FAVORITE FEMALE (COMMERCIAL) TV PERSONALITY
As a kid, 39-year-old Pooja Lodhia not only had no idea what she wanted to be when she grew up, but a career in news never really crossed her mind. “My parents didn’t, and don’t, watch the news very much,” she says, “so I didn’t really think of it as an option. I did, and still do, love reading, writing, and talking. So, it was a perfect fit.”
Lodhia was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and now lives in Montrose—“my favorite part of Houston,” she says. She attended Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, majoring in English literature and journalism and minoring in modern dance. Now a reporter at Houston’s Channel 13, Lodhia jokes, “I’m basically the voice of our generation. I’m the luckiest girl in the world: I tell stories for a living.”
She came to Houston after working at multiple stations, including WLUC in Michigan and WTFX in Florida. Though her job search was nationwide, Lodhia is happy to have landed right where she is. “I have a lot of family in Sugar Land and in the Houston area. I applied for jobs all over, and Houston is the one I wanted.”
Lodhia interned at a news station in Atlanta before she even took a journalism class. “The first time I walked into a newsroom, I knew I was in the right place. Just imagine, a job that allows you to witness the best and worst parts of people’s lives, and then share them in a way that can bring others together. How lucky am I?” Lodhia says. “I like telling stories. I love the weird. I get sort of addicted. We’re there for people’s best days and we’re there for people’s worst days.”.
She believes it is exactly this kind of work that could ultimately bring us all together and maybe even make the world a better place for everyone. “I believe shared experiences are the strongest asset we have as a community. The more personal we are, the more universal we can be, and journalism gives me a chance to showcase that. Plus, it’s really fun! As my first news director put it, ‘Who could pass up a backstage pass to life?’”
Lodhia says she likes to get involved in the LGBTQ community in as many ways as she can. “Houston has such a rich history, good and bad, when it comes to LGBTQ+ rights, and I’m honored to be able to share stories about it. For too long,” she says, “LGBTQ+ stories haven’t been told, and I hope to change that. At Channel 13, I’ve been able to cover the murder of Paul Brussard, Lawrence v. Texas, and even interview a transgender judge.”
She says she’s grateful to have the opportunity to learn about the LGBTQ history here in Houston and do stories that will become a part of that history. “I got to do a piece on the first transgender person who was appointed to the advisory board of Harris Health,” she says. “The more you learn about the community, the more you want to learn. I think that’s so fascinating, I want to learn more.”
As for what’s on the horizon for Lodhia, she says that’s simple: “Survival. I’m just trying to make it through the day, ya’ll. I hope to be able to continue telling stories for a long time to come. I really enjoy what I’m doing right now. I don’t think I’ll be here forever, but I have it really good here.” Her dream, she says, is to always be able to tell the stories she wants to tell, the ones that inspire and intrigue her, the ones she knows will help to make the kind of change we all want to see in the world.
She has more favorite interviews and stories than she can count, and it’s not always the famous people who are the most memorable. “It’s like the random old lady you meet that you remember. Although I have interviewed Screech,” she says with a laugh. But her favorite moment in reporting was one from her very first year as a television reporter. “I was working in Iron Mountain, Michigan. A moose made its way into downtown and got trapped,” Lodhia says. “Wildlife officials eventually tranquilized the moose and let it loose about 20 minutes away. Of course, after it was released, the moose headed directly back to downtown Iron Mountain.”
As much of a natural as Lodhia is, it’s amazing that news was not in her DNA. She was never on the school newspaper staff and she didn’t grow up in a news family. She was an English major who got an internship, took one step into a television newsroom, and she was in love. “This is why I’m not married,” she says, laughing. “Because I have never felt that way about a man.”
Follow Pooja Lodhia on Instagram @poojaabc13.