In NewsWhistle’s weekly question-and-answer series, Clara Morgan speaks with some of her favorite influencers and finds out more about their lives and careers. This week, Clara speaks with Rita Cosby, multiple Emmy-winning TV host, radio star, and best-selling author.
Born in Brooklyn, Rita is one of the few female political editors in the country, covering all major political news, including the Trump presidency and Capitol Hill, as well as the New York City Mayor’s race. She is a first generation American, a daughter of a WWII Prisoner of War saved by US troops, and is very involved in causes helping veterans and their families.
Rita Cosby anchored highly rated primetime shows on Fox News Channel and MSNBC, currently working as a special correspondent for the top-rated CBS syndicated newsmagazine, Inside Edition, does frequent hosting and reporting for CNN/HLN, and hosts “The Rita Cosby Show” on the legendary WABC Radio – the most listened to talk station in America. Throughout her illustrious TV career, Rita has secured some of the biggest interviews, including exclusives with more than twenty world leaders, including six U.S. Presidents.
She has written back-to-back New York Times Best Selling books. Her recent one, Quiet Hero: Secrets From My Father’s Past, details her fascinating discovery about her own father, a Nazi prisoner of war, who was saved by American troops. Having spoken at the United Nations, Capitol Hill and the Pentagon, her critically acclaimed memoir has become required reading at major US universities and used as a centerpiece for discussions on those dealing with post traumatic stress and their families.
Because of Rita’s “extraordinary journalism and exemplary service on behalf of her community,” October 11th, 2010, was officially named “Rita Cosby Day” in the State of New York. In 2011, she was recognized by the U.S. Congress for her professional and charitable achievements.
1. When and how did you first realize that you wanted to work in the industry and business you are in?
I have always been very inquisitive by nature. In fact, my parents would tell me that even as a young child, I would always ask way too many questions at the dinner table about current events and people. So I guess I was destined to be a curious journalist! I also credit my parents, who were both born in Europe, and taught me early on that the world is a great, big place and I wanted to see as much of it as possible, and learn about all its diversity and many fascinating cultures.
2. Any celebrity and/or memorable interviews related to your business that you want to share?
Wow! I have been lucky to interview huge celebrities like Tom Hanks, Michael Jackson, and many more, and also many others of worldwide fame. I was fortunate enough to be the first American journalist to interview Pope Francis at the Vatican. I am pretty hard-core as a journalist, but to speak to the Pope in his native tongue, as I speak Spanish, that moved me to tears afterwards.
3. What is a typical day like for you? And what do you like to do on a day off?
What’s typical is that NO day is ever the same. That is the beauty of being in the news business, that you never know what big news breaks and who you’ll interview that day. If a big story or interview suddenly happens, I could do an entirely different show than what was planned, or even be on a plane to another country, so life is never dull!
By the way, “What” is a day off? That does not exist in the news world and certainly not with our current President who keeps us all extremely busy.
4. What are people doing differently today, compared to 10-15 years ago?
There are now many more news platforms and information sources than ever before, between social media, blogs, etc. When news breaks, it comes from so many different sources that did not exist years ago when I first started in the business. That has made our lives even more hectic, but certainly never dull!!!
5. What are your three favorite restaurants in the city where you currently reside? And what is it you like about these places?
I love all the Fireman Group restaurants in New York City. Trattoria Dell’Arte and its famous antipasto bar always has a great variety and super delicious food. It’s also quick, which is perfect for a fast-moving journalist. The Redeye Grill is elegant and has an amazing raw bar and sushi selection. Brooklyn Diner is perfect for late night burgers and my favorite booth is the one with my nameplate on it, which I share with Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell. I am always in good company there!
6. What are your three favorite locations to visit in the city where you currently reside? And what is it you like about these places?
Central Park on a beautiful fall day as the leaves are turning gold. Ellis Island as both my parents came through New York Harbor on the Queen Mary in 1956. NYC has such rich history with Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, and so many other notable places.
The third place is in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, on the massive walls outside the Polish National Home on Driggs Avenue. There is a large mural there and my father’s face is prominently featured on that powerful mural, as he was a Warsaw Upriser in WWII. This is the first memorial dedicated to the Warsaw Uprising in all of America and knowing that my father’s image is there, among other heroes, is truly moving and such a great honor. I am so proud of my Polish heritage and of the Poles’ fight for freedom throughout history, especially in my father’s era.
7. Which three events on your annual calendar will you will absolutely not miss? And what is so special about these events?
Fleet Week as it’s magnificent to see those great ships and members of the military come to NYC. Jill Zarin’s Annual Luxury Luncheon in the Hamptons, the Real Housewives star and super businesswoman is really an amazing hostess and has the most fabulous women and the latest and most innovative products every year at her event. Third, the Inner Circle dinner where New York media does a parody of local and national politicians. There is always plenty of good material there!
8. Tell us something that people do not know about you. (And you cannot say it is a secret!)
I absolutely love adventure! I went skydiving, traveled to Antarctica, climbed a huge temple in Myanmar, and that was before breakfast!
9. How would you describe your personal (fashion) style?
Sleek, and not complicated. It has to be easy to wear, comfortable enough to hop on a plane or hail a quick taxi. I can run pretty fast in high heels though.
10. Who is your style icon? Where do you find your style inspiration?
There are so many. I love designers who use rich, vibrant colors and gorgeous silks. I love to see what models, fellow newswomen, and female CEOs are wearing.
11. Who is your favorite fashion designer and why?
I love St. John for their very elegant styles and Carmen Marc Valvo is always a huge hit. Both are my favorites for the red carpet. For more casual dresses, Nue by Shani is always flattering and really fabulous, Shani’s designs consistently look great for evening events or daytime. Peter Nygard is always designing great casual wear that’s as neat and current as the man himself!
12. Name your favorite… and tell us why:
Whatever I am wearing that day. My mood and outfits reflect the stories I am covering or the big events I am attending. I have a pretty diverse and packed wardrobe.
I’m allergic to heavy perfume, just like I am to a boring news story!
The Great Escape. It was my father’s favorite movie as he was a POW in WWII who escaped from a Nazi camp in Germany. He would always cheer for legendary actor Steve McQueen in that famous and dramatic motorcycle escape scene! Luckily, my father in real life made it to freedom and was saved by US troops.
d. TV show.
Whenever myself or a fellow colleague/friend is on air.
Quiet Hero, my New York Times best seller about my father, which was the greatest journey of my life, especially sharing it with my Dad when he was still alive.
13. Name your favorite vacation spot? What makes these places so special?
A beach and blue water anywhere. I have been to Hawaii, Bora Bora and Thailand, all are beautiful and true paradise!
14. Which three items can you not live without?
Coffee, SweetLeaf Toffee Flavored Stevia, and milk/creamer. In that order.
15. What song, meditation or mantra can you listen to on repeat? And why?
I love a lot of different music and groups. One thing I cannot do is sing, so I greatly admire anyone else who can, and can do it well!
16. If you could meet anyone in the world, who would you like to meet? And why?
I would’ve loved to have met and interviewed Nelson Mandela who was so heroic against incredible odds. I went to Robben Island in South Africa and saw where he was imprisoned for so many years in a very tiny cell under horrendous conditions. He was a true testament to the extraordinary power of the human spirit.
17. Is there anything else you would like to share, discuss or promote?
You can follow my work through social media channels as well. My twitter handle is @RitaCosby, and you can find me on Facebook at facebook.com/RitaCosby.
You can also find my best-selling book here: http://amzn.to/2qyPpB6
For the Kindle Edition of the book, visit: http://amzn.to/2rk934N
All images courtesy of Rita Cosby