WOULD NEVER ORDER AT A BUSINESS MEAL

    "Elote, aka Mexican street corn on the cob. Never on the cob at a business meal, but off the cob, all bets are off."

    MOST SURPRISING SHOW IN MY NETFLIX QUEUE

    "I got through a couple episodes of Taco Chronicles."

    LAST TIME I TRULY DISCONNECTED

    "Honeymoon, June 2018."

  • Carolina Garcia, 34

    Director of Original Series, Netflix

    Jai Lennard

    As a professionally trained ballet dancer, Garcia always thought she'd be a performer ­— but then she surprised herself by getting a business degree at the University of San Diego. Obsessed with 24 at the time, she nabbed an internship at 20th Century Fox TV, which led to a post-college gig at the studio on Dana Walden's desk. "I called it the Walden Bootcamp and to this day I call her my entertainment mom," says Garcia, who is originally from a small province in Argentina but grew up in Claremont. She spent nine years at Fox before one day stumbling on Netflix's corporate-culture PowerPoint online. Intrigued by the unconventional values, she sought out a coffee meeting with Netflix exec Brian Wright in 2016 and soon became the third hire on the streamer's young adult programming team. Under the mentorship of Wright and Cindy Holland over the last three years, Garcia has been integral to four-quadrant shows like Stranger Things, 13 Reasons Why and Sabrina, to name a few. She still dances almost every day, too, and even sold out her own musical theater show earlier this year.

    WEIRDEST WAY I'VE MET A COLLABORATOR

    "At a dance class. And also a bakery."

    TALENT I’M DYING TO WORK WITH

    "Oprah!!! She is the closest thing to God (next to the pope) for me."

    FOOD/DRINK I LOVE BUT WOULD NEVER ORDER AT A BUSINESS MEAL

    "I’m absolutely obsessed with cake and, more specifically, frosting. I get really sad when dessert time comes around and someone at the table says, 'No, I’m full.' Makes me so sad!" 

    CHILDHOOD TV SERIES I WANT ON STREAMING

    Gilligan's Island

    BIGGEST CHANGE I’VE WITNESSED IN HOLLYWOOD

    "When I first started, I noticed people weren’t comfortable being themselves (myself included). There was a lot of covering up who you really were in an effort to fit in, succeed (especially women) and be liked. What I love most is that I’ve noticed this 'coming out' of sorts, where people have permission to a) be themselves and b) have a life and hobbies outside of work. We can’t be effective, creative leaders if all we are is a robotic shell of ourselves."

  • Rob Gati, 33

    Senior Manager, Hulu

    Dawn Bowery/Dawn Bowery Photography

    The New Jersey native, who used to binge Simpsons reruns for hours after school, has been obsessed with comedy as long as he can remember. After an internship at Heyday Films, the Princeton grad landed on Peter Rice's desk at Fox in 2012, and after three years, Rice helped Gati transition into his first executive role at Hulu, just as the streamer was building out its original programming team. "It was a wild time to be there," says Gati, who recently married Kaplan/Perrone manager Hannah Ozer. He worked on early originals Difficult People and Casual and more recently has been key in crafting Hulu's comedy slate, from Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg's Future Man to critically acclaimed newcomers like Ramy and PEN15. He's also leading the charge on Hulu's animation initiative, featuring a new series from Rick and Morty creator Justin Roiland.

    TALENT I'M DYING TO WORK WITH

    "Mel Brooks. There is no person funnier on the planet."

    MY MOTIVATIONAL MANTRA FOR 2020

    "Follow your curiosity."

    NEW STREAMING SERVICE I'M MOST LIKELY TO SUBSCRIBE TO

    "Having Hulu, Netflix and Amazon, I may be veering into password-sharing territory now."

  • Olivia Gerke, 34

    Manager, 3Arts

    Jai Lennard

    With clients Julio Torres, Jaboukie Young-White and Bowen Yang, Gerke's roster reads like a hot list of 2019 comedy breakouts. Briefly wanting to direct music videos after college, the Boston University film major — who moved from South Korea to Plano, Texas, as a kid — got her foot in the door at 3Arts in 2007 as the second assistant to the partners. She became a manager in 2012 and moved to New York two years later, signing Torres and Joe Pera within months. "They were this special blend of weirdo that all the other comics really respected," says Gerke, who helped Pera land his own Adult Swim show and SNL alum Torres get two HBO projects off the ground: comedy series Los Espookys and stand-up special My Favorite Shapes. Other clients of Gerke's who've seen their profiles skyrocket this year? Yang, who became a new SNL castmember, and Young-White, who has quickly become a Daily Show favorite.

    THE PERSON I'D SWITCH JOBS WITH FOR A DAY

    "A dog walker. That would be a very nice day."

    TALENT I'M DYING TO WORK WITH

    "Derek Cianfrance. Is he interested in making heart-wrenching comedies?"

    BIGGEST CHANGE I'VE WITNESSED IN HOLLYWOOD

    "That diversity and inclusion are becoming more and more about reflecting a variety of points of view and experiences rather than checking a box or tokenism."

  • Matthew Gilbert-Hamerling, 33

    Partner, Fulton Management

    Jai Lennard

    As a Berkeley art history major who graduated during the 2008 recession, Gilbert-Hamerling struggled to find work. So, he spent the next year doing odd jobs — one of which was as "a data monkey" at a business management firm. From there, he talked himself into a bookkeeping gig. A decade later, he's managing money for firm clients like Channing Tatum, creators Rhett & Link and UFC champ Conor McGregor, whom he’s proudly watched “grow from an unknown Irish fighter to a global superstar.” When he's not swing dancing in his spare time, Gilbert-Hamerling can be found navigating an international licensing agreement, launching an apparel deal and "saying no to lots of bad investment opportunities presented to clients by their friends." Whether it's McGregor's Proper No. 12 Irish whiskey, Rhett & Link's acquisition of Smosh or Tatum's Magic Mike live male revue show empire, Gilbert-Hamerling says his job keeps him on his toes. "You never know what email is going to come in that's going to turn into the next greatest adventure."

    FOOD/DRINK I LOVE BUT WOULD NEVER ORDER AT A BUSINESS MEAL

    "Coca-Cola flavored Slurpee."

    WEIRDEST WAY I’VE MET A CLIENT

    "While most of my clients have come in from traditional sources, one of my clients introduced me to my girlfriend."

    THE PERSON I’D SWITCH JOBS WITH FOR A DAY

    "Donald Trump. Maybe give America a day of peace and quiet."

    MOST SURPRISING SHOW IN MY NETFLIX QUEUE

    "Terrace House. It's the Japanese version of The Real World where everyone is super polite and nothing happens. It's great."

  • Jonathan Gonda, 32

    VP Production, Paramount

    Jai Lennard

    While a co-ed at Vassar, the L.A. native would perform stand-up, opening for the likes of John Mulaney. It was then that he considered a career behind the scenes in entertainment. "I saw managers in the back of the clubs and thought, 'Maybe I could do that,' " he says. After a stint at 3Arts he landed at Warner Bros., working on Lego Batman Movie and The Accountant, then led production on Crazy Rich Asians, the $238 million global phenom. After joining Paramount in fall 2017, he contributed to three very different projects — Mission: Impossible — Fallout, Diane Keaton-starrer Book Club and Elton John biopic Rocketman. His biggest take away? “Commitment to audience. Know who you are making the movie for.” Looking ahead, the amateur chef, who has a labradoodle rescue named Roxy, will work on the studio's franchises with the next Mission: Impossible and Book Club installments.

    THE PERSON I'D SWITCH JOBS WITH FOR A DAY

    "My identical twin brother, who leads communications for McDonald's. He swears his job is harder."

    TALENT I’M DYING TO WORK WITH

    "That’s a tie: Nancy Meyers. Aaron Sorkin."

    MY MOTIVATIONAL MANTRA FOR 2020

    "Impeach (but let’s not give up on 2019)."

    CHILDHOOD TV SERIES I WANT ON STREAMING

    The Sally Jessy Raphael Show

  • Dani Gorin, 31

    Senior VP Television, Media Res

    Jai Lennard

    With a TV news producer dad, Gorin always thought she'd follow in her father's footsteps and even interned at CBS Evening News and Pardon the Interruption while in school at Washington University in St. Louis. She parlayed that interest in politics to a job writing for a now-defunct Berman Braun website she describes as "Perez Hilton meets Politico." When Gail Berman left to start the Jackal Group, Gorin followed. "It was just a crash course in figuring it out," says the Maryland native, who during her three years there had the chance to work on broadcast, cable and streaming shows (she optioned Marie Kondo's Tidying Up book). Gorin's worlds collided when she boarded Michael Ellenberg's newly launched studio Media Res in 2017 to develop Apple TV+'s The Morning Show, starring Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston. As the company's TV head, Gorin, who is married to film producer Zack Roth, is building out that brand with two other big-swing shows for Apple: a Pachinko adaptation and a CIA drama with Brie Larson.

    FOOD/DRINK I LOVE BUT WOULD NEVER ORDER AT A BUSINESS MEAL

    "I'd say chicken wings because they're so messy, but I love them too much to care about being gross."

    TALENT I’M DYING TO WORK WITH

    "Bong Joon Ho, Ruben Östlund, Phoebe Waller-Bridge."

    CHILDHOOD TV SERIES I WANT ON STREAMING

    Freaks and Geeks

    LAST TIME I TRULY DISCONNECTED

    "Ceramics class."

  • Amy Hodge, 34

    VP Original Programming, HBO

    Jai Lennard

    After she graduated from the University of Michigan, Hodge's TV writer brother Chad Hodge set his little sister up with an internship at McG's production company. The Illinois native later landed on a string of high-profile desks, including HBO's Michael Lombardo and Casey Bloys. When former BBC Worldwide head Jane Tranter sought out Hodge for a job in 2011, Bloys told her she'd be nuts not to take it. Despite leaving the network, Hodge — who is engaged to Who Is America? producer Nicholas Hatton — still had the chance to work on a handful of HBO shows that Tranter was producing, including Emmy nominee Succession and Lena Dunham's upcoming Wall Street series Industry. About eight years in, Hodge's career came full circle when she received a call from HBO's current comedy head, Amy Gravitt, to come back to the network. Since her return, she's worked on Righteous Gemstones and Mrs. Fletcher, and is shepherding Run, from Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Vicky Jones.

    TALENT I'M DYING TO WORK WITH

    "Cate Blanchett and Catherine O'Hara, ideally in the same show."

    MY MOTIVATIONAL MANTRA FOR 2020

    "I have a plan for that."

    BIGGEST CHANGE I’VE WITNESSED IN HOLLYWOOD

    "Before streamers, all executives and assistants knew every writer on every staff of every season of every show on every network. Needless to say, that’s impossible now."

  • Preeya Khanna, 31

    Global Head of Public Figure Partnerships, YouTube

    Jai Lennard

    Montreal-born Khanna aspired to be a singer, even auditioning for Canadian Idol. But she eventually discovered that she had more aptitude for managing musical acts than performing in them, so the Concordia University alumna moved to New York to study the music business at NYU and began working with bands like Fistful of Mercy (through which she met her music technician husband, who is currently working with Harry Styles). Khanna joined YouTube in 2013 and now oversees the global group dedicated to helping actors, musicians and other public figures navigate how to manage channels of their own. Over the years, her team has helped Kylie Jenner announce the birth of her daughter and teamed with Will Smith on a YouTube Original special where he bungee jumped over the Grand Canyon. She says: "The more genuine, intimate and constant your connection to your fan base, the more they'll want to support your projects."

    CHILDHOOD TV SERIES I WANT ON STREAMING

    "Give me all of the Olsen twins movies — I'd watch Passport to Paris weekly."

    TALENT I’M DYING TO WORK WITH

    “The entire, brilliant cast of Euphoria.”

    MOST SURPRISING SHOW IN MY NETFLIX QUEUE

    “They would probably be surprised and slightly worried by how many times I've watched and rewatched The Great British Bake Off.”

    LAST TIME I TRULY DISCONNECTED

    “The smartest advice I've ever been given is to hire people that are smarter than you. Because I have the most amazing team, I can actually take semi-phoneless vacations. This summer, I spent two weeks in Montreal hanging out with my 2-day-old niece — you can't hold a phone while holding a baby!”

  • Susie Kim, 35

    Business Manager, Altman Greenfield & Selvaggi

    Jai Lennard

    Julianne Moore, her husband, director Bart Freundlich, and Queer Eye's Antoni Porowski are among the stars who trust Kim with their money. The Queens native, whose parents immigrated from South Korea, chose accounting because "it's clear cut," she says. "If you do your job correctly, your books balance." After her boss at a previous firm did the exact opposite and was busted for embezzlement, Kim decided to go to night school to get a master's degree. "It made me want to become a better accountant," she says, adding that she also found better bosses. "They tell me, 'Treat it like it's your own money,' " says Kim of the partners at her current firm. When she's not gently encouraging clients to curb spending ("everyone spends too much"), the newlywed, whose husband also works at the firm, likes to swim and indulge her sweet tooth (in June, she took a croissant-making class in Paris).

    CHILDHOOD TV SERIES I WANT ON STREAMING

    "The Joy of Painting by Bob Ross."

    FOOD/DRINK I LOVE BUT WOULD NEVER ORDER AT A BUSINESS MEAL

    "Chicken fingers."

    THE PERSON I’D SWITCH JOBS WITH FOR A DAY

    "Uber drivers, except I’m the worst driver ever."

    MOST SURPRISING SHOW IN MY NETFLIX QUEUE

    "Tiny House Nation. It makes me feel better about my tiny apartment."

  • Annie Lee, 35

    Partner, Gang Tyre Ramer & Brown

    Paul Smith

    Firm clients David Leitch and Chad Stahelski, the co-directors behind 2014's John Wick, have had a "meteoric rise" and created plenty of work for Lee, with Stahelski helming the hit sequels and Leitch directing Deadpool 2 and Hobbs & Shaw. Lee also negotiated back-to-back deals for writer-director Ric Roman Waugh (Angel Has Fallen) and is building a roster of rising talent like director Josephine Decker (Shirley) and actors actors Ally Maki (Toy Story 4) and Gavin Leatherwood (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina). The recently engaged La Cañada native suspects her father, a retired judge and descendant of Robert E. Lee, influenced her decision to become a lawyer early on. (There are third-grade photos of her dressed as an M&A lawyer to prove it.) Lee's path to Gang Tyre began when she met partner Tara Kole in passing at a dinner during law school, but it wasn't until years later when she was working overnight on a corporate deal that she "just had an epiphany," she says. "I want to do what she does. I googled her and applied the next morning." Now, Lee, whose mother emigrated from China at the age of 19, is working to "push the ball forward" on inclusivity in Hollywood: "I'm always trying to sign more people of Asian descent."

    CHILDHOOD TV SERIES I WANT ON STREAMING

    "Toss-up between Hey Dude and Salute Your Shorts."

    TALENT I’M DYING TO WORK WITH

    “Whoever the next female Spielberg is.”

    THE PERSON I’D SWITCH JOBS WITH FOR A DAY

    “Jeff Bezos, to find out what industry Amazon is taking over next. Or Elon Musk so I could ride a rocket.”

    MOST SURPRISING SHOW IN MY NETFLIX QUEUE

    “Every documentary involving dogs. Dogs, Second Chance Dogs, A Dog’s Life, A Man & His Dogs ... I could go on.”

  • Dani Melia, 34

    Producer, Big Beach

    Jai Lennard

    When Melia was studying film at NYU, she contacted New York-based financier-production company Big Beach on a whim. "I saw Little Miss Sunshine and was like, 'I want to do that,' " she recalls. She got an internship, and it's the only industry job she's ever had. Now, in her 12th year with the company, she hit her stride with Lulu Wang's breakout drama The Farewell. And while every indie producer was chasing Wang for her follow-up project, Children of the New World, the director stipulated in her contract that Melia be a producer. Up next for the New York native (her mom is actress turned soap opera writer Judy Tate), Melia is developing a film about advice gurus Ann Landers and Abigail Van Buren that Natalie Portman will star in and direct. When she's not in the trenches on set, Melia can be found in her Venice home planning her nuptials (fiance Keith Levine runs David Goyer's Phantom Four Films). "Planning a wedding is like trying to produce a movie," she jokes.

    WEIRDEST WAY I'VE MET A CLIENT/COLLABORATOR

    "Attending a political rally in Washington, D.C."

    TALENT I’M DYING TO WORK WITH

    "Céline Sciamma. I would produce anything she wants to make."

    THE PERSON I’D SWITCH JOBS WITH FOR A DAY

    "Lizzo. Like a lot of people, I'm obsessed with her music and the body-positive feminist message behind it. I can't sing though, so it would be an awkward day."

    CHILDHOOD TV SERIES I WANT ON STREAMING

    "Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? — the '90s PBS show. My mom was a guest actor on it from time to time, so I used to go to the tapings as a kid. And Rockapella's theme song was my jam."

    MOST SURPRISING SHOW IN MY NETFLIX QUEUE

    Trigger Warning With Killer Mike

  • Isabelle Mercier-Dalphond, 32

    Associate, Winston & Strawn

    Jai Lennard

    The Montreal native is a key player in WME's battle with the Writers Guild, which has seen Hollywood scribes dump their agents as the guild challenges the industry's packaging practices. "When we file briefs, we're very aware of the potential impact it could have on the whole industry," says Mercier-Dalphond, who is a three-time Canadian Junior National Champion in badminton. "It's very stressful, but I feel privileged to be part of something much bigger than me." Mercier-Dalphond, who exclusively studied and practiced law in French until she enrolled in Duke University's Master of Laws program in 2011, knows the company inside and out — she spent seven months in house at Endeavor on a temporary assignment beginning in late 2017. 

    WEIRDEST WAY I'VE MET A CLIENT

    "At a onesie costume party, while wearing a full lemur outfit."

    FOOD/DRINK I LOVE BUT WOULD NEVER ORDER AT A BUSINESS MEAL

    "Maple syrup (for fear of being a walking Canadian stereotype)."

    LAST TIME I TRULY DISCONNECTED

    "Last summer, in Paris, when I truly embraced the art of French living."

  • Matt Meyer, 30

    Agent, Paradigm

    Jai Lennard

    While an undergrad at University of Illinois, Meyer worked as a music promoter for Life in Color (formerly Dayglow). "Every weekend, I would fly around the country — do shows in Arkansas on a Friday night, then a show in Michigan, then come back for class," he recalls. The tempo hasn't changed, but now the music agent is shaping the careers of some of industry's top acts (Meyer took client Halsey from viral sensation to one of the most influential hitmakers and championed Machine Gun Kelly's transformation from party-rap "wild boy" to an in-demand crossover artist). Along the way, the Chicago native, who has confirmed more than $100 million in shows, has built a stable of genre-busting superstars that also includes Playboi Carti, Lil Dicky, Hayley Kiyoko, All Time Low, Yungblud, Shoreline Mafia, DIESEL/Shaquille O'Neal, Why Don't We and Charlotte Lawrence.

    TALENT I'M DYING TO WORK WITH

    "Aaron Sorkin, but more to grab a meal with. I have always loved his movies — Molly's Game, The Social Network and especially Moneyball."

    THE PERSON I’D SWITCH JOBS WITH FOR A DAY

    Mark Cuban

    MY MOTIVATIONAL MANTRA FOR 2020

    "Stay positive."

  • James Myers, 35

    Senior VP Production and Development, Lionsgate

    Jai Lennard

    Myers' path to Hollywood may have started out in Pasadena, but it made an unusual turn when he took a break from Brown at 19 to travel to Uganda, where he worked in an orphanage and a rehab clinic for child soldiers. After a semester, he went back to Brown and then Loyola Marymount University for business school and, during an internship at Summit, found that he could marry his business sense with the creative as a studio exec. The married father of two has worked on some of Lionsgate's biggest films, including Hacksaw Ridge, Stronger, The Glass Castle, Wonder and winner of six Oscars La La Land. Up next, he's overseeing Naruto, the studio's live-action manga adaptation; David Ayer's World War II thriller El-Alamein; and the Ulysses S. Grant epic that has Steven Spielberg and Leonardo DiCaprio attached.

    FOOD/DRINK I LOVE BUT WOULD NEVER ORDER AT A BUSINESS MEAL

    "I had a breakfast once where I cut into a poached egg and it slow-motion exploded its liquid yolk onto the jacket of the important author we were having breakfast with."

    TALENT I’M DYING TO WORK WITH

    "Sam Levinson, Rachel Morrison, Steven Caple Jr."

    CHILDHOOD TV SERIES I WANT ON STREAMING

    "ER. It's now on Hulu and I am pretty sure I could get into med school now."

    BIGGEST CHANGE I’VE WITNESSED IN HOLLYWOOD

    "We are inside what feels like a seismic change right now as these larger conglomerates attempt to consolidate and integrate their various content platforms and libraries. There will be more opportunity for original storytelling than ever, but it seems like change is always scary and I don’t remember a time when talent was more cautious of taking a misstep at the box office, but it will stabilize and we might see another really strong and robust run in the theatrical market place."

  • Jamie Pillet, 30

    Talent Agent, Abrams Artists

    Jai Lennard

    Once a child actor herself and repped by Abrams, Pillet has become a go-to agent for emerging talent, scooping up and nurturing young talent on TV (Young Sheldon star Iain Armitage), in film (Shahadi Wright Joseph, who was in Us and The Lion King) and onstage (Andrew Feldman and Ben Levi Ross of Dear Evan Hansen). The University of Buffalo alum scours YouTube (she signed Armitage when he was 5 off his review videos), along with the acting workshops she teaches in Alabama and Texas. And while some kid actors leave their agent at a certain point, the married Pillet is working to change that mentality. "I always say, 'I don't stop until you retire,' " she says. "There's something truly magical about starting someone's career and finishing it."

    FOOD/DRINK I LOVE BUT WOULD NEVER ORDER AT A BUSINESS MEAL

    "Fries with Buffalo sauce on the side."

    TALENT I’M DYING TO WORK WITH

    Aaron Sorkin

    THE PERSON I’D SWITCH JOBS WITH FOR A DAY

    Elizabeth Gabler

    MY MOTIVATIONAL MANTRA FOR 2020

    "That’s life in the NFL. Suit up or get out."

    MOST SURPRISING SHOW IN MY NETFLIX QUEUE

    "Shows about dream vacation homes."

  • Rishi Rajani, 27

    President of Film and TV, Hillman Grad

    Jai Lennard

    The NYU alum first met Lena Waithe as an executive at Jeff Robinov's Studio 8 when the company optioned the graphic novel Black that she was pitching to co-write. The project didn't move forward, but it didn't take long for Waithe to tap him for the top role at her budding production company. Rajani has spent the past year running TV and film for the seven-person outfit, which has a deal with Amazon. "The first text I send in the morning is to Lena and the last text I send at night is to Lena," he says. This year alone, the company has produced three films (including Queen & Slim), three TV series (Boomerang), a pilot, four music videos, five short films and three commercial campaigns. Adds Rajani: "We want to build out something that rivals a Plan B or a Bad Robot."

    BIGGEST CHANGE I'VE WITNESSED IN HOLLYWOOD

    "Stories created by and about people who have traditionally been 'othered' are starting to be considered as viable projects."

    TALENT I’M DYING TO WORK WITH

    Riz Ahmed

    THE PERSON I’D SWITCH JOBS WITH FOR A DAY

    Jeff Bezos

    MY MOTIVATIONAL MANTRA FOR 2020

    "Show your teeth."

  • Meredith Rothman, 32

    Manager, Anonymous Content

    Jai Lennard

    Despite growing up in West L.A. as the daughter of an agent, Rothman wasn't sold on a Hollywood career and instead opted for an art history degree from USC. "I worked at a gallery while I was in college and it dawned on me that studying art was very different than working in the art world," she remembers. "I wanted to work with artists." She transitioned into talent management, eventually landing at Mosaic, where she stayed for five years. Rothman jumped to Anonymous in 2018, with a client list that reads like a who's who of young Hollywood— from KiKi Layne (the first script Rothman sent to her was for Barry Jenkins' If Beale Street Could Talk) to Euphoria actors Alexa Demie and Angus Cloud, and Last Black Man in San Francisco writer-star Jimmie Fails. She's already busy but says that "starting to produce is definitely a future goal of mine."

    TALENT I'M DYING TO WORK WITH

    "Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Trey Edward Shults."

    BIGGEST CHANGE I’VE WITNESSED IN HOLLYWOOD

    "How the film industry is tending to play it safe more than it takes risks. I guess the upside to that is when a film is authentic and truthful it stands out for its poignancy."

  • Mackenzie Roussos, 34

    TV Agent, UTA

    Jai Lennard

    "I probably roll calls from my car more than any agent in Los Angeles," jokes the mom of three, who lives on a farm in Bedford, New York, with her software engineer husband and their 13 chickens. Every Tuesday and Thursday, she piles a group of agents into her "mom SUV" and drives to the city to find the next generation of comedy stars. "I sign people out of basement comedy clubs, and my favorite thing to do is introduce them to the world," says Roussos, who moved from CAA to UTA in 2015. The Tampa, Florida, native signed Michael Che, Bowen Yang and Aidy Bryant before they landed on SNL. In fact, she met Bryant (and client Vanessa Bayer) when she briefly dropped out of Tisch and took a detour to perform at Second City in Chicago. Other powerhouse clients include Awkwafina, Phoebe Robinson, Greta Lee, Michelle Wolf, Los Espookys' Julio Torres and Ana Fabrega and High Maintenance creators Ben Sinclair and Katja Blichfeld.

    CHILDHOOD TV SERIES I WANT ON STREAMING

    "All That, original cast."

    FOOD/DRINK I LOVE BUT WOULD NEVER ORDER AT A BUSINESS MEAL

    "Hotdogs."

    THE PERSON I’D SWITCH JOBS WITH FOR A DAY

    "Martha Stewart — farmer, chef, media mogul."

    MY MOTIVATIONAL MANTRA FOR 2020

    "ANY FUNCTIONING ADULT 2020."

  • Priya Satiani, 34

    Manager, Grandview

    Jai Lennard

    Born in Akron, Ohio, and raised in Orange County, Satiani was 24 when she started her own management company. "At that time, 99 percent of representatives were white men," says the Chapman University grad whose parents are of Indian and Pakistani descent. "So, many of the people I started representing were people who had like-minded experiences with me." Since 2007, she's been building up a diverse client list that she brought with her when she joined Grandview in 2015. Her clients include rising stars like Last Black Man in San Francisco breakout Jonathan Majors, Riverdale's Hayley Law and After's Inanna Sarkis; comedy actors like New Girl's Lamorne Morris and Meet the Patels' Ravi Patel; and filmmaker Chinonye Chukwu, whose feature Clemency won Sundance. Plus, Satiani, who was named partner in October, recently signed Atlanta star Zazie Beetz and her partner, writer-actor David Rysdahl. She hopes to continue to push for representation for people of color, particularly women of color in the industry. Says Satiani, who got married this year: "If I'm not doing that, then I'm not leaving a legacy."

    TALENT I'M DYING TO WORK WITH

    "Ruben Ostlund, Diane Keaton, Taika Waititi."

    THE PERSON I’D SWITCH JOBS WITH FOR A DAY

    "Paul Nicklen, saving our animals."

    MY MOTIVATIONAL MANTRA FOR 2020

    "Either you run the day or the day runs you.”

    CHILDHOOD TV SERIES I WANT ON STREAMING

    Are You Afraid of the Dark?

    LAST TIME I TRULY DISCONNECTED

    "Any Sunday I’m in town and can be at the Self Realization Center, my happy place."

  • Shary Shirazi, 32

    VP Creative Production, TriStar Pictures

    Courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment

    Growing up in the O.C. in a Farsi-speaking household, Shirazi dreamed of being the next Christiane Amanpour. It was only when she saw a posting for an internship at Paul Schiff Productions while attending UCLA that she considered a career in film. A couple other stops after Schiff, she was an assistant to Kathleen Kennedy as the Lucasfilm president was relaunching Star Wars with The Force Awakens. As an exec at TriStar, she gets to champion female filmmakers, along with buying projects that she sees as "positive and inspiring, but those things can live in all sorts of genres," she says. It doesn't get more positive than Tom Hanks as Mr. Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, which she brought in and oversaw (it opens Nov. 22). Next, she'll go into production on Happiest Season, a same-sex rom-com starring Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis in early 2020.

    BIGGEST CHANGE I'VE WITNESSED IN HOLLYWOOD

    "I remember doing coverage saying, 'This is too TV, it's not elevated.' I'm now competing with TV because they are so elevated."

    TALENT I’M DYING TO WORK WITH

    "Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Lebanese filmmaker Nadine Labaki."

    MY MOTIVATIONAL MANTRA FOR 2020

    "'Never give up, never surrender.' It’s my mantra every year. It’s from Galaxy Quest."

    CHILDHOOD TV SERIES I WANT ON STREAMING

    "Little House on the Prairie. My mom grew up on it, and my grandmother watched it in Iran."

  • Brian Toombs, 35

    Senior VP Digital, Funny or Die

    Jai Lennard

    Toombs is a key member of the executive team at Funny or Die that has been helping the comedy company navigate the turbulent digital space. Under his watch, they've built out a slate of digital shows like Under a Rock With Tig Notaro and Cooking With Jeff Goldblum. While digital distribution has evolved since Funny or Die first went live with shorts like The Landlord, Toombs notes, "What hasn't changed is that what's good is good. Good creators, good writers, good talent still break through." The Indiana University grad, who is expecting his second child with his wife, Aynsley, also established an in-house creative agency, which handles social and influencer marketing for Funny or Die-produced shows like American Vandal and No Activity. Outside of the office, he remains active in the entertainment community by serving as a co-chair of the MPTF's NextGen board of directors.

    TALENT I'M DYING TO WORK WITH

    LeBron James

    THE PERSON I’D SWITCH JOBS WITH FOR A DAY

    Judd Apatow

    MY MOTIVATIONAL MANTRA FOR 2020

    "'Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand. — Mark Twain."

    CHILDHOOD TV SERIES I WANT ON STREAMING

    Thundercats

  • Sadao Turner, 34

    VP of Social Media, Westbrook Media

    Jai Lennard

    It was Turner who got the call in 2017 when Will Smith's manager, Miguel Melendez, wanted to introduce the actor to YouTube and Instagram. The Los Angeles native, who grew up around the industry thanks to his mother, a model, actress and hatmaker, had already built his digital bona fides at Ryan Seacrest Productions, where he developed an online and social strategy for the host's radio show and other media properties. The Cal State Northridge dropout had wanted to be a director of photography but says he "never really had the patience for film" and enjoyed digital's fast pace. With Smith, the goal was to create an online identity driven by his focus on entertaining, inspiring and instructing audiences. Today Smith, who has 39 million Instagram followers and 7 million YouTube subscribers, is considered one of the most social-media-savvy entertainers around. "Will's personality was perfect for social media long before he was ever on social media," says Turner, who through Smith's Westbrook Media now also oversees the social strategy for Jada Pinkett Smith's Red Table Talk, Jaden Smith's Just Water brand and actor John Boyega.

    THE PERSON I'D SWITCH JOBS WITH FOR A DAY

    "[Twitter CEO] Jack Dorsey, so I can add an 'edit tweet' feature, at least for a day."

    TALENT I’M DYING TO WORK WITH

    “Jennifer Garner. Her Instagram is hilarious and deserving of every accolade.”

    MOST SURPRISING SHOW IN MY NETFLIX QUEUE

    Blown Away, the (amazing) Canadian glass-blowing docuseries.”

    LAST TIME I TRULY DISCONNECTED

    "A trip to Vancouver a couple months ago, but my girlfriend would disagree.”

    BIGGEST CHANGE I’VE WITNESSED IN HOLLYWOOD

    “It’s been rewarding to witness the shift of influence in meetings from managers, marketers and publicists to social media strategists and content creatives. For a long time, social media managers were viewed as a necessary nuisance to be seen and not heard, but now with the success or failure of projects riding on the efficacy of their social campaigns, we now have a seat at the table.”

  • Priya Verma, 34

    Partner, Morris Yorn

    Jai Lennard

    Verma is the youngest partner at one of Hollywood's top talent boutiques — and it's no surprise the racing enthusiast sped through the ranks, earning the title in 2017 after just four years with the firm. The Central California native started USC pre-med, but switched to political science and set her sights on sports law. "I wanted to be the general counsel of an NFL or NBA team until I realized their jobs are quite boring," she says with a laugh. At Morris Yorn, she gave up pursuing sports when she "fell in love with TV." Verma now reps a roster of creators like director Nisha Ganatra (Late Night), writer-producer Mike McMahan (Rick and Morty) and showrunner Justin Hillian (The Chi), services talent including Fred Armisen, Carrie Brownstein and Josh Rabinowitz and is taking the lead on expanding the firm's presence in New York and the U.K. As for her favorite hobby: "It's such an adrenaline rush," says Verma of hitting a race track like the one at the Porsche Experience Center in Carson. “I’ll go in the morning before work sometimes.”

    THE PERSON I'D SWITCH JOBS WITH FOR A DAY

    "[Former professional tennis player] Darren Cahill."

    MY MOTIVATIONAL MANTRA FOR 2020

    '"Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.' — Ferris Bueller"

    LAST TIME I TRULY DISCONNECTED

    "Two years ago in Tanzania, where the cell service/Wi-Fi is very much lacking but the safari sundowns are not."

  • Andrea Weintraub, 32

    Talent Agent, CAA

    Jai Lennard

    Weintraub grew up around the industry (her dad was the COO at William Morris) but as a competitive swimmer, she was more interested in making it into the Olympics than show business. The L.A. native swam for Indiana University for about two years — until she then made a deal with her coach to stop competing but still retain all the perks of being a student athlete by becoming the team's manager. Her dad, upon hearing the story, told her she should be an agent. So Weintraub, who lives in Westwood, got a job at CAA. In the five years since, she's become a go-to for young talent at the agency, building up a roster that includes Riverdale's Camila Mendes, Sabrina's Kiernan Shipka, You's Penn Badgley and Stranger Things' Maya Hawke — not to mention Emmy winners Darren Criss and Alexis Bledel.

    BIGGEST CHANGE I'VE WITNESSED IN HOLLYWOOD

    "Gender parity. Finally."

    FOOD/DRINK I LOVE BUT WOULD NEVER ORDER AT A BUSINESS MEAL

    "A burger and fries."

    THE PERSON I’D SWITCH JOBS WITH FOR A DAY

    "Sarah Schechter — because she is a total badass."

    MY MOTIVATIONAL MANTRA FOR 2020

    "There is always MORE to do."

    CHILDHOOD TV SERIES I WANT ON STREAMING

    The O.C.

    A version of this story first appeared in the Nov. 6 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.