Throughout November, I conversed with some of my close friends who I’m continuously thankful for, as the subjects for the GRAYT PEOPLE Profile Series. Rounding out November’s selection is Niala Charles, a fellow Pepperdine Wave and a Reporter/Fill-In Anchor for KTTC TV in Minnesota.
Niala and I go back towards the earlier years of undergraduate at Pepperdine University. Essentially becoming like brother and sister in our time abroad in London in 2012, Niala’s innate hustle has continued to inspire me. Graduating Pepperdine with dual degrees in Economics and Journalism, Niala is a woman of determination and perseverance. With approximately 5 minutes of your time, Niala and I converse about her life, her journey, her career, insights on our friendship, and more in an effort of “making your good, GRAYT”:
- You and I have come a long way since Freshmen Year at Pepperdine—both mentally, socially, and professionally—what’s continuously kept you pursuing journalism?
NIALA: Honestly, I think it’s my longing to be “grayt” (didn’t take me too long to use your catch phrase! haha). My entire life I’ve felt that I’ve had a larger purpose than myself. Since middle school I’ve known that Journalism was the way I was supposed to do it. Journalism gives me the opportunity to put my listening, communication, and storytelling skills to good use. I’ve always had a natural curiosity for “hot topics” so Journalism allows me to use my talents to tell others’ stories while quenching my curious nature. I also love that a Journalist’s work is never done–there is always another angle or story to chase. It keeps me going and entertained along the way.
- During the period of time after you graduated and when you landed your KTTC TV reporter/fill-in anchor position, how were you able to surpass any of your own doubts or the doubts of others to embark on chasing your goals?
NIALA: Post-graduation was a very difficult time for me. My goal was to have a job by graduation, and it just didn’t work out for me. During that time I became very impatient about entering my next stage of life. I began to doubt myself and my purpose. However, I was able to overcome these doubts by keeping faith and taking action. I continued to believe in my purpose, and God’s ability to get me there. I took advantage of my time off and found a non-journalism job. I used it to save money as I continued my search for a Journalism job. After 5 months it happened, and I packed my bags for Minnesota.
- With being raised on the East and West Coast, what are three (3) values you have brought with you from your upbringing that are significant in shaping your perseverance towards fulfilling your purpose today?
- Determination: I was raised by Haitian immigrants. Both of my parents moved to New York from Haiti. I spent the first half of my life on the East Coast. So with that I think I inherited an aggressive determination to succeed, no matter my circumstances.
- Openness: I moved to California when I was 10. My time there gave me an open mind and appreciation for diversity and all the different stories that it brings.
- Authenticity: Truth and honesty.
- What do you identify as your differentiating factor among other reporters & anchors?
NIALA: I don’t think this necessarily differentiates me from every single reporter and anchor, but despite the pressures of being “on-camera” I remain being myself authentically. This allows me to be a person first, and Journalist second. It keeps humanity within all of my stories.
- Considering your Bachelor’s Degree in Economics & Broadcast Journalism, what advice can you give on the value of diversifying your skills and knowledge set as a way of pursuing one’s personal [graytness]?
NIALA: It’s important to always broaden your horizons through whatever knowledge is available to you. This allows you to look at the world through many different lenses. As a Journalist, the way we tell stories and interact with people is always changing. It is important to have the tools to adapt in every profession. You never want to be a one-trick pony.
- What are three (3) routine practices you implement to ensure your purpose in life consistently aligns with the manifestation of your dreams
- Communication: Constant communication with my closest friends and family keeps me centered- and gives me a constant reminder of who I am and want to be.
- Diversifying Your Inspirations: Watching the news from various sources to learn how to perfect my craft.
- Being Aware: Staying informed
EFFORTS & ETHICS
- You bring added flavor to Minnesota television screens, what do you aspire your legacy or impact to be, when you expand upon your skills elsewhere?
NIALA: Sometimes I get stopped by people who tell me how much it means to see someone who looks like me on their TV screens. That means a lot, because growing up, I didn’t really have that. But at the end of the day I want to be remembered as the Journalist who cared deeply about the integrity of her stories and the people in them. I also want to be known as a person that went after her dreams and created her own path no matter how many people told her she couldn’t.
- What are three (3) impacting scriptures/quotes/mantras that you use to guide your life?
- Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me
- Dream big or not at all
- My new found favorite- “When they go low, we go high!”
- If you had to choose one award show, what award show would you want to anchor with yourself, Nicole (mutual friend), and I?
NIALA: I would have to say our trio would best be suited for post-awards coverage because of all of our hilarious/shady commentary! I’d have to go with a revamped version of Fashion Police.
- What was one moment of personal failure or personal success that would motivate someone else to continuously press towards fulfilling their dream?
NIALA: As humans we’re not perfect, but we’re not failures either. Don’t look at anything as a failure, but an opportunity to prove yourself.
[GRAYT PEOPLE] Profile Series curates an informational collective of inspirational individuals who have shown what it means to mobilize confidence to challenge [GOOD] and mobilize courage to champion [GRAYT]—highlighting their past, their journey to their [graytness], their efforts and ethics, their motivation, and their aspirations.