By Ron Donoho / Photo by Rob Hammer
She looks like the prototypical So Cal gal, but Heather Ford, 27, grew up in Florida (born in Daytona Beach , raised in Orlando, graduated from the University of Central Florida).
Ford’s been the morning roving reporter on San Diego’s FOX 5 TV since 2008. In this behind-the-scenes interview, she talks about ignoring her father’s advice, her marathon bucket list and a penchant for dressing up to conduct reports from Comic-Con.
You said your dad wanted you to take tennis lessons?
He wanted me in lessons, and I didn’t want to do it. But when you get to the point of watching Anna Kournikova and Maria Sharapova and these cute blondes making loads of cash off the sport you think, “Oh, Dad, I should have listened.”
Why tennis? Were you always sporty?
My sister and I were on traveling cheerleading teams growing up. Cheer. Dance. In college, I was on the women’s lightweight rowing team. We were regional champs in 2005.
How did you get from cheer to the newsroom?
You can’t do three-a-day practices when you get involved in the newsroom and journalism school. I was a double major in political science and broadcast journalism, and I was literally living in the newsroom at the university.
How did you get into running?
My good friend was into track and field. She got me running in the morning before class at 5 a.m. She said we should sign up for the Walt Disney Half Marathon. It was sold out. But the full marathon was open, so we did it. [Ford’s first marathon time: 4:35.] I remember it was 90 degrees in Florida and balmy, but I was hooked.
Do you have a running entry on your bucket list?
Fifty marathons in 50 states. I’ve done six [at the time of this interview she was training for her seventh, the New York Marathon on November 2].
When do you run now, since your job gets you out of bed at 3 a.m.?
I’ve embraced the “siesta.” From about 12:30 to 2 in the afternoon, I do super-power napping. I will be out completely. Then, right when I wake up, I go for a jog. And I’ll go to Crossfit gym, for strength and stability. They’re kind of like boot camp workouts.
What are some of your most memorable on-air reports?
I always look forward to Comic-Con, Opening Day at the Del Mar track, and I loved covering the Miramar Air Show last year. I got to fly with the Blue Angels. SeaWorld has so many opportunities for reporters to go live - swimming with dolphins and playing in the penguin exhibit. I think about kids who would love to do that - and this is what I do for a job.
You mentioned dressing up for Comic-Con reporting. What was that like?
That crowd doesn’t want an autograph or a picture of Heather Ford. They want a picture with Robin [she dressed as a sexy version of Batman’s sidekick a couple Cons ago]. This year was way better than my Robin outfit. I did Wonder Woman - the wig and everything. My photographer didn’t recognize me when I showed up. The fun thing was finding other people dressed up as her. I had three little girls as miniature Wonder Women. Then I found a 70-year-old Wonder Woman. It made it fun and playful. The first year I didn’t get it; I showed up in street clothes. I got a costume the very next day.
The Breast of the Story
FOX 5 TV’s morning newscast characters play it fast and loose. Anchors Raul Martinez and Sholly Zomorodi and weather/traffic reporter Chrissy Russo go for laughs, and sometimes exude a certain je ne sais huh?
Roving reporter Heather Ford says things can get a little racy.
“Our show is definitely off the cuff,” Ford says. “There are a lot of memorable moments...They were talking about some girl’s cleavage the other day. I was out at Knott’s Scary Farm. I was talking about monster makeup. There was this scary vampire girl with these huge boobs.
“Back in the studio, Chrissy, of course, says, ‘I want to learn how to do my makeup like hers.’ She had all this shadowing and shading to make her cleavage look bigger. But I’m a little naïve. So I said, ‘Yeah, look at her eyes and cheekbones.’ And Chrissy’s like: ‘That’s not what I was talking about.’”