WRDW anchor Laura Warren has been working in broadcast news for six years, and in that time, she’s received her share of negative feedback on her physical appearance from viewers.
“I’ve gotten comments like, ‘You should wear this shade of lipstick or that,‘” she told HuffPost. “I have seen a ton of my friends and colleagues receive really harsh criticism, and that’s tough to watch. One viewer told one of my best friends she had a ‘basketball’ head. Another was told she was ‘too big’ for TV. It happens all the time.”
Last week, the Georgia-based anchor received some feedback that especially upset her. Warren, who is 20 weeks pregnant, shared a voicemail from a viewer who called her “disgusting” and criticized her choice of maternity clothes.
“Please go to Target and buy some decent maternity clothes so you don’t walk around looking like you got a watermelon strapped under your too tight outfits,” the viewer said in the voicemail. “Target’s got a great line of maternity clothes in case you’ve never heard of such a thing. You’re getting to where you’re being disgusting on the TV.”
In response to the voicemail, Warren wrote a post on her blog, Bump, Baby, and Breaking News, titled “Sticks and stones.”
“Being pregnant is already one of the most emotional, insecure times of your life,” Warren wrote. “Am I gaining too much weight? Am I gaining enough weight? Is my bump too high? Is my bump too low? Are these breakouts ever going to end?”
She explained that as an on-camera personality, the insecurity only gets worse. “Now, throw yourself in front of a camera that adds 20 pounds every night, find clothes that not only fit, but also don’t make you look like a whale, and cake on enough hair and makeup products twice a day to moonlight as a Las Vegas showgirl, and you’ll understand where I’m coming from,” she wrote.
Though she knows not to give those kinds of comments a second thought, Warren added that she couldn’t just move on from the criticism. “Unfortunately, I’m pregnant, hormonal, currently not allowed to drink wine, and feeling extra in touch with my feminist side,” she wrote.
Worried about the rise in hateful comments and acts of intolerance she’s witnessed in the news recently, the TV personality decided to channel her experience into something good.
″I think instead of letting this lady get me down, I’m just going to turn her negative energy into positive energy,” she concluded her post. “I’m going to say as many nice things as I can to as many people as I can, and I’m going to do it in a dress that fits these beautiful new curves with my ‘watermelon’ stomach showing. ”
Warren told HuffPost she didn’t know how supportive readers would be, but that the response to her post has been overwhelmingly positive. “It really reaffirms my faith about how many kind people there are in the world,” she said, adding that the message resonated with women and men who have felt these kinds of insecurities.
The anchor and her husband are expecting a baby boy, due in November. Her first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage at 18 weeks in October 2016.
“We went in for a sonogram, and there wasn’t a heartbeat,” said Warren. “That experience ripped our hearts out. So this pregnancy is something to celebrate! I’m so excited and thankful to be pregnant. Why would I hide that?”
Ultimately, Warren is just trying to remind people that journalists are humans, too, and spread a message of positivity.
“Part of the reason I wrote the blog is to get a discussion going about how easy it is for us all to hang on and dwell on that ONE negative comment, instead of a whole sea of positive ones,” Warren said. “It defies logic, but it’s human nature. I wanted this to be a reminder that your words have such power. Use them for good. ”