Profile of a Masalamomma: TV Journalist, Sandra Ali


By Anjum Choudhry Nayyar


New mom, Sandra Ali is an award-winning anchor and reporter who has made several appearances on the Fox Newschannel and CNN.  Sandra was born in New York City, but spent the early part of her childhood growing up in Egypt. She says her first introduction to South Asian cultural traditions were in Egypt, where she lived until age 5. Ali often balances being a professional Arab-American woman balancing Middle Eastern and western cultures. 


In August 2009, Sandra became a first time mom and her job in television to focus on raising her new son. She is also currently working on writing two books. The first one is based on her early years as an American child growing up in a Muslim country. The other, on the adventures of going from working in television to becoming a stay at home mom, and back again.  We had the chance to interview her about her role as a working mom and masalamomma.

How did you get into broadcasting?

I started off my studying journalism in college. I always knew I wanted to be a writer of some sort but I never thought I’d end up working in front of the camera.

Do you find a woman with kids has longevity in broadcasting today?

 That’s a good question and one I think I often grapple with, especially as a mom of a toddler. I think longevity is something we have to strive for, but sometimes things happen that aren’t in our control and we have to be willing to deal with that also.



 What challenges have you faced as a working South Asian mom? How have you overcome them?

I think I face the same challenges as any other working mom. We all struggle with balance and we are constantly juggling. I am constantly struggling with trying to accomplish much more than is reasonable, trying to do too much, and by reaching for perfection when we all know that’s not really ever attainable.

 What values/traditions did you grow up with that you bring in your family today?

Growing up in a home where you are surrounded by unconditional love and support is crucial to me and that is something I always want to provide my for my son.

 Was your own mother a source of inspiration when it came to choosing to be a working mom?  How you manage your drive in your career?

Oh absolutely. My mom was always and still is a hard worker. It wasn’t until I became a working mom myself that I could truly appreciate everything she has done for our family for all of these years. I often wonder how she managed to make a hot meal for us at the end of the day after working all those hours. Working moms are truly amazing.


What tips can you offer other South Asian working moms?

 I think I’m just learning along the way. I’m figuring out what works and what doesn’t by trial and error. I think the best advice I can give is to make your family time a priority when you’re all together. Try to block out any distractions. And when you’re working, focus on that. But I know I could never put my career or my job first before my family. Also, you should prioritize. I try to focus on only three major goals at a time. I will focus on the hose goals for months or even a year until I meet them and then I move on. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.


More about Sandra Ali


Ali’s first job in television was at the CBS affiliate, in Altoona Pennsylvania. After two years she moved to Motor City to anchor the top-rated weekend editions of “Fox 2 News at 6” and “Fox 2 News at 10” as well as report for Fox 2 News.  Ali won the Associated Press award for Best Hard News Reporter in 2002, as well as Michigan’s Association of Broadcasters’ award for Best Breaking News Reporter in 2003. Ali also landed major interviews with Secretary of State Colin Powell, the Queen of Jordan and former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak while in Detroit.  Sandra joined the NBC affiliate in Cincinnati, Ohio in August 2004 as the station’s main anchor. She is now an anchor at WDIV in Detroit.





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