Who: Kelli Zink, 27, Chicago by way of Detroit
Job: Host and reporter, CelebTV.com
Status: Super single—"typical young professional girl who doesn’t have time for a guy, blah, blah, blah.”
Neighborhood: Gold Coast
After attending Michigan State University, where she was a Spartan cheerleader for two years, Kelli Zink started anchoring in South Bend, Indiana, covering local and national sports. In 2003 she moved to L.A. to help launch the NFL Network as a producer. “It was the kind of job that people automatically assume you’re cool and you’re into sports,” Zink says. “Either guys don’t know anything about sports—in L.A. guys aren’t as into it—or they put me in the ‘friend’ category, and would want to talk about setting up their fantasy football lineup,” she adds. She’s still a self-proclaimed sports nut, and she roots for Lions and Tigers, not Cubs and Bears. And these days she’s known more as a Britney Spears expert than anything else.
Based in Chicago and launched in February by parent company Intersport, CelebTV.com, much like its competitor TMZ.com, chases celebrities in and out of bathroom stalls with hired paparazzi catching all the salacious action on their video cameras. They then provide the footage to shows like Access Hollywood, The Insider and Entertainment Tonight. Zink also reports on their findings on CelebTV.com, a 24-hour celebrity news site, and recently has become a celebrity pundit on news shows on MSNBC, Fox, and NBC-5.
Her thoughts on the Spears-Federline custody battle? “I think she has a chance of getting partial custody,” Zink says. “The reasons they cited were that she didn’t show up for her drug test and didn’t have a California driver’s license, so now that she has that, she needs to start showing up for her drug testing. She also needs parental counseling.”
Spoken like a true talking head.
1. What’s your drink?
Dirty martini with Ketel One Vodka
2. Who’s your favorite person to drink with?
3. What was the last book you read?
Skinny Bitch, by Rory Freedman and Tim Barnouin
4. What’s your favorite restaurant in Chicago?
I eat most often at Tavern on Rush.
5. What’s your favorite bar?
Elm Street Liquors (12 W. Elm Street)—I go every day they’re open. Tin Lizzie to watch the Michigan State Spartans. The reason I moved to the Gold Coast was because of location and because I loved Melvin B’s. I’m so sad it closed.
6. If you could interview anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
Katie Couric, because her story is similar to mine. People told her she’d never be successful and she proved them wrong.
7. Describe what you do in one sentence.
Deliver everyone’s guilty pleasure all day long.
8. What are your three most prized possessions?
A picture of the 1992 Green Bay Packers coaching staff given to me by an old co-worker; my next paycheck, because that means I still have a job and I’m doing well; and my morals, because that means my parents are still proud of me.
9. When’s bedtime?
8:30 p.m.; I get up at 4 a.m. everyday except for Saturdays and Sundays, when I sleep in till 7:30 a.m. to go to Equinox.
10. What’s your favorite Chicago store?
11. Have a favorite brunch spot?
Tempo (6 E Chestnut Street); I eat there every morning at 3 or 4 a.m.
12. What are the biggest differences between L.A. celebs and Chicago celebs?
Celebrities in L.A. don’t realize they’re celebrities because everyone’s famous; in Chicago, David Schwimmer’s a big deal.
13. Any celebrity crushes?
Tom Brady; he’s the ideal man—he’s so good looking and athletic and he’s the nicest person; he’s humble. But hold the baby’s mama drama.
15. What’s the worst part of celebrity entertainment news?
Sometimes I feel like I should be doing something more fulfilling.
Photography: G. Thomas Ward/CelebTV.com