Check out our interview with New York Mets on-air producer and pickleball content creator Tara Bernstein.
The ex-college softball star is off to an impressive beginning in her professional sporting career. Her remarkable pickleball abilities qualify her to participate in national events with a 5.0 or higher rating. In addition to her athletic pursuits, she holds roles as a producer and on-air talent for the esteemed New York Mets. Her versatility extends to organizing and hosting events with celebrities in pickleball, boasting interviews with notable figures like Gary Vee, Rob Gronkowski, Drew Brees, Matt Hasselbeck, Matt Leinart, and others.
Beyond sports, Tara is making strides in the fashion realm as well. She has recently produced a successful fall runway show for designer Jovani at New York Fashion Week, featuring models such as Camille Kostek, Haley Kalil, Jen Selter, and Xenia Tchoumi.
In her personal life, Tara has just gone public with her relationship with Hunter Fieri, son of the famed Guy Fieri. The “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” celebrity expressed his approval, commenting, “She has good values and is just a really great person so I couldn’t be happier for Hunter.”
Follow Tara @taralynn.nyc
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Passionate, Kind, & Diligent
Who is your role model?
My father, Joel Bernstein.
How did you get started into the business?
I went to college for broadcasting at Pace University. Throughout my time there, I worked several internships and gained a ton of freelance experience with some major companies. During one of my jobs, I unfortunately didn’t receive the full time opportunity I wanted. Even though I was disappointed, it really showed me that I had to make a difference on my own. I also realized I didn’t want to limit myself into one specific field. I started to build my own brand digitally on social media as an athlete, in fashion, and as a creator. I began partnering with like-minded brands who aligned with my day to day life. This was exactly what I dreamed but didn’t know it existed back then.
My goal was always to inspire others who may have similar aspirations or diverse interests. It’s important for me to spread the message that pursuing what you are truly passionate about does not mean sacrificing other aspects of your life or limiting yourself to just one avenue. I’m a creator, but also produce high level campaigns and events.
I aim to not only grow my brand, but also to provide services where I can use my skill sets to host and produce events, ultimately bringing people together within Pickleball, lifestyle and fashion.
How has this changed your life?
It’s given me the opportunity to serve as a positive influence on those around me while sharing my passion for pickleball. Through playing, teaching the sport, and spreading awareness about the importance of physical activity and trying something new, I can make a difference in lives. Through building my own brand as an athlete, in fashion, and as a creator, I have gained a broader perspective on the possibilities that exist within the entrepreneurial world. It has opened my eyes to different industries, creative avenues, and ways of connecting with others. I have met some of my closest friends through my career path.
Tell us about your work as the New York Mets on-air producer and content creator?
I received my first job with the NYM in 2016 working in entertainment and then earned a spot as a producer and content creator. I produced several viral marketing segments and influencer campaigns.
Where or when did you find the love for this?
I played sports my whole life and was raised a Mets fan as a kid in Queens. Working with the Mets, I grew a passion for producing and creating. I was coming up with a ton of innovative / marketing ideas that were unique and beneficial for the brand.
Now let’s talk about your role in the pickleball world?
I enjoy playing pickleball at a high level and sharing videos as a creator. From relatable pickleball videos, instructional and teaching, and partnering with brands. I host and produce pickleball events where my team and I partner with different brands and create unique experiences.
How did it all start and what is your current role?
It all started March 2022 and now I’m my own brand as a Pickleball creator and hosting / producing events.
How was interviewing and hosting events with big names like Gary Vee, Rob Gronkowski, Drew Brees, Matt Hasselback and Matt Leinart to name a few?
The opportunity to host and be a part of events with people like them is amazing because they are like-minded individuals who share similar passions in life and sports. Each one of them were unique and had a different style of play. Pickleball brings together people with different backgrounds, similar mentalities, and as athletes definitely have similar skill sets. For example, hand eye coordination is very important!
How often do you create new content?
Every day I’m constantly thinking of new ideas and on film days, sometimes film multiple ideas at once.
How many hours you dedicate to this. From ideas, recording, editing, etc?
My mind is always working, always thinking of ideas. Even when I’m sleeping it’s hard to turn off. I often catch myself writing in my notes in the middle of the night! I would say way more than 10 hours a day!
Where do you think pickleball is going from now that it is getting so popular to the next level in the following years?
I want to see pickleball make it to the Olympic level! Right now we have major league pickleball and different touts – I believe soon there will be pickleball travel teams in each city. I had that with softball when I was younger. I played on a travel team and every weekend attended and competed in tournament events!
Any future pickleball events that you want to share with our readers?
Yes – There’s the SOBE Food and Wine Festival Pickleball tournament, some foundation pickleball tournaments and lots more in the works!
When you started your social media accounts, did you expect such success?
Back then I posted for fun but now I use my platform to make a difference, share pickleball passion, offer advice, portfolio of what brands I partner with and showcase my day to day life! Social media has been an exceptional tool in building my brand and connecting me to some amazing people.
What mindsets helped make you so successful?
To be kind. To treat everyone with the same respect and never be judgmental, you never know what someone is going through or has gone through. To be resilient and not care what people think. Everyone has their own identity and I can never be anyone else so it’s important to be confident in your own skin! There is room for everyone to shine. I’ve always believed in standing tall and reaching back to help the person next to me. Be selfless, approachable, and relatable.
As a popular creative director and creator, you are followed by so many people. How do you feel about that pressure of always doing the right thing, and encouraging people to follow their dreams?
I would say to be relatable and to be yourself. I’m the same person online as I am in real life. I love to have fun, help others, and bring people together. It’s so important to follow your dreams and passion. There were a ton of times where I had SO many “No’s” or “you can’t” and it pushed me to believe that I can achieve anything in life as long as I put my heart, passion and mind to it.
Now let’s talk about producing Jovani’s fall runway show at NYFW and working with such amazing personalities like Camille Kostek, Haley Kalil, Jen Selter and Xenia Tchoumi?
These women individually have a tremendous amount of beauty inside and out. They were amazing to work with, reliable and all about women empowerment. They appreciated the opportunity to walk in Jovani’s 40th Anniversary NYFW show, which made me smile.
What would you say are the greatest lessons you learned so far?
1. Prioritize Self-Care: Taking care of your physical, mental, and emotional
well-being is crucial for overall happiness and success.
2. Nurture Relationships: Building meaningful connections with others enriches
our lives in countless ways. Invest time in nurturing relationships with family,
friends, colleagues, and mentors.
3. Practice Gratitude: a mindset of gratitude helps us appreciate the present
moment, find joy in small things, and maintain a positive outlook on life.
4. Pursue Lifelong Learning: Never stop seeking knowledge or acquiring new
skills, keeps your mind sharp.
How’s life with Hunter Fieri?
I can’t picture life without Hunter. He is my best friend and my ride or die. We met organically in person and almost a year later have had similar mindsets in life, spiritually and we are both very family oriented. Hunter is big on communication and the most loyal person I have ever met. We both teach each other a lot with our multifaceted backgrounds. What impressed me the most was he knew exactly what he wanted in life and in a partner and wasn’t afraid to show his emotions. He is humble, down to earth and treats my close friends and family like his own family. I love him so much!
How does he support your busy working life and also is he a pickleball fan too?
Hunter supports my busy work life like a trooper – he always offers advice, helps me, and is always learning. He loves pickleball now and actually has built two courts to play together at home. I can’t thank him enough for being by my side every step of the way this year – he has made every effort to be my biggest fan and support my passions. We both learn from each other on our different career endeavors. There’s also times where we combine our career paths together and produce events with one another. Entertainment, sports and hospitality go hand and hand so we are always busy working individually or together!
If you are a book, what would be the title of the book and why?
My best friend told me the book would be called, “ Double Trouble – Beauty and Brains.” I’m BIG on being a multifaceted woman and making things happen.
Any advice to entrepreneurs out there?
1. Embrace creativity and innovation: Be open to new ideas and think outside the box. Always be open to learning.
2. Diversify your income streams: Relying on a single source of income can be risky. Explore different avenues to generate revenue, such as building your social media and brand partnerships, products or services.
3. Follow your passion: Pursue ventures that align with your passions and interests. When you’re passionate about what you do, it becomes easier to overcome challenges and stay motivated during tough times.
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
With Pickleball: Some of the most rewarding things when it comes to my work is, when I get the chance to introduce individuals to embrace new experiences and venture beyond their comfort zones. Many sports can be intimidating to try, but with Pickleball, I firmly believe that anyone can engage in the game and compete at their desired level. Pickleball serves as an exceptional social sport that generates connections with diverse individuals.
Producing and Event Planning: The most fulfilling aspect of my work is the capacity to facilitate connections among individuals. It is truly remarkable to witness the convergence of diverse names and personalities within a shared space, knowing that these encounters may not have occurred if not for the specific event/ plan we organize. I am genuinely thrilled when I see everyone coming together, seizing opportunities to network, forge new acquaintanceships, create lasting memories, and establish connections with fellow entrepreneurs.
What advice would you give to your younger self and why?
Never hesitate to step out of your comfort zone and proudly display your talent and passion to the world. In this age of social media, even if you receive just one like or view on your platform, it is important to remember that the opinions of others should not hold you back. Execute and be persistent. Today’s world offers endless possibilities, allowing you to pursue any path you desire. Embrace the opportunity to transform your passion into a potential thriving business venture.
What is your favorite healthy food?
Ground turkey lettuce wraps.
And your favorite cheat food?
Acai Bowls with Nutella.
How would you explain your fashion style?
Sporty Spice and Chic.
How would your best friend describe you?
“Tara is a woman that makes you feel proud of yourself. In today’s world where there is a lot of competition and status climbing and strain, friendship is something that is continuously becoming harder to come by in a genuine manner. Not Tara – she is someone who is not only an amazing supporter but motivator. She has stride, confidence, and an air of such powerful feminism around her accompanied by a warm personality. They say strength comes in numbers but Tara alone has the wisdom, love, and kindness of a million.” – Megan Eugenio
What’s next for Tara Bernstein in the last months of 2023 and for 2024?
Lots of pickleball content, competing in tournaments, produced events and traveling!
What is your own definition of happiness?
Being present with the people I love and care about. Spending quality time with friends and family.
What is your idea of a perfect Sunday?
Watching football with family and friends – doing box scores together.
Best advice ever given?
“Fight on forget failure.”
Name 3 things you can’t live without?
Family, my dogs, and Pickleball!
What is your favorite song to belt out in the car/for karaoke?
“iPad” by The Chainsmokers.
What do you think of Social Media?
I think social media is a great resource to use to build your own personal brand and business. Its huge for influencer marketing
Where can we follow you?
Photos: Courtesy of Tara Bernstein