How a News Anchor Broke the Unspoken Dress Code

How a News Anchor Broke the Unspoken Dress Code


(dramatic piano music) – [Jana] Women on
television and local news, they have really cool, like,
Rent the Runway dresses. They’re beautiful. They know how to do their makeup, like they were born to know. They have lots of earrings and tall shoes. I wanted to be them my whole life, ’cause if I got to be
them, or look like them, that was the ultimate hall pass. I could just tell stories. And I maxed out a lot of credit cards trying to look like that. But this is the one we’ve
all been waiting for. It just didn’t work. Good evening, I’m Jana Shortal. Thank you for joining us. You can’t have an authentic voice if you feel like you’re in a costume. It took a long time, but I did find a way to unapologetically be myself. (piano music slows) (string plucking music) My name is Jana Shortal. I’m a journalist, and I host a show here at KARE 11 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Are you guys excited? When I first moved to Minneapolis 15 years ago, I was not out. I didn’t see anyone succeeding in front of a camera as a gay woman. You know, I remember being a little kid when Ellen came out,
and it didn’t go well. Rachel Maddow wasn’t on TV
back then, so I swallowed it. The first thing I did
when I moved here was get boyfriend, and he’s great. I haven’t really seen him in 15 years, so I still like you, Craig. (laughs) I was actively internally
fighting the fact that I was gay. It was like being two
being two people at once, but you can only do that for so long. (dramatic piano music) As a girl growing up in the
world, there was a code. And in this industry, at least the code was very easy to see and follow. Pretty hair, perfect
makeup, and their outfits look like they do in the magazines. Look at my face. Look at my face. Look how there’s no lesbian smirk yet. That was internally difficult,
but I knew how to do it. So in my late 20s, I started coming out a little bit at a time. I’m not out on air, and when I would have to be on this side of the
camera, I got so scared. It was where I was least confident ’cause I would have to do stuff to look like somebody I wasn’t, and how can you authentically
present the news or someone’s story when you’re terrified? Someone said, “Cut you hair. “This isn’t working.” It went from bob to short by Kimberly. Kimberly, Kim, helped
me to become who I am. – I’ve been doing Jana’s
hair for about 15 years. When I first met her, she
needed a beautifully executed, masterful bob, but I would style her hair differently in order
to go out with friends than we would if she
was going back to work, and the two became very separate. It was two Janas, and for
me, it was overwhelming because it was two clients. We worked together to help her evolve into what is now her most
comfortable personal style. As she was assigned this new
project and this new show, it became more evident to me that that was what they were wanting to see. They were wanting to see more of her, and so I absolutely was
banging a tambourine trying to cheer her on and
trying to move it right along. I love her coming out story. I think it’s beautiful. – When we debuted this show
on January 11th of 2016, I felt confident enough to wear this hair and a David Bowie t-shirt,
and I was so scared that the minute I got
off there would be, like, this group of people that
were gonna beat me up, or, like, send me mail to
say, “Take her off the air.” None of that happened. The applause were there. I wasn’t saying, “I’m going to
be this, like, trailblazer.” I’m just me. I mean, this is always who I’ve been. I’m sad that I’m some sort of anomaly. It seems goofy because
I know a lot of people that look like me, but
I’m sure you could call news directors all over the country that would say my hair’s a problem. (uplifting electric guitar music) We all know the heartbreaking stories about what happens in the LGBTQ community to kids figuring out where you belong. And I will be damned
if I am not the person that they need me to be to get them (yelling)
to that point where they see themselves and say, “Hell yeah.”

100 Replies to “How a News Anchor Broke the Unspoken Dress Code”

  1. You look androgynous, not gay. I do not like dresses, makeup, but I wear my hair very short. I am a female, but not gay… SO WHAT?

  2. I totally understand this and I'm all for people being themselves…however, I think as a journalist, there's an argument to be made in favor of not standing out in the way you dress, or conveying an identity. It should be about your reporting, and the information you impart, and the integrity with which you impart that content. Dressing in an unconventional way that makes you stand out would seem to deviate from that goal, and seems irrelevant. Imagine you're on trial, and the judge shows up in golf attire, because that's her true self.

  3. Yeah don’t wear makeup unless you want to. XD. Some people like makeup and it makes them feel confident, but for some people it’s just a no for them. Like me. I really hate wearing makeup. It feels so uncomfortable.

  4. Thats why i cant watch the news. All of them look the same, insufferably boring look. She actually adds a lot more color to the whole scene and makes it that much more fun to tune in.

  5. I like how she was inclusive in saying "kids" and not singling out girls or something weird like "future lesbians". There more people put each other on equal footing, the better off we will all be.

  6. She found a style that looks fantastic with her natural looks. It doesn’t take being “gay” to do so for anyone. But being gay led her to search and find what did look good on her. More people need to find a style that works with their individual looks, not what’s popular or what society says you are ie., professional, male, female, senior, kid, or a specific race even.

  7. I’m sorry you’d have to be blind not to see she was lesbian, glad she gets to be herself, btw her style is not that original or impressive I live in Williamsburg NY so.

  8. I really appreciated this, and hearing about your journey was honestly magical.

    The biggest thing though? It was so refreshing to listen to a story about an individuals journey, rather than an opportunity taken to attack the ‘system’ or men, or the ‘patriarchy’. I really appreciated the direction taken with this. Thank you.

  9. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't care about anyone's sexuality, nor about anyone's personal style of clothing. But saying that there's an unspoken dresscode for female TV journalists and then changing to a different unspoken dresscode – at least, it seems to me like that because this style of clothing is almost stereotypically associated with lesbians – makes me wonder why we have to categorize so strongly. I'm not a fashionable person, never been and despite that – or perhaps, BECAUSE of that – it confuses me why people feel the need to put on types of clothes that make them associate with certain groups. I put on a uniform every day, but that is a LITERAL uniform. Putting on an inofficial uniform and marketing it as you finding your individuality just seems so utterly paradox.

  10. I’m sure it benefits the station greatly to have a gay androgynous person in 2019. Doesn’t seem like a “struggle” but rather a trendy benefit to me. Which is neat I guess but please don’t make it seem like this is groundbreaking.

  11. Why are women expected to wear makeup I honestly couldn't give a shit and I refuse to wear makeup at prom

  12. I LOOOOVVEE that this is a story on this channel ❤ and she is an inspiration to so many little lesbians out there, i wish i saw her on the TV as a kid when i was struggling with internalized homophobia. I am very feminine, but seeing any kind of lesbian on tv (other than ellen of course) helps young LGBT kids feel confident in themselves and know that we can succeed 🙂

  13. With all due respect, the title is about the dress code, yet it seems more about her coming out?
    Regardless you are a human and I love humans. x

  14. I love the story. This is exactly why I also like journalist Amy Goodman. https://www.democracynow.org She's authentic in her approach and appearance too.

  15. I had to watch because it wouldn’t leave me alone. This video is pretty dumb. It is a look so every person feels like they are watching the same thing. She is literally in a costume so why is she saying she can’t be herself in one? Lotta stupid shit.

  16. Love love love this, you be you Boo. To be truly your brave self is inspiring. Live your true life.

  17. Good for her. Especially because that typical look is not a good one. The bleached streaky hair, the cakey makeup, the boring faces, the bob that ages and doesnt flatter. This woman fr looks like 27 and old pics of her look 40. Why is the standard news woman look the standard ? Where did that come from? It's so unfair that the women are so pressured to look the same and put so much time into their looks when all the men have to do is wear a suit and shave.

  18. Now I'm beggining to understand why I suddenly feel attracted to gays and lesbians and everyone in between. It's not because of how they look but because of how they are able to present their authentic selves to the world. At the end of the day, it's not the heels or the beard, it's the honesty to self and others that is ridiculously attractive.

  19. I'm literally crying, I'm 18 and as a trans guy I just felt so good cutting my hair for the first time and this just brought all that up again, amazing story, actually in tears and need of a hug

  20. She managed to accomplish this unheard of ask b you guessed it breaking the unspoken dress code enjoy the next 5 mins of your life

  21. Bruh the Mexican news industry is worse. Idk if the women choose to or some choose to or if they are forced to wear these tight sexy but uncomfortable dresses. Idk how they feel comfortable and then male news anchors will hug em or touch them in inappropriate ways.

  22. I live in the Twin Cities area and have watched as She has blossomed as a reporter. Always thought she did a good job but for awhile I thought to myself wasn't a fan of her earlier hair style …it didn't seem to "fit" her. I am glad that things are going well for her. Enjoy her stories when she interact's with the grade school kids… you can tell the kid's can relate to her. 👍😊

  23. Sooo, she thought that there is only one way she can dress? The only problem I see here is her mental issues.
    Normal news reporters dress elegant and classic, at least where I come from. Nobody gives rat's ass if they are not in high heels with a tons of makeup, but you have to look formal enough to be decent. You are a public figure after all.
    If you like to wear men's clothes or dress as a teenage hipster that's fine, nobody cares, but you should be formal, not too casual. You are a grown woman and a public figure after all. What a drama for nothing.

  24. You can redefine cultural standards of beauty every way forward, backward and sideways. I don't care. But don't try to convince me that this looks good. The implication is that all the other female news anchors are hypocrites and lemmings, and she is the true non-conformist. Not true. She is just as much of a conformist as they are. She is just on the opposite end of the conformity spectrum.

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