FishbowlNY Contributing Editor Diane Clehane conducted a lengthy interview with Hoda Kotb, fourth-hour “Today” co-anchor, as a part of the long-running interview series “So What Do You Do?” on mediabistro.com. What stands out most about Kotb’s professional narrative is the constant tenacity. Kotb recounts how she drove to television stations across the country to hand deliver audition tapes and hunt down her big break, ending up in a small station on Florida’s panhandle.
Kotb also discussed her self-documented battle with breast cancer that, it turns out, eventually inspired her to proactively seek out the “Today” gig she’s currently known for:
When you’re healthy and you don’t see anything coming, and someone tells you something and the next thing you’re talking about is major surgery, a mastectomy, reconstruction and post-treatment — You just can’t believe they’re talking about you. It’s like someone hit you with a baseball bat.
It was one of those things. I journaled. The camera was with me — and sometimes you don’t want to burden someone, so it was nice to just get it out. It was a really hard time. I just pushed through. In my journal, after every entry, I wrote the word ‘forward’ because I kept thinking just, ‘One more day.’ At the end, you’re out of the weeds. I still remember the day I realized there was mini silver lining. I was in bed, and I was jolted out of it when I realized these four words: You can’t scare me. I remember thinking, ‘That’s what I get from this whole thing.’ It changes your perspective on things.
It also made me more fearless professionally to ask for things. I usually waited until I was noticed. This was one of the first times I stepped out and said, ‘I’d like to host the fourth hour.’ I just went and saw Jeff Zucker and Steve Capus and just asked.
> Read the full interview here.