We're so excited to share this interview with Vancouver news anchor Tamara Taggart with you, EcoDivas! Tamara is an inspiration to us, with an inspiring story about recovering from cancer and becoming an advocate because of it. The award-winning British Columbian broadcaster does an amazing job balancing work, family and giving back—read on to learn more about how she embraces power and beauty in work, health and family life.

Tell us about yourself, your career.

I’m a mother of three, a wife, a cancer survivor, an advocate and a TV news anchor. My family is my world… we just got a new puppy—his name is George—so things are pretty exciting around here right now!  I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to use my voice to raise awareness and funds for a number of different campaigns and foundations that are close to my heart.

How did you get where you are today?

 My career in broadcasting started a very long time ago. After I graduated from British Columbia Institute of Technology, I landed a job at CFOX; I worked in radio for a few years. Radio then took me to concert promoting; I have a lot of stories from those days! From there, I made my way to television. I was hired at CTV Canada to work in promotions, which was my background—but within days of starting, I was on-air at CTV Vancouver. I have been at CTV for 18 years now.  

What does a day in your business life look like?

The day starts at 6:15 a.m. We get the kids ready for school, and if I can get the TV off "Treehouse," I watch CTV Morning Live to see what happened while I was sleeping. I try and drink as much coffee as I possibly can, while scrolling Instagram, Twitter and the newspaper. Once the kids have been dropped off at school, I either head to a meeting that involves one of the charities I work with or go straight to the station. I catch up on emails and meet with producers and promotions. I eat lunch at my desk and we have our daily news meeting at 2 p.m. where we discuss story details, the order of stories for the night’s news and what our headlines will be. Once I’ve had my hair and makeup done, we record headlines, do a live promo on TSN Radio, record bumpers and promos and then sit at our desks to go through the lineup and write (or re-write) intros and voiceovers. I’m on-air live from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. and home shortly afterwards to tuck my kids into bed!

What are some of your greatest achievements with your work?

Co-hosting CTV’s coverage for the 2013 Provincial Election was pretty amazing. I also loved co-hosting with Regis Philbin on "Live! with Regis & Kelly" in New York. Working with so many great charities and reaching out to those who need a helping hand is something that I love. Being named the British Columbia Association of Broadcaster’s Broadcaster of the Year was a thrill… but receiving the 2015 Order of B.C. is definitely my greatest achievement. I’m still processing the enormity of such an honour. 

Where do you get inspired? Creatively and personally?

 My biggest inspirations are my kids and seeing the world through their eyes. Every single day is a new experience. I love magazines, I love Instagram, and I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by a husband and friends who are all artists. I surround myself with creative, artistic people that make me laugh and constantly inspire me. 

How do you get rejuvenated when you get overwhelmed and or burned out?

I carve out time to go up to my room and crawl into bed with a pile of magazines. I’ve realized over the years that it’s important to take a moment for myself and regroup. I also call my friend Shelly from time to time (she is a professional organizer) and she helps me re-organize my life so I don’t feel so overwhelmed. My garden is a great place to find peace, it’s not a huge garden but it’s really sweet and makes me happy.

You’ve had some pretty serious brushes with death; tell us about that.

About a year after Poppy was born (my youngest, who’s now 5), I was incredibly anemic and complaining to doctors and seeing specialists. Professionals told me it was normal for a woman to be anemic and tired soon after giving birth. In January of 2012, I passed out at work and ended up in emergency. A day later, they took a 10 cm tumor out of my small intestine and told me I had a rare type of sarcoma found in the digestive system called gastrointestinal stromal tumor (aka GIST). From then on, I took an oral chemo drug for three years (I completed the treatment earlier this year). I now tell anybody that will listen how important it is to be your own advocate when it comes to your health. Always listen to your gut—it’s never wrong. 

Do you have a personal mantra, or a quote that helped you through that dark time? 

I didn’t have a personal mantra or quote that helped me through that time, but when I was in the hospital for nine days recovering, I lay there planning all of my kids’ birthday parties. I didn’t have a phone or computer—I would just lie there and dream about what I would do for them. I came up with some pretty amazing birthday parties, and it’s what I needed to get me through that time and it gave me something to look forward to. When I got home, I started to order things; I was focusing on the things that give me the most happiness—my children.  

Has this cancer experience been a help, a hindrance or both?

I wish I never had cancer. But I did—and I’ll continue to be closely monitored for the rest of my life. I do appreciate the perspective it has given me—I have met some pretty amazing people. It has fueled my passion to help raise money for the BC Cancer Foundation and to help save lives and stop this horrible disease.

What do you want people to know about cancer or your experience with cancer?

My experience with cancer made me realize that we all have something—no one gets through this life unscathed. When I walk into the cancer agency, there are hundreds of people in there every single day. And that’s just one cancer agency. When you’re driving down the street and someone cuts you off or isn’t driving fast enough, and you’re mad about it, I try to remember that we all have something. It did really make me realize that we are all vulnerable and we all need to be a lot nicer to each other and a lot more compassionate.

When do you feel most in your power?

When I walk through my front door at the end of the day and hear the cheers of happiness when I’m home.

What does being a powerful woman mean to you?

Being comfortable in your own skin. Not allowing someone else’s opinion of you to be your opinion of yourself.

You are a an award winning news anchor, cancer survivor, wife, a mother to three beautiful children, AND your house and the parties you throw are impeccably decorated. How do you “do it all”?

I don’t do it all. My birthday parties are a team effort with my friends and family. We all contribute and we all celebrate. I hope that people don’t think that I do it all because I don’t; I don’t have all the balls in the air at all times. They’re dropping all over the place. And that’s okay.

What are the top three things having a child with Down syndrome has taught you?

A greater love, abundant happiness, and patience.

What decisions have you made to have a more balanced work/life?

After all these years, I’m still learning how to say no. I try to remember that “no” is a complete sentence, but sometimes I forget. I think it’s one of the hardest things to learn how to do, to say “no”, and to be okay with it. I always remind myself that what matters most is my family, my friends and my job.

What does beauty mean to you?

A good makeup artist! Haha. I wear a lot of makeup for work, which means that I don’t wear any makeup in my personal life. I think that when you’re happy and content, that’s when women look most beautiful. 

When do you feel most beautiful? 

When my kids put their little hands on my face and they tell me they love me.

What are some of your honest struggles with beauty past or present?

I would have to say my hair. When I was on the chemo drug for three years, it really messed up my hair, my eyelashes, and my skin - which are all completely superficial compared to the side effects that I was experiencing internally. I had no idea that the thinning of my hair would affect my mood and confidence so much. It was made worse by people commenting online about my hair and how it looked on-air. Now that I’m off the drug, my hair has started to thicken up again (and it’s definitely better than it was 6 months ago). I could have made the choice to throw some hair extensions in, but I didn’t. I told myself I was lucky to be alive and at the end of the day, it was just hair. Looking back, I wish I didn’t spend so much energy worrying about it. 

Thanks so much for sharing, Tamara! You're a beautiful inspiration to us. Want to connect more with Tamara?

Website/Blog: www.tamarataggart.com

Twitter: @tamarataggart 

Facebook: Tamara Taggart 

Pinterest: Tamara Taggart 

Instagram: @tamarataggart


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