News Column

'It was the best day of my life' [Telegraph-Herald (Dubuque, IA)]

October 26, 2013


where to watch "The Hot 20 Countdown" featuring Loras College sophomore Makaila Haase will air on Country Music Television from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. today and Sunday. "I do not know when my segment will be," she said.Surreal might be an understatement.

Makaila Haase spent a whirlwind afternoon earlier this month filming a segment as a co-host for Country Music Television's "Hot 20 Countdown," which will air twice this weekend.

Haase not only met her CMT correspondent idols, but she also introduced Hunter Hayes' new music video, "Everybody's Got Somebody But Me," and spoke with the popular artist.

"This was really a dream come true for me," Haase said.

That dream was realized after the Loras College sophomore won a contest sponsored by CMT and Pepsi to co-host the show during a backstage pass episode with Hayes, who is the CMT on Tour frontman.

The contest combined Haase's two passions: country music and broadcast television. The Des Moines, native who is a public relations and media studies major at Loras also is a reporter and associate Web producer for LCTV.

"The second I read about the contest, it felt absolutely perfect," Haase said. "It was based off your talent and your creativity and how well you performed on camera."

She stayed up late with a friend researching details to produce a 30-second video.

"She worked really hard to make her entry special and stand apart," said Kate Berning, coordinator of media operations at Loras and moderator of LCTV.

Haase learned she won Oct. 3. With her mom, Haase flew to Atlanta and recorded her CMT debut Oct. 17.

"It was the best day of my life," Haase said.

The duo arrived on set at the Fox Theatre at 1:30 p.m. Haase chatted with the cast and crew, including correspondents Cody Alan and Alecia Davis.

"I wanted to know how they did everything," she said.

Haase said she remembered telling the producer she wasn't nervous. In reality, she was terrified.

Within minutes, Haase felt comfortable and helped introduce the world premiere of Hayes' new music video, which features Jason Mraz.

"We had some fun on set," Haase said.

After she finished filming, the Loras student and the country music star spoke.

"Hunter and I are the kind of people that once we started talking, we didn't stop," Haase said, smiling.

Haase wants to work in the country music business doing publicity, promotions, publishing or management.

"Makaila is one of those people that just kind of sparkles. She bubbles with everything she does," Berning said.

Berning will be among Haase's supporters who will watch her national television premiere. Haase plans to watch with friends.

"I watch the show every week," she said. "It's going to be really weird watching myself."

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