I've always been a bit of a tomboy. This probably has something to do with the fact that I grew up with two brothers in a part of the country where there are a lot more cows, snakes and lizards than there are people--the Central Valley of California. Like most kids in my neighborhood, my first pet was an iguana (I named him "Yoda"), and I passed the time floatin’ down the St. John’s River on inner tubes in the summer. One nice thing about living in Central California is that you can snowboard and play tennis outdoors in the same day, and I did a lot of both as I was growing up. I also did a lot of eating; my father is Italian and my mother is Japanese, so I was raised to appreciate a wide variety of cuisines and, of course, In-N-Out Burger. I guess that seeing a lot of cows makes you want to eat them.
I'm a California girl at heart, but after graduating high school, I wanted to see more of the world. I moved out East to study journalism at Boston University. While I was there, I learned to say “pahk the cah”, “Hahvuhd,” and “wicked awesome.” I also learned a lot about how to write and research. I was lucky enough to get internships at local news stations and eventually at a network bureau in London. Being in college was great, but I was eager to take what I had learned into the real world. After I graduated, I was ecstatic when Fox gave me a perfect opportunity: a job working for the best news outlet in the business and an excuse to return back to the place I grew up.
To understand what it's like to be a junior reporter, it's helpful to think of a mini news station. What we do is called "one-man-band" reporting. This means that we do both behind-the-scenes work, like shooting, producing, and editing, as well as the on-camera work that you're familiar with, like reporting and interviewing. So it's almost as if we are our own traveling news station. The coolest part about being a one-man band is that I can respond quickly to breaking news stories without having to bother other people at the station for help. The tough part is the equipment. I'd like to think I'm pretty tough, but the truth is that I'm a small girl, and lugging 40 pounds of equipment around for a shots like I did for the tsunami warning can be tough. Remember: being sweaty is not an option. Also, you have to keep your stuff dry. That's a challenge when you have hail exploding around you, like when I profiled the crazy hail cannon makers in a Kingsburg, Calif. peach field. But all the hard work has been worth it. There's nothing like seeing your footage go live on Fox or seeing the comments pile up on one of your online stories.