Over the weekend, Bay Area TV news anchor Thuy Vu had both U.S. coasts media-covered. Deservedly. Not only is she a journalist who recently took over on KQED for a local PBS legend (Belva Davis), but the story of how her family sacrificed in order to provide Vu and her siblings with a better life is replete with American Dream detail.
For example, to help make ends meet, Vu as a teenager passed on to her family all monies earned from a summer job soldering components onto motherboards at a San Jose computer company. From this weekend’s San Francisco Chronicle feature-interview by Peter Hartlaub:
Vu’s family fled Vietnam when Saigon fell to the communists in 1975. She was elementary-school-age and the second-youngest of eight children. The family was so large they couldn’t leave together, so some left by plane and others by cargo ship. Their only money was some gold sewn into the lining of her mother’s skirt. Nobody spoke English.
And from this weekend’s New York Times Q&A with Perry Garfinkel:
Early in my career, a news director suggested I change my name. He said, “No one named Thuy Vu will ever get a professional job.” I considered Tiffani or Tammy, but only for a few minutes. I still run into Vietnamese people who are so proud to see I use my original name.
Vu’s career is an inspiration. Even more so if you’re a fan of The Brady Bunch and-or The Partridge Family, as she credits those TV shows with being primary instruments of her apprenticeship of the English language.
[Pictured: Vu with KQED Newsroom senior correspondent Scott Shafer]