Jedediah Bila Talks Marriage, Millennials, Parkland, And 'The View' In An Exclusive Conversation
Jedediah Bila may be outnumbered in her Conservative Libertarian point of view, but that has not stopped her from becoming one of the millennial generation's most influential voices.
Bila began her career in New York City academia where she rose through the ranks from a teacher to middle school, high school, and college students to an academic dean. Despite being outnumbered by her colleagues, Bila never stopped sharing her passion for politics and even wrote a book in 2011 called Outnumbered: Chronicles of a Manhattan Conservative. The book led to multiple writing opportunities from several online outlets including The Blaze, The Daily Caller, and PolicyMic.
Her unique point of view also caught the attention of the Fox News Network. Bila became an intricate part of the network as she worked as a contributor. Throughout her time at Fox News, Bila challenged both political parties' point of views on several shows such as Hannity and eventually co-hosted both The Five and Outnumbered.
After making multiple guest appearances on The View, Bila was hired to become a co-host during the celebrated talk show's 20th anniversary season. She shared the Hot Topics table with show veterans Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar plus Sara Haines, Sunny Hostin, Paula Faris, Candace Cameron Bure, and Raven-Symone. Throughout her time on the show, she shared her opinions on a plethora of subjects ranging from the Trump Presidency to celebrity gossip. She also shared an Emmy nomination with the rest of the cast.
Recently, Jedediah Bila made headlines for her wedding to husband Jeremy Scher in Huntington, New York. She announced her engagement to Scher on the show during a June 2017 taping of The View. The couple was joined by 60 of their closest family and friends as they celebrated their marriage at Oheka Castle.
In an exclusive interview with Enstars, Jedediah Bila opened up about her wedding to Jeremy Schur, revealed which public figure is her favorite guest on The View, and shared her thoughts on two of the most prominent news stories of 2018 -- the Parkland, Florida school shooting and the #MeToo Movement.
Enstars: Congratulations on your wedding to Jeremy! Could you describe the ceremony to our readers?
Jedediah Bila: It was amazing. It was at Oheka Castle in Huntington, New York. When we first saw the location, both of us fell in love with it. When we first visited the castle, we walked into a library, and we decided: "Oh my gosh! We have to get married in this library." Jeremy is in publishing, I love to write, and books surrounded us. I worked with Michael Russo, who was my wedding planner. He fundamentally transformed every room into this warm, beautiful space. We got married in the library, and we had a cocktail hour in another gorgeous room that looks like a dining room in an old mansion. Our wedding also had a very special large room that acted as a lounge area. We had both a band and a DJ which played a lot of fantastic retro music. Jeremy and I like '50s music, a lot of throwback '80s music and we put some country in there. We had a combined band and DJ at the event. The line-up included a trumpet player and a singer. Sometimes, the band and DJ worked together, which produced an incredible sound. It was a beautiful atmosphere that contained lots of candles, ivory, gold, and several floral arrangements. If I ever had the opportunity to own a castle, the inside would look like the Oheka Castle (Laughs).
E: Another essential element of your wedding was your Rivini dress. When did you decide on the wedding dress that you wanted to wear?
Jedediah Bila: In real life, I am a big tomboy. I live in jeans, tank tops, and combat boots. I thought that whenever I got married, I would be wearing a very simple wedding dress. However, when I went shopping with my mom, my aunt, and my wedding planner, I found the dress. It was not even on the recommendation rack. Initially, I did not want a ball gown or wear a strapless or lace dress. However, I ended up picking a lace, strapless ball gown. It was the first dress I saw and that I put on. When I put the dress on, it felt like I was wearing a vintage princess dress. It had the little pieces that hung off the shoulder, and it felt that I could be running through a field just like in a movie. I tried on other dresses that day, then I went to another store and tried on more dresses...but I loved that first dress. While I picked out the Rivini dress, I wound up thinking that the dress was a ball gown and I love to dance. Thankfully, the dressmaker made me a shorter dress that made me feel like a ballerina, and I was able to twirl and have fun in that dress. It was a nice combo package that I got.
E: Most of Enstars' readers know you from your time as a co-host of "The View." What were some of the most prominent lessons that you learned from your time on the show?
Jedediah Bila: In 2011, I released a book called Outnumbered: Chronicles of a Manhattan Conservative. I grew up in Manhattan as a Conservative Libertarian, and I was always outnumbered in my views. Before I got the co-host job at The View, I worked at Fox News and worked in academia where my beliefs were outnumbered. However, Fox News was a little bit of a deviation where they were more on the right in that arena. When I went to The View, I was excited to share that Libertarian viewpoint with that audience.
I guess one of the lessons that I learned was the importance of really listening before you speak. I was lucky enough to hear a lot of different opinions on that set from my co-hosts, which I really valued and respected. My experience on The View helped me learn that sometimes that it is more important to hear to what they have to say and learning how to respond in a place where you have walked in someone else's shoes and have taken the chance to see the world as they see it even for a second, it makes for both a better conversation and an experience. I have lived in New York City my whole life and it was not something that I thoroughly experienced in my work life until I was on the show. I loved all the people on the show, and it made my experience a lot more fun.
Enstars: You must have had a lot of great memories and favorite guests from your time on "The View."
Jedediah Bila: I did. My favorite guest was former Vice President Joe Biden. Joe and I pretty much disagree on everything, but we were able to have an amazing on-set discussion and also during our commercial breaks. I remember leaving that episode thinking that he and I could sit in a 30-minute interview, it could show people that even though we disagree entirely but could have a conversation.
Some of my favorite moments from The View include the political debates. I often had heated discussions with Sunny (Hostin), who is a dear friend of mine. Sometimes those heated conversations opened my eyes to a more profound viewing of the world. Other times we would be talking about dating and relationships. Sara (Haines), who is also another really good friend of mine, would pick on me at times. Being on The View was really sitting around with your really good friends and having these conversations. However, you forget that you are having conversations in front of millions of people. The entire experience was fun!
Enstars: Before you were a part of "The View," you were also a part of Fox News' "Outnumbered." What were some of the significant similarities and differences between those two shows?
JB: I am not a Republican, I consider myself a truth teller. I never worked for a politician, and I do not owe any political party favors. I will pick on both Democrats and Republicans. In fact, the bulk of my work at Fox News was going after big government Republicans who take a bulk of the nation's money and do not adhere to the values that they champion. When I was at Outnumbered, I would have both a Republican strategist and a Democrat strategist sitting right next to me. However, I would be picking on both political parties. It was the same thing at The View. There were times that I would defend President Donald Trump if he announced a policy that I would agree with, but I was more than happy to go after President Trump. My allegiance is to principle and not to party or a politician. I have always been consistent with all the things I do in this industry because I think that is why I have a job.
People recognize that my allegiance is that to the things that I believe in, whether you agree with them or not. I am not paid for or bought and sold to anyone. I want to rest my head on a pillow at night and know that I was honest with the world. My political opinions on The View were probably and consistently in the minority. The way I look at work is that I am there for my opinion, but it did not feel personal, was not insulted, and I could laugh through it. It is all a part of life, and I try to be real as possible. I was the same person on both shows. If I were on MSNBC, CNN, CNBC, or started my own network, I would be the same person.
E: The media has covered several significant stories such as the #MeToo Movement and the tragic school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. What were your thoughts as you were watching these news stories develop?
Jedediah Bila: I think one of my main concerns, when any tragedy strikes, is to focus on the way social media functions after the tragedy occurs. If there is a shooting or any horrific act, you will see two sides of a political debate quickly emerge. I always say: "Give it 24 hours," and I did then went through 9/11. I was very close to the World Trade Center attacks, and I lost a lot of people. I remember the first 24 hours after the attack, and I did not want to hear any political talking heads. I just wanted to have the chance to grieve, and I wanted the families of the people who lost loved ones to have that moment of silence. I took a lot of heat from that viewpoint. In the first 24 hours after the Parkland, Florida tragedy, I was not out there talking about gun control.
Earlier this interview, I stated that I am big on taking a minute to walk in someone else's shoes. During the CNN Town Hall, you had students speaking out and advocating for gun control. I am a firm Second Amendment advocate, but I heard where they were coming from. I took a minute and thought that these kids were scared. They were at school, and the shooting made them feel powerless, and they wanted someone to do something whether it is putting more law enforcement on campuses or station military veterans on campus. These kids are scared, and the fact that they are mobilizing is an admirable trait no matter where you stand on the issue. Give it a minute and put yourself in their shoes. If you were in school and went through a tragedy of that kind and you were scared or were a parent whose child went to school that day and was scared, take a minute and understand where they are coming from. That is something that should happen across the political spectrum.
You can also apply it to the #MeToo Movement. Think about someone who suffered from sexual harassment and did not report it for some years. The initial momentum is always to judge. Just take a minute to think about if you were in their position. How were you going to feed your family and yourself? What were you going to lose if you came forward? Or the fear or the shame that may have been involved? That is my M.O. across the board. Just take a minute.
Unfortunately, in the social media age that we are currently in, it does not allow us to take a minute. I would like to invite people to instead of following the rules of social media, create your own rules and say: "I am not going to jump even though they want me to jump. I am going to stand here and think about this for a second so that my reply has some sense of sensitivity and some thought that is beyond just your tunnel vision knowledge of the issue."
E: What were some of the challenges that you faced throughout your career? How did you overcome those obstacles?
Jedediah Bila: I did not come from money, I was a very middle-class girl. My parents had a mortgage, and they had to work hard to pay that off. Throughout my life, I had a lot of jobs. I have been a cocktail waitress and a teacher. I have done a lot of jobs to pay the bills, and I had to build myself up. When I first started in television, I was doing a lot of free TV. I began writing articles, and my name got out there, and numerous television producers were calling and asking me to come on their shows. However, they were not paying me. I remember sitting on a stoop and asked myself: "How do I go through all of this?" "Is this doable?" I got myself in a little bit of debt because I did not have a financial system around me that was going to help me up. I did not have any famous networking family members, and it was just me. The way that I overcame it was that I was going to do what I was passionate about and if it opened doors great, if it did not open the doors it was supposed to open, it would open new ones.
Another challenge that I faced was that trying to fit into a box that people initially expected me to be. I spent six months trying to be something that would generate money. After all that time, I woke up one day and I decided that I am going to be me. If it makes money, it makes money. If it doesn't, I am going to move onto something else. It was a struggle, I had to dig myself out of debt and work two different jobs, I did a lot of free television, and I did a lot of free writing before I got paid. I had to establish myself as someone who was willing work hard for a platform.
E: In your humble opinion, what do you think are some of the challenges that the millennial generation faces?
Jedediah Bila: I am writing a technology book right now. The book is about how social media and technology is influencing relationships and society at large. Without giving away too many details just yet, I see that being one of the most significant challenges that millennials will face. I hope that millennials everywhere read this book because I wrote it from a place of having grown and learned so much from my experience. I have made so many mistakes, and it is an excellent opportunity to see just how serious some of the issues that are coming through due to tech overload. I look at our generation and see so many challenges at hand. The idea of growing up in a dating world where all of the technology was so relevant. Social media has made it harder. Things that were once really simple are now very complex in a way that I don't think people of older generations give young people credit for regarding what they have to tackle and what they have to face. I think people of that generation will read this book and say: "You know what? She guessed it!" (Laughs)
The other challenge that I believe that our generation faces are how to be politically engaged. Politics has gotten really ugly. There was a time when politics was about policy discussion, and now it is very personal. I do believe social media does play a prominent role in that, but I think young people are growing up in a time where they feel they have to throw insults, be angry and outraged and screaming things that will grab a headline. A majority of millennials think that they have to be marginalized to be heard. That's really unfortunate because that type of stuff does not stick to anything and it elevates the fringe components. What gets lost are conversations that need to happen where people made the right decisions to help others. My hope is that is somehow that this generation can turn it around and realize that the current status quo is not helpful. We need to stop aggregators from the fringe who are dominating the conversation and put them back into the corner where they belong. They are entirely unhelpful, and they do not have anyone's best interest in mind. The fringe aggravators are like Kindergarteners at the playground that are screaming and yelling at each other all day long. However, it is not Kindergarteners that are doing this, it is grown men and women.
I hope that millennials can do something about this. I would also advise them to watch some old pieces by people that you really respect no matter their political ideology, no matter if it is former Presidents such as Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy or whoever, and look at how they talked to each other. What we have today is not it. The reason things got done differently is that they were not throwing personal attacks against each other.
E: If you had the opportunity to meet with aspiring commentators who wanted to work in the media industry, what advice would you share with them?
Jedediah Bila: Number one, absolutely be yourself. There is one you! A lot of people try to be something, and there are a lot of talking points that are being thrown around. You can watch seven hours of news and hear the same three talking points 57 times. It's boring, unoriginal, and it won't make you happy, and you will not find growth in the industry. The only thing that you have is you! You are the person that can look and talk like you. Every single person has walked through life with their own set of experiences. Whether you grew up poor or rich, lived in the city or a residential area, whether that experience is it stays with you. It gives you insight into the world uniquely and differently, and that should show!
When I get on TV, and I talk about the fact that I grew up in a middle-class family in New York City. I was outnumbered, and I taught at a school. On Feb. 23, I tweeted about a big debate whether we arm teachers in the classroom. I taught middle school, high school, and college students and I was an academic dean. I am bringing that experience to the table. Although I support the Second Amendment, that is not the way that I would go about it, and it is a very complicated issue. I think what people forget is when they get into television, they become like "Stepford Wife" versions of themselves. They all want to say the same things to get ahead. However, they forget who they are and what makes them unique as individuals. If people want to go into the media industry, they have to be real or honest. Whether your opinions are popular or not, OWN IT! If you genially believe that, run with it. If you are lying on TV, people are going to know it. The audience is very smart. My experience has been so live-wired, and they do not like people who are defending talking points or pretending to spout something because they want to keep a job. Not only will it make you feel bad at the end of the day if you are lying, but the audience won't like you, and you won't like you.
Also, don't be afraid to try different things. Don't say: "Oh! I am going a show, and people are going to beat up on me." Well, maybe not. Maybe you will go, and they may beat up on you, you will defend your view and feel amazing about yourself when you leave. Or they beat up on you, but you discover an inner strength to answer the questions or maybe you will do a terrible job. Believe me, I have done terrible jobs now and then, but I learn from that experience.
You are allowed to stumble in the beginning, make some mistakes, and take jobs that you will never do again. It is really all about growing as a person in a job, and you have to be fearless.