Maria Shriver never felt the pressure to go into politics like the rest of her family. Instead, her parents asked her: what moves you? She took that question and ran with it. Fascinated by storytelling, Maria led a decades-long career in journalism. But then she became first lady of California. And NBC asked her to leave. Looking back, Maria says: it was a blessing in disguise.
On Where to Get the Most Opportunities
Maria: I would go to a place where you get the most opportunities. Where you get your hands dirty, and where you get a chance to do the most things. So I went to Philadelphia and Baltimore. And I was given the opportunity to work the assignment desk, to log people's tapes, to write things, to be a sound woman, to do the lighting, to work in the edit room. Those were things that would never have been given the opportunity to do had I'd gone to a big New York market.
On Turning the Bad News into Good
Maria: I knew that when I started to have children, my career shifted. So when I became first lady, I thought that I could manage both. I thought I could keep my journalism in a diminished capacity. And they felt like, no, it would be problematic for them. So they made the decision for me. I think the whole period—becoming first lady, getting fired—all of these things happened in about a six week period. So it was tumultuous and hard. But it was actually a gift, because I could throw myself into being first lady of California and it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I brought my journalism to that job. I built a team, built a women's conference and initiatives, that, had I not had my journalism experience, I probably wouldn't have been able to do so.
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