She's been on some of the most watched shows in the U.S. and she even worked to help get President Trump elected. But conservative superstar Tomi Lahren got her start at UNLV. The 25 year old graduated from UNLV in 2014, and in a few short years became one of the fastest rising political commentators.
Tomi Lahren said she knows she's controversial.
“I 100 percent support President Trump’s ban on transgenders in the military,” Lahren said. She said she doesn’t care what people think.
“I cover things that are controversial. That’s okay. I’m willing to take the backlash. I’m putting myself out there, so I should be willing to take it.”
Before she was racking up millions of views with her Final Thoughts segment on FOX News, Lahren was an aspiring journalist at UNLV.
“Looking back on it, I wish I would have known how to draw on eyebrows at the time. I look back and I’m like, I thought I was attractive. I was not.” “Looking back, we all have our old videos we watch. And hey, you know I had no eyebrows, whatever ... As is life.”
Her move to Las Vegas for college was the first place she lived besides her home town of Rapid City, South Dakota, population 78,000.
“My home state will never vote for same sex marriage and I think that needs to be left up to the public," she said. “For me, leaving South Dakota, I tried to find a place so different and immerse myself in something so different. That’s why I chose UNLV."
“You can tell which one of your students are diamonds. They just need to be polished and they will be superstars, and Tomi was one of those people,” Lahren’s former professor at UNLV Mary Hausch said.
At UNLV, Lahren hosted and produced a political segment called The Scramble.
“This is a hot button issue for me. I come from South Dakota. We have lenient guns laws and we don’t have the crimes we’re seeing in Connecticut and New Jersey,” she said.
Even as a young college student, Lahren made her opinions known.
“Most of my professors were liberal; surprise surprise, but I learned how to manage that without losing my voice.”
Lahren said Hausch was one of her favorite professors.
“Tomi was very conservative then and more students in the class were either indifferent, middle of the road, or liberal. There were not many with the conservative viewpoint and she did not care," Hausch said. "Some people would say after class, “That girl is crazy! She’s arguing about why she should conceal carry her gun.”
Lahren took what she learned at UNLV, and unlike most aspiring journalists, she didn’t go to a small town to start her career.
“I got my job at One America two months before I graduated college actually. I went in looking for an internship. I said I’ll do anything for you, I’ll write for you, I’ll do anything need be. I went in met with Robert Herring. He took a chance on me a chance no one else would have taken.”
In Aug. 2014, just months after graduating from UNLV, On Point with Tomi Lahren premiered on One America News.
After leaving One America, Lahren worked at The Blaze and three years after graduating, she had her dream job.
“This is every conservative’s dream to be at FOX, at least mine. I didn't think it would happen when I was 25.” “What I’ve learned looking back at The Scramble, but I learned I did best when I was myself, when I was me.”
Her rising fame and very vocal opinions have made her an extremely polarizing political commentator.
“I’m better when I’m myself and I’m able to be myself. Now I’ve found this niche. I’m not trying to be an anchor or reporter. I’m just trying to be Tomi," Lahren said.
“She could sit down right now and go to work," Hausch said.
Tomi Lahren has been held up as an example for aspiring college journalists.
“All the faculty know who she is. She was a standout student. She was an A student," Hausch said. “She was a nice person. She was compassionate, she cared about people."
Lahren said she hopes she serves as an inspiration for every UNLV student following in her footsteps.
Boy I hope (I inspire others)," Lahren said. "I get flak and they don’t know about UNLV, and they say ‘Oh you have a UNLV education,’ and I’ve done pretty well myself with that UNLV education.”
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