Today we’d like to introduce you to Ron’Zena Hill.
Hi Ron’Zena, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
As a kid, I always dreamed of being like my favorite on-air talents, Oprah Winfrey and Chelsea Handler. Unlike my peers, who has aspirations of saving the world through being a doctor, firefighter, teacher, etc. I aspired to save the world through the art of communication. This vision has shaped my choices and actions ever since.
My first pursuit of being a reporter began as a child, narrating the lives of my siblings with a Barbie karaoke machine. As you could imagine, this did not always go over well with them.
As I grew up, I continued to create. In elementary school, I used my voice to share comedic stories with friends during nap time, at recess and in the classroom, which often led to me getting “talks too much”, on my report card.
In middle school, I remember persuading my friends to create a YouTube channel with me in hopes to entertain the masses.
In junior high, I was bargaining with my sister to film vines on my account, to further develop my style, transitions and edits.
In high school, I took classes at the Columbia Career Center in Broadcast Journalism, which lead to me being selected as the commencement speaker for my high school graduation.
In college, I majored in Digital Media Production with a minor in Communication Studies. And during my four years of undergrad, I worked for KMOS-TV, the PBS affiliate of Missouri.
You know those sport tees that say “eat, sleep, breath *insert sport here*” that was me, but with the media. And this infatuation with production in its many facets has only strengthened over time.
But, it would be while I was in college, working for KMOS-TV, in the halls of Wood 100, that I would come to realize the common denominator behind my love for the media — storytelling.
Storytelling is the oldest form of human teaching and intimacy. And something about the curiosity behind others, the ability to bond through shared experiences, giving a voice to those who may otherwise be voiceless and providing entertainment has always been so crucial to shaping me.
As a result of this love for storytelling, I will continue to share stories and asking others to share theirs.
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I am the host of On The Rocks with Ron’Zena. A comedy podcast that is derived from my life being… well, quite literally on the rocks.
What started as a way for me to vent, quickly became a safe haven for myself, and others.
Now, each week, I share “the good, the bad, and the sometimes drunkly that comes with growing up” to any and all who want to listen. It is my hope that my podcast inspires others to create open and honest lines of communication by sharing their trials and tribulations of being an adult, so we are able to end the societal expectation “having our shit together” in our 20s.
On that note — I believe what sets me apart, as well as what I am most proud of, is my drive, ambition and passion. There have been plenty of times where I could have given up and folded to the pressure of meeting societal standards of where a 25-year-old should be in life, however, I knew if I did , give up on my dreams, I would be so unhappy.
My parents have always told me “if you love what you do, then you’ll never work a day in your life”, and although this is often times easier said than applied, I am proud of myself for never settling and continuing to persist against all odds to build a life that I am pleased with — in doing what I love.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Smooth road? Ha. What’s that?
For me, I have faced many challenges in the midst of what I like to call “my quarter-life crisis.” Some of the ones that evoked the biggest change were: quitting my 9-5 job, moving back to my hometown — into my parent’s house, and ending a long term relationship. Not to mention, all of this happened while enduring a pandemic and embarking on a new way of work and life.
There’s this old saying that goes: “bad things happen in threes” and let me tell you, I definitely felt the weight of these decisions while the changes were happening.
Today, I am able to look back and reflect on these choices I made and realize they were to better myself, not only personally, but professionally.
I feel like there’s this common misconception that you’re supposed to have your life figured out in your 20s, but that is unrealistic.
A year ago, I would have been embarrassed to share what I was going through feeling as though I didn’t know what I was doing with my life or getting to where I wanted to be.
Furthermore, at times, my journey felt so still. I didn’t know how to gauge my progress or if I was progressing and this too sent me into a downward spiral.
Now, I have come to realize, I once dreamed of where I am: exploring career freedom, going through the motions of being in my 20s, living close to family and friends and having fun along the way. In doing this, I’ve found so much patience and peace in enduring my hardships because they have allowed me to enjoy the good times that much more.
So instead of being embarrassed about my life being “on the rocks”, I started to embrace it for what it is. And it may get messy at times, but that’s all a part of the journey!
I say that all to say, your 20s are a time for self discovery! Don’t waste it on striving for societal protection. Instead, enjoy navigating the good, the bad and the sometimes drunkly that comes with growing up and own your truth!
Wow, I could see how those obstacles could hinder one’s progress, if they allow it. We are so happy you did not allow for this. So, some would say your path is non-traditional, what or who has motivated you in those times you felt like giving up?
Throughout this process my parents have been my rock. They have encouraged me to pursue my creative aspirations, while also keeping me grounded, and reminding me that I am in charge of my own reality. With that being said, they have also not allowed me to sit idle while following my dreams.
As I have been on my journey, they have made it clear that I must also be working to support myself. This balance between tough love and encouragement has helped to create my discipline, which is very important in any entrepreneurial field.
All in all, they’re truly my biggest fans. I am so blessed that they have been by my side to support each of my projects — full throttle. I also want to give a special shout-out to my aunt, because she too has been supporting my journey and seen the ups and downs, as well as shown my parents, who aren’t always the most tech savvy, how to download my episodes. Hahahh
Parents may not be the most tech-savvy, but they do give the best advice. Speaking of advice, is there any you would give to someone who is interested in a career path similar to yours?
One thing I wish someone would have told my younger self is, it is important to align yourself with others who have similar ambitions.
As the creator of my friend group, there were times that I felt ostracized, because no one quite understood what it was that I was doing. This is not to say that I wasn’t supported, because I was, but I was not understood, which, at times, is more important.
I found this feeling to be isolating and from time to time lonely. Because of this, I started to look for friends who are in the creative field, as well. Once I mustered up the courage to attend events solo, I started showing up to local music shows, going to pop-up shops, and mingling at meetups I found through word-of-mouth. In doing this, I have been able to connect with a lot of creative individuals and feed off one another’s energy, ideas, and projects.
It would be from these events that I would unite with two very confident, brave, kind and musically gifted women — Faith Miller & Hana Canhasi (both musicians), who have become some of my closest friends. I feel as though our bond is so strong, because we are all in the beginning stages of our careers, so we understand what each other are going through, while also being able to support, uplift and inspire each other to continue to pursue our passions. Added bonus, they give the best advice on creative direction for projects, when needed!
And this goes without saying, it’s important to have a diverse group of friends whose interests are different from yours, but it’s so essential to find those who understand what you’re going through and want to help you build upon that foundation.
Great words of guidance, without giving too much away, can you let us know what we can expect to see in the future from On The Rocks with Ron’Zena?
As I previously mentioned, I am really excited about the new direction I have for my podcast where I showcase “the good, the bad, and the sometimes drunkly that comes with growing up”.
Right now, my main focus is being consistent in uploading episodes, however, once I get that mastered I want to start uploading a visual version of my show on YouTube, collaborating with different brands, creating some workshops, hosting events, maybe even start my own brand, down the line!!
I am also very excited to be partnered with On The Rocks Bar, in downtown Columbia on 10th and Broadway, to host my show every week! Keep your eyes open for a summer cocktail collaboration with them.
So, before we go, how can our readers or others connect or collaborate with you? How can they support you?
My podcast is available on all streaming platforms! Be sure to subscribe, so you never miss an episode, and leave a review — those really help to push my podcast onto Apple Podcast “New And Noteworthy” chart which is like the equivalent to TikToks fyp. I also can be found on Instagram. My personal page is @itsronzena and my podcast page is @ontherockswithronzena.
Kyle “The Worst Gilleland”