WHO'S PORKING PARSONS?
When first given the okay from Shawna's press agents to proceed with this interview, I was literally bombarded with reader questions. "Katie, what kind of base makeup does Shawna use?" "How many situps does Shawna do per day to keep her abs so tight?" "Does Shawna use Crest Whitening strips?" And of course, "Katie, who the heck is that tall drink of water Shawna's been seen cavorting with around town?"
Well, hold your horses, people. Your questions will all be answered in due time. For now, let's start with the basics: Shawna's a svelte 30-something mother of two, who's been jet-setting around Portland for over three years, following a successful TV career in bustling Salt Lake City, Utah. Her husband, who wishes to remain anonymous (for reasons of anonymity), is a mysteriously handsome gentleman who forgoes the harsh spotlight of fame to work a civilian job and spend time with Shawna and their two beautiful kids. He is truly the wind beneath Shawna's wings. And anonymous or not, I'd like to order two more just like him!
When I first arrived at the KPTV channel 12 offices, I expected the usual rigamarole that goes along with celebrity interviews, which means waiting, waiting, and more waiting. When I interviewed Portia De Rossi last fall, she left me sitting outside the gates of her LA estate for over four hours while she got a mud wrap. Celebrities--so freaking full of themselves!
But not in Shawna Parsons' case. After a brief three-minute wait in the lobby, Shawna burst through the station doors; tall, smartly dressed, with a smile that could blind the sun. And not only that, she escorted me back to the offices herself. Can you believe it? Let me give it to you real--this is one local celeb who is down to earth.
Shawna then graciously introduced me to her coworkers--including that boyishly handsome weatherman Mark Nelson. A few of the KPTV staff stopped me to fling varied compliments about my adept and timely newspaper reporting--but I only responded with a modest "thanks." After all, this afternoon wasn't about me, it was about getting to the real Shawna Parsons.
And it wasn't long before I got the big break I was looking for. Remember that tall drink of water you were wondering about earlier? The one seen cavorting about town with the lovely Shawna? Well, I've discovered his true identity. Though he may look like the long lost brother of Dodi Fayed, it's actually her co-anchor, the dashingly handsome Wayne Garcia! So of course you're dying to know--is there a steamy romance going on between these two? Well! While Shawna did reveal that she and Wayne put on their nightly makeup side by side in a shared dressing room, she insists she is happily married. And from the glow on her face when she talked about that mysterious husband of hers, I'd say she was telling the truth! Sorry, tongue-waggers! You'll have to dig for garbage somewhere else.
SHAWNA PARSONS: "YES I CAN!"
Let's take a break from celebrity gossip for a moment and get to know the real Shawna. What makes Shawna Parsons tick? What inspires her? And first off, how did she get her start in television?
Shawna explains with sincerity and a glint of excitement about her bootstrap beginnings at a Salt Lake station.
"I started as an intern," she says, "and about a month in, we suddenly got a new news director, who came in and cleaned house. I mean, she was firing everybody! Then she came up to me and said, 'Can you report?' and I said, 'Yes I can!'"
"It was crazy timing," she continued. "And while I had some skills, I should not have been reporting in that market. So one minute I'm an intern making five dollars a day, and suddenly I'm working as an on-air reporter."
Shawna continued reporting and building up a rep around the station as a real go-getter. Then, one day, lightning struck again for the talented and humble Shawna.
"Out of the blue, the station's general manager came up to me and said, 'Did you ever want to anchor?' and I said 'Sure, why not!' This sort of thing rarely if ever happens in our industry, but thank heavens it did--I didn't want to do it the really hard way. I was lucky."
Though I was loath to put Shawna on the spot, I thought it necessary to ask the "hard question." Fans of Fox 12 news tune into the show for very simple reasons: car crashes, serial killers, kidnappings, child molestations, and flashy graphic design. Sure, we want to be apprised of the day's events, but really, at the end of the day, there's no escaping who we really are: a bunch of sick fucks.
Anyway, I turned to Shawna--we were sitting side by side on a couch in one of the station's dressing rooms--and squinting my eyes in a serious fashion, fired the big daddy of all local celebrity newscaster questions: "What do you think about the sensationalization of news, and do you think it's instilling people with unnecessary fear of their surroundings?"
Without a moment's pause, Shawna's answer leapt off the tip of her pretty tongue: "We report the news. I mean, would you tune in every night if we said 'nothing happened today'? We cover news, and unfortunately, what everyone knows as 'news' is usually bad. On the bright side, it's also called 'news' because it doesn't happen very often."
Touché, Shawna! She's not just porkable, she's sharp as a tack!
WHY I LOVE SHAWNA PARSONS
During our meeting, Shawna and I chatted and laughed like old college roommates; like the part of the interview when we both apologized for our bad breath--I'd had Ethiopian food, and she'd eaten a shrimp salad--as well as when she denied rumors that she uses four letter words off-air.
"I never swear," Shawna exclaimed. "Ask anybody!"
And as our interview drew to a close, I asked the delightful Mrs. Parsons my final question: "You were chosen as one of the Mercury's public favorites. How has this honor improved your life?"
Shawna thinks for a moment and replies, "Well, my husband was like, 'That's cool!' And of course, on my resume, one of the featured highlights is "Voted Portland's Most Porkable Newscaster."
And it couldn't go to nicer person.