Lily Jang is an Emmy-nominated news anchor who loves greeting her hometown on Channel 11 each weekday morning. Growing up in Northwest Houston and graduating from University of Texas, her heart is where her boots are. The self-proclaimed fitness fanatic, world traveler, and social media queen is all about Houston, all of the time.
What do you enjoy about living in the Cypress area?
I have so many wonderful memories of growing up in Cy- Fair! After decades, my parents still live in the same house I grew up in, and my bedroom is still the way it was when I left for college. I went to Lowery Elementary in Copperfield and Labay Junior High when they were brand new schools. Langham Creek High School was a National Exemplary School by the time I graduated. My first job was a cashier at Randall’s and I was also an aerobics instructor at Gold’s Gym on Highway 6. I am so lucky that my parents decided to raise my older brother and me in the Cy-Fair area. It will always be home.
How did you get started in TV?
I knew in 9th Grade I wanted to be a journalist. I chose a Top 10 journalism school and packed my bags for the University of Texas at Austin, where I studied Broadcast Journalism. As I was finishing my senior year and interning at Austin TV stations, I sent out my resume reel across the country from Arkansas to Montana and everywhere in between. I was fortunate to land my first Anchor/Reporter job at the CBS station in Amarillo, Texas and stay for an extra year in this great state.
What challenges have you had along the way?
I wouldn’t consider anything I’ve encountered “challenges,” but rather, “experiences.” My first three TV markets were Amarillo, Texas; Birmingham, Alabama; and Seattle, Washington. I didn’t know a soul so it was lonely at first, but I found a way to make them home. I look back at what wonderful people there were in all three cities and how they welcomed me with open arms.
Describe an average day.
Are you ready for this? My alarm is set for 2:45 a.m. Monday through Friday. I hit the ground running, and I’m at my desk at 3:15 a.m. proofreading scripts while doing my own hair and makeup. See how glamorous the TV news industry really is? We are live on the news from 4:30 – 7 a.m. I have a couple of live cut-ins during the CBS Early Show, and depending on the day, I head into the field to file a human interest report. I’m typically done by 11 a.m., when most people are just kicking it into high gear!
What do you love about bringing stories to your audience?
Each one of us has a story to tell, and I get the honor of telling it. I don’t have an assigned franchise, but I covereverything from fitness crazes and workout routines to food, fashion, and Facebook stories. It’s across the board, and I welcome our community’s story ideas.
What major accomplishment makes you proud?
I was the founder of an Asian-American Sorority at UTAustin bringing unity and a voice to Asian-Americans. Today, there are 48 chapters of Alpha Kappa Delta Phi across the country and Canada. In the Amarillo and Birmingham TV markets, I was the first and only Asian- American reporter. I’ve mentored many students, and I hope, somewhere, a little girl has decided to become a journalist because she watched me on TV and said, “If she can do it, so can I.”
Does your family enjoy seeing you on TV?
My mom and dad watch me every single morning before work. When I have a bad hair day, I hear about it!
What advice do you have for kids who might be interested in anchoring?
If anyone wants to become a broadcast journalist, I say go for it. It’s not an easy field to get into. It requires moving all over the country to pursue your dreams, but that’s the beauty of it. It’s a high-stress job with hourly deadlines, so journalists have to thrive under pressure. No day is the same, and it allows your creative side to shine. I love it and welcome any questions as well as offering critiques for submitted resume reels. It’s all about paying it forward, while giving back. CFM
GAIL G. COLLINS loves traveling and telling people’s stories like Lily’s, and was thrilled to chat with the anchor.