Former Fellow Spotlight, Oct + Nov 2018: Daniel Haack, Tershone Phillips, & Graham Taylor
November 21, 2018
2012 IRST alumna Jasmeet Sidhu
Introducing IRTS Fellow Alumna Jasmeet Sidhu
March 29, 2019
Jessica Larché Washington, Winter Wrap-UP 2018-19 newsletter

Former Fellow Spotlight

Winter Wrap-Up 2018-19 Newsletter

The IRTS Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that develops future leaders and promotes diversity in the media industry. Our cornerstone program is the IRTS Summer Fellowship Program, often referred to as a “media boot camp.”

On a semi-regular basis, we send out a newsletter for IRTS Summer Fellowship program alumni. In each newsletter, we profile some of our alumni in the Former Fellow Spotlight section.

This edition, we caught up with 2006 alumna Jessica Larché Washington.

For a full listing of the alumni profiled in our Former Fellow Spotlight, please click here.

Jessica Larché Washington
Current Occupation: Morning News Anchor, WTKR News 3  // Host & Executive Producer, Decide to Live, with Jessica Larché Podcast
IRTS Summer Fellow Year: 2006
IRTS Summer Internship: WB11 News (WPIX-TV)

Explain your “IRTS Impact”
My experience with IRTS changed my life. Joyce Tudryn and my 2006 classmates helped me see that my dreams, no matter how big, were possible with hard work, authenticity and networking. I realized that by striving to be the very first Jessica Larché, (inside joke for my 2006 fellows) I was already enough.

What was a big milestone for you?
A personal milestone – being featured on the cover of Woman’s Day Magazine in 2016 for my 100-pound weight loss journey! I once tipped the scales at 267 pounds on my 5’2 frame, brought on by using food to self-medicate for anxiety. I put up a brave face on television for many years, but I knew I could no longer patch my anxieties with food binges and unhealthy habits if I wanted to live. By 2012, my Dad died from obesity and I was diagnosed with high blood pressure at just 27 years old. I had to make a decision to save my own life. I didn’t do it for the television cameras or to advance my career. My work was already speaking for itself. I did it for me. It took me nearly five years to lose 100 pounds by eating better, exercising more and seeking therapy to understand my relationship with food. Now, it’s part of my life’s mission to encourage everyone to face their own mountain and decide to live! You’ll read more about how I’m doing that a little later in this update!

Professionally, winning my first Emmy Award in 2014 still makes my heart skip a beat! The story was about a high school orchestra teacher who dedicated his life to his students. We used their performance of “Amazing Grace” as the soundtrack to his interview. It was a beautiful use of words, video and music. Watching it still makes me cry. I felt like I was in a dream when they called my name at the awards ceremony.

What was your first thought arriving in NYC for the Fellowship?
I thought to myself, “Sweet Baby Jesus!” when I looked up at the skyscrapers on my way to my internship at WPIX every morning. New York seemed like a concrete jungle made of hopes and dreams. Its distinct soul and culture also reminded me of my hometown, New Orleans. There’s never a dull moment in either city.

What’s something the new class should do while in NYC this summer?
Explore! Take in a show on Broadway. Bike through Central Park. Visit an art museum. Make it a goal to try one new experience each week. Yes, your internship is your priority, and learning about one of the most fascinating cities in the world will expand your mind, too. Plus, it will allow you to have more authentic conversations with people you meet. If you work an overnight shift on your internship like I did at WPIX, you may be tired, but push yourself to see the city! You may end up going on some adventures when you’re off and everyone else is at work, but don’t let that stop you! You may just discover yourself in the process.

Favorite thing about your current position?
As a morning news anchor, it is the blessing and privilege of a lifetime to help people start the day! Our live newscast begins at 4:30am, which means my voice, energy and smile welcome hundreds of thousands of people in Virginia and North Carolina to the start of a brand new day. I don’t take that gift for granted. When I get up for my shift in the middle of the night, I take a moment to express gratitude for having this responsibility.

Something interesting you’re working on?
My journey to lose 100 pounds and keeping it off – the mental physical and spiritual growth – is documented in my expanding podcast, Decide to Live with Jessica Larché and my blog, Jessica on a Journey.

The storyteller in me knew sharing the lessons I’m learning along the way – the real stuff you don’t expect the “news lady” to talk about – would help all of us along this journey.

I started my blog, jessicaonajourney.com, in 2014. It’s like an open diary chronicling the ups, downs, wins and losses of my wellness journey. I expanded into podcasting with Decide to Live with Jessica Larché in 2017. In the fall of 2018, I launched my YouTube Channel for Decide to Live with motivational videos and personal stories that I hope will encourage others to face their fears and decide to live! And – yes there’s more – I’m writing my first book about my wellness journey. Whew! Send love, prayers and coffee.

What’s a book you think everyone should read?
I’ll cheat a little here and share three that have helped inspire me to be vulnerable about my wellness journey with the world: Steve Harvey’s Jump, Oprah Winfrey’s What I Know For Sure, and Gary Zukav’s Seat of the Soul. Each book explores the power of using our past to propel, not to imprison.

Advice in one sentence:
You are worthy and your dreams are worth fighting for.

For a full listing of the alumni profiled in our Former Fellow Spotlight, please click here.

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