A dream job sharing entertaining stories on local TV. Check. Getting paid to sample the areas best food. Check. A wonderful and loving husband. Check. Polka Dot pants and a great sense of style. Check.

Michelle Oliver, our Leading Lady of the Week appears to be living her dream, while on "Live in the D". We recently caught up with Michelle to find out more about the hard work and dedication it took to get such a great career going, her personal inspiration and of course, her favorite local stops around town. Read on to find out more about Michelle…

{SS}: Tell us about your job?  

{MO}: I am a video journalist for Local 4’s show Live in the D, which means I get to travel around Metro Detroit, meet interesting people, tell their story through my favorite medium, film, and eat lots of amazing food. It is an incredible job and I got where I am today with a lot of hard work, like many of the other Leading Ladies you feature.

I majored in English with a concentration in film at Michigan State University, but I learned all of my hands on skills from my internship with HOMtv, a government channel in Okemos, Michigan. Interning at HOMtv is not like dipping your toes into the pool, it is more like jumping in with arm floaties. Like any real job in media I was responsible for creating promos and stories to air on the channel on a daily basis. There is no better way to learn something then by doing it all day, every day. They helped me get my first job and many since.  

{SS}: Tell us about your typical day.

{MO}: I love to start my day with a cup of tea as I edit all of the VOs for our show. For those of you who don’t know, a VO is the video the anchors, or in our case hosts, talk over as they are covering a topic like (i.e. Beyonce’s performance with the Dixie Chicks at the CMA’s). Then I film, write, or edit a story I am working on. Somewhere in there I also answer a bunch of emails and set up/research more stories.

After work, I come home to my (new!) husband and we talk about a variety of things from a new story idea one of us had, to Game of Thrones, to politics and more. Sometimes we hang out with our friends and play tabletop games.

My best friend and I love to browse the mall or new boutiques I found while working. For dinner lately, I am very into watching Netflix as I cook up Blue Apron.  

Photo: Michelle Oliver & Seoung of Chowdown Detroit reviewing Loaded Fries on Local 4's Live in the D. 

{SS}: What do you love about your job? 

{MO}: What I love about my job is the small moments: when an interviewee and I really connect and I feel like I can really tell their story properly, when I find a shot that that looks amazing and capture it, when how I edited a piece turns out better than how I pictured it in my head, when I come up with a really great idea and my managers tell me to go for it, when I finally get the words right to express the feeling of the story. Life is made by small moments and that is what I enjoy the most.

{SS}: What has been one of your MOST memorable experiences at work or is there a story that you’ve covered that really stands out in your mind?

{MO}: Camp Michitanki is a story I went on the first summer I worked at Local 4 and so far it is the only story that has made me cry. It is a camp run by the University of Michigan for kids who received an organ transplant. For a while, these kids get to do all the things most kids would get to do at summer camp. As we talked with one of the counselors he talked about how his favorite moment at camp is the first day the kids go swimming. They peel off their clothes hesitantly to reveal their bathing suits, and also their scars. He said you could see their faces change from nervousness to happiness as they realize they are not alone, everyone here has a scar. As someone who had heart surgery as a baby, hated her scars growing up and still bears them today; nothing touched me quite like that. Later, as we were interviewing the kids and they told us their cabin was superhero themed so they all got to pick super hero names. One kid picked “superman,” another “flash.” Then we spoke to a little boy named Leroy, who pronounced his name “Lewoy” because of his slight lisp, he said his name was “the girl who gave me my heart.”  ({SS}: Um, grab me a tissue! That is so sweet!) Watch the full story here

{SS}: Any advice to those starting out in your profession? 

{MO}: My number one piece of advice to anyone trying to get into media is: work really hard and say ‘yes’ a lot. Often starting off in this industry you are not well paid and the hours are atrocious, but if you really push yourself to make the best story you can and listen to your peers’ and advisors’ advice you will go very far. People working in this industry not only notice, but reward effort, drive, and talent. Also, get an internship, get 10 internships, get as many internships as possible, they help you network to get a job.

{SS}: What would you tell your 23 year old self? 

{MO}: This was not terribly long ago for me, but I would say work hard, have fun and never stop doing what you love. People will give you critiques and you have to take them in stride, let it help you get better, not get you down.

{SS}: Where do you, personally, get your daily news fix?

{MO}: This probably goes without saying, but I watch Local 4 News and visit clickondetroit.com a lot.

{SS}: What do you do to make yourself feel beautiful, confident and ready to take on anything?

{MO}: If I want to feel beautiful and confident I put on eyeliner, bright red lipstick and pick out a well-coordinated outfit that includes a statement piece of  some kind.


{SS}: What is your “Style Archetype?”

{SS}: Who is your Style Icon? 

{MO}: My style icon is Emma Stone. I like how she wears classic styles but gives them a bit of an edge. Plus she can rock any hair color. Who doesn’t want to do that? 

{SS}: Where do you find style + fashion inspiration? 

{MO}: I get inspiration from a lot of places; from Pinterest to Refinery29 to seeing someone just nail a style on the street. I also love just going into stores and seeing what catches my eye.  I find boutiques carry the unique statement items and then I find staples at big box stores to wear with them.

{SS}: What is your power song? 

{MO}: Lately my power up song is “Handclap” by Fitz and the Tantrums.

{SS}: What is your power outfit or accessory? 

{MO}: Anything with my polka dot pants. I feel like no matter what I pair them with I am wearing something stylish and eye catching. 

{SS}: What are YOUR “words to live by” OR favorite saying/quote?

{MO}: "Carpe Diem" and "This too shall pass". 

{SS}: Who inspires you and why? 

{MO}: Throughout my life I have looked up to several different people from close acquaintances to celebrities whose careers I respected. I look up to my parents and in-laws for relationship and family goals. I am inspired by one of my bosses, she has lived an amazing life, traveling the world, chasing after her dreams, starting her own company, finding a great partner in life and being a dedicated working mother all while wearing killer outfits that I want to steal. In terms of celebrities, John and Hank Green really inspire me as brothers who turned their love of storytelling, entertaining and educating into a very prosperous career.  

{SS}: Please share with us any of your favorite LOCAL stops in the Detroit area (from food, coffee, shopping etc)

{MO}: OOOooo, this question is good and very tough for a girl whose job it is to find great local places.

My favorite new restaurant is Katoi, it is very chic with a different atmosphere and the food is amazing. Some older favorites I frequent are Brooklyn Street Local, Mudgie’s, and Frida’s.

For good drinks Oakland Art Novelty is a must stop.

In terms of shopping, I love going to The Peacock Room/ Frida’s to find statement pieces. Basically, if you are named after Frida Kahlo I love you! 

 Thank You Gift Box by The Giftinsider, $65 This might be one of our favorite finds – The Giftinsider Lindsay Schey, known for finding the best and most unique gifts for every occasion has recently launched her own line of gift boxes. The "Thank You" keepsake box comes with a succulent plant, a pretty candle in reusable jar, matches and small candies. 


Thanks to Michelle for taking the time to share her story with us. You can catch Michelle on Local 4's Live in the D, weekdays from 10 – 11 am EST, or catch the shows videos online here