The Thrive Questionnaire//

CNN Co-Anchor Alisyn Camerota On Why Her Phone ‘Bums’ Her Out

And the one book that truly changed her life.

When you have the opportunity to ask some of the most interesting people in the world about their lives, sometimes the most fascinating answers come from the simplest questions. The Thrive Questionnaire is an ongoing series that gives an intimate look inside the lives of some of the world’s most successful people.

Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?
Alisyn Camerota: Every morning when my alarm goes off at 3:15am, I’m shocked. And I spend a few seconds outraged that someone has staged this inconsiderate prank by sneaking into my bedroom and making that horrible sound. Then I remember, wait, that’s MY alarm. I actually have to get up at this ungodly hour.

TG: What gives you energy?
AC: Going to see a band. Live music makes me come alive. And also spirited dinner conversations with friends. Combine those two, music AND dinner with friends, and I’m shot out of a cannon. You should see how great I am at 9pm with friends at a music show – charming, funny, full of energy. You’ll have to take my word on this.

TG: What’s your secret life hack?
AC: I find hair washing to be over-rated. I do it as rarely as possible. Twice a week at most and only then if it’s gotten too gunked up with hairspray or products. Otherwise, I leave it alone. Dirt makes it look better!

TG: Name a book that changed your life.
AC: A book called Amanda Wakes Up. It’s about an idealistic journalist trying to navigate her way through the crazy world of cable news during an intense presidential campaign. Oh, and I also happen to be the author. Writing the book changed my life. It was cathartic and interesting and hard as hell. And everything that’s happened since – the book clubs, school visits, book signings, panels, author conferences, etc. – have been life changing as well. People are very interested in hearing about what it’s like to be a journalist in this climate and I’m happy to have Amanda Wakes Up lead that conversation.

TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?
AC: My phone bums me out. I don’t know how to use it to do any of the fancy things other people always seem to be doing, like tracking flights or talking to Siri or creating mini-movies. I can’t even type on it. The virtual keyboard is impossible for me to use, therefore useless for the volume of emails I send everyday. I routinely get responses from people that read, “I don’t know what you’re saying.” Luckily, I found a bootleg attachable keyboard that’s no longer being manufactured that slips onto the phone and that my fingers can actually feel. People are always pointing at it in awe as if I had a pet unicorn. They’ll have to pry that keyboard from my cold, dead hands.

TG: How do you deal with email?
AC: Staying on top of email is a constant struggle. It’s overwhelming. I try to flag the ones that need attention so I can return to them when I have a chuck of time, but even with that, dozens slip through the cracks. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as deleting a string of emails.

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?
AC: Lie down and stare straight ahead.

TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?
AC: I get burned out by being in too much motion. Running from my office to the studio, then to a meeting, to a lunch, racing home in time for the school bus, running errands, driving to activities. For some portion of everyday, I need to be OUT of motion, hence the lying still and staring straight ahead.

TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?
AC: I have daily failures. Not a morning goes by that I don’t think I could have done better at something on my “New Day” show – pushed a newsmaker harder for an answer, made a more salient point, gotten a fact across in a more cogent way. Each new day (and New Day) is a new opportunity to do better. But it’s not all an exercise in self-flagellation. Luckily, there are also mini victories every morning where a moment goes just right. I find learning from mistakes and failures to be the best way to overcome them.

TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
AC: The one I find myself saying most often lately in this hyper-charged news cycle:
This too shall pass.

Alisyn Camerota is the is the co-anchor of CNN’s morning show “New Day”. Prior to CNN, Alisyn worked at Fox News Channel, NBC and America’s Most Wanted. As an award-winning journalist, Alisyn knows a little something about the fast-paced world of cable news and what it’s like to be a journalist working in today’s hyper-charged world of broadcast news. Amanda Wakes Up, Alisyn’s first book was selected by NPR as one of the best books of 2017. It offers a behind-the-scenes peek at a fictional morning show —a blur of breaking news, big scoops, and colorful personalities. The protagonist, Amanda Gallo, takes the reader into the TV trenches, as she lands a plum gig at a big-time cable news station, and quickly learns her dream job is a minefield of ethical and personal dilemmas. 

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