Q&A With WGN's Lourdes Duarte
Modern Brown Girl was thrilled to talk with Emmy award winner Lourdes Duarte. As a co-anchor and reporter for Chicago's WGN News, Lourdes has covered it all. We were happy to pick her brain for her insights on beauty, success and being Latina.
MBG: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself - where you were born/raised and the journey that brought you to television?
I’m a Chicago girl, of course! My parents are Cuban but I also lived in Puerto Rico as child. I’ve definitely moved around a lot, living in South Florida during high school. Working in news, I’ve also made plenty of stops. I started out as a reporter in Peoria, IL. From there I made the move to Indianapolis and Detroit and eventually Chicago.
MBG: What inspires you about your Latina roots?
Everything!! I love the language, the food, the literature and the music. It’s what I grew up knowing and would never trade it for anything else. It’s funny…while my friends were listening to Nirvana Or Guns N’ Roses, I was hooked on boleros. Hahaha! I still listen to it today, calms me down. An old soul I guess!!
MBG: What do you think the mainstream media gets wrong about Latina women?
Interesting question. Obviously…I will always defend the media because I’m a part of it. But I would say the biggest thing is believing that we (as Latinas) are different. The truth is we are just like every woman, dealing with the same issues. Marriage, children, work. There are some subtle differences but for the most part we all want the same things.
MBG: How and where do you see yourself reflected in the media?
I see it now more than ever. Newsrooms have made an effort to hire people who reflect their communities. Beyond that…every day we get better at covering the issues that impact those communities. As Latinos, I always say it’s our job to educate people about our culture. It’s one of the reasons I think Hispanic Heritage Month is so important every year. It’s our time to show off what makes us great.
MBG: From where do you draw inspiration?
I’m probably a self-help junkie! Yes…I just admitted that. I like to read things that keep you positive and motivated. It’s very important to keep faith and hope even in the most difficult situations. None of us are immune from them so we better figure out a way to deal with it. Staying positive and upbeat is my way. Nothing worse than a grumbler and complainer. Whenever I see myself going down that road, I take a step back and say, “Get it Together Duarte.” I also really enjoy reading biographies about how people accomplished their dreams. It’s inspiring to see how hard people are willing to work for what they want.
MBG: What are you most proud of so far in your life/career?
I’m very proud of getting a chance to work in Chicago and at a station that is so loved like WGN. I realize how lucky I am and that not everyone gets that opportunity. I’ve covered just about every type of story. From crime to politics and business news. I’ve been fortunate enough to win four EMMY Awards and I’m proud of that.
MBG: What does beauty mean to you?
It means being comfortable with who you are. Embracing your blessings and applauding those of others. We all have our individual blessings!!
MBG: Who are your style & beauty role models/muses?
I usually keep style very simple and I love classic beauties. At the top of my list are Princess Diana, Jacqueline Kennedy. I love Salma Hayek and Eva Longoria as smart Latina style icons.
MBG: If you could trade places with one person for a day, who would it be and why?
Wish I could trade places with my mom during the years she was raising me. Poor Lady! Wait…isn’t there a movie about that?
MBG: What are 5 things that you can’t live without?
1. Sleep: I can never get enough of it. I get really really cranky when I don’t get at least 7 hours. I need 8-9 hours or else I don’t function at full spped. I’ve been that way my entire life.
2. Empanadas: It’s one of my biggest weaknesses. If I see an empanada, I will eat it!!
3. Earrings: My parents pierced my ears as soon as I was born and I will never walk out of the house without earrings. The times I have…my entire day is off balance.
4. Vacations: I live to travel! I usually take one really big trip a year and a couple of smaller trips. I’m hoping my next stop is Buenos Aires. If you want to get me talking…just tell me about your last vacation. I want to know EVERYTHING!!
5. Flat Iron: I have severely curly/frizzy hair. It’s out of control! Anyway, I straighten it for work because I think it looks a little bit better on air but it takes a lot of work. The flat iron is essential.
Watch Lourdes co-anchor the WGN evening news every weekday at 4:00pm.