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Meet Denise Salcedo

Today we’d like to introduce you to Denise Salcedo.

Denise, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I went to college and studied Broadcast Journalism at California State University Fullerton. I thought I wanted to be a news reporter, but after some self-evaluation, I realized I wanted to go the entertainment route. But I didn’t know where to begin, and I didn’t know anyone.

For the first year of my career, after graduation, my goal was to gain experience and network with people. So I began working for free with multiple outlets. I was writing, hosting, editing and basically doing everything a multi-media journalist would do but with a focus on entertainment.

It was that first year that helped me build a foundation that would help me later on in my career. After that first year, I met more people, created a TV Host reel and began applying to more opportunities. Before I knew it I was working for bigger channels and best of all I was finally getting paid!

I was creating videos for teen magazine J-14, Life & Style, The Trendy, etc- hosting red carpets and attending press junkets.

As a freelance host I was able to work in lots of places and take on many responsibilities.

I even began live-streaming which helped me built an audience and then finally four years into y hosting career I decided to launch my own channel. I had always had a YouTube channel but I didn’t post nearly as much content as I do now and I wasn’t serious about it.

Even though I was working all these jobs, I felt that I wasn’t doing what truly made me happy. I had this vision of myself and what I could do, but I wasn’t being given the right platform to do these things. And I thought to myself if I am doing all this work for other people and their businesses why not take what I have learned and create my own thing,

I sat on my bed and within a couple of hours I had an idea, a name, and a website. That was the birth Instinct Culture. My idea for Instinct Culture was always for it to be a source for fans, I’ve always believed that it’s our instincts that lead us to a specific fandom. For example, I am a big Taylor Swift fan, why have I always been a fan? What drove me to connect with her and her music? My instincts were the ones that led me down the Swiftie path. And so that was the meaning behind the name.

In order to grown Instinct Culture, I began writing a lot. A lot of reviews, news stories, orginal pieces, etc. Anything that fell in line with Entertainment. Then I began creating videos online, covering events/red carpets and then 1 year and 300+ videos later I had surpassed 10,000 subscribers on my channel and garned over 1 million views.

This may not be a big deal to lost of people, and there are so many bigger YouTube channels, but for me, it was a big deal. I was doing this all on my own, applying everything I had learned from other jobs, and trying to think outside the box.

I am currently at 12,000+ subscribers, and my YouTube channel has opened so many doors for me. I not only cover Pop Culture on it, I also cover Pro Wrestling. So I have been able to build a brand and create content that is a hybrid of those two topics. And even though some days I do videos on Taylor Swift and others WWE– it seems to work because if you love something it shows and people will connect to that.

Aside from my YouTube channel, I still work for other outlets whenever I can. I also co-host two wrestling podcasts, X-PAC 12360 with WWE Hall of Famer Sean Waltman and I do a WWE RAW recap on Fightful with Sean Ross Sapp. I also work as a ring announcer for indie wrestling promotions in the Southern California area and I emcee for brands like Target, Disney, Amazon and XBOX.

I really try to do everything, to learn every skill needed for any possible opportunity that may come my way. My favorite thing about being a freelance TV host is that you never know what the day will lead to, every day is different and fun and I love that so much.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It has not been a smooth road at all. One of the things I have learned is that if you want to make something happen you have to do it yourself. You can’t wait for the opportunity to come to you, you have to make it come to you. You have to make people see you, notice you and take an interest in you. My biggest struggles in pursuing this dream is that it hasn’t always been easy financially. Because I work freelance, I don’t always know when my next paycheck is coming. Some jobs pay a certain amount, and others a totally different amount.

It’s not about what you’re doing on the job, it’s who you are doing it with. But my thing is that no matter how big or how small, or how much or how little you are making you have to work them both as hard Because you never know who is watching or who you will meet. Again, a very important part of working in Entertainment is networking. This was and is still a challenge for me because if I am not working, I am home, I am at home watching TV or creating videos. That’s not exactly networking is it now? It’s not.

So, you really have to cover all your bases and out yourself out there, The challenge is getting pass the fear of rejection. There is so much rejection in this industry. You can get used to some of them, others hurt and make you rethink everything. But the important thing is to always get back up. When I do get a rejection that hurts, for a job I really wanted, I only allow myself an hour of sadness (my pity party), then I think “Okay, what can I do to make myself a stronger candidate for next time?” And then before you know it that “NO” inspires you to push even harder.

We’d love to hear more about your work.
Instinct Culture is an online platform, a hybrid of pop culture and pro wrestling. I create videos and talk about things I care about. Whether it be the new TV show I loved on Netflix, Taylor Swift’s new album, or a review of the last big wrestling pay-per-view- and everything in between. And that is what I am known for, talking about the things I love and connecting with the fanbase in a real way by providing informative, engaging and entertaining content.

What makes me proud is that I have been able to interview so many people I have admired for a long time, and it also makes me really happy when people tell me they love my videos and my YouTube channel.

I think what sets me apart from others is that I march to my own beat, I create what I want when I want. And I do it in a way that is true to who I am. An energetic, lively, bubbly, over-excited girl.

What were you like growing up?
I grew up an only child, my mom says that as a kid I would always get really excited about reading books and that I was always really happy. I spent most of my time playing imaginary games, singing, dancing and writing. I would write songs all the time, and even as a young girl I always dreamt about having a career that I could be proud of.

It took me awhile to realize what it was, I wanted to be an actress for a long time, but I realized that media/journalism/news/TV was my calling. I should have known really, I would interview myself all the time.

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Image Credit:

downtown horizontal photo: Edward Batres

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