Eastern Michigan University alum, Chris Azzopardi, once thought that his career would revolve around drawing people. Now, the 2006 graduate, paints pictures with words as a celebrity journalist.
“I used to draw portraits of people when I was younger,” he said. “It’s kind of funny the way it turned out.”
Working for three publications, Between The Lines, Q Syndicate and Entertainment Tonight, Azzopardi doesn’t find much time to draw these days. Instead, he spends time chatting it up with entertainment industry sweethearts such as Bette Midler, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Gwen Stefani, Ricky Martin and Kelly Clarkston in order to convey who they are.
“I used to be really interested in capturing somebody on paper. I feel like what I do now is capture people in writing,” he said. “I try to show every side of them in a story, and that is sort of what I used to do when I’d draw them.”
As a child, Azzopardi says that he was a cartoonist but became more interested in realism as he got older. And although drawing was his first love, he majored in journalism and minored in writing during his tenure at EMU.
“I really thought this was going to be my future,” he said. “But you don’t make money drawing people unless you’re dead.”
As a lot of children do, Chris also played sports but says he wasn’t competitive back then. Since discovering how aggressive the writing business is, he has observed that maybe it just amounts to adoring his profession.
“Now I find as I get older that the competitiveness is coming out. I never thought I had a competitive bone in my body,” he said. “I’m very passionate about my job. I love what I do so much and it all comes down to passion.”
Azzopardi hasn’t always had the glamorous job of mingling with America’s idols. Close to being finished with college, he went to work for a publication called Metro Parent where he spent his working hours finding creative ways to write about diapers.
Sheryl James, former managing editor at MP and professor of magazine writing, said Azzopardi was proactive and always pitched solid ideas. She said she got a “kick” out of his persistence and creativity.
“When it came time for me to hire a part-time writer for Metro Parent, he was the logical choice,” she said. “We needed someone who could come up with good, topical, creative and fun ideas for items in the mag.”
As for Azzopardi’s personality, James says his co-workers loved him. She describes him as delightful, humble and at times funny.
”He is talented – smart, full of insight, but never brags,” she said.
Azzopardi told The Echo that he knew, for the longest time, that he wanted to be able to interview mega stars and now that he is, it’s like a dream come true.
He is happily in a relationship and hopes one day to have a family, but for now, he is content in his role as storyteller for the stars and is working on a memoir of his own.
“It’s a very slow process,” he said. “And I probably won’t be done until the end of my life.”