If we had to choose one word to describe Hena Doba, it's this: gutsy. As the first Pakistani American to anchor a national news show, Hena isn't afraid of being a trailblazer.
Now, as an Anchor & Host on Cheddar News, a digital-first news network providing in-depth reporting in tech, innovation, business, politics, media, entertainment, and culture, Hena spends her days chasing trending stories and reporting on breaking news.
So, how does she stay courageous — while staying calm and glowing from the inside, out — on- and off-camera, while constantly on the go? We talked with Hena to learn more:
Can you tell us about your journey to becoming a Host & News Anchor for Cheddar News?
I'm first generation Pakistani-American and was born and raised in Queens, NY. While I was expected and encouraged by my parents to go into the medical field, I always had an interest in writing. In college, I declared a double major in Psychology and English and started writing for the school paper and by the following semester I became the feature editor.
During my senior year, a friend suggested that I would love the fast pace of television, so I decided to apply for a producer position at Newswatch 50 in Watertown, NY. It never occurred to me to apply for an on-air job myself since no one looked like me on TV at the time. A few days later, a week before graduation, the News Director there took a chance on me, and the rest is history. Years later I became the first Pakistani Anchor in the country.
How has your life changed since becoming an on-air personality?
I’ve definitely developed a thicker skin. When I first went on air, my newsroom got comments about not wanting to see someone that looked like me on their televisions. Racial slurs were hurled at me during live shots. For some context, September 11th had just taken place and Watertown was a military town with our soldiers being deployed overseas. There was a lot of fear out there.
While I do think times have changed considerably and there is so much more diversity out there, there are still trolls who come out once in a while. It's part of the job and I’ve learned to go with it and, sometimes, even laugh with it.
What’s one of the best parts about your job?
No one day is ever the same and I have no idea what to expect when I come into the newsroom. I'm the type of person that needs to be mentally stimulated and engaged. I’ve also had a big interest in current events since I was a child. I need to know what is going on in the world around me and being able to share that with viewers and discuss these topics with others, whether it's my colleagues or interviews I do, is a dream come true.
What is one of the most challenging parts about your job?
The most difficult part has always been covering tragedy. I interview people during some of the toughest, most excruciating times of their lives and they are kind enough to let me in and share their story. While it’s an important story to tell, it never gets easier, nor should it.
How do you de-stress after a long day of work?
I love to box! I have a trainer that I meet with twice a week and I’ve been doing that for a few years now. It’s not only a physical outlet for me but also a form of therapy. Nothing beats punching out all your aggression and stress (in a proper setting, of course).
I also love hanging out with my family at the house. I’ve spent so much time traveling and working odd hours that the quality time is cherished.
You have a great sense of style! Any tips on dressing for the camera?
My advice: keep it simple and try to aim for a clean silhouette. I say that while admitting it took me a long time to realize that.
While I love wearing bright colors, the fit is what matters. You don't have to spend a lot of money on your wardrobe, but try to find a good tailor. Give your local thrift shop a chance. You will be surprised at the amazing pieces you may find. If you do want to spend a bit, invest in basics that go with everything and that are easy to dress up or or down. That will never go out of style.
What’s your favorite 707 Flora product and how do you like to use it?
I’m such a fan of all the products, but if I had to pick, it's 707 Flora Moisture Matrix. I wear it every night, and even in the daytime when I'm aiming for a dewy look under my makeup or if I skip makeup all together. I honestly lather it all over my body. It’s so moisturizing while not being heavy and it gives my skin a healthy look.
What’s your all-time favorite beauty advice?
Confidence! It's the best accessory and goes a long way, no matter how you feel or look like that day. Good, clean skin is crucial. Wash it every night, moisturize, put on sunscreen, and hydrate. Shaped and clean eyebrows help too.
What are your Top 5 Travel Essentials at the moment?
- 707 Flora's Moisture Matrix Leave On Night Mask
- EltaMD UV Physical SPF 41 Tinted Mineral Sunscreen
- Sunday Riley 5 Stars Retinol and Niacinamide Eye Serum
- Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter
- Squigs Gooseberry Delight Hair Oil
Any other tips for maintaining balance while you’re on the go and under pressure?
This has been the toughest question to answer because I’m still trying to master it, and I want to preface this by explaining I'm struggling with this answer because I realize it sounds cliché but it's to say stay calm and patient. Stay in the moment and don’t overthink it. It will work out.
Follow @henadoba on Instagram. Watch Cheddar News here.