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I was raised to be proud of who I am. I can’t … homogenize myself."

 

 

 

 

 

At A Glance:

Hometown: Krishnan was born in Madras, India and grew up in Staten Island , NY

Alma Mater: Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA, class of 1993. She graduated as president of the senior class

Hobbies: Reading, traveling and volleyball

Languages: Krishnan is fluent in Tamil and Spanish

Reel-Life: Krishnan played a reporter covering the mob on the “Two Tonys” episode of The Sopranos in March.

 

 

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS

Sukanya Krishnan Lives Her Dream, While Helping Others Attain Theirs

By Elaine G. Flores

New Yorkers are familiar with Sukanya Krishnan as a reporter and anchor for WPIX-TV. She’s covered events ranging from the 9/11 attacks (from a still-smoking Ground Zero) to the White House sex scandals to the court trials of Kobe Bryant and Scott Peterson.

Now, the Madras-born journalist is going national with a hosting gig on the unique, new syndicated show Home Delivery, from NBC Universal, which debuts September 13. Krishnan, along with three co-hosts (Egypt, Stephanie Lydecker and John Sencio), has been traveling the country to knock on doors and chronicle what happens when a television crew steps in to change people’s lives.

The series is an unusual hybrid, blending elements of talk, make-over and reality shows. Daily one-hour episodes feature two separate segments focusing on subjects who are quite surprised to find a camera crew at their door! (Even those who contact the show don’t know if they’ll be selected.)

On a recent morning, the Emmy-winning newswoman, took one of her rare free moments to discuss the innovative project. “Home Delivery is like a talk show that’s out in the street,” she explains. There are no guests on stage and no studio audience. Despite reality TV aspects, Krishnan notes, “it’s not contrived in any way.”

That means viewers will be spared rose ceremonies, tribal councils and other humiliating reality TV conventions.

Krishnan speaks with excitement as she recounts some of Home Delivery’s moving personal stories. There’s the man, who for years has been haunted by the knowledge that his mother gave him, but not his siblings, up for adoption; the teenage boy who was disabled in a sledding accident and the ill, young woman harboring a secret dream to take to the stage. Fateful visits from the Home Delivery crew result in an emotional family reunion, a house rendered handicap accessible and a chance to sing with a gospel choir at the famed House of Blues in L.A. “Home Delivery gives people a sense of hope and a sense of purpose,” says Krishnan. “We can’t fix everything, but we can attack that one issue.”

A sense of hope also comes from considering Krishnan’s impressive career accomplishments. She broke a barrier when she became a general assignment reporter for WCBS-TV in 1997. “I don’t think there were any Indians or South Asians who actually broke into the New York market...There were other people doing it in other places, but I was the one to actually do it in New York City.” A sweet achievement for the Staten Island native who got to shine on her home turf.

The professional rise wasn’t without its obstacles. Krishnan was confronted with disheartening “wisdom” from industry insiders. “When I was getting into journalism, I was dealing with a lot of stereotypes. ‘Sukanya Krishnan, I’d love to change your name.’”

The self-possessed Krishnan would have none of it. “Changing your name is like changing your identity. I’m not very good at that. I was raised to be proud of who I am. I can’t … homogenize myself.”

And so she wisely just ignored the detractors. “I never listen to anybody, but myself,” she says. “There are always so many people telling you, you can’t do this or you can’t do that. Listen to your inner voice, listen to your heart and you can conquer anything.”

And that means anything. “I keep my goals really high,” she says. “You know what I’d tell women out there? Don’t settle in any area of your life, whether it’s personal or professional. Never settle. What’s the point? You set a goal that’s 100 percent, even if you reach 80 percent, you’re a success.”

Part of that success includes paving the way for other South Asians. Krishnan is optimistic that change is afoot. “We are just getting into situations where generations like mine, not my parent’s generation, but mine, are able to bridge certain gaps and also break down stereotypes…I always tell people, ‘You might be Italian or Irish, but your family came over here and dealt with the same stereotypes and fought them.’”

Reflecting on all that’s happened, she says, “I feel like this is where my life needs to be right now. Home Delivery is changing other people’s lives, but it’s changing my life, too.”

To find Home Delivery, check your local listings.

Elaine G. Flores is a feature writer for Soap Opera Digest, columnist for the St. Louis American and freelance writer. She is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists and lives in New York.


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