Who is Alison Starling? – Elexyfy

I had the pleasure to find out. We all know Alison Starling is a five-time Emmy award-winning anchor of the ABC station in Washington DC. Alison started as a reporter at WJLA in 2003 and then moved to the anchor desk a year later. 

She’s married to Peter Alexander, co-host of the Today Show Saturday editions and an NBC correspondent and they live in Northern Virginia with their two daughters Ava and Emma. 

Alison Starling, ABC7 News Anchor, Husband Peter Alexander, NBC News, Ava and Emma, Daughters in Northern Virginia Magazine

But I got to know a lot more about this high profile powerhouse professional who Washingtonians see on TV every single day. I hope you enjoy getting to know Alison. Here is my Q& A interview with her.  You can also listen to our interview on my podcast: eLEXYfy, The Place for Fashion.

Lexy Silverstein:

When did you know you wanted to be a TV anchor or reporter? Is this something you knew as a kid?

Alison Starling:

Yes, always, I can remember in elementary school, you know how they do the announcements at school on TV? We didn’t really do it on TV,  we did it over the loudspeaker and I just loved it. From the beginning I loved the idea of knowing things before everybody else. I thought that was so cool. You have the opportunity to get information and then disperse that information and that was something I really liked from the beginning. It seemed exciting every day, as opposed to a desk job.

Lexy Silverstein:

What advice would you give to young college students who are going to college but really aren’t sure what they want to do for a living? I know you found your passion early, any advice for those who don’t quite know yet? 

Alison Starling:

I think it’s more common not to know what you want to do, rather than to know.  

Even if you think you know, you may not really know, until you actually get there. Do an internship to get a sense of what the job is really like. So I would say just don’t rush yourself. I think people feel pressure, even as a freshman and sophomore. You know you have to pick a major. You have to know what you’re doing. But you really have time so just explore and really just find your passion because once you start working, once you start your career, you know it’s going to be your life. You want to do something that you love and that makes you happy. So think about it that way and usually your strengths are typically going to help guide you to the things that you really are good at and the things that you love to do. It may not necessarily be what you end up doing. For example, my seven-year-old already thinks she wants to be a paleontologist and she says I want to go to college in Utah because they have dinosaur bones there. We’re like “okay, we’ll see if this lasts”. Who knows? Maybe make your interests as broad as possible.

Lexy Silverstein:

Let’s talk about social media a bit. I know you are on Instagram and Twitter.  By the way, you can find Allison on both of those platforms at @Allison7news. You are also on Facebook.  Are you required, as an anchor, to be on all social media platforms and do all your own posts?  If so how do you manage that with anchoring the news, taking care of your daughters, public appearances, life? That’s a lot. 

Alison Starling: 

We are required. Well, I say required, just in that I’m not sure there’s anybody who would even consider not doing it. Mostly because it’s a really good avenue to promote stories that we’re working on. When I first started in this business, it (social media) didn’t exist and the only opportunity you had to tell someone what story you were working on was a commercial on TV or radio promoting your piece.  Now we have all these social media posts on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. But the work related posts never get half the interest that a personal post will get.  A post with the kids or me and my husband, get more reactions. I guess people love to see behind-the-scenes glimpses of what people are doing on their time off. 

I do my own posts. However we have a social media team as well.  We do have a media and a web team so a lot of the posts are a combined effort.  For example, today I’m working story that’s airing tonight.  Then I also do my own posts so it’s a combination.

I think for people your age, social media is second nature. It’s almost like if you didn’t post an activity on social media, Instagram or TikTok, or whatever then it didn’t happen. That’s not the case for people who are older because it wasn’t around when we were first starting out. At first, social media for me was really just a pain in the butt and a bit cumbersome. It was one other thing to do, I had to write a story and now I have to post but you just kind of gradually learn how to fit it in. So I’m trying to get better about it and more creative but it also takes getting used to sharing personal stuff.  

Alison Starling, ABC7 News Anchor, Husband Peter Alexander, NBC News, Ava and Emma,
Daughters in Washington Family magazine.

Lexy Silverstein:

Your daughters are growing up in this social media world. What do you worry most for them as they grow up? 

Alison Starling: 

Since I’m in the news business, we are on top of a lot of the problems with social media. We’re always doing stories about privacy, the risks to kids, predators online and so many other problems when you cover it on the news. You hear stories of people who have been victimized in one way or another. It’s very scary. I would love to shield my kids, keep cell phones and social media away from them forever to be honest with you. I know that’s not possible so I would like to wait as long as I possibly can to give them phones. I think for safety purposes when they get older it’ll be good for them to have a phone. But I’d like to keep them from using social media as long as I can. I want them to enjoy themselves and have a social community. I just think parents who are not on top of every single thing their kids are doing online are burying their heads in the sand because they’re just exposed to so much that the parents could never imagine.  

Lexy Silverstein :

I have a lot of younger listeners who struggle with mean girls. Girls and women don’t always support each other as they should, especially not in middle school and high school.  I know the news business has a reputation for being cut throat too. Can you tell me if you ever personally struggled with any mean girls when you were younger and then even as you were older navigating your way up to the main entry position at channel 7? 

Alison Starling:

I think you’re right about that, especially young kids, boys and girls are still learning social norms and what’s appropriate and what’s not. Kids can be very mean and teenagers in particular and it was the same when I was a kid but we didn’t have social media which can really amplify all of that. So for me, here at work the women in the DC market are all very supportive. We have a group of women from all the different TV stations, where we’re normally competitors, and we all come together to raise money for breast cancer. We call it the News Bash. We all wear pink. It’s like a big party with all the different stations and everyones really supportive. I don’t know if it’s like that in all local markets but it’s been really amazing. When I first started at channel 7, there were several older female anchors, who had been there a really long time and I was one of the youngest people. They were very supportive of me and took me under their wing. I have tried to do the same thing to pay it forward to all the younger people who have come in after me. There’s room enough for everybody if you work hard. So to the younger people who are dealing with these types of problems, the best thing you can do is try not to entertain it, not listen to it. If it’s on social media, block it out. If it’s in your life, move on. You don’t want to be with any friends or guys who don’t support you and make you feel good about yourself. It’s just not worth your time.  

Lexy Silverstein:

With social media do you ever struggle with feedback from viewers or people on social media? We all know people can be very mean online and sadly people in the media, especially the last several years, have been unfairly treated. How do you handle any negativity? 

Alison Starling:

When I first started anchoring the early morning news, it was pre-social media but there was email and I got a lot of emails that I saved. I used to read them if I had events or functions where I was speaking to a group because it made people laugh. They thought I had to be making them up. It was mostly comments about clothes, critiquing what I was wearing. You’ll like this, as a fashion guru. When I looked at all the critical emails about my fashion, I’m thinking to myself, you’re probably some guy in your mother’s basement in your sweatpants and you’re writing to me when I get up at 2 a.m. and have to get dressed and put on makeup and do my hair and you have the nerve to criticize my clothes. They’re actually really comical looking back now. Someone told me my dress looked like his grandmother’s housecoat. I mean it’s hysterical. So I got a lot of that when I did the morning show because people watch morning news very habitually every day. They watch the same time, same people and they feel like they know you and it’s almost like this comfort level of, “oh yeah I know her so I can tell her that I don’t like her hair or I don’t like the highlights she put in her hair or whatever.”

I will say over the years here in DC, I don’t get that. I don’t know if people here are just used to seeing me after 17 years and they’re sort of like, she’s not gonna change so why bother. I feel like I’ve been lucky in local news. We cover politics but not to the extent of cable news where people give opinions. 

We’re journalists, we don’t give our opinions so we don’t really get people angry in that way. We just do our thing so I don’t get a whole lot of it now but my husband covers the White House, covered Obama, covered Trump and now covers Biden. We’ve actually had major hate mail, threatening letters and threats on social media. It’s been bad. Personally I have been fortunate, I haven’t had a lot of that directed at me but i’ve seen it with Peter, with other friends in the business and not just at NBC.  It’s just so crazy.

Lexy Silverstein:

You can cover very serious news from time to time. This past year has been tough, I’m sure with all the pandemic stories and much more. Then you’ve had to anchor from your house sometimes, with your husband anchoring his show from the other room in your house.Then your two daughters are at home. Wow that’s a lot. We hear about all the bad news all the time. Can you tell me a good story or a funny story that happened this past year? 

Alison Starling in her At-Home Studio for ABC7 News. She had to broadcast from here during the pandemic.

Alison Starling:

So this is my studio. Look, there’s the camera so that’s where I sit, in that chair right there. Then that’s my background, this is my laptop where I do Zoom interviews. It’s been over a year and when I started working from home, honestly I thought it would be like a a month or two. It’s just crazy. My husband has a studio in the basement but honestly he doesn’t use it very often. He’s almost always at the White House. It’s just there as a backup. I have a picture I don’t know if you’ve seen it on Twitter. The guy who does Room Rater. There’s a guy on Twitter who likes to rate people’s Zoom backgrounds. Actually it’s very funny and he found this photo of us because I was sitting here anchoring and you could see those doors that are right there. Normally, I’m done right at 6 pm everyday and the kids are kind of waiting right at 6 and we have dinner or we go on a bike ride or we walk. That particular day I had to anchor until like 6:03 and Ava, my daughter, was standing in the window and she had her pink like helmet on. I’m reading a serious news story and her face is pressed against the window with this pink bike helmet on just looking like “uh hello where are you, what are you doing?” Of course, all the people back in the studio, in the control room were laughing. I had viewers who took pictures off their TV and sent it to me and the guy on Room Rater posted it because it’s just so cute. It was so representative of what we were all going through working from home and managing our families.  

Anyway, that was one of my favorite stories.

Alison Starling took a picture of her husband’s NBC at-home studio in their basement and shared it on Twitter.

Lexy Silverstein:

I notice you wear a lot of fun bright colors.  Have you always worn bright colors?  What would you say your style is? 

Alison Starling:

I honestly wish I was like you and had a fashion sense and liked it. For me, a lot of times it’s been a necessity and I keep it simple. Sometimes I fall into a rut where I feel like it’s a uniform. You know where everything starts to look the same. I do know with TV in general, solids look best and bright, bold primary colors look good and black, brown and beige can wash you out or they just look blah. Prints can look busy so I’ve always just been most comfortable in dresses. I don’t like pants. I’m not a pants girl unless they’re yoga pants and I  can’t wear those in the studio. I wear them at home on my home set but at work, I can’t so I wear the same style of clothes over and over. I can go online and click on what I know is going to fit me and it’s almost always like an A-line, fit and flare dress in a solid color. Now other people take more fashion risks than I do and it looks good on them but honestly when I do that I  never feel like myself and never feel 100% confident on air. It’s trial and error but for me.

There is a stylist that Peter and I both use and she’s great. She helps me find some things that maybe I wouldn’t find on my own.

Lexy Silverstein:

You do a working woman segment featuring powerful, experienced and extremely successful women. I know you mentioned earlier that when you first started you worked with a lot of older women that actually helped you in this business.  How important do you think it is for older women to mentor younger women and how can younger women find mentors? 

Alison Starling:

I think it’s very very important. I think women younger women should just look at who they admire, who do you want to emulate. Then you can ask them if they’ll be your mentor. It’s very flattering if you get asked by a younger person for advice or help. If you’re in the workplace or in school or wherever and if there’s somebody you really respect, then ask them, say, “hey do you have any tips for me or here’s a problem I’m having, how would you solve it?”

Lexy Silverstein:

Now some quick lightning round questions. Just mention whatever pops into your head, one or two word answers is completely fine. 

What’s one beauty item you cannot live without?

Alison Starling:

Concealer 

Lexy Silverstein:

When it comes to fashion do you have a favorite designer or item like a handbag or shoes that you occasionally splurge on? 

Alison Starling:

Tory Burch

Lexy Silverstein:

What’s your power color, the color you like to wear when you need a little extra confidence?  

Alison Starling:

Red 

Lexy Silverstein:

When no one is looking and you need to treat yourself, what do you do? Grab food and an activity? 

Alison Starling:

For me a massage which I haven’t had since the pandemic 

Lexy Silverstein:

What is the most important beauty routine that you would tell young women to start now? 

Alison Starling:

Sunscreen is the biggest and drinking a lot of water

Lexy Silverstein:

What’s your favorite animal? 

Alison Starling:

Panda 

Lexy Silverstein:

What’s your favorite sport? 

Alison Starling:

Well my girls are doing soccer and softball right now so I can’t choose between the two, so I’ll say both. 

Lexy Silverstein:

What’s your favorite place to eat in dc? 

Alison Starling:

The Diplomat, an awesome French bistro. 

Lexy Silverstein:  

What do you do if you are all alone and just want to relax? 

Alison Starling:

Watch Netflix which doesn’t happen often at all but when it does it’s very fun and luxurious. 

Lexy Silverstein:

If you weren’t a television news anchor what would have been your backup career? 

Alison Starling:

You know people have asked me that I don’t know. It’s literally all I’ve ever wanted to be and that’s the reason I’ve never gotten out of the business because I don’t know what else I’d ever want to do. 

Lexy Silverstein:

Alison, I had so much fun talking to you today.  I hope you had fun too. 

Alison Starling:

I did Lexy, thank you so much for asking me to do this. 

Lexy Silverstein:

Everyone you can see Alison every single night at 4 p.m and 5 p.m as she anchors the evening news on WJLA in Washington D.C. and once again you can follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @Alison7News. Find her on facebook by search for Alison Starling. 

Lexy Silverstein in a Sustainable Second-Hand Dress from Etsy. At Coachella

Follow me on my socials:  Instagram:@lexysilverstein  Youtube: Lexy Silverstein  Twitter:@eLEXYfy TikTok: @lexysilverstein Facebook: Lexy Silverstein Liketoknow.it/lexysilverstein

Remember to eLEXYfy! Make the Ordinary, Extraordinary

Source: Elexyfy

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