Getting the Scoop on the Television Industry
As a reporter for Variety, Mónica Marie Zorrilla ’17 cranks out four to seven stories a day. One recent one? An interview with one of her favorite actors, and fellow Ford, Daniel Dae Kim '90.
Zorrilla, 25, learned that Daniel Dae Kim ’90, of Lost and Hawaii Five-O fame, had been cast in his first lead role in the second installment of National Geographic’s scientific thriller series The Hot Zone. After filing her story in January, she fired off this Tweet: Would like to note what an extremely rare occurrence a @haverfordedu graduate writing about another Haverford College graduate (@danieldaekim) is; small but mighty lib arts hive riiiiiiiiiiise.
Zorrilla, who remembered seeing Kim’s name on a list of notable alumni when she applied to Haverford, was delighted when the actor thanked her—and Haverford— in an Instagram post after her Tweet appeared.
Since starting her job as a TV reporter in January, she has been combing industry sites, reaching out to agents and actors, and cranking out four to seven stories a day. “I know that sounds insane,” she says. “I have been rapid-firing stories — breaking news about casting announcements, pilot pickups, pilot season renewals.”
In between, Zorrilla has written features, including one about Gillian Anderson after the actress was nominated for a Golden Globe for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher on the hit Netflix show The Crown. “I was a little nervous I would be starstruck,” she says, but it was a great interview.
She also wrote recaps every other week of the Disney+ TV series WandaVision— a job that involved waking up at 5 a.m. to watch the show followed by a morning full of rewinding and writing. “I feel like my brain is constantly on,” she says. “Even when I’m sleeping, I am dreaming about work.”
Zorrilla gravitated toward the written word early on. As a fourth grader in her native Miami, she started a school newsletter in a three-ring notebook and passed it around the class. Even though she got in trouble for the disruptions, one teacher told her she would make a good writer.
After graduating from Haverford, the bilingual English major landed jobs at Billy Penn and Al Día News Media, two hyperlocal news outlets in Philadelphia, and in 2018, she was named Philadelphia’s Culture Reporter of the Year by the Pen & Pencil Club, the oldest operating press club in the country. Zorilla then went on to become a reporter at Adweek, where she worked until Variety snapped her up.
She says her liberal arts education, which included minors in psychology and Spanish, was the perfect training: “Haverford made me a strong writer, a great researcher, and instilled in me a foundation of trust, concern, and respect, which is very important in journalism.”