In our Spring edition, we had the honor of sitting down with some of the most exciting women in media to talk about their career paths, personal growth, and transition to Nashville. We noticed just how many of these extraordinary women have relocated to Nashville in recent years, either continuing in their roles remotely or picking up something entirely different. It left us wondering — why here?
Sarah Kunin spent over a decade bringing familiar faces into our homes as a producer for Good Morning America, working closely with Michael Strahan. After relocating in 2018, she quickly found a great community of producers at Riverside Entertainment. She was born and raised in New York, so the southern hospitality she’s seen here quickly made Nashville feel like home
On Life in Nashville
TNE: What made you want to relocate to Nashville?
SK: My husband is a Major in the Air Force. In 2018 he accepted a position at Fort Campbell, so I decided to take a leap of faith and leave my job in NYC as a supervising producer at Good Morning America. It was a little terrifying to say the least, but I was lucky to find work in production almost immediately. Now, I have a great network of producers and crews that I collaborate with regularly.
TNE: What has been your favorite part of living here?
SK: Everyone here is so nice! I know it sounds cliché, but from day one we were welcomed here with open arms. Our new neighbors brought over a tray of food when they saw us moving boxes into our new house. How great is that?
TNE: What does an ideal day off look like here compared to when you lived in New York?
SK: It starts with a much more restful night’s sleep! We live in a log home on a quiet street in East Nashville so it’s a very cozy place to stay and a major upgrade from my noisy studio apartment back in New York. We’ll usually try to find something to do outside, whether it’s hiking around Percy Warner or Radnor Lake, or taking our dog to Two Rivers (the best dog park in Nashville).
TNE: Have you found pockets of Nashville that remind you of New York?
SK: There are definitely some restaurants in Nashville that are on par with some of the best spots in New York. Folk, Two Ten Jack, and Rudie’s Seafood and Sausage are our go-to’s. I also love Lou, a cute café with a great wine selection that just opened up near us.
TNE: Where are your favorite places to shop around town?
SK: My favorites are Posh, Emerson Grace, Alexis + Bolt, and ABLE.
TNE: Has the food been better here or there? Be honest.
SK: I really love the food scene in Nashville. That being said, sushi and bagels? NYC all the way.
On Her Career
TNE: What are some parts of your job with ABC News or Riverside that people may not expect?
SK: When I worked at GMA, we were always on call. People assumed I was up early for the morning show, which of course is true. However, they don’t realize that as soon as the show wraps, we would have to prep for the next day. I had two cell phones and slept for 5 hours a night for about a decade.
TNE: How did you bond with your coworkers at the time?
SK: I saw my coworkers more than my friends and family, so we were all very close. Also, the stress and adrenaline of live morning television has a way of bringing people together.
TNE: Which celebrity was most exciting to meet?
SK: Michelle Obama, Dwayne Johnson, George Clooney, Oprah; they were all lovely to work with. I was also Michael Strahan’s anchor producer for 5 years and he’s one of the kindest human beings on the planet.
TNE: What makes a great story?
SK: As long as the storyteller is passionate and creative, any story can be great. It doesn’t hurt to have charismatic, relatable characters too.
TNE: Best ways to beat a mental block?
SK: A deadline! Nothing gets your wheels turning like a hard hit time on live television.
TNE: What made you want to switch paths from ABC to Nashville production.
SK: I moved to Nashville because of my husband’s job, and I took a major risk leaving a big job in TV. However, the network I’ve built here allows me to collaborate with so many people and work on so many different types of projects. It’s really broadened the scope of my tv production.
TNE: How have your priorities shifted with time and experience?
SK: I’m much more focused on making meaningful connections with people in my field than competing for one specific job at a show or platform. I still regularly take on network jobs as a freelance senior producer, but I also have the opportunity to collaborate and develop new content. It’s the best of both worlds.
TNE: Camera trick that could work for the everyday iPhone photographer?
SK: Good outdoor natural light beats any Instagram filter.
TNE: What has your career path taught you about yourself?
SK: I never want to stop learning or trying new things. I love meeting smart people and developing projects together.
TNE: What advice would you in the present tell yourself when you were getting started in TV production?
SK: Establish a better self-care routine and get more sleep!
TNE: What do you think is the most important trait in a successful person?
SK: I have three: curiosity, creativity and empathy.
TNE: What advice from others has helped you most along the way?
SK: Be the squeaky wheel, speak up for yourself, and raise your hand when you want something.
TNE: What’s been the proudest moment in your career?
SK: I love watching my hardest working former interns and PA’s soar in their own careers.
TNE: What comes next?
SK: Developing, pitching, and selling shows!
On Work-Life Balance
TNE: In a fast-paced work environment, how do you find time for yourself?
SK: I have to set boundaries, especially with my phone. If I’m taking my dog for a nice long walk, the phone goes on silent.
TNE: Favorite ways to work out to stay healthy and energized?
SK: Spin class and yoga. ClassPass helped me find my favorite studios when I first moved here.
TNE: What are the best ways to start and end your day?
SK: Snuggling my dog Bruce, always.
TNE: Favorite meal to cook when you have time?
SK: A good chili or beef stew. Also, we are obsessed with our Traeger smoker. My husband is really good at reverse-searing ribeye steaks. There is nothing more delicious.
TNE: Healthiest habit you’ve picked up through the years?
SK: Drinking gallons of water and cutting out refined sugar.
TNE: What’s your go-to “treat yourself” moment?
SK: Healing massages and Reiki. Emily Girvin (Healing Arts LMT) and Joany Johnson (Nashville Center for Alternative Therapy) are the best in Nashville!
Her Everyday Essentials
TNE: What beauty/skincare products are staples for you on a busy day?
SK: I love everything from Aesop (cleanser, serum, face oil, perfume). Goop exfoliating instant facial. Hourglass vanish concealer. Kevyn Aucoin face palette.
TNE: What’s the most random item you keep on you “just in case?”
SK: Essential oil rollers. They are helpful when you need an instant moment of zen in a stressful situation.
TNE: What are some travel essentials you couldn’t live without?
SK: Notebook and pens. Hand sanitizer. Ling facial hydrator. It’s the best for long flights.
TNE: What outfit is a go-to for you?
SK: Leather jacket, casual dress, sneakers, or boots.
TNE: The best trick to calm nerves?
SK: 5-minute meditation and square breathing (4 seconds in, 4 seconds out, repeat).
TNE: Where do you get your news?
SK: New York Times morning briefing emails and I always have a podcast on in the car.
TNE: Last book you couldn’t put down?
SK: Malcolm Gladwell’s new book “Talking to Strangers”
TNE: What’s your guilty pleasure TV or Netflix series?
SK: Curb Your Enthusiasm, Great British Baking Show, and Big Mouth. I cried when Veep ended and still watch re-runs.
TNE: Best trick you’ve picked up to be camera-ready?
SK: I’m usually behind the camera. Coffee and comfortable shoes.