4 weeks ago today (on 5/22/2020) I walked away from a 25-year career in TV weather. During my final 20 days of work, I shared on social media some of the lessons I’d learned throughout my stint in TV news. If you missed them on Facebook, I’m posting them here on my blog.
Today’s topic revolves around one the most-asked questions I ever received: MY CLOTHES!
Keep an eye on your inbox for other lessons on my list in the days that follow. If you haven’t signed up for email updates yet, you can do so under “contact” at the top of this page.
- CLOTHES & CONSULTANTS
I learned a whole lot about makeup, hair, and clothes after entering the TV business. It’s not something I gave much thought before my TV career. I was never a fashionista and never cared much about clothes. We didn’t have the money to stay up with the latest trends when I was a kid. Most of my clothes came from K-Mart and my shoes came from Payless.
Once I started working in TV, meeting with “image consultants” became a pretty normal thing. These are people who visit a TV station and coach the on-air staff regarding overall image, style, clothes, hair, and makeup. They share ideas and hints about what looks good on camera and what does not. It sounds pretty cool, and it is — as long as they are nice people. I’ve had some incredible consultants over the years. One took me shopping and picked out things I would have NEVER chosen myself. They ended up being my favorite outfits! My very first consultant ripped apart my hair and clothes so badly, I ended up in tears. She was not a nice one. (Of course, in her defense, I was a mess and needed a lot of help).
A few TV stations provide a clothing allowance. Some stations have trades with specific stores. Most leave paying for and choosing clothes up to each person. The consultant gave ideas, then it was up to me to purchase the suggested items. If you saw a dress you didn’t like, remember I chose it and paid for it. Sending an email telling me how much you hated my hair was absolutely taken personally. In bigger cities (or on a network like The Today Show) they have hair and makeup teams, but in Orlando, I styled my own hair and did my own makeup every morning.
I also learned that viewers cared more about what women wore on TV than men. A man could wear the same suit every day with a different tie, and wouldn’t hear a word. If I wore an ugly dress, had a hair out of place, or wore something too often, I got Tweets, Facebook messages or emails. Of course, the opposite was true, too. If I wore a nice dress, I got comments like “sexy,” “hot,” “gorgeous,” – always from men, and never appropriate.
Yes, appearance matters since TV is a visual medium, and you can tell a lot about someone by how they present themselves. My goal was always to present myself as neat and professional, but approval of my looks was not something I wanted or needed from viewers – male or female. I was there to present the weather. I was there to not distract from the message. I was not there to win a fashion contest. I certainly appreciated receiving compliments. Who doesn’t? But I would much rather have heard compliments about my performance and forecasting accuracy than the color of my eye shadow.
➡️“It’s not the appearance, it’s the essence. It’s not the money, it’s the education. It’s not the clothes, it’s the class.” – Coco Chanel
➡️“There’s no need to be perfect to inspire others. Let people get inspired by how you deal with your imperfections.” – Ziad Abdelnour