Women I Admire Series

Featuring Natalie Morales

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4/18/18 Meeting Natalie with my 4 kids on my 40th Birthday at her 'At Home with Natalie' book signing at Anderson Books in La Grange, IL.

It’s been suggested to me to surround myself with women who lift me up. To connect with women who have achieved goals I aspire to acomplish and talk to them. I want to know what makes them tick, how they balance all that life has to offer, and learn about their journey that has brought them to where they are today. 

On 4/17/18 I appeared on Access Live in Los Angeles where I shared my story of sexual assault, wanting to provide hope for other survivors, and promoted my book ‘MY self.’ Shortly before I arrived, I was informed Scott Evans would be filling in for Natalie Morales because she was on book tour. Still excited ot be on national t.v., and meet Kit Hoover and Scott, I was disappointed I didn’t get the chance to share with Natalie that she is someone I looked up to as a fierce woman who could hold her own on The Today Show. 

My experience on Access was incredible, I was turning 40 the next day and excited to return home and celebrate with my family. I was feeling grateful from the week, ready to start a new milestone, and get in my p.j.’s to snuggle with my kids by 6 p.m., since my husband was working late. Scrolling through instagram, Natalie posted that she was at a bookstore 20 minutes from my house. I screamed, jumped out of bed, and the kids and I loaded into the mini van on a cold, wet night in a suburb just outside of Chicago. I bribed the kids with Chipotle for dinner but they were just as thrilled because I would be buying her cookbook. They had high hopes this mama would become a better cook but unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case. 

We were the last to arrive and after she signed our book (and I slipped her a copy of mine) we took pictures and I girl crushed over her wanting to pull up a chair and have a cup of coffee. Instead, the kids reminded me about our trip to Chipotle and I was whisked away. It felt like a dream and it was a great start to my 40’s. 

Natalie graciously reviewed ‘MY self’ on amazon giving it 5 stars and I wrote a story for her website  nataliemorales.me about gathering around the table with my family of origin. When I decided to do this series, ‘Women I Admire’ Natalie was the first woman who came to mind. She continues to inspire me from afar wearing many hats while staying true to herself. I had the opportunity to ask her via email, some more in depth questions about her life as we are all just trying to do our best and figure it out. My hope is that her answers will inspire you too. Grateful the Universe brought us together.

What does your daily routine look like?    

My day to day varies as I have a few jobs and roles! A few times a week in getting up at 2:30 or 3 am for the Today Show as the West Coast anchor and doing interviews and stories.  As a cohost of Access Live and Access I’m in by 6 am and we have a opening meeting first to discuss he stories of the day, then we do our live show at 8 am. That requires prepping for segments and guests. And when that show is over I work on the evening edition of Access. I usually get home around 3pm and then the real work begins as Mom of 2 (14 yr old Josh and 10 yr old Luke). I like to workout right after work before hey come home from school so I usually try to get in exercise at least 4 times a week when I can. When the kids get home it’s homework, dinner and family time. And then I’m in bed by 9pm on a good night! 

What was a pivotal point in you career?  

I have had many pivotal points of starting anew in my career. First out of college I didn’t find my dream job in journalism right away and worked in a growing program with Chemical Bank for 2 years. It was a great job and taught me so much but ultimately it was not my passion and I left that job and was fortunate to get my first job in TV at Court TV but starting out as a marketing assistant. It wasn’t reporting or on air, but I was one step closer. I spent 2 years there and finally decided I had to really go for it.. which I did and landed at News 12 The Bronx in my first on air job as a reporter. I learned how to produce, edit and report all while working in NY.. it was an incredible experience and was finally closer to my dream. From there I went to Hartford, CT as an anchor and reporter which was a huge jump at the time but it’s sink or swim in this TV business and I was swimming like I was being chased by sharks. And three years later another huge jump to MSNBC which then led to the Today Show. But as with all opportunities in life, you need to look ahead and be plotting your next move and My move to Los Angeles was a big one allowing me to live a life more for my family and less on the go all the time as a breaking news anchor. So this latest chapter is my new edition… we will see where it leads but what I always tell people is you have to see it to make it happen. Visualize what you want.. work hard and then don’t be afraid to take that risk when the time comes. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t, but I can always say I did it and tried something new and different .. the world would be a very boring place if we all stayed the same. 

What do you consider your greatest challenge in life thus far?   

I have been very blessed that i have healthy kids and a healthy family.  That’s most important. My greatest challenge is like a lot of people, feeling insecurities. It doesn’t help that I’m in a medium that is always judging and making you feel like you are never good enough or there is always someone better out there. I’ve heard in my career so many times, “we want more (fill in the blank) and less (fill in the blank)…” it seems sometimes it was never enough to just be me. You head that so often you start to believe it… and I have had panic attacks and anxiety as a result.  I have had many sleepless nights waking up with thoughts that I wasn’t the best version of myself that I could be.  I think most women can relate to feeling like we are always trying to be what others want us to be and it took me finally taking a hard look at my life and asking, who am I and what do I want rather than trying to live up to somebody else’s expectations. It’s something I continue to work at but I’m trying to stop caring about what others do or think and focusing more on what I live and care about. 

What are you most proud of?  

My children. Every parent will say this I think, but when we moved to California 2 years ago I was worried how it would affect them and would they thrive? And they have and then some, but seeing how caring and sweet they are. I always say to them what matters most is being kind and respectful to others and they are wonderful examples of I hope young men who will always be good and honest people. 

How did you manage the trifecta of launching a book, moving to a new city, and hosting a new show?  

I’m better when it all happens at once and apparently that seems to be how I do everything!! I was working on my cookbook “At Home With Natalie” as my job at Today was changing and moving to Los Angeles… starting my job at “Access.” I’m not gonna lie, it was overwhelming! But I have a great family and support system who helped pick up the pieces when I felt like I might lose my mind. I work with great people too at Today and Access who were very supportive and helpful! 

What are your future goals both personally and professionally?  

Who knows? I never dreamed I would finally be living my bucket list here in Los Angeles.. but now that I’m here I want to pursue producing, creating shows and content besides being “talent” as they call us. I want to have a bigger piece of my future and that means creating opportunities for myself and not waiting for opportunities to come to me! 

What advice would you give to someone like myself who is a working mom in her 40’s and inspired by your drive, compassion, and considers you a role model? 

Don’t wait for others to make your dreams come true. Figure out what it is you want, what do you need to make it happen and take risks! I think every successful woman (and man) would say they made mistakes, took risks and eventually hit pay dirt. It doesn’t take luck in our world it takes drive and tenacity and the luck thing is maybe just timing. And lastly believe in yourself and stop trying to live in that mindset that you are never good enough. Silence the negative voices in your head and amp up the positive! 

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