Tamsen Fadal is someone that you see almost daily, whether or not you recognize it. An eight-time Emmy Award-winning news anchor, she leads the 5:00 PM, 6:00 PM and 10:00 PM broadcasts of PIX11 News. Tamsen also hosts and serves as executive producer of the nationally-syndicated show Broadway Profiles. As if that weren’t enough, she has written three books, works extensively with multiple non-profits (e.g. Shining Service Worldwide, United Cerebral Palsy, Best Buddies International), and co-founded a jewelry company (Shansen Jewelry).
Downtown had the pleasure of speaking to Tamsen about a variety of topics, as there is plenty to learn from how she manages to be so relatable yet so productive. Tamsen can be found online at www.tamsenfadal.com, while she also remains active on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.
When did your journey as a broadcaster begin? Was that a career you had always hoped to have since childhood?
Tamsen Fadal: Actually, before I got into television, I started out in radio actually after college and loved it. My first TV job was in Oak Hill, West Virginia. I was what we call a “one man band,” meaning I ran my own camera and lugged around all that equipment. I shot all my own video and edited all my own pieces. Then I would rush back to the station and anchor the news that I produced. When you are in a small market, you learn to do it all and I wouldn’t have traded that for anything because you really appreciate what it takes to put a story or a show together.
I fell in love with broadcasting in my family’s garage. I used to have seats for my parents to sit and listen to me talk. Back then, it was pretty much about anything, but I used my Donny and Marie mic to broadcast my “news” to them as much as they would listen.
Do you think that there are any misconceptions about your work with WPIX?
TF: Well, the truth is, the news business is not nearly as glamorous as a lot of people believe. It’s a different way of life, that’s for sure. The hours are long and sometimes crazy. Most nights I don’t get to bed until 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning. There have been a lot of missed holidays and family gatherings. But for me and so many others, it’s a passion for storytelling that drives you and contributing a voice to help people who may not have one at the end of the day.
Beyond WPIX, you host Broadway Profiles. Have you always been interested in theater?
TF: I have always loved the theater. It was something I shared with my mother before she passed. There is nothing like a live performance, feeling the energy in a theater and spending those few hours in another world. I think it’s critical to expose kids to the arts as early in life as possible.
What was the most recent Broadway show you attended?
TF: Dear Evan Hansen. It is an incredible show. I couldn’t stop thinking about it for three days after I went. I highly recommend it. It is one of the shows I went into and wasn’t sure what to expect, and now I can’t wait to hopefully see it again.
You are also known to be involved with a lot of non-profit causes and have written several successful books. How do you manage to keep up such a busy schedule? Are you big on iCal or Google Calendar?
TF: iCal is my go-to calendar. But I am also a list girl. I have a notebook with me at all times. As addicted as I am to technology, I also love pen and paper. I make lists of everything — goals, tasks, dreams, you name it. Lists for the day, a list for the week, a list for the year. It helps me stay organized.
In doing so many different things, how do you go about staying so energized? Is it more about lifestyle choices? Philosophy?
TF: I think it has to be a good balance of both. In terms of philosophy, it’s just all about having a good work-life balance, and never losing sight of what makes me happy. And yes, lifestyle is so important. I try to eat as healthy as I can, but I also have a couple of cheat nights. My real vice is caffeine. I exercise five times a week and I love yoga. I think all of those things are important. And I have learned to respect sleep. It really allows me to get more done. I used to be someone who bragged about getting four hours of sleep, now I brag about getting eight whenever I can.
Do you have another book in you?
TF: I do. Absolutely. I spend a lot of time listening to people. I listen for patterns. When I hear something over and over again that perhaps we are all tackling, observing or feeling, I try to see if my voice would make a difference. The New Single was really about surviving and thriving after a major life change, not just a book about divorce. I had some amazing feedback from women who were starting a new career or their kids had all grown up and they were dealing with finding a new sense of self. That feedback inspires me to do more and to help inspire people in whatever way I can.
What’s going on with Shansen Jewelry?
TF: Shansen is a little jewelry line I started up my cousin Shannon Elizabeth. We really do it more as a passion project than anything else and it something we enjoy being able to have together. And a portion of all the sales go to charity.
Is there anything you still hope to accomplish professionally?
TF: I really do love where I am right now. I enjoy being a part of New York City and the community. I hope to be able to keep telling stories and helping give New Yorkers a voice. I am also super-involved in a number of charities so I like to be able to lend my voice to those as much as possible. I lost my mother at a young age to breast cancer. So it’s really important for me to be vocal about the importance of regular exams and early detection. I really want to help make sure all women have knowledge about and access to early detection.
When not busy with work, which doesn’t sound to be very often for you, how do you like to spend your free time?
TF: I love to unwind and explore different places in the city. I love that you can hop on a subway and be in a different world at just about every stop. I feel like sometimes I’m on vacation even when I’m staying right in New York because there are so many different spots and in places to fine. I love to travel whenever I can. And I spend a lot of time with my family especially my little five-year-old nephew Sebastian. And Central Park with my pup is always a nice start to the weekend.
Do you have a favorite neighborhood in Manhattan?
TF: Yes. I love the Village — East and West. I find myself getting lost for hours whenever I can, exploring small shops, great restaurants that are not “on trend” and sitting in cafes people watching. Some areas still have that vibe that helps me create, unwind and feel like I’m a kid coming to the big city for the first time.
What about a favorite restaurant in New York?
TF: Bar Pitti has been my favorite for over a decade. The food is excellent. I don’t avoid carbs, so their amazing bread has my name written all over it. Love the staff — a very neighborhood place that is my go to place as much as possible.