hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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October 3, 2013

From Haverhill to national TV

Local college student on staff of Ellen DeGeneres show

Image matters, and is a way of life in the broadcast business.

That’s what 21-year-old Shakala Alvaranga of Haverhill sees, hears and lives every day during her internship with “Ellen’’ — the Ellen DeGeneres TV show in California.

“It’s interesting to think that over 100 people create this show, but it also takes a lot to keep her image as this certain person,’’ Alvaranga said of DeGeneres. “And she is that person — she loves helping people and making people laugh.’’

A woman who built her career on honest responses to some pretty rocky issues, DeGeneres remains true to the image projected by herself and the staff that creates the DeGeneres brand. And that is the part of the internship on which Alvaranga’s work focuses. She works in the show’s web department, where branding, or the marketing and creation of an image, happens.

An Emerson College senior due to graduate in May, Alvaranga set her sights on a broadcast journalism career while at Haverhill High School.

But like many students, she entered Haverhill High uncertain of what career she wanted to pursue.

“My family has been supportive,’’ she said. “My parents work and have provided a wonderful home. My two older brothers found careers they wanted and have done well at. I knew that I wanted to work in the entertainment industry, but not sure what I’d do.’’

She responded to an ad for the modeling and talent agency John Robert Powers, and that led to some pageants.

“Working those pageants gave me confidence, and I saw how the system worked,” she said.

Parents Leopold and Blondie Alvaranga raised their children in Haverhill’s Acre neighborhood. From there, the Alvaranga children stepped off into their careers. Shakala’s two older brothers became a social worker and an accountant.

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