Andy Cohen Drove a Forklift For Work As a Teenager

Andy Cohen has risen to the top of the TV programming heap in the past two decades, thanks in large part to Bravo‘s massive Real Housewives franchise. But it took a long time for Cohen to get to where he is now, and it involved many years of hard work.

Andy Cohen
Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live| Bravo

Andy Cohen is from St. Louis, Missouri

Cohen spoke to Naomi Campbell in March 2021 about his life, career, and much more on the supermodel’s web show No Filter with Naomi. Campbell took it all the way back to Cohen’s early life in St. Louis, Missouri.

“That’s where I grew up: right in the middle of the country,” he said. He had a “very traditional family” and is close with his sister, who is three years apart from him in age.

Andy Cohen
Andy Cohen attends the Tom Ford AW/20 Fashion Show at Milk Studios on February 07, 2020 in Los Angeles, California | David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Andy Cohen’s summer jobs

Cohen comes from a working-class background and isn’t ashamed at all about being a hard worker. His family was in the food manufacturing and distribution business, and he started working for them at a young age.

“I worked there every summer,” he recalled. “I drove a delivery truck, I worked on the assembly line, I drove a forklift, I answered phones, I made copies, I did everything you could possibly do.” He said he started out working weekends then transitioned to becoming a full-time employee every summer.

From the beginning, what motivated Cohen was seeing his hard work pay off — literally — in the form of his paychecks. “I loved making a buck,” he admitted. “I loved the feeling of coming home with money that I had made.”

Andy Cohen
Watch What Happens Live host Andy Cohen | Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank

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Andy Cohen got his big break in New York City

Cohen went on to discuss how he found himself in the television industry. He moved to New York City in 1990 after attending Boston University and started working as an intern at CBS News alongside none other than Julie Chen.

Cohen got a job as a desk assistant by a stroke of luck after the previous assistant left a week before. He worked overnight shifts and put in several hours of overtime work every week.

“I thought that I had made it because my check said ‘CBS’ on it, and I was like, ‘Look at this! I’m from St. Louis, I didn’t have any connections in the TV business, [and] here I am — I’m working at CBS News in New York.'”

Cohen continued to rise through the ranks at CBS over the following decade before leaving in 2000 to head up programming at the pop-culture network Trio. In 2004, when Trio became a part of NBC Universal, Cohen became a programming executive at the Bravo network, and just two years later, his “baby,” The Real Housewives series, took off.