24 hours on TV
Cape May’s Carrie Locklyn takes on QVC
By Klein Aleardi

When Carrie Locklyn leaves her Haddonfield home to commute to the office, it’s still dark outside. Like, dark dark. Because it’s around 9 pm.

As a QVC guest host presenting the shopping channel’s signature home line, Home Reflections, the Cape May native regularly takes the one-hour trip to West Chester, PA, for a full day – sometimes longer – of live TV. 

“I’ll be on air for about half an hour at a time, then I might have an hour break before I’m back on again,” Locklyn says.  

Luckily, the studios are located in QVC’s headquarters, a campus of sorts complete with a coffee shop, cafeteria, lots of open space and a handful of fellow QVC employees to help pass the time. 

For Locklyn, activities between appearances usually consist of drinking coffee, eating pieces of candy and taking advantage of the massage chairs in the green room while QVC plays in the background (there’s a TV in every room playing QVC – some even have the airings from different countries around the globe). 

“I’m careful with how much I eat on my breaks,” Locklyn says. “Because if you eat too much you can get tired and feel numb. And when you’re on air, you have to be on. I wouldn’t quite say it’s like being an athlete, but it does have endurance to it.”  

During those breaks, she’s probably brushing up on everything there is to know about the products she’ll be introducing to millions of viewers in the next segment. You’ll never see Locklyn on air with any kind of cheat sheet, that’s a QVC faux pas. “It’s all from memory,” she says. 

Her ability to stay on her feet and keep so much information organized in her head are skills she credits to her eclectic resume. She’s been a professional dancer, a bartender, a TV host for HGTV’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” and other shows, as well as a stand-up comedian and improv performer.  

“It’s kind of like remembering choreography or remembering the recipe of a drink, and you’re also presenting and entertaining at the same time,” Locklyn says. “I’ll use each product in my personal life and look at it from a functional end first. Then, of course, from the beauty side. Then I learn the technical pieces.” 

“So if I’m presenting a set of sheets, I learn where the cotton is from, how it washes, how it stretches and breathes. I have a Rolodex of information in my brain, with everything I want to say about the product. Sometimes, the host will ask me a question that I didn’t think of, but because I know the product so well, I’ll be able to answer it.”

And then…it repeats. But it’s never the same, says Locklyn. Because each time she goes on air, she’s introducing viewers to a different product. Since first appearing on the network in 2018, she’s shown everything from decorative lanterns and charcuterie boards to travel pillows. 

None of these segments are scripted, she notes. Everything you’re seeing is off-the-cuff, which leaves some room for creative choices, but zero room for switching to autopilot. “Every time I present, I’m presenting a different product with a different host at a different time of the day and a different week. And anything can happen – it’s live TV.” 

Like the time Locklyn presented a set of towels that are described as “super absorbent.” But that phrase can sound jumbled when you say it out loud, so she decided to pivot. “On air, I decided to say, ‘these towels really suck up the water in a minute,’” Locklyn says. “And the second I heard myself say it out loud, I thought, ‘No, don’t do that again.’” 

The longest stretch of time Locklyn has spent at the studio has been 26 hours, when she was presenting a product for Today’s Special Value – TSV for short – which is the network’s extra-special deal that is offered for 24 hours. It’s something she’s participated in multiple times. 

“For those, I have to be there at 10 pm the night before, and then we’ll debut it at midnight, present it throughout the morning, have a small break, then start back up at 7 am for the rest of the day.” 

Leading up to that midnight debut, Locklyn will meet with producers, do a walkthrough on the set, speak with the host, speak with the directors and set designers to make sure everyone’s on the same page. But for regular segments, there’s no rehearsal. It’s just go. 

Some people would be turned off by weird hours and the stress of live television, but for Locklyn, this has always been a bucket list item.

“I’ll have these moments when I go through the security check-in and I think, ‘Wow, I watched this with my mom and my grandma and here I am,’” she says. “And my mom still watches every single one of my airings.” 

February 2024
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