Fashion touches us all in some manner or another. And while the runway is always hot, one must also pay due attention to those who have little — if anything at all — to do with the world of fashion beyond their own personal style, to go outside the box, as it were.
This is where my spotlight enters…
This month, we return to my old Kentucky home for a profile on local personality Angie Fenton, who currently is managing editor for Louisville’s society paper The Voice-Tribune, entertainment correspondant for WHAS-TV’s “Great Day Live!,” among other hats. Make the jump to learn what drew her to Louisville from her native Michigan, what life was like growing up as one of four adopted children, and why she wears the hats she wears.
Professions: Managing Editor of The Voice-Tribune and Entertainment Correspondent for WHAS11′s “Great Day Live!”
Location: Louisville, Kentucky
A Brief Description of You and Your Work: In addition to the titles I’ve mentioned before, I am so much more — aren’t we all? My Twitter bio says it well. I am “Writer. Entertainment Correspondent. Emcee. Editor. Lover of words, people, philanthropy, fascinators, animals, pickles, Kenny Rogers, the nearest dance floor.” And not necessarily in that order.
Your started as an adjunct professor at Central Michigan University, which is also your alma mater. Since then, you have worn numerous hats, from managing editor at The Voice-Tribune and entertainment correspondent for both WHAS-TV and WHAS-AM, to motivational speaker, voiceover professional, and community advocate. What brought you to each profession, how were you able to make the jump from one profession to the next, and how has each role influenced your overall professional and personal life?
Fenton: Instead of a lengthy play by play, I’ll give you the short version:
I always wanted to be a writer. I wound up writing for incredible publications and wound up at The Voice-Tribune 3.5 years ago. At some point, I was asked to speak publicly, and a few people liked what I did. That transpired to radio when Ron and Mel Fisher of 84WHAS (840 AM) asked if I could do what I did in print on radio. Then, event emceeing and TV opportunities evolved, and here I am today, someone who feels blessed to start each weekday on a morning TV show on WHAS11, our ABC affiliate, before heading to The Voice-Tribune, where I report to an incredible boss, Publisher Tracy Blue, and manage an incredible production staff.
In the last 10 years, I’ve been a staff writer, an entertainment columnist, an English professor, emcee, model, voiceover specialist, plant waterer (not kidding), and so much more. How has it happened? It’s happened because I rarely say no. Instead, I say, “I get to,” and then try to figure out how can my experience connect to others so I can highlight them, too.
A native of Michigan, you relocated to Louisville, Kentucky 10 years ago in 2002. What prompted the move from your home state, how do the two compare/contrast with each other, and if you had to choose between the two, which one stands out the most, and why?
Fenton: I moved here for love, and wound up falling in love with Louisville and stayed. I have a wonderful ex to whom I’ll always be grateful for bringing me here. There is no comparison. I came from small town Michigan to cosmopolitan Louisville. I love both. I wouldn’t choose between the two on paper, but I’m still in Louisville 10 years later.
You are the youngest of five children, four of whom — including yourself — are adopted. What were the circumstances regarding your adoption, and how has adoption — if at all — influenced your life, and those of your family members, up through the present?
Fenton: I was adopted when I was three weeks of age. I’m black, German, Scots-Irish and Cherokee. At that time, multiracial kids like me were hard to place. That’s why my parents — who are white — adopted me and three of my four siblings. We were the kids nobody wanted. Until them.
None of us are biologically related. We call our brother, the oldest, “homemade” because he was, literally. We don’t share a blood bond but if you turned out the lights we sound like your average family. Turn the lights back on, and we look like a group of strangers picked to pose for a portrait.
We were raised to believe we were chosen, not rejected. But, as you get older, you have to come to terms with real life and it’s not always pretty. Not everyone is born into a welcoming family. But, if you have adoptive parents like mine, you sure feel that way, and I do. In particular, I credit Mom, who raised five kids on a nurse’s salary by herself while imparting lessons I hold dear today, like embracing your community and giving back.
Aside from all that you do already, what other talents do you possess?
Fenton: I can dance like nobody’s business (spectators may agree), I’m good with animals and have a profound love for them, an innate ability to find lost animals, and a good track record of assisting said lost animals with being found or finding new forever homes. I’m also pretty darn good at accepting any task set before me. Ask me. I’ll probably say yes.
How would you describe your personal style?
Fenton: Very versatile. One day I’m in overalls, and the next I might be in a borrowed $20,000 couture gown. Whether hosting a red carpet, emceeing an event or doing a live shot on TV in the midst of a dodgeball game, I dress the part. Above all, I want to feel good in my clothes so much so that I forget what I’m wearing and can focus on the people I am spotlighting. That’s the point, to forget yourself and what you’re wearing and feel so good in it you don’t think about it because it essentially becomes and extension of you.
Do you read any fashion blogs? If so, which ones?
Fenton: I read as many as I can, and try to find new ones every day.Whether editing, teaching, emceeing or anything else you have accomplished, what has been your favourite moment in your professional career?
Fenton: There are far too many to pick one and, to be honest, each week presents a favorite moment all over again. Ask me in 10 years; maybe by then I’l have an answer.
Why do you do what you do for a living?
Fenton: Because I have been afforded the gifts and opportunity to entertain, inform and connect with our community. I also treasure life, and aim to live the heck out of it — and I do while meeting the incredible people and showcasing the amazing places in our city. What I do for a living allows me to help give voice to causes that need audiences. I can help give them that. My purpose is simple: Love God, Love People. That’s why I do what I do.
If you had to pick one item from your résumé that says, “This is what my career is all about,” which one would it be?
Fenton: None. Ask me this when I retire, because it changes hourly.
What advice do you have for my readers regarding…
Style: Make your own mark. Fashion is fun. It can also convey so much. Just be sure it conveys what you want.
Changing/augmenting one’s career: Have faith — in you.
Life in general: Live it, and live it well. Stop focusing on what others are doing. Don’t focus on what others say you are doing. One of my favorite quotes from F.Ray says “When you focus on the words of those who sit back and judge, remember they’re sitting. Keep going.” I do, I will, I am.
Any final words?
Fenton: For once, I’m all out of words.
Photos: Cameron Miquelon (title card), Jacob Zimmer/The Voice-Tribune and Chris Humphreys/The Voice-Tribune