My first day on the job as a television reporter was nothing short of terrifying. I was young, insecure and horribly dressed. Of course, I didn’t know it at the time (the horribly dressed part.) Wearing a crisp, bright red blazer, checkered blue and white gauchos and navy high heeled Mary Janes with sweet little bows on top, I was ready to take on the world and my very first television story.
When I showed up to work, my very old, strung-out-on-coffee-and-cigarettes assignment editor barked out my marching orders: “Your story is about the largest private hospital in the area turning indigent.” My response was, not surprisingly, idiotic: “Well, that sounds interesting,” I said enthusiastically. “No shit, Sherlock,” he quipped while handing me a stack of press releases. “You’re the lead at 6pm,” he grunted. “This is my first day. Should I really be the lead?” I sighed insecurely, under my breath. He didn’t even bother looking up from his computer, but…
Just as I turned to walk out the door, he called after me: “Hey, new kid – you’re not going to wear that on television, are you?” Everyone in the newsroom simultaneously burst into laughter. I smirked at him, shook my head and bee-lined it for the hospital. Once I met my videographer, I did, indeed, piecemeal my way through the story and proudly presented it during my very first television live-shot on the 6PM news. After the tally light went off on the camera, I punched the sky and belted out the theme to “Rocky.” It was a defining moment…
Unfortunately, I did it all while wearing that not-so-flattering outfit. If I was being totally honest, though, I didn’t really have a choice in the matter. I was just starting out in the business and was as broke as a spandex maker when grunge hit. So to make due, I would piece together outfits from free clothing I got from my old pageant and modeling days. I learned pretty quickly, though, my sob story didn’t matter because viewers didn’t give a flying flip. The next day, my News Director forwarded me my first official complaint.
The ladies name was Barbara; yes, I still remember her name and in no uncertain terms she wrote the station, cc’ing my General Manager, to inform them that during my (very first) live-shot, I wasn’t wearing enough lipstick, my hair was too flat and my gauchos were hideous. Luckily, she thought I did a good job on the story. Welcome to television!
Read the rest of “The Evolution of the TV Anchor” at www.wsvn.com or to be featured in the blog email me at ShireenSandoval@yahoo.com.
Hair & Make-up by Odette Hernandez
Editor: Matthew Auerbach