We’ve come a long way from The Mary Tyler Moore Show, when the mere thought of a woman working for television was unusual. Today, television news shows are chock-full of female talking heads whose reports are some of our favourites to watch—here’s looking at you Robin Roberts, Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric and the like.
Though sartorial prowess should not be a prerequisite for getting the gig (after all, it isn’t for men), we can’t deny that a lot of these ladies look consistently amazing on screen. So, when I started noticing photos online of an old friend looking as chic as can be on the air, I knew I had to find out more.
As a correspondent and producer of the financial news show Boom Bust on RT, Bianca Facchinei has learned a thing or two about what looks good and not so good under the spotlight. Unsurprisingly, she offered up some really great tips (for both on air and off), sharing some funny anecdotes about life as a newscaster along the way. Scroll down to see what she had to say and to shop her essentials!
"When you're on air, colours aren't really limited except for black and white (which is unfortunate for me, since those are my favourite to wear). White can make you look washed out and annoy directors who have to adjust your lighting. And, apparently, wearing black makes it seem like you're 'gothic or in mourning.' I usually stick to solids and stay away from busy prints because they're distracting and aren't flattering on me. I was also once told, half-jokingly, by a colleague that wearing yellow makes me look like a minion, so I stay away from it now."
"I really just look for clothes that fit my body well without being tight—so mostly pencil skirts, straight leg/skinny pants, and A-line or form-fitting dresses. I also feel more comfortable being covered up when I'm in front of the camera, so I won’t wear anything that's high above my knee or low-cut.
While I love wearing loose clothes, wearing them on air can make it more difficult for the microphone to stay in place and it’s a pain to have to constantly adjust. On the other hand, anything too tight can look inappropriate (and is usually uncomfortable), which can lead to viewers not taking you seriously."
"Statement necklaces are a great way to dress up an outfit or make it look different when you've worn it before. I always wear earrings but usually stick to studs because chandelier earrings can get caught on your earpiece or hair and that's just not fun. Depending on what kind of network you work for, non-traditional jewellery may be forbidden, but the younger the news outlet is, the less likely you are to have to stick to traditional anchorman/-woman style. It depends on where you're based, too—the local station in Lexington, Kentucky is not going to hire you with a septum ring."
"Both men and women are highly encouraged to have foundation and powder on, at the very least, due to the way the lighting makes your skin look. Also, people can see everything on HD television, so you need to be more mindful of any pimples/hair/etc. that are on your face.
I like to keep my own makeup light, mainly for my own style preference but also because it's an arduous process to remove it otherwise (sometimes I have to wash my face three times before it's all gone). I also have very little talent when it comes to makeup artistry. When I do end up with more make-up on than I’d like, baby wipes and Johnson & Johnson baby oil are the best makeup removers (not to mention cheaper than the name brand products).
I never used anything on my lips before working on air, but I've since realised that a nice red or pink lip-gloss can go a long way, especially for someone like me who likes to wear neutral coloured clothing. Filling in your eyebrows, on top of being trendy right now, adds dimension to your look, too."
"I'm not super adventurous with my hair—I usually just keep it down, straight and out of my face. Curls look nice, but they usually take more time and care (which I don't have much of before the show airs). It also depends on your environment; if you're doing a live shot outside and it's windy or rainy, you're probably better off putting your hair up. And like jewellery, most networks are not cool with anything non-traditional, so no dying your hair electric blue!"
"This can definitely be tricky. Depending on the fabric and shape of your clothing, traditional undergarments are not always convenient. You don’t want the lining, material, or colour of them showing, so it really depends on the outfit you're wearing each day. Obviously, you’re not going to wear a dark-coloured bra with a light-coloured shirt, and almost all sleeveless dresses require strapless bras. Also, you need to be able to hook your earpiece and microphone on to something, like the back of your pants or skirt (which is fine). But if you're wearing a dress, you need to hook them to the back of your bra or underwear (!), which can truly make you look like the Hunchback of Notre Dame (on top of being uncomfortable). I learned that the hard way."
"When I’m on set, I switch between a pair of nude and black heels because they’re easy and match with most outfits. Shoes don’t really matter that much because they’re not in the shot most of the time, but it’s important to wear ones that are appropriate and cover your feet. When you’re out in the field, it’s always safer to go with flats or some sort of shoe with support, unless you want to end up with a ton of blisters."