"The best is when I hear him laugh" - Ginger Zee
Me: Here’s a fun one, what is your favorite thing to do when you’re not doing the weather
Ginger: In life or in TV?
Ginger: So on TV I would say I have been able to do, because of this place at Good Morning America and ABC New York, so many different opportunities that I’m finding that I really love, like producing other shows, like the show Food Forecast that I’m doing for our digital network. That to me is this in-depth way of taking science, that I love, and communicating it with food and drink that people love and I love as well. I’m finding ways to make people care about the stuff that I am trying to talk about on a regular basis and having the ability to have a long form where you do not have to do it in thirty seconds. I get to actually tell the story and meet a character, or many characters. The documentary-type style/food show that I’m doing is a dream come true, I’ve been pitching that idea forever. So that is something that I love doing.
In life, I just love being with my family. I feel the most fun we have is when we’re just playing on the living room floor, letting Adrian crawl all over us. I mean it’s very simple and fun to do. We get invited to a lot of things. We say yes to very few and we make it to even fewer… (laughing) I mean it’s so great to live here and have all these opportunities. It is very hip but we aren’t hip at all. We’re pretty boring (laughing). But we like that. That is another thing that works for Ben and I. We aren’t too involved with any scene. Sometimes I wish I could force myself to but I’m not very good at it.
Me: What would be your advice entering the TV industry who are wanting to have a strong family dynamic in their lives?
"I’ve got the best husband and really great friends and family" - Ginger Zee
Ginger: After I was a freshman in college I really hadn’t made the intention of doing that but I had an internship with James Spann, who is in Alabama and who is very well known in the weather community. But when I was interning with him, I saw something that I hadn’t seen a lot of. It was brand new to me so I thought everybody could do that. James is a guy who would talk about balance. He’s a business man and he’s one of the best meteorologists on TV, he serves his community, but at the end of the day, he always makes it home for dinner. Unless there’s a EF-5 [tornado] on the ground, he’s home with his family. I saw him live this great life. I thought ‘oh I want to do that! That’s what I want to do’. I think I struggled for a very long time because there are points where you have to choose between your career over your personal life. I feel so fortunate but if you would have asked me four years ago if I would be in the place that I am, with a baby and married, I would have said no way! I never thought it was possible to have both. I think you just have to be open to that and find your priorities in life. So my priorities shifted a little and I was fortunate enough that I made it in my career to a place that I’m very pleased with but I’m always wanting to grow too. And I found a person who understands that. So I would say that it is very difficult and that’s the bottom line. You cannot shy away from that. Family still to this day does not understand why I have to do a double shift on Thanksgiving. I’ve been doing this for 16 years and it doesn’t go away. News is still news, no matter what level you get to. All the other glamorous stuff aside, when you’re covering lake-effect snow, everybody is standing in the same lake-effect snow, stuck on the highway. When you’re covering a tornado, nobody has a restroom to use. It is all news and it is all weather. It all goes back to that no matter where you are.
Me: That is one of my favorite questions to ask because when I start going into the TV industry, I really want to be able to keep that family dynamic but I know this one of the hardest industries to do that. I’ve seen some really cool people succeed, like yourself, and some others.
Ginger: Yeah, and I think finding success is probably a important for yourself. But is success only a career, or the people around you? For example, James, I find him incredibly successful. So what I’m trying to say you need to redefine it for yourself and what you want. That is an important part of this. As long as you are doing the thing that you love and you get to go home and love that even more, that is pretty successful. Also something I miss a lot is teaching. It was like having kids and watching them grow up. Seeing them now, I take almost one hundred percent credit for it (laughing). You know, ‘without my guidance…’ (laughing). But it has been a lot of fun to watch and that [teaching] is something I hope to do in the future at some point. My mom always jokes that I should get a masters to teach. But not right now! But as some point so I could teach for real.