Victoria Recaño is a Two-time Emmy award winner and magna cum laude graduate of Loyola University Chicago with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communications and has been in the public eye since she was a teenager. As a senior in high school she got her start with “Team 11,” a group of talented teenagers promoting children’s programming for KPLR-TV in St. Louis. Recaño has come a long way since then. People from around the world can catch Victoria’s easy going and energetic aura and signature bright white smile as the correspondent for the popular newsmagazine show “The Insider,” with an industry veteran team including co-host Pat O’Brien and special correspondent Kathy Lee Gifford.
I have always been very proud of my ethnic background and culture.
Always on the go, I recently caught up with Victoria (twice) as she was en route to a last minute assignment to screen “Blood Diamonds” and interview the film’s leading man Leonardo DiCaprio. The next day she was on her way home to make brisket for that evening’s dinner! Read on to see how and why Victoria has achieved success; what advice she has for those wanting to take her spot and of course Recaño’s
Hollywood re-cap of 2006 and predictions for 2007.
Hollywood Highlights 2006
- Tom and Katie’s Wedding and Baby
- Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s Baby
- Anna Nicole Smith’s Baby and Loss of Her Son
- Mel Gibson’s Tirade
- Britney’s Child-caring Controversy
Celebrity Crystal Ball 2007
- Look out for Jennifer Hudson, who got the boot from American Idol and landed the coveted role of Effie opposite Beyonce in Dreamgirls
- In light of her recent life changes, Whitney Houston may be making a comeback in 2007
- James Tupper, the hot new star on ABC’s “Men in Trees,” is going to be a huge star!
ASIANCE: Is this something you want to keep doing and what’s your next step career wise?
Victoria: Absolutely. I love what I do and all the duties of my job. Eventually I would like to do hosting and less travel, less of the correspondent work. It would be nice to be behind the desk soon or eventually because someday my husband and I want to have a family. It’s a little bit grueling to have to travel last minute and it can be a little bit strenuous on making plans, trying to have organization and having some semblance of family life.
ASIANCE: You’ve obviously conducted various interviews with so many different types of people, how do you prepare for an interview.
Victoria: Lucky for me in our company they often put together research packets that give us most of the background on the celebrities, authors, politicians or whoever it might be that we are interviewing. It’s great to review everything at one time. If I’m interviewing an author I try to read as much or all of the book. A large part of my job is being on top of things, you need to know what you’re going to ask people and why certain things are important or of timeliness. I think if you stay up on current events and know what’s going on in the world that’s a big part of being prepared in talking to celebrities or whoever it might be.
ASIANCE: How would you describe your style as an interviewer?
Victoria: I try to make whomever I’m interviewing comfortable as possible. The way to do that is by being straightforward and direct, it’s the best way to gain someone’s trust and for you to do a good interview. Listen, listen to their answers. Follow-up with whatever it is that they’re talking about in whatever way they direct the interview. But you also have stay focused, so being direct is key. If I had to describe my interview style it would be direct, up front, honest and fair.
ASIANCE: Who are people you look to as role models in the industry?
Victoria: Of course I admire Diane Sawyer. I’ve followed the career of Katie Couric, Meredith Viera and Barbara Walters. All of these women are strong broadcast journalists. Connie Chung is another excellent journalist.
ASIANCE: What has been your toughest assignment to date and why?
Victoria: One assignment that was tough, but very rewarding was an assignment in Australia where I needed to spend a significant amount of time with these young women who were anorexic. They were twins who had been living with anorexia for about twenty years. It was only tough in the sense that it was emotionally draining. Spending a large amount of time with someone you really begin to feel the pain that they are going through. You feel bad and want to help them. Fortunately after doing that story we have helped them. Once again it was tough to spend so much time going over all these painful things they’ve had to experience, but on the flipside it is extremely rewarding because they are getting help and are getting better. Also, in general doing an interview with somebody when they don’t give you a full answer or they are not focused on what you’re talking about, makes for a tough interview. I think the best way to bring someone back is to say, “Let’s focus. Let’s get back to the story.” I honestly feel just putting it out there and saying what you need is one of the best policies.
ASIANCE: Why do you feel people have become so engrossed in the lives of celebrities and do you feel the general public has immersed themselves a bit too much to where it’s unhealthy?
Victoria: People really want to feel close and a part of a celebrity’s life. In a sense it’s cyclical, people make a celebrity, the media makes a celebrity, then people want to know more about the celebrity. So we as journalists give the public more about the celebrity. The more the public gets, the more they want. It’s like you get a little of sample of something and once you get a taste of it and think you like it or find some sort of an attachment to it, you want more. As far as people’s desires to know more about celebrities and to follow what everybody else is doing is super. One, it’s a great escape, it’s great to live vicariously through these fabulous lives or what some people think are fabulous lives. Two, people forget and they think that they know celebrities on a personal level. It’s almost like a friend, you want to know what’s going on in your friend’s life and it’s comforting. It’s more about enjoyment for people. It has more to do with just what’s of interest at this time, like art was. Throughout history there have been famous artists and artists that have been talked about and now it’s the time for celebrities. Everything goes in phases and cycles. It has more to do with the cycle than with people trying to escape.
ASIANCE: Since you’ve started, do feel the industry has changed?
Victoria: I do. I think culturally and ethnically people are more embraced now than they have been in the past. People appreciate differences and that’s a beautiful and great thing. What’s important is we are all moving forward and we are not being stalled. Basically I feel the sky’s the limit. As long as we continue to move forward and catch up…In the past we weren’t at this point, but look how far we’ve come from 5, 10, 15 years ago.
ASIANCE: Do you feel it is the same for Asian/Asian American men in the market?
Victoria: I do, the way I look at it as I don’t single out males and females, I look at it as more of a collective.
ASIANCE: I understand you do a lot of volunteer work, can you tell us more about that.
Victoria: At the St. Roberts Center through our church we focus on helping the homeless. We make and give out food and also provide clothing and supplies to the homeless. There are so many people in Los Angeles that are homeless, so I’ve been doing that a lot more recently. I have also helped to raise money for people living with AIDS in Zimbabwe, Africa. That was interesting as it wasn’t quite as hands on as what I did in St. Louis, but still equally important. Growing up in St. Louis, which is a pretty conservative town, a lot of my friends and people I knew were homosexual and AIDS/HIV hit the homosexual community really hard. You feel bad…at one point people who had AIDS were ostracized. This was a while ago, but we’ve advanced and have come pretty far from where we were. The reason I got involved was I wanted to be supportive of people that may have gotten the short end of the stick and were not fully accepted or given the proper respect they deserve.
ASIANCE: Have you ever felt that you got the short end of the stick because you were a woman or from an ethnically mixed background.
Victoria: I feel pretty blessed in everything. I think if you concentrate and focus on the negative things that may not have gone the way you exactly planned, it just takes away from the energy you can use to get to the things you are trying to achieve and what you really want. I don’t think, “Woe is me.” I don’t have that mentality or attitude. For myself…have I ever experienced discrimination? “Yes.” I think most people probably have regardless of their color or ethnic background. I have always been very proud of my ethnic background and culture. For me, I think it has worked to my advantage. I focus on how being different really helped me move forward and stand out. You’re someone fresh, not just typical, but atypical, which is good. That’s the way my ethnic diversity has placed me.
ASIANCE: What advice do you have for those that want to go down a similar path? Is it more challenging pursuing an opportunity in entertainment as opposed to other areas of broadcasting?
Victoria: It’s all challenging. Honestly, it’s all challenging. My advice would be to really study, get your degree. These are seriously real basic things. Don’t burn any bridges, always try to make connections and keep those connections. Remember in everything you do try to figure out ways to advance yourself on a personal and professional level. If you can do it simultaneously I think whatever goal you have you can reach it. I feel this applies to anyone in any industry not just for an entertainment journalist. An agent is also real important, but you need to first build that foundation and then get the agent. When that time comes work together with the agent. However, at the end of the day it’s really on your shoulders. As for when I was starting out as a reporter I was constantly on the go, working sometimes seven days a week. That’s the nature of the job. You have to always remind yourself this will pay off and that’s what is important. As long as you work hard and have a good work ethic. Also always treat people with respect, that’s another thing that is so important. Always treat people with respect.
ASIANCE: I hear you love preparing gourmet meals and French food, how did that come about?
Victoria: That’s what I’m racing home to do right now. How funny is that. [How did you get into French food] I’ve been eating out at restaurants since I was a little girl with my mom, dad and godparents. We just always went to these very nice high-end restaurants that served, I don’t think it’s crazy, but a lot of people do, frog legs, turtle soup, escargot, sweetbreads, brain and liver. As a kid growing up I was exposed to a lot of different things. For some reason French food was what I loved. I love the sauces, I love the complexity of the preparation. It seems like such a passionate food when you eat it. On a lot of different levels to make a dish it takes many hours and so much layering. That’s why I love French food; it’s my favorite. I like how you sit and linger. You usually start with small portions and you get a lot of portions, you get to try a lot of different things. By the time you’re through with it all you’re completely full and stuffed. I try to make dinner as much as I can. Luckily my job is not sitting behind a desk from 9 to 5. Right now I’m going to prepare, believe it or not, a brisket for tonight and it takes four hours to cook. I’m going to prepare it now, so that when my husband comes home we can have it for dinner. For me cooking is a stress reliever.
For more information on Victoria Recaño, please visit www.victoriarecano.com