Fabulous Female Friday – Jennifer Hedger
I’m so excited to feature Jennifer Hedger from TSN’s SportsCentre as June’s second Fabulous Female.
I went to elementary school with Jennifer and her brother in little ol’ Lambeth, Ontario (now part of London). Growing up, both Jennifer and her brother were good public speakers. Each year students had to prepare a speech and present it in front of his/her class. Not many of us liked having to give a speech but Jennifer seemed at ease and she always made it to the finals.
The finals were a big deal; you got to stand up in the gymnasium in front of the whole school and give your speech. The winner went on to an even bigger competition. The rest is a little foggy but I do remember when I learned that Jennifer was a co-host on SportsCentre, I wasn’t at all surprised.
Jennifer is now facing her toughest job to date; being a new mom. I love her candid responses on motherhood and the adjustments she’s had to make. I’m sure you will agree that she’s a rather inspiring woman and a fabulous female!
Please join me in learning more about Jennifer.
Tell us a bit about yourself outside of your career.
Well, I guess the most obvious thing to point out is that I’m a new mom! My son Jaeger was born March 18th. I’m married to Sean McCormick, a fellow sports broadcaster, and we married on the Mayan Riviera in 2006.
As you might imagine, my life is dominated by sports…but I do have SOME outside interests. I absolutely love to cook…I am addicted to the Food Network and I love making food for my family and friends.
A year ago, I started doing yoga, and it has changed the way I work out. I used to do cardio and weights, but now I do ashtanga yoga and cardio, and it has changed everything. Body, mind, soul…I was a skeptic, but it works.
And finally, my husband and I are big music fans. We like to take trips to see our favourite bands. Muse at Wembley, U2 in Dublin, The Tragically Hip in Boston…any excuse to see live rock n roll. This of course, was BEFORE we had Jaeger.
Tell us about your career; where did you start and how did you make it to TSN as a co-host on SportsCentre?
I started out at the New PL in London as their ‘summer events’ girl. Then came fill-in hosting gigs here and there when someone was on holidays. I auditioned to be a host on their morning show, New Day, but didn’t get the job. Instead, I was forced to branch out of London, and I got a job on a reality show in Toronto “The Lofters”.
While I was a “Lofter”, I appeared on Off The Record with Michael Landsberg on TSN. That appearance got me an interview at TSN, and after 3 months of begging and pleading for them to hire me, they did!
What was it like covering the 2010 Olympics in Whistler?
Amazing. Emotional. Grueling. Rewarding. Unforgettable.
I was able to interview Jon Montgomery after his Gold medal run in Skeleton, and it was the highlight of my career. It has since become this iconic image of the Games, Jon walking to our set in Whistler, chugging a pitcher of beer.
At the Olympics, sometimes you interview people on the worst day of their life (Melissa Hollingsworth) and sometimes you talk to them on the best day of their life. I was very fortunate to talk to Jon on the best day.
You’re a new mom, how are you enjoying this new role in life?
I’ll be honest, the first 8 weeks were really tough. I wasn’t prepared for how demanding it was going to be; the constant feeding, no sleep, constant crying. I struggled with going from having this rewarding career, to not being able to make my son stop crying.
At work, somebody was always there to tell me I’m doing a good job or that I had a good show, or that my writing was clever, but when you’re a new mom no one tells you you’re doing a good job. It’s thankless stuff.
But then at about the 10 week mark your baby smiles at you. And sleeps for 7 hours in a row. And the sun starts to shine again. I am really enjoying being a mom now, but it was not an easy, or an immediate transition.
How did you get your job on The Lofters? And what was that like?
I auditioned to be on the show because I needed a full-time job in TV. I saw it as a year-long audition toward a career in sports. Luckily, it was.
It was an intense experience. Being a reality TV personality isn’t just about your own privacy but also about the privacy of your family and friends. I don’t regret the experience; t was a necessary stepping stone for me, but I regret the intrusion on my family.
How did it feel being voted as Hello! Magazine’s Top 10 most beautiful women on television and what did that mean to you?
It was incredibly flattering! I was so excited for the photo shoot, and then the magazine came out, and I saw the picture, and I burst out in tears! I am definitely my own worst critic, but that photo was terrible! I was humbled.
I joke to my friends how much my life has changed. I went from Hello! Magazine’s Most beautiful to Canadian Family Magazine’s “10 Mom’s We Love”!
At this point in your life, what are you most proud of?
Hmmm, that’s a tough one. MOST proud of?
I guess I’m most proud that I’ve been able to achieve the things that are important to me. I can honestly say, I have everything I want. I have a loving husband and beautiful son, and a rewarding career. Sure, I wish I had a tighter stomach, a house with a yard and a well organized closet but you can’t have it ALL.
What advice would you give to women on pursuing their passions?
Work hard. Harder than the person beside you.
Take rejection graciously, but don’t accept it. Keep going.
Cry in private. There is nothing that makes a male boss or counterpart more uncomfortable, than a crying woman.
There are going to be times when you just want to burst into tears.; try to hold it together. When I didn’t get the job as morning host in London at The New PL, I thought my career was over before it began. I was so angry at the bosses at The New PL for not giving me the job. Little did I know, they did me the biggest favour of my career. They pushed me to go outside of my comfort zone. If I had of got the job, I would likely still be hosting morning TV in London.
What’s the last song you listened to on your iPod?
Beastie Boys – “No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn”
What’s the last book you read?
“Medium Raw” – Anthony Bourdain