With an infectious smile and elegant demeanor, Bangladeshi-American Narmeen Choudhury graces the televisions of New Yorkers every week, deeming her a brown girl success story. Choudhury’s ambitious journalistic career began in Boston, Massachusetts where she attended the prestigious College of Communication at Boston University. With a growing passion for writing, (yes, she writes her own stories) and being in front of the camera, Choudhury is now an anchor at PIX11, broadcasting from her home state of New York. Choudhury is living the dream of being successful in the field she loves, happily married, and a mommy of one.
Blessed with the title of “working mom,” Choudhury describes a day in her life as a “blur.”
“When I get to PIX11 my day typically starts with a morning editorial meeting where we discuss the top stories of the day and makes our pitches about what we think is worth covering. Once assignments are determined, I head out with my photographer and we start gathering all of our elements to tell our story. This often means phone calls and driving all over the tri-state area to gather video and interviews. I then start logging and writing my story for our 5p.m. broadcast…and all of the chaos and running around culminates down to the minute and half news story.”
But her day doesn’t end there—after her broadcast, Choudhury rushes home to the best part of her day: reuniting with her husband and daughter.
Yes, ladies, she does it all…it is possible!
When asked how she balances her personal and professional lives, Choudhury said,
“I designate a certain time after I’m home from work and on the weekends to check emails, but really have to fight with myself to set the phone down and make sure I take time for myself and family. I have to. We have only one chance to enjoy this beautiful life, so I plan to soak up every second I can with the ones I love. Work is absolutely a huge part of me, but it can’t consume me.”
Choudhury also credits her husband with being by her side through it all.
When asked about her brown girl identity, Choudhury said,
“I’ve always felt the pressure of my parents, aunts, uncles, etc. on my shoulders ever since I set off on this venture to be journalist. I want to make everyone proud that a little brown girl from Queens, who is first generation and Muslim, with no connection to the media industry can make it and be respected. I feel like I’m their voice and that makes me so incredibly proud.”
As we all know, we are just now beginning to see the growing prevalence of influential brown women in mainstream media, but the path to the present was not easy. Choudhury implies that she went through her own share of setbacks because of her appearance and now uses it to her advantage,
“There was a time when I was job hunting and word got back to me that a very top level manager had said he didn’t know what to make of my look and that he didn’t know what box I would check off. Shocking, right? But this happens. I was stunned that I would ever have to explain my background, skin color or ethnicity this day in age. Of course, this was never said to my face, but I’ve never forgotten it. I never got an offer from that station, but that’s never stopped me. Comments like that should only make us stronger.”
Choudhury offers potent advice for her fellow brown girls who are looking to pave their way in becoming a part of mainstream media. She says,
“Never give up. Not everyone in my family was supportive of this career goal because they were unfamiliar with it. Once I got to New York, however, it all changed. They saw what I had been up to as I traveled from small market to small market. There will be a lot of nay-sayers along the way, but believe in yourself and you can achieve anything. This day and age with social media, there are so many more opportunities and ways to get your name and work out there, so use it to your full advantage! Multi-dimensional and multi-platform skills sell, so work with that.
Driven women are the most powerful, so watch out and don’t ever hesitate to reach out to other brown women who are at a level you want to be! We are around to mentor and guide. We didn’t get here on our own. We got to where we are at times from seeking advice from others, so never be afraid to ask.”
Zaynah Arefin is known as a Houstonian-New Yorker. She is a New Yorker in the truest of senses but thanks to that little thing called love she now resides in Texas. Arefin is probably the desi-est of the desis. She has a passion for writing and an even more intense love for all things Bollywood! She also hopes to connect with all of you filmy folk through Brown Girl Magazine! After all, who run the world? Brown girls!