I have a treat for you today. I had the chance to chat with a woman I've always looked up to. She's fierce, fabulous and fearless. Who am I fawning over? Lisa Ling of course. This reporter has a new show on National Geographic and told me all about it. Plus, she gave me the scoop on The View, Oprah and who she misses most when she travels!
Q: You've got a new show on National Geographic. Tell us about it.
A: We are exploring a number of aspects of the most widely used illicit substance in the world: marijuana. The pot of today is very different than the pot of ten years ago.
Q: During filming, you had exposure to secret farms and maybe some not-so-secret growing houses. As always you really get up close and personal. Why is this so important to you?
A: There’s no denying the fact that the marijuana business is booming. At a time when economies across the board are in decline, pot is growing at a rapid rate. The debate over legalization has been an ongoing one and both sides are deeply entrenched. But as we face increasingly more trying times, I think that it’s time to visit the issue and figure out ways to make it work for American taxpayers.
Q: One aspect you touch upon is medical marijuana which has always been a fairly controversial topic. Did you go into this project with any pre-conceived notions that changed?
A: I’ve always had notions of pot users being these laid-back hippie types. But, pot users run the gamut and the business that pot has fueled is astronomical. I also spent time with law enforcement and was shocked by how militarized the effort of combat marijuana growth has become. It bears eerie reminders of
Q: What makes you so different from your colleagues is that you really get involved. I remember the first time I saw you in a prison I couldn't believe how close you were to some of the most dangerous men in the country. Are you ever scared?
A: I'd be lying if I told you I’m never scared. Certainly there have been times when I have been utterly terrified, but I feel so lucky to be able to get a window into these worlds that are so vivid and real. My shows aren’t reality shows, they’re real stories.
Q: Do you feel an obligation or a need to bring awareness to what's going on in the world like female suicide bombers and child trafficking?
A: I do feel like I have been given the opportunity to be exposed to so many stories and I do in fact, feel a tremendous responsibility to communicate the things that I’ve experienced. I can’t pretend that these stories don’t exist.
Q: What's the hardest part of your job?
A: The absolute hardest part of my job is being away from my husband.
Q: How is it working in a male dominated industry?
A: I love to have another girl around on my shoots, but I am often the only woman on my team. I just have to be one of the guys.
Q: What career advice do you have for women?
A: Never feel inhibited and don’t let opportunity pass you by.
Q: Do you get tired of traveling?
A: I get tired of going through airport security, but I love to travel. And I live out of a suitcase. I especially love long airplane flights when my Blackberry doesn’t work.
Q: How do you keep in touch with people at home?
A: I try to call home as often as I can and I SKYPE when I can. It never ceases to amaze me that my BlackBerry works in so many places-
Q: How involved are you in planning your trips?
A: It’s totally a team effort.
Q: Do you travel for fun?
A: I stay home as often as I can for fun. Although, I love
Q: On another note, do you ever pay attention to any of the controversy on The View?
A: Not at all. There certainly were times during the election when I wanted to engage a certain person on the View in discussion, but I never got the chance.
Q: Are you still a correspondent for Oprah?
A: Yes. I love working for The Oprah Show. It has been such an honor.
Don't forget to catch Explorer: Marijuana Nation, hosted by Lisa Ling on December 26, 2008 at 7pm ET/PT on the National Geographic Channel.