Interviews with Iconic Women


I was five years old when I conducted my first interview. It was unpaid. Instead of going to recess and playing in the yard like other normal first graders, I would sit with my teachers and probe. For me, these conversations were play! The teachers saw it differently. Apparently tired of these “sessions,” they sent a note asking to see my mother. They would tell her that my line of questioning was highly inappropriate for a child my age. I don’t remember exactly what I asked or what may have made these small minded instructors so uncomfortable, but I do know what I wanted to know from them is what I want to know from anyone I have the pleasure of interviewing—“Tell me about your world, what makes you happy, what inspires you, how did you get to be a you and why you do what you do?”

My mom says that she knew then that I was destined to be a journalist and a writer.
I am genuinely interested in people—famous or not. Over the course of my career, I have interviewed scores of humans—from Hollywood and Broadway legends to A-List superstars, from brilliant scientists to Hall of Famers, from farmers to cleaning ladies, from gang bangers to priests, from music impresarios to political beasts. I’ve come to learn that interviewing is a subtle art form—it's science and craft. And you have to be brave. And most of all understand that the reporter is never the story.


PBS documentary film, “The Women’s List,” is my latest interview project where I got to play with a fantastic team led by director Timothy Greenfield-Sanders. In these series of films that explore American through diverse lenses, Greenfield Sanders and crew create safe spaces so that intimate, honest, and courageous conversations can take place. It’s a different kind of media. No reality show bullshit, no press release bullet points. It was exciting to have these iconic women experience what if feels like to share themselves in a media environment that is not trying to tear them down, rather, understand and appreciate their contributions to our world.

I love this pic with Shonda Rhimes, it was taken after our interview in LA and before I became addicted to her terrific show,“Scandal!” You want to know what this Dartmouth grad was like? Fierce. Funny. And unencumbered by Hollywood bullshit. Ms Rhimes is handling Hollywood just fine. She is one of fifteen women on the film. 
The Women’s List” airs on PBS on Sept 25 at 9 pm.

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