What’s a desert girl from New Mexico doing in South Florida by the ocean? I’ve always called it, “The Great Escape.” It all started on a hot muggy night a little over ten years ago, when a plane from the cold midwest touched down at Miami International Airport carrying a young journalist with big dreams. When I stepped onto the jet bridge the humidity slapped me across the face, wrapped its warm arms around me and whispered in my ear: “You’re meant to be here.”
I shrugged off the premonition and cabbed it to a part of Miami I’d never heard of called North Bay Village. It was so dark outside I couldn’t see the landscape, which I found disappointing. I had never been to Florida before and was eager to see its lush palm trees, crystal blue waters and much talked about “sexy people.” I settled for a grumpy cab driver, who smelled of cigars, stale sweat and cheap cologne.
After a short and relatively smooth drive, he dropped me off in front of the Best Western strategically placed next to Channel 7, where I would audition for Deco Drive in a few hours. I had been summoned by one of the most powerful stations in the country after their plans to hire a male entertainment reporter had fallen through.
I’ve never been great at auditions, but when I met Lynn Martinez and Belkys Nerey for the first time, it was as if I had known them for years (despite never having seen the show before.) For lack of a better description, we got on famously. After visiting with one another, the three of us did a scripted run-through of Deco, then an unscripted one (we call that ad-libbing in television) and I felt really good about it. Matter of fact, I nailed the audition. I just knew, for whatever reason, Miami was where I was meant to be.
I left South Florida as quickly as I came. I had to get back to Indianapolis, where I was working on a morning show at the time as an Entertainment/Features correspondent. Most job auditions in television are done on the sly and mine was no different. On the way to the airport, though, my agent called and said I had been offered the job. I accepted.