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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
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70 comments

  • Brut
    05/06/2019 15:37

    This woman's message to her younger self about telling her friends she was gay gives us all the feels. 🤗3

  • Emilee Q.
    05/06/2019 15:44

    This is wonderful and SO important. Thank you for sharing.

  • Melissa H.
    05/06/2019 15:57

    .....................thank you 🥰

  • Amanda M.
    05/06/2019 19:43

    Thank you! ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜

  • Chino C.
    05/06/2019 21:19

    how does sexual preference define how you look

  • Jordan T.
    05/06/2019 21:28

    I LOVEEEE JANA

  • Melanie H.
    05/06/2019 21:46

    Now please tell all those young females who want to cut off their boobs, and take hormones, not to. Follow your lead instead of harming their bodies.

  • Nevin S.
    05/06/2019 22:28

    Sad Sad sad

  • Brut
    05/06/2019 22:47

    For more from Jana, follow her here: https://www.facebook.com/jana.shortal

  • Maho A.
    05/07/2019 03:03

    Cool style

  • Amy H.
    05/07/2019 06:32

    Thank you for softening the look of important presentation. The harsh anchorwoman makeup, false eyelashes that look like caterpillars, and high helmet hair is actually really hard for me to look at and take seriously. That's the predominant look in Utah tv news and I wish for more authenticity. Thanks for your example!

  • Jean M.
    05/07/2019 06:44

    confusion confusion

  • Catarina M.
    05/07/2019 09:38

    But can the other anchors dress like they want and not be judged by it if they still want to wear a skirt, a jacket and make up?

  • Jennifer B.
    05/07/2019 10:19

    What makes a good anchor? It's not looks. I really don't care how they look. The media world is so Hollywood nowadays.

  • Hay M.
    05/07/2019 14:43

    lines are following voice.

  • Heather S.
    05/08/2019 21:32

    hair!

  • Joanie B.
    05/08/2019 22:16

    Thank you!!🌈🌈🌈

  • Jolie J.
    05/08/2019 22:48

    Amen. Happy you went to my hometown of Minneapolis/St.Paul where people are pretty progressive. 💜

  • Monica W.
    05/08/2019 23:04

    Yassss get you a girl that can do both 😍😍

  • Nancy M.
    05/08/2019 23:50

    How brave of her.