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TV Anchor Shatters Stereotypes

By dressing how she wants on-air, journalist Jana Shortal is redefining what it means to look like a TV anchor. 👔She spoke with Brut about LGBTQ representation and living authentically.

Gay TV Anchor Shatters Stereotypes

Journalist Jana Shortal is embracing her true self on camera — shattering perceptions of what a TV anchor should look like. It’s a big change from when she started. Shortal also wasn’t publicly out — worried that viewers wouldn’t accept her. The majority of women had a certain kind of haircut. Being blonde seemed a pretty good route to go. Earrings, lots of makeup, and then you could just go to any number of department stores and ask for suits that TV news anchors would wear. Jana was able to attain jobs and was able to pursue the career she wanted to pursue. At that time, she didn't realize how much damage she was doing to herself by doing it.

“People have told me I'm not supposed to wear “fill in the blank” my whole life and I'm just not going to listen anymore. I didn't know any gay women on TV. Like, I don't know Rachel Maddow, and I don't know Ellen DeGeneres. And I didn't know anybody beyond that that was openly gay as a female. This was in the early 2000s. It still felt unsafe to me to be that. I thought people wouldn't like me if they knew I was gay. And then at some point, not being yourself, for me, it became unsustainable.”

Shortal came out about her sexuality to family and friends — and discovered the empowerment of living authentically while breaking stereotypes and changing the world around her. The on-air change happened in 2016, when she became a co-anchor for a new show at the NBC affiliate station in Minneapolis. Shortal started wearing her natural curly hair —and dressing how she really wanted to. She shares her inspriing story hoping to increase LGBTQ representation on TV and help others struggling with identity issues.

Brut.

05/06/2019 3:00 PMupdated: 05/06/2019 3:07 PM

73 comments

  • Josué C.
    05/31/2019 19:01

    I see puppets

  • Debbie M.
    05/31/2019 11:48

    So all that matters is how you look.

  • Debbie K.
    05/31/2019 01:09

    👏 Be happy!

  • Bryan E.
    05/31/2019 00:01

    Goddamned freaks

  • Cindy S.
    05/30/2019 14:39

    Thank you for your courage! It’s so important that we be true to ourselves! I love that my wife and I both in our 50’s who have walked through the years of hiding ... no longer hide and it’s because we must have courage be proud and love all those who choose to love us back!

  • Markee L.
    05/29/2019 17:33

    Grace Lewis

  • Will G.
    05/29/2019 01:13

    We all love Alton Brown, what’s the big deal

  • Christy B.
    05/28/2019 11:32

    I would love to get to know you . You are a true inspiration .. For it ALL

  • Phil K.
    05/27/2019 04:38

    Now that’s self confidence!!!! Courage at its finest

  • Marybeth L.
    05/26/2019 18:26

    Mental illness

  • Marybeth L.
    05/26/2019 18:26

    Unstable

  • Marybeth L.
    05/26/2019 18:26

    No one cares

  • Sheila L.
    05/26/2019 14:08

    So many people live lives of pain because they are afraid to show their true selves!! What’s wrong with us that we do this to people?!

  • Tyonna D.
    05/26/2019 05:04

    I hate yall. Like seriously and it's not even my generation("the bad generation") it's all old bitter people

  • Kate F.
    05/25/2019 14:37

    You are fabulous! As you age, please fight to stay on the air. Women tend to disappear from media if they are past menopause.

  • Patsy W.
    05/24/2019 22:27

    Thank you!!🙂

  • Donna D.
    05/24/2019 18:42

    Go Jana!!❤️

  • Jolena M.
    05/24/2019 12:55

    This is about representation and that does matter. I'm hearing alot of people complaining here as if we live in a day and age where women aren't constantly hired for the way they present themselves. How often do we ever see a butch presenting women on TV? Almost never. Gender non-conforming people don't get hired for the way they appear. It sucks. It's still a reality. And most women still do feel pressure from every industry or line of work to conform to a ciggender look. Being outwardly open about sexuality through gender expression is important to the LGBTQ+ community bc most of us have been told to hide ourselves indirectly by mainstream news sources and culture that only hire women with a specific look, and this is just one example. This effects straight people too obviously. How many times have you heard a woman say I don't want to get my haircut short bc men will think I'm unattractive or they don't want to be seen as gay? Representation matters people.

  • Jake V.
    05/24/2019 03:12

    She seems so happy being her "Authentic" self.😒

  • Kourtney E.
    05/24/2019 02:09

    She could cut glass on that jawline tho 🙌🙌🙌🙌

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