Amy Marsalis moved to Nashville as an anchor for News Channel 5 and instantly had a huge fan base. Her warmth, humor and compassion simply translated through the TV lens making you feel as if you were chatting with a good friend. These days, Amy is often recognized as a spokesperson for St. Thomas Heart and Go Red for Women. With February as American Heart Month, we think she is the perfect FACE of Nashville today!
Do you have some favorite things about living in Nashville?
There is such a positive energy in this town that is palpable. I feel like people are upbeat and excited to live here. Of course there’s so much to like: the music, Percy Warner Park (such a jewel) and another personal favorite, Import Flowers.
Nashville seemed to instantly embrace you as a news anchor when you started at News Channel 5 in 1996. Do you think you’ll ever go back to anchoring again?
Never say never but I doubt it. After 20 plus years in television news – ten in Nashville – I feel like that chapter is behind me. Working five nights a week just finally got to me, but I can look back and smile when I remember the ride.
As a board member of the American Heart Association for 5 years, is there a special tug from your own life that makes you so committed to fighting heart disease?
The reason I got involved with the heart association and more recently as a spokesperson for St. Thomas Heart and Go Red for Women is I that lost my dad to heart disease when he was only 50. He had his first heart attack at 47 and we thought he was okay, but three years later he collapsed on the golf course. We were in shock. My poor mother was a widow at 48. So working to promote heart disease prevention through my reporting and then in other capacities has felt like a positive thing to do, and I know my dad would be proud.
If there were one thing that readers should know about heart disease, what would that be?
You may not feel crushing chest pain when having an attack. Especially women. Our symptoms can be jaw pain, and even overall fatigue and nausea, so please talk to your doctor if you just don’t feel right.
Do you eat and/or exercise in a conscious way based on heart health?
Definitely!! I would exercise anyway, but because of my family history, I do a lot of aerobic type workouts. Love Zumba classes and just started doing some barre classes, as well. I know that my HDL, or good cholesterol, has increased due to exercise. In fact, I think it’s the highest it’s ever been, which is a good thing because it’s protective. I eat fairly well, too, but have weaknesses like everyone else, so I try not to beat myself up too much when I grab a handful of chips or get ice cream!
Are you focusing on any other volunteer or professional efforts currently?
As far as projects go, I am excited about a new challenge that’s recently come my way. I have been hired by the Film House to cover the 2013 Country Radio Seminar here in Nashville later this month. Basically I will be part of a crew that interviews recording artists, speakers at the convention and attendees, then the segments we produce will be available on attendees’ phones, tablets, computers and on monitors throughout the convention center. When it comes to volunteer efforts, I just rotated off the board of Gilda’s Club, which was quite a rewarding experience.
What is the best professional advice you’ve been given?
Be yourself. This may sound funny, but a long time ago when I first got the chance to anchor, a talent coach put me in front of a two way mirror and they recorded me just talking to her in a room about news, etc. Later, they surprised me with the tape to show me how I interacted with the coach. The point was to demonstrate how being natural and not forced is so much better. Viewers are smart enough to tell when someone is real and sincere. When it came to reporting, probably the best advice was to be persistent. Don’t take no for an answer!
How is the South different than other areas of the country where you have lived?
People are more open and willing to talk. Of course this is where you find the best storytellers!
Are there any places within Nashville’s city limits or a short road trip away where you like to go to recharge?
Florence, Alabama. We have a lake house there and it’s a little piece of heaven. Watching the sun set, hearing the geese and having four dogs at our feet… It doesn’t get much better when it comes to simple pleasures.
Where is your favorite place in Nashville to go on a Saturday night?
If it’s not in a good friend’s home having dinner, it would have to be The Southern downtown. Great food, atmosphere and my stepson is a manager there, plus we love to support Tom Morales!
Where is the best cup of coffee in town, in your opinion?!
I am a coffee person. Yes, I will admit I drive through the Highway 100 Starbucks quite often for lattes and they are such nice folks at that location, but for sitting down and feeling cozy with a friend, I really love The Good Cup in Franklin.
If there were one thing you could change about Nashville, what would it be?
The humidity gets to me.
With spring just around the corner, is there any event that you are looking forward to attending?
If you could live anywhere else, where would it be and why?
What books could be found on your nightstand currently?
Casual Vacancy and I just finished The Paris Wife.
Do you have any fears?
Choking. Almost choked to death on a cinnamon ball when I was 2!
Please tell us the 3 things you can’t live without (excluding God, family and friends.)
Sunshine, laughter and my very sturdy Westie, Jake, who provides the first two on the list!
Thank you, Amy! And thank you Ashley Hylbert for the beautiful photographs! Visit Ashley’s website to see more of her work: www.ashleyhylbert.com