Welcome to our series “5 Minutes With“ in which we ask some of the most successful, innovative and dynamic people how they came to be these people. What was their career path? What obstacles did they face along the way? And when did they have that moment where they knew exactly what what they wanted to do with their lives. We are kicking things off with radio and television personality Liz Hernandez. She was the first Latina correspondent for NBC’s Access Hollywood and launched the YouTube series, Wordaful which focuses on the positive the power of words. Hernandez has also become a dedicated spokesperson for Alzheimer’s Disease, after her mother was diagnosed with it when she 68 years old.
Tina Wells: Liz! I am so excited to chat with you today. I have a been a huge fan of yours from your days at E! and what you’re doing with Wordaful is so inspiring! I think we can all use a bit of inspiration right now, so I want to first thank you for these videos. We’ll chat more about Wordaful in a bit, but first, take me back to the beginning. When did you realize you wanted to be a TV personality? What was that journey like?
Liz Hernandez: Thank you! I’m excited and appreciative of the support and growth surrounding Wordaful.
If we go back to the beginning, my journey into television started while I was on morning radio in Los Angeles. TV opportunities presented themselves, and radio gifted me with the experience I needed in auditions. I started on a Latin music show called “The Drop” on SíTV, and then I made my way to MTV. It was an exciting and busy time, because I was juggling both radio and TV. However, once I hit the 10 year mark in morning radio I was ready to make the full time leap into Television. It felt like a natural progression. Coincidentally, that’s when E! News came calling, then Access Hollywood.
Tina Wells: I think there’s this myth that successful women have it all figured out and there’s some magical plan. I recently heard the best thing ever. It’s not that we’re trying to achieve work/life balance, what we’re really trying to achieve is work/life harmony. What does this mean to you?
I definitely believe there is a flow to life, and that The Universe is guiding us to our highest potential if we allow it. Whether you use the word balance or harmony it’s all one in the same. We can’t reach harmony unless there is balance. In order to create harmony within myself, I need to have my physical, mental, emotional and spiritual life balanced. Only then can I be my best self for life, work and others.
Tina Wells: As a fellow woman of color, sometimes we’re considered spokeswomen or role models when we’re still trying to figure things out for ourselves. Do you ever feel added pressure? And if so, what do you do to alleviate it?
The only pressure I feel is from myself, but it’s a healthy pressure to always do my best. It no longer serves me to live my life based on what someone else expects. I have plenty of expectations for myself. Plus, you have to remember that everyone’s expectations will vary based on their own experiences, so trying to live up their ideals is a bottomless hole.
Tina Wells: Wordaful is so fresh and so now. How did you come up with this idea, and what do you hope to accomplish with this platform? What’s the big vision?
Thank you. I’ve always been intrigued by psychology, human behavior and the force behind how we create our lives. However, it wasn’t until my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and lost 90% of her speech that I truly understood the power of words. My mom holds onto two key phrases, “thank you” and “I love you.” What’s more powerful than that? As a communicator, I realized that language not only brings personal meaning to our lives but that words carry energy that shapes our reality. We speak things into existence.
The big vision and intention is to expand Wordaful into telling stories of creative and inspiring individuals.
Tina Wells: Tell us about why your work with Alzheimer’s is so important to you. How can we get involved?
I think it is vital that we raise awareness about Alzheimer’s disease. On a personal level, this disease is devastating. ALZ is a national health crisis affecting more than 5 million Americans, and it’s already the most expensive disease in the country.
The best way to get involved is by knowing the warning signs and educating yourself and then your loved ones. If I had known the signs sooner, I could have given my mom more options and let her make her caregiving decisions before the disease took over. The Alzheimer’s Association has a very helpful resource that outlines the 10 warning signs. ALZ.org
Another great way to get yourself and friends involved is Maria Shriver’s Move For Minds. We team up annually for this event which takes place in several major cities. It’s a great way to learn about caring for our brains and the importance of understanding the mind and body connection.
Tina Wells: Was there a moment in your career where you had a major breakthrough in developing your brand or just deciding where you wanted your career to go? What was your ah-ha moment?
Liz Hernandez: I’m a firm believer in speaking things into existence. I had joked at the beginning of my time at Access Hollywood that once I did a sit-down interview with Oprah my work there would be done. Coincidentally, that’s exactly how the timing happened. I sat down with Oprah and was fortunate enough to show her one of my Wordaful episodes, “Thankful.” Thankful I was because she said she loved it, and she took the time to discuss the word with me. She said, “Eckhart Tolle said, ‘if the only prayer you ever say is thank you, that will be enough.'” That’s when I knew she understood my message. It was a full circle moment for me. Here is a woman I had looked up to even before my career started, and she was telling me good job on something I had created! Two weeks later, I had an interview with OWN to discuss my plans for Wordaful. It was the beautiful nudge I needed to understand that my passion project was my path-shown project and it deserved my full time and attention.