On Their Way reacquaints MV Times readers with people who grew up on Martha’s Vineyard and have moved on to establish themselves in careers on or off Island. We are looking for young people who have distinguished themselves by their accomplishments in the arts, business, in social services, in the military, in academics, in fact in any meaningful way. We welcome your suggestions.
The Huffpost Live is an online video streaming news/interview network that focuses on celebrities and current events, highlighting stories that appear on the parent website huffingtonpost.com. Twenty-three-year-old Melora Armstead of Edgartown now lives in New York,where she is an associate producer for the show. “One of the few times that an interview stopped everyone in my office was when the English comedian Russell Brand was on,” Ms. Armstead said, “because truly, the entire interview was insane. It got crazier and crazier.”
As an associate producer one of her jobs is to help line up questions for the guests, often celebrities with online viewers.
“I get to do something different every day. We are responsible for producing one or two segments every day, so we are constantly working on a range of different topics, from politics to celebrity, to lifestyle. No two days are the same. There’s always something exciting happening.”
The Huffington Post hired Ms. Armstead soon after she graduated (magna cum laude) from Northeastern University in May of 2013, with a major in communications — concentrating in media studies — and a minor in production. She took courses in television studio production and producing for the entertainment industry, as well as in media culture and society and public speaking.
Her job is just the type of work she hoped she would find after graduation, Ms. Armstead said. She is pretty sure she got the job based on the strength of her resumé, which includes working as a videography intern with the New England Conservatory, filming live sports as a production intern with the Northeastern University athletics department while maintaining statistics and scores using onscreen graphics and setting up instant replay segments, working as production assistant and online content intern on the WGBH radio Forum Network, contributing to the website’s social media presence. She served as the head casting intern at Boston Casting and worked with the casting director for a television pilot for ABC’s Boston’s Finest. She also worked as a production assistant for a TV comedy pilot called MV Blues, filmed on the Vineyard.
When she was ten, in 2000, Ms. Armstead’s parents purchased the Arbor Inn in Edgartown and her family moved to the Vineyard from New Jersey. She entered the sixth grade at the Edgartown School soon after. She lived in the inn with her younger sister Emelia and her parents. Her father, Kenneth Armstead, is a portfolio manager with a Boston financial services company and her mother, Lorna Giles, is a trained architect who runs the inn. Her parents met while students at MIT.
“My sister and I were happy to make the move to Martha’s Vineyard,” she said. “We used to vacation there and we liked the idea of moving to our favorite place.”
Growing up in the inn had a good side and a bad side, Ms. Armstead said. “I enjoyed meeting the variety of people who came through during the summers, but it was hard to fight with my sister because we couldn’t make much noise.
“I remember as a kid we had to be really quiet all the time so as not to disturb the guests, but luckily we started going to camp or working in the summers so we weren’t cooped up all day. We got to meet the guests sometimes, which was nice, and it’s cool seeing the guests that come back year after year.
“On busy days my sister and I used to help put out and clear up breakfast and/or do some light cleaning. I got to see what it looks like firsthand to own and run your own business.”
Ms. Armstead spent two summers with the Island Theater Workshop (ITW) summer program when she was a pre-teen. “Not necessarily memories I want to repeat,” she said, “but all the kids at the camp were really close during the summer, and it was always a lot of fun to gather backstage before a show. It was really exciting. It was my first introduction to theater, which for a while made me want to become an actress, but then when I started applying to colleges I realized I’d rather be behind the scenes in production work.”
As a teenager, she worked summers scooping ice cream at Mad Martha’s and had a job at the Flying Horses Carousel, worked at Brickman’s, interned at WMVY radio, and babysat. She spent her high school years commuting to Falmouth Academy, where she took drama as an elective class and was in the annual school play.
Her current job fits her goals. “I knew I loved television and the entertainment industry, so I figured if I could still have a hand in informing and entertaining people in some way, that would be the best job I could possibly have,“ Ms. Armstead said.
“I hope to still be producing 20 years from now. Either in online media, like I am now, or some sort of television, my first love. I definitely think HuffPost Live is innovative in the way we merge informative segments with community and social media engagements, and I think in this digital age that this is the way of the future. If I’m able to keep producing work on any platform that informs and entertains and can utilize community and social media engagement in some way that helps enhance the content, that would be great.”