Not everyone is built to withstand the stress of creating, hosting and marketing a television show. Then again, not everyone thinks ocean kayak surfing in shark-infested waters makes for a fun weekend. But Amy West does. A true adventurer, actor, photographer and former model, West embarked on the most daring escapade of her life when she decided to launch the travel show “Like, Love, Want, Need.” Bored with the typical travel shows and tired of waiting for someone to call with the ideal hosting gig, West set out to do it for herself. “I decided that I had resources and could make it happen myself,” says West. “I realized no one would invest in my career like I would, so I took the leap of faith. Now was the time, otherwise my life was going to run me, not the other way around.”So West and her husband founded Journey Productions and sketched out a show that was part fashion, part travel. It intersects where West’s passions meet. Her love affair with travel began when she was eight. “Nothing compares to having your eyes opened to new places, new cultures, new ‘normals,'” She says. “It’s a special kind of high when you have no idea where you are and you start to learn the exciting and unique secrets of a destination.” From her modeling background, West also mixed in a bit of glitz and glam. “There are a lot of travel shows out there, but not many that showcase the style and elegance I wanted my audience to experience. I guess that comes from my background as a model and photographer. I wanted the show to be full of visual appeal and a lot of heart.”
So West takes her audience to meet interesting people, in dynamic locales while showcasing the culture’s food, fashion-and flare. “Every place has a story, and the biggest story is what happens inside of you when you travel beyond your norm,” says West.
Of course, drumming up all that adventure and glamour isn’t as easy as West makes it look. “A typical day on the set is surreal and exciting,” she says. “We aim to get the most exclusive access to our venues, so when I’m on set we are walking where few ever get to walk. This way the audience gets an experience maybe they wouldn’t have otherwise.” West isn’t just the host, she’s also the executive producer and director so she’s wearing different hats depending on what time of the day it is. “There is a lot of stress in producing the show. The logistics involved are intense. Setting up destinations, making sure you have show stopping locations, stories, and guests. Being business savvy and keeping it in budget. My locations are usually high profile so they require a lot of TLC and communication. It’s all worth it though when you see the vision become reality.”
Not many hosts are, for instance, worried about the b-roll the film crew is shooting while in hair and makeup, but West says she thrives on what the show offers her. “The show is full of great food and great wine. That’s a huge perk. I have to admit, though, at the end of the day I’m exhausted. Still, what can compare to the amazing experiences I’ve had that day? I feel so blessed to do what I love.”
The show, which currently airs on the CW17 weekly on Saturday nights at 8:30pm is also available at www.likelovewantneed.com. West says she’s close to a deal that will expose the show to a much larger audience, but the details are still hush hush.
Among the adventures West counts to date are climbing the Great Wall of China, visiting orphanages and prisons in third-world nations, off-roading in New Zealand, repelling in Tennessee, swimming in the Mediterranean Sea, taking a mud bath in Napa Valley and touring the streets of Prague.
“Many people will never have the opportunity to travel away from home,” says West. Many are seeking to explore but don’t know where to go. If I can inspire someone to get out there and see life with a new set of eyes, or give them wings where they have none, then I am doing my job. This show is not just about the materialism of nice things, fancy clothes, and pretty faces. It’s about living life to the fullest, breathing in the moment, and choosing to enjoy the journey. That is what I want to bring to the masses whether that means tasting something you’ve never tried before, or leaving town for a place unknown.”
While West is currently focused on securing national and international platforms for “Like Love Want Need,” she’s got an eye on a future prize. “I would like to be a household name as a Travel Personality. But I would also love to explore more narrative film work and dive into some intense characters. Emmy’s, Oscars… Is there an actor out there that doesn’t dream of those?”