If you’re looking in the market for a job on TV, the one thing you need is a demo reel. Over the (many) years I have edited several reels (work examples) together, and this weekend I decided to put together a new one featuring some of the work I have done as a TV Lifestyle Correspondent and Host.
Fortunately or unfortunately actually, I have A LOT of footage…my problem is deciding which ones I like and what to include. The fun part is it’s like taking a small trip down memory lane going through my (TV) work clips, and recalling all the different people, places and experiences I have met along the way. It’s always refreshing for me to look back and see how I have been blessed with so many awesome experiences by simply doing my job!
Today I posted some “Flashback Friday” photos of a position I once held and at the time it was my ideal “dream job.” It’s been on my heart for a while to write about it, and share my experience, but only now 3+ years later, am I finding that inner push to finally let it all out. I work in television. I have worked in television since going to college and studying broadcast journalism. I don’t have a defining moment that stands out where I just knew it was the path I needed to follow, but as I like to describe myself, I am a connector. I love being in the know, providing information and sharing it with others. I pride myself in having a diverse network of friends, family and contacts from all demographics, cultures, backgrounds and industries. Nothing makes me happier than being able to connect people and feel like I’m helping out, making a difference in someone’s project, position and life.
Okay, so back to the dream job. In 2014, after several years hiatus from a contracted TV role, (I had been working steadily as a freelancer for years), I got a unique job offer to host a daily 1-hour lifestyle television show in Virginia, called the Hampton Roads Show. I was still a pretty new Mommy with 2 kids under 2, feeling intense pressure to find financial stability and provide, and I felt it was necessary for me to get back into a full time role and continue pursuing my dream of hosting a show…and so, there I was..about to live out my dream. Up to that point, I hadn’t really spent any time in Southern Virginia, but I looked at it as a place that would be a little slower paced than Miami, certainly more affordable and of course, when it comes to working in TV, the opportunities are few and far between, so you go where the job is.
It started off fine and all, everyone was very welcoming and the excitement of the newness of the job and learning all about the area consumed me. I enjoyed being on live TV everyday and immersing myself in the people and culture of the Tidewater area. I was working in the industry I wanted to work in, as a TV host, interviewing celebrities, comedians & community members, talking about new movie releases, cooking with chefs, producing feature stories and profiles, etc… all the while providing information and entertainment to the viewing audience.
However, slowly but surely…my personal circumstances surrounding my job and some of the downside that comes with the territory of working in TV, began to change my perspective and affect my outlook. After a short while, I started to think the area might not be the best for me long term. I had moved to Norfolk, Virginia after nearly a decade of living in Miami, Florida…and this was my first real experience living in the “south.” Plus, being born and raised in the Bay Area, California, let’s just say it’s a different experience. So then, I began to wonder if this was the right place for me and my kids. I’m not saying it was bad, but the bubbles I had been living in were drastically different, and I get it. The diversity and attitudes I grew up with are polar opposite to those in other parts of the country…it’s no wonder the country is so divided these days.
Nevertheless, I had signed on for 3 years and I was determined to make it work. I am BIG on commitments and delivering on what I signed up for. I am highly resourceful and always give my 100%. I rarely give up, which can be both positive and negative, because while I value integrity to the fullest, sometimes my unwillingness to throw in the towel can (literally) drive me crazy. At work, I enjoyed my duties and responsibilities. It was amazing to meet and have conversations with so many interesting people on a daily basis. The executive producer on the show is an incredibly kind person who is insanely talented, smart and creative leader who made magic happen daily. The show’s producer was also very understanding and easy to work with, she was always in my corner and very welcoming as I settled into the role. And, of course my co-host, was also absolutely supportive and helpful, easy to talk to and work with everyday. Honestly, the culture at the station was very positive and everyone there made me feel welcome.
So here’s when the “dream” part of the job wasn’t so dreamy anymore… in this age of social media, criticism is swift and can be downright ugly. Although I know I was qualified for the position and brought so much relevant experience to the job, I was far from immune to the not nice commentary on social media. The previous host had been there from the show’s inception, so a lot of the station staff and viewing audience was very sad to see her go, and not ready for an “outsider.” I recall feeling like I just wasn’t fitting in. There were constant comments about the desire for a local host or how they missed the old one, and then other critiques of my looks, etc… but some direct personal attacks on me too. I recall one instance where I posted a short video clip of me assembling a high chair that we were including in a cool baby products round up for the show. An individual immediately attacked my intelligence and ability to adequately put it together. I responded tactfully, and the poster soon deleted the comment – wish I had screen shot it. Hey, those things shouldn’t get to you…but on top of not feeling completely accepted, I began to question if I was in the right place. However, by the numbers, the show was the #1 lifestyle show in the market and ratings grew every single quarter I was a host on the show.
At home, I had to shift into full Mommy mode everyday when I got home. At first the mommy guilt was tough to fight through, but I had to do what I had to do. My relationship had become very complicated and he made it clear he was not happy nor interested in remaining in Virginia. That eventually led to him ironically finding work on the other side of the country, in my hometown Bay Area and leaving. So, on top of then having to find daily child care while I was away at work everyday, a pipe froze and subsequently burst in the condo unit we were living in, so we had to “evacuate,” first staying in a nearby hotel, before making a temporary move to another home for the next few months, courtesy of a caring anchor at the station. To say I was overwhelmed is an understatement.
Luckily I found a wonderful nanny to watch after my babies, and I also had a couple mommy friends in the neighborhood who helped me stay sane. As I neared the one year mark at my job, the weight of life was squarely on my shoulders. I felt the demands of being a full-time working mom, constant financial responsibilities, a full disconnect with the father of my children and I was alone. I was living in constant conflict of fulfilling my contractual obligation to the station, or finding a way out to step back and get my life back in order. In television, a hosting job can be so elusive and you definitely don’t want to burn bridges, and I was torn between what was the right thing to do. Looking back, I somehow persevered on crazy days where snow shut down life basically, but I still had to drive and get into work…and thankfully my nanny braved it too, to get to me to watch the kids. Other days there would be so much rain, I don’t know how I navigated high water and traffic, taking back roads to make it to the studio, but I did it. I put a smile on my face and performed my job to the best of my ability day in and out, even when I froze as we did live remote shows, outside in 30 degree weather!
All this to say, it was almost my dream job. I am ever thankful for that opportunity and chance to host a daily lifestyle show…if only I could have taken that show and put it in an area that made more sense for me and my family. There was just no way to know, until I actually packed up and moved there. Eventually, I made the decision to leave my “dream job” and go home to the Bay. I was really scared and nervous about fully revealing my personal situation to my boss and my desire to be let out of my contract. Surprisingly, she was more than understanding and supportive of my decision. We came up with a plan for my exit and timeline for them to find a replacement for me, who I would train to take over, to make the transition easier for everyone. In the back of my mind I had been fearful that I would not be allowed to cut my contract short, that I would have to pay penalties, that I had let everyone down (including myself) and it was the end of my career. But, being honest and upfront about what I was going through and thankfully having understanding management, allowed me to walk away from my almost dream job.
These days I find myself at a different crossroads. Since moving back to the Bay Area, I have fully enjoyed being in close proximity to my family and friends, having their full support and exposing my children to the same bubble I have grown up in. I’m surrounded by a familiar landscape and am even fortunate to work freelance as a TV/Radio host… but my heart still wonders about my almost dream job, and if there will ever be another.
At the start of 2015, going to Maui wasn’t a prospect..in terms of work or pleasure, but as last year developed, many changes occurred in my life (and location), and I ended up living back on the West Coast working as a freelance TV Host. Fast forward, one of my freelance opportunities with ABC7 in San Francisco afforded me an assignment to the island of Maui in early December 2015! Who would’ve thought!?!?
So, now in 2016…last Sunday, the 30-minute “Get Outta Town MAUI” special aired with me as its host. I’m really proud of the work I did in helping put the show together from a writing and editing standpoint, so I want to share it with everyone. It was one of the best work trips and assignments I have ever had and it’s even better that through the magic of “TV,” I can share some of the highlights of the trip in this show.
Hawaii is really a magical place and Maui has many gems that we barely scratched the surface in this half hour show. We did get to showcase the island’s farm to table movement, as well as how Hawaiian culture is weaved into every aspect of life there. WARNING, if you’re going to watch it, be prepared to crave the island life and put Maui on your travel to do list!
To watch, just press play.
Special thanks to all our wonderful hosts while me and the crew were in the islands, from Virgina America to Grand Wailea Resort, Kumu Farms, Maui Tropical Planation, Hoaloha Farm, Hoaloha Group, Mama’s Fish House, Haleakala Ranch, Maui Gold Pineapple Company, Trilogy Excursions, Maui Fresh Streatery, Maui Brewing Co., MauiWine, Maui Ocean Center and all the awesome people we met on the trip…MAHALO!!!
And — here are a few behind the scenes photos from the trip.
A photo posted by Aubrey Aquino (@aubreyaquinotv) on
Today I made my last appearance on-air as Co-Host of The Hampton Roads Show, and I will be returning home to the Bay Area next week! It’s been lots of fun over the last 13 months on the show and I’ve had some exciting experiences and met lots of wonderful people, starting with the staff and crew on the show and at the station…as well as the chefs, comedians and range of guests who’ve stopped by the show too!
And — of course when you “leave” the next question is where are you going!?!? So, the short and simple answer is I’m leaving to be closer to family. I will be working as a freelancer in the Bay – so if you want to send work my way.. 🙂 And, I will be have more time to focus on my duties as a Mommy to the best little boys anyone could ever ask for!!
Here’s a little Hampton Roads Show photo trip down memory lane…
This past Friday I had the opportunity to work alongside a couple radio co-hosts on my TV show, since my regular co-host had been out of town. I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect, but it turned out to be great fun! My guest co-hosts were Woo Woo and Mike Powers, who are the weekday morning drive duo on 94.9 The Point in the Norfolk/Va Beach area, joined me on “The Hampton Roads Show,” and we chatted it up on hot topics of the day.
And — since everybody is always asking where they can catch clips of the show…well, click below! We don’t usually post the welcome segment with hot topics, but I thought since this was a “special” show we ought to do it…and here it is… 🙂
Everyday on The Hampton Roads Show…we have a chef or people cooking in the kitchen. Today we had a chef who is competing on the new season of The Next Food Network Star – debuts this Sunday! He is a Virginia native and wants to give his food a “modern” spin…check out my interview and cooking segment with Chef Chris Kyler…
Tomorrow will be my first day on air as a (new) Host of The Hampton Roads Show at WAVY TV 10 in the Portsmouth/Norfolk/Virginia Beach market! Yep, I have moved on from Miami. This is truly a unique and awesome opportunity to host a dynamic daily lifestyle and entertainment show! I’m really excited to be part of something like this and although moving and transitions can be tough, sometime we just have to change it up and push ourselves on to the “next.”
Think Today Show/Live with Kelly and Michael…hot topics, makeovers, giveaways, cooking, comedians, live bands/artists, local interviews, etc… I do have a co-host in Chris Reckling, so it’s not completely my own show, but pretty close. I am excited for the opportunity because these kind of hosts jobs don’t happen everyday! Plus, it’s kind of like something I’ve always dreamed of doing, and I told myself I would only go back to TV full time to host my own show…dreams do come true!
The hour-long show airs everyday at 11am on the NBC affiliate in the Hampton Roads market, so if you’re in the area tune in…otherwise you can visit the website and see clips from the show…
Ariane Aramburo is the outgoing host, as she returns to her home state of Alaska, to take a Morning Anchor position there. I wish her the best of luck!!! Above is a little snapshot of us as she “passes the torch,” from one AA to another… 😉