Nikki Haskell: The OG-Influencer

by | Mar 8, 2023

Nikki Haskell for Gurus Magazine

“If I can’t do it in High Heels, I’m not interested.”

The “Queen of New York” nightlife and entertainment news host has taken social media by storm. Nikki Haskell, an entrepreneur and socialite best known for her hit television series “The Nikki Haskell Show,” has entered a new era as the Grandfluencer. Like a moth to a flame, it appears people have always been drawn to Nikki; with her charismatic smile and electric gaze, she never held back to get the story. And now, in an era where everything is googlable, Nikki captivates a new audience in her hilarious TikTok videos advising the younger generation in a witty series called, “Things I know in my 80’s, I wish I knew in my 20s.”

Nikki navigates through a memory bank of her awe-inspiring life on her social media platforms, sharing no-holds-barred advice and witty taglines mixed with slapstick content. Clever quips such as, “If you can’t do it in heels, I’m not interested” has audiences wanting more from the entertainment guru herself.

Nikki Haskell by Fadil Berisha

Wall Street to News Beat

From Wall Street to News beat, Nikki pioneered the way for women in the news entertainment industry. Born in Chicago, little Nikki was no stranger to the spotlight. Her parents often took her to the nightclubs, such as Chicago’s Chez Paris where she became enamored with showbusiness and nightlife. At the age of 13, the family moved to Beverly Hills, where Nikki attended Beverly Hills High School. A lover of the arts, Nikki later enrolled at the Chicago Art Institute and garnered several awards for her work.

Similar to most women of her time, Nikki was content with getting married and living happily ever after. Unbeknownst to the future stock market maven, Nikki’s life would not take such an ordinary path. She married real estate broker Jack Haskell not once but twice. During the second marriage in 1966, the Haskells’ moved to New York City. Although the marriage only lasted one year, Nikki was able to turn the divorce settlement into a small fortune in the stock market with a stroke of luck.

Nikki Haskell by Fadil Berisha

“When we were divorced, I took $18,000 and ran it into $2.5 million by mistake,” Nikki says. “I asked a girlfriend to tell me which stocks her father had bought for her. I bought ten shares of this and five shares of that; within three weeks, everything doubled. Then I bought shares at LearJet. One day I was at the beauty salon, and on the magazine cover, it read Frank Sinatra partners with LearJet. I sold everything I had, and the rest is history.”

When her then-husband suggested she get a job, Nikki thought she would try her luck as a stockbroker since she had previous success in the stock market. One problem, there were no women working as stock brokers. As timing would have it, Nikki phoned a friend who owned a brokerage firm, Burnham and Company (later called Drexel Burnham) and started training. Nikki went to the New York Institute of Finance, with 1600 men and didn’t miss a beat. She passed her test and became a stockbroker for 10 years. “I went to restaurants that said men only,” says the maverick. “I went right in. To me a line is something you get to the front of.”

Emboldened by fearlessness, Nikki’s charm and wit catapulted her to stardom on an off-chance night. A frequent visitor of Studio 54, this was one night Nikki vowed to stay home, but as luck would have it, a friend wooed her into going out. That’s the night Nikki coined the phrase, “You’ll never meet anyone dancing in the closet.”

Nikki Haskell by Fadil Berisha

On this particular venture out, she met Prince Egon Von Furstenberg, iconic designer Diane Von Furstenberg’s first husband. He invited her to co-host a cable show with him, which he later had to pull out of. The forerunner to Entertainment Tonight and E-news, “The Nikki Haskell Show” was born. “I was the first person to put fashion on the air,” says Nikki.

With the hottest styles that fashion had to offer, one glance at the iconic footage of “The Nikki Haskell Show” and you would assume she had an entire crew and production company to back her. Contrary to one’s assumption, Nikki did it all herself. The producing, the edits, styling, hair, makeup and all without a script or formal training. “I was never scripted, so we were basically the first reality show,” says Nikki, “To me, if you have a script, then you’re not having a conversation. You’re not listening to their answers because you’re just there to ask questions. If you wanted to have a party or an event during that period of time, it was either me or nobody, if you had a story you wanted to tell or party for your birthday or Christmas it was me by default. No one was doing what I was doing.”  To this day, “The Nikki Haskell Show” is the only show ever filmed inside the infamous Studio 54.

To this day, “The Nikki Haskell Show” is the only show ever filmed inside the famous Studio 54. The show aired for six years and gained reputable notoriety. Nikki interviewed the most legendary personalities of all time throughout her years on air. From Andy Warhol to Rick James, Liza Minnelli, and Notorious Former First Lady Of The Philippines Imelda Marcos. She was also the first to sit with Donald and Ivana Trump. Often criticized for her friendship with Donald Trump, Nikki first met the real estate mogul in 1971 at Le Club, a members-only social club. Struck by his appearance, Nikki inquired about who he was with the Maitre d’. The two immediately struck up a friendship when they were introduced during an acquaintances’ dinner later on.

Nikki continued to find success with her show. She covered events worldwide for diplomats, artists, and the arts like the Deauville film festival and Carnival in Rio De Janeiro, to name a few. Which she quotes as being one of the most exciting experiences in her life. “Wearing high heels, and a silver costume, I went up 100 feet on a ladder to be on the float,” says Nikki “Being on that float was one of the most exciting experiences in my life.”  She has over 300 + episodes in her tenure.

As an entrepreneur, Nikki became a guru in the diet and fitness industry. She created her own weight loss line called StarCaps. StarCaps was a weight loss capsule and quickly became  an overnight success. The social mogul ran into some legal trouble, however, when six NFL players sued her, claiming the capsules’ natural ingredient, bumetanide for their failed their drug tests. She lost in court and her entire business was done, almost costing her everything.

Grandeur

As admirable as a living legend can get, Nikki has worn several hats and has been a staple in the entertainment industry for three decades. Reviving her legacy, she continues to be an unstoppable force with an incredibly authentic relationship with social media. Garnering 133k TikTok followers and 104k Instagram followers, her most beloved demographic are Gen Z-ers. The self-proclaimed the OG influencer, doesn’t exhaust her audience with lectures or boring stories of the good ‘ol days, however. Instead, she has an upbeat approach to how to navigate life, business and men with confidence, preparedness and a little luck.

Using some of that foxy whimsy we’ve all grown to love, Nikki recently posted on her TikTok the answer to the question “are you going to watch the Superbowl?” “I’m going to be tuning into Rihanna’s concert,” says Nikki “I can’t believe the Eagles and the Chiefs get to go to the Rihanna concert. You better work.”

Nikki Haskell by Fadil Berisha

In another post for her Instagram series, “Things I know in my 80s that I wish I knew in my 20’s”, Nikki advises, “All these hacks on the internet about how to become successful are bogus.” Nikki has never been shy about crediting her luck and positivity for getting her through the door. “You have to be prepared. Luck meets opportunity. Don’t be afraid to get out there. Just remember, luck always finds those who seek it,” says Nikki.

Fortunately for us, Nikki has passed down her luck, and you can now view the quintessential host’s classic footage of “The Nikki Haskell Show” on Amazon, Freevee. Nikki also has a successful line of NFTs called Ports of Call, a series of 15 watercolors painted from around the world available on Open Sea.  You can also find @Nikki Haskell on Facebook, @bignikbh on IG, and the Star Cruncher, her latest creation, is also available on Amazon.

Editor-in-chief: Derek Warburton Written by: Ashley Foster | Photographer: Fadil Berisha | Edited by: Cyan Leigh Dacasin

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