Candice Nguyen shares a very candid story of the growth and struggles it took to follow her childhood dream of becoming a TV reporter. We met in an alley adjacent to the historic Paramount Theater in Oakland, Ca.
CAREER: Tell me about how you got to where you are today.
“I always wanted to be a reporter, sort of like how a kid wants to be an astronaut or a little girl wants to be a ballerina. It was always in the back of my mind. In college, I was part of this Asian American Association that paired me with Vicky Nguyen, a reporter for NBC Bay Area. I worked with her for about a year. She believed in me, even though I didn’t know what to do — she saw my potential. She helped get my first on air job in Salinas, California. I was there for about a year — just figuring it out, making mistakes.
For my first live shot, I was super nervous. I was totally scared, and freaked out — and was I good? No I was terrible, but you have to start somewhere. It’s about doing it, and getting better little by little. After that, I got a job in San Diego. I was there for six years. It took me time to hone my skills. If anyone did anything, over and over, day after day, for six, ten years — yeah you’re going to get ok at it, and if you’re good at it you’re going to get great at it. It’s just like a sport. That’s how I sort of see things, and it’s how I approach my career.
I’m not going to be this great reporter overnight, and if I just started reporting now, no I wouldn’t be good. I was thinking, look I can’t be bad if I keep on doing this everyday for the rest of my life, I’ll get good eventually. I’ve been in the business for about six years now, but if I just add to when I was just thinking about it, in high school, it’s been ten years since I’ve been thinking about this and working towards it.
There were ups and downs, and learning about myself, and being away from family. Tears and joys, successes and struggles. A lot of people see the good stuff, but there were definitely struggles, but you can’t have a success unless you have struggles. The two go hand in hand. No one will have experience, without it, you have to do the same thing over and over. So yeah, finally I was in San Diego, doing good work, I was there for a long time. I got an opportunity here in the Bay Area too good to turn down, and I said yes. So this was my latest jump. Was I scared my first week? Yea, I was scared. Was I good? I dunno. Haha, I hope so. But you know, I’ll get better. That’s how it is.”
FASHION (ON THE JOB): What are the current fashion staples in your wardrobe?
“So for TV [news reporting], we’re all about solid colors and not being distracting because the main thing is the story. You don’t want to have statement jewelry, big earrings, or big jewelry. Although, I love it, I personally love that stuff, but it’s distracting. It’s all [about being] conservative professional with solid colors, but still attractive and looking good. I love wrap dresses. We don’t do pant suits anymore. [I wear] a lot of pencil skirts, dresses, business pants, and ¾ shirts. Because I am still youngish I still want to dress my age, too. So I like form fitting things, and spicing them up with jewelry. But it still has to be conservative when it comes to work.”
FASHION (FUN DAYS): Now how about days when you’re not on the job?
“Oh, it’s funny. Maybe it’s to save money. I like to buy things that I would wear to work and be casual in because I don’t want to buy a million different outfits. Two things I love are purses and shoes.
I [like to be] fashionable for the most part when I’m not at work. I like comfort, especially stretchy pants. I don’t know if those are fashionable, but I try to find ones that don’t look like stretchy pants. That with a stylish shirt and heels. I’m really into boots right now — like the knee-high black ones or a mauve color. I really like natural colors. I’m not really a flashy person when it comes to colors. But I would say that [I gravitate towards] form fitting, neutral colors, and comfort. I’m still figuring it out.”
Purses, shoes, versatile and comfy clothes
Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse