Anybody who watches the news has surely caught Christi Paul on the television, sharing that day’s world events on CNN and HLN and reporting on the things Americans need to know. However, this seasoned news anchor, wife and mother of three daughters also has a lot going on behind the camera as well. In between managing her household (including the chickens and bees who reside in her backyard), Christi puts in a huge amount of time and work into her philanthropic projects, as well as sharing her personal story in her book, Love Isn’t Supposed to Hurt, in which she discusses her journey in overcoming verbal and emotional abuse. Today’s FACE of the South, Atlanta’s own Christi Paul, is leading this week’s CNN coverage of the Republican National Convention. So all you political junkies on both sides of the aisle (and those who just want the daily soundbites!) get to know this inspiring woman who not only lends her voice to reporting the news but also belting out uplifting songs.
You’re helping lead the charge for CNN at the Republic National Convention. What are you most excited to see and hear?
To be honest, I want to hear from the voters and the delegates, as much as from Donald Trump. I don’t think I’ve ever personally witnessed such a divisive election, and not just between feuding parties, but within each party. I want voters to tell us what excites them so much about Donald Trump and hear from people who have reservations, as well. I’m always interested to hear both sides and see if I can identify a “middle ground” or some sort of commonality that might bring people together. I strive to understand people’s views, not judge them. But I also want to be certain what’s said is authentic and accurate.
You are the mother of three girls. What’s the morning ritual really like?
I call our everyday life “chaotic bliss!” My 12- and 10-year-olds are pretty efficient these days but corralling my 6-year-old is a job in itself! Some days are like a stroll through the park and others are like trying to run through a sprinkler without getting wet. We have breakfasts to eat, lunches to gather, dogs and chickens to feed and, sometimes, shoes/socks/homework/books/etc. to locate.
Can you share with us some life hacks about how to get out of the house and make it to school on time?
I’ve learned to make sure (when I can) each of the girls have their full uniforms hung up and in one place — that includes socks, shoes, etc. — homework already placed in backpacks and lunches mostly made. If we’re making something hot for lunch, such as soup, fish sticks or mac & cheese, then my husband or I will start that when they’re eating breakfast. If they can simply “grab & go” what they need, it saves a ton of time!
Tell us about your book, Love Isn’t Supposed to Hurt, and what inspired you to write it.
For some reason I found myself having frequent conversations with people about relationships and the struggle to stay true to who we are without allowing a significant other to dictate our lives. I was divorced many years ago from a man who was controlling and very verbally and emotionally abusive. When I left, I vowed to not give him one more day of my thoughts, my attention or my life but anyone who’s been in a hurtful relationship knows it’s not easy to just “move on.” The therapy I had was excruciating at times but finally helped me let go and I thought, “People should know how to do this!” It’s called the Demartini Method and basically asserts this: If you can recognize how something served you, you can let it go. I had to make lists of things like “the benefits of being criticized” or “the benefits of verbal abuse.” It sounds insane initially but once you flip your mind around to see how that experience strengthened you, made you wiser, served you, it’s so much easier to release your anger and live freely. It’s transformative and I wanted people to have that same freedom I found!
You’re seen on hi-def televisions around the world. What are some beauty secrets you can share with us?
I think it starts inside our bodies. Due to a recent health scare, I had to have surgery, which has kept me from working out for the last two months and I’ve felt so sluggish but am finally coming out of that fog. I can tell exercise truly does make a huge difference in my strength, my skin and my mindset. I love yoga, a good spin class and some free weights. I drink only water most days — no coffee or soda — and also green juice from Veda Juice in Atlanta. As far as surface beauty, every morning I use SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic serum, moisturize every day and night with CeraVe Renewing Night Cream (at most drugstores) and am religious about using a potent sunscreen! I’m talking something with zinc oxide. That means I then have to put on a little BB cream to give my skin some color; otherwise, I’d leave the house looking like a ghost!
Covering the news cycle can be difficult. How do you NOT let the world’s turmoil impact your own outlook on life?
It’s not easy because so much of the news cycle is terrorism, politics and violence but I really believe that what we focus on is what we become and, for me, it starts with gratitude — not just once or twice but throughout the entire day. I’m grateful for everything from a date night with my husband to finding a good parking spot! Truly, for every negative there’s a positive. We just have to look for it and make a habit of spotting those moments. Once we recognize blessings don’t always have to come in bold, pretty, expensive packages, we’ll realize how enveloped we are by the gifts found in ordinary days. Habituate gratitude and you really will change your life!
What’s something that surprised you upon moving to the South 13 years ago?
I always tell people that “Southern hospitality” is indeed alive and well and it’s evident in the A-T-L! I always say, “I’d rather be the one that smiles rather than the one who didn’t smile back,” and rarely will I ever see someone NOT smile back here.
Do you really keep bees and chickens in the city? Why and what do your neighbors think?
Yes, my husband is a beekeeper and we get delicious honey in the fall. As for the chickens, my friend Daryn Kagan would always bring me eggs from her chickens and they were so fresh and tasty. My husband salivated over those eggs and the next thing I knew, we had three chickens. Between the chickens and the dogs, we have a lot to take care of and it helps us teach our kids responsibility and the importance of taking care of animals.
You are a former Miss Ohio pageant contestant. What was your talent?
You mean when I wasn’t falling off the stage?! Oh yes, that happened. I love Vince Lombardi’s quote, “The man on top of the mountain didn’t fall there.” Everyone falls at some point but not everyone gets back up. I like to see people get back up and climb. That’s how I learned to do it. And as for my formal talent in the pageant, I sang. And I still do. Whether it’s the National Anthem at an NBA or MLB game or a lullaby, it’s one of my favorite things. Music has been a part of me my whole life.
Which story have you covered that made the biggest impact in your professional and personal life?
The Newtown massacre. I was supposed to have a Girl Scout party for my daughter’s troop that evening and my husband had to get it started because I was still on the news desk. Then I sat and bawled in my car for about 15 minutes before cleaning myself up and going home to the party. That story taught me that we have to live in the present every moment. I knew there were families going home without their children that day and I ached for them. All we’re promised is this moment now. Make it count; absorb it.
You’re involved with many charities, including Girl Talk, Inc. (mentoring program), Voice Today (breaking silence of child sexual abuse) and EDIN (Eating Disorders Information Network). During what is an already hectic schedule, how do you find time to volunteer?
I make time. If someone asks me for help at their event and it’s something I believe in, I’ll be there. I’ve taken my kids to a few events because for one, I just love to be with them but I also want them to learn that giving — whether it’s your time, your money, your talent, your energy, etc. — is important. It might not change the world in that moment but then again, it may change one person’s world.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
There have been so many great nuggets but there are two that stick with me: No. 1: The most important things in life aren’t “things.” We can get so caught up in having stuff but, at the end of the day, what we have doesn’t equate to who we are. No. 2: If you live for people’s praise, you’ll die by their criticism. Don’t give anyone that much power over you; you’re worth more than that. Oh, and No. 3: Age, weight and salary are just numbers.
What three things can you not live without excluding friends, family and faith?
My freedom, books and my BS radar.
We thank Christi Paul for sharing more about her fascinating life, as well as wish her good luck with her CNN coverage of the Republican National Convention!
And a huge thank you to CatMax Photography for today’s wonderful photos.
Keep up with the very best of the South. Follow us on Instagram — @StyleBlueprint.