By: Niki Shadrow Snyder
- NS: Tell us about yourself and what you do? TD: I am a TV host & an on-air lifestyle contributor, seen on The Rachael Ray Show, The Today Show, Entertainment Tonight, and more.
- NS: How did you personally move the needle in 2020? TD: I started my Instagram Live show, #LetsStayTogether, back in March because I wanted to create something that would spread some joy during times when people so badly needed it. The show is about celebrity guests talking about a variety of different fun and inspiring topics, as well as the projects that their fans love in an intimate one-on-one conversation. Cut to 75 plus interviews later, the show has really turned into a place where people can come and just feel good. The show brings home the idea that we are all in this together.
- NS: How did you deal with the stress in the world in 2020? TD: The number one way I deal with stress is through working out. Fitness is a huge part of who I am and it’s truly the only time in the day that I feel like I can tune out the world, and focus on my mental and physical health and wellbeing. I also started looking at social media in a different way. I think surrounding yourself, including on social media, with people who genuinely create joy for you, is so important and we should curate our digital networks to reflect that.
- NS: Do you have any advice for your younger self? TD: Don’t try to be someone that someone else wants you to be. As a young gay kid, coming to terms with my sexuality, I often tried to cater who I was according to what “group” I was talking to. And it really really sucked because for a long time, I didn’t know who I was. I think that’s why I fell in love with New York City. I moved here to attend NYU and never left. It allowed me to be my true, authentic self and discover who Tommy is. So it may not always be easy, but know that you, as yourself, is enough.
- NS: What did you do in 2020 that you’re most passionate about? TD: Two things come to mind. First is my Instagram Live show, #LetsStayTogether. I’m proud to book, produce, and host a show that puts out feel-good, inclusive conversation. Second is a story I did on The Rachael Ray Show. I found an incredible young mom who is battling Leukemia, contracted Covid, and lost her mom all in the same year. I did a segment with her that showcased her incredible strength, resilience, and beautiful heart, and having that bond between her, Rachael, and myself is something that I will never forget.
- NS: What was the worst part of 2020 for you? TD: I don’t look at 2020 like that because people tragically lost their lives this year due to this pandemic. Families couldn’t even say goodbye to each other properly because of Covid. That just breaks my heart. I think of everyone affected by this terrible disease often and just hope that all of those going through loss are surrounded by love.
- NS: What was the best part of 2020 for you? TD: Spending so much time with my husband. He is a correspondent for ABC News and since we both work in TV, our schedules are usually so spontaneous, and lots of travel is involved. I can honestly say I have enjoyed every second quarantining with him and he is forever my rock.
- NS: What does success mean to you? TD: Success is waking up every day and being proud of the work that you do. You may not always be happy. Every person in every career and industry has bad days. But when you can honestly look in the mirror, and say that you are proud of the person staring back at you because of the effort, quality, and hustle you put in, then that is success.
- NS: What causes are important to you? TD: Visibility is so important to me, especially because growing up as a gay closeted kid, I didn’t have role models to make me feel less alone. So I am incredibly passionate about promoting visibility and organizations that help the community like the Trevor Project and the Celementi Foundation.
- NS: Do you think the world right now needs to be influenced by what they can get or what they can give in the middle of this pandemic? TD: I think this year has shown many people’s true colors, in the most beautiful ways, and in some not so great ways. We most importantly need to be clear on what it is we stand for, because we all have been tested this year. For me, I stand for kindness, love, creating joy, and inspiration through my work, unity, visibility and acceptance. And I hope that I have put that out this year and have helped to make people feel a little more seen and a little less alone during a tough year.
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