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Photo: FOX Business Network
When Brooklyn-born Maria Bartiromo began her career in broadcast journalism in the early ’90s, the press nicknamed her Money Honey. But the whip-smart anchor’s proven herself a real force to be reckoned with. Twenty years ago, she was the first person to report from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Today, the anchor and global markets editor for the Fox Business Network and the Fox News channel, is known for getting tough interviews and leading the way for women in business broadcast journalism. Here, Maria shares how she made it in the boys’ club of business and explains how experience leads to confidence.
BB: So you and I actually met in the women’s bathroom at the White House Correspondents Dinner many years ago!
MB: Yes, that is absolutely right, and we hit it off immediately.
BB: Yes, and I complimented you on your gorgeous eyes, and like a lot of attractive women you looked at me like I had four heads!
MB: Well, coming from you, I was like, “Wow, thank you.”
BB: You are both incredibly beautiful and incredibly smart, and to me, that’s a powerful combination. Tell me about growing up in this business and being a woman.
MB: I always tried to differentiate myself by making sure I studied a lot and I knew the content cold. I started my career as a production assistant at CNN, and then I was an assignment editor. I spent five years at CNN Business News, 20-plus years at CNBC as an on-air reporter and news anchor, and I was the first person to broadcast from the floor at the New York Stock Exchange. I am not one of these women who dealt with people not taking me seriously because I was a woman, but when I was on the floor of the exchange it was something of a boys club. So I needed to overcome a little bit and make sure that I was doing what I wanted to do and doing it well. I also worked to be taken seriously. In order to do that I just made a commitment that I would study, study, study, and own the job.
BB: What advice do you have for women who are just starting out in the business?
MB: My first piece of advice is you have to love what you do. I would try as much as you can to take money out of the equation. Don’t look for a career expecting to get rich overnight. You must love what you do and you’ll be able to work really hard and possibly be in the right place at the right time to get a little luck. (Luck is also a part of this.) Number two: Work really hard. There are no shortcuts. I really believe that it doesn’t matter who you are, who your parents are, or who you know—the person who is going to give you that opportunity is going to judge your performance, so it is really critical that you work hard. Number three, it is imperative to do the right thing in all situations when you are faced with a dilemma. We all know what is right and we all know what is wrong. Make sure to cherish your reputation. No matter where you go your reputation will follow you, and you’ll always want to be that person who has integrity and does the right thing. I think those three things are really critical to success in any industry. In terms of my own industry, broadcast journalism, internships are really important. When you are in school, try and get your foot in the door of as many internships as possible.
BB: Have you ever struggled with self-esteem issues, and if so, how did you get over them?
MB: Oh, sure. And when you talk about self-esteem, you are really talking about confidence. The only way to have confidence in a situation is to prepare for it. Every time I have been anxious about an interview or story, or worried about an outcome, my first instinct is to go long on studying. Bone up on everything about the situation. Prepare and study as much as you can to gain the confidence you need.
BB: You’ve been on camera for over two decades; have you grown more confident as time goes on?
MB: Experience leads to confidence. I have grown in many ways over the last 20 years, and I am still learning. Most recently, I think I’ve learned to allow my personal self to come out a little more, and to relax and not feel the need to always have the right answer. I have also learned that sleep is essential to success because everything shows up on camera—especially not enough sleep.
BB: I’ve read that you are a workaholic—is that true? What do you do for fun?
MB: It is true! I work a lot because I love what I do. For fun? I like to exercise. I do yoga. I love hiking and walking. We recently bought a house on the beach near the Hamptons, and we walk on the beach all the time, my husband and I.
BB: Exercise is so key. What about health and food —do you follow any rules? Have you found what works for you?
MB: I sort of break the rules way too often. I shouldn’t be eating a lot of bread, but I do. I shouldn’t do a lot of things that I do! But I do try to watch it. I eat a big Mediterranean diet and fresh fruits and vegetables.
BB: I think that maybe instead of saying you break the rules, just make new ones. It’s OK to eat a little bread, it’s OK to eat a little pasta. I am done saying you can’t do this or that.
MB: Yes, absolutely.
BB: What are your beauty must-haves?
MB: Under-eye cream from Nivea, Chapstick, and a smoky-eye kit. One of my best secrets is taking my makeup off with Johnson’s Baby Shampoo; it’s the best way to fully clean your eyes. I like a rich moisturizer like Cetaphil, especially in the winter when my skin is dry.
BB: You wear TV makeup six days a week, so what do you do when you are not working?
MB: When I am not on-air I want my skin to breathe. I really want to have a fresh face, so I don’t wear makeup on weekends. I like to just relax.
BB: I have to ask you one hard question; How do you feel about the name the press coined for you, “Money Honey”? If could make your own nickname, what would it be?
MB: Money Honey never bothered me. I have always have been so flattered to have just gotten noticed. No one really calls me up really and says “Hello, Money Honey!” When I grew up, on 84th St. in Brooklyn, the other boys, on the block used to call me Bullet, because I was a really fast runner, so I love that name, too. I don’t think my sources or people that I interview don’t take me seriously because of what the press or anyone has come up with. I think people know that when I interview them, they are going to get the right questions, the tough questions, but not in a “got you” way, in a way that says, “Hey, here’s the situation.”
BB: Thank you Maria. This is our social life you and I, the lunch we never had. Two busy women who are trying to be friends and have to meet up over an interview! Thanks so much for talking to Yahoo Beauty—it is great to have you be a part of the site.