Christine Chang was born in Taipei, Taiwan and moved to the U.S. at the age of 8. She grew up in Louisiana and attended Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, La. She is currently a weekend morning anchor on 7News, The Denver Channel. We sit down with her for a Q&A session.
AAM: What is your current position?
Chang: Right now, I’m the weekend morning anchor on 7News. You’ll also find me filling in and doing special reports for regular M-F morning shows. But what I’m really excited about is our new magazine show called “Mile High Living.” It’s a half hour show, every Friday at 9am that focuses on the latest in health and wellness in the Mile High City! We’ve partnered with the Broncos on this show, so we also get the behind-the-scenes training secrets of our players and cheerleaders and showcase what else our Broncos are doing in our community. I co-host along side Lionel Bienvenu on this show. It’s so fun because we get to talk about health and fitness, right up my alley!
AAM: Do you have any memories of your childhood in Taiwan?
Chang: Of course! LOVED our home in Taiwan. Since there’s not a lot of land, they built everything up. We lived on the 5th floor. My cousins, aunt and uncle lived on the fourth floor. The sixth floor was our playland. We had big video arcade machines, pool table, ping pong table. It was so much fun! It was even fun when we had to stay in because of a typhoon. With no electricity or water for a few days, my cousins and I would light candles and play dominos. I remember one time someone open the balcony door and the wind knocked all of our hard work over! So, we started all over again. We’re a close family, even with thousands of miles between us, when we go back to Taiwan to visit it’s as if we never missed a beat. Love it!
AAM: What was it like growing up as a Chinese American in Louisiana?
Chang: It was definitely an experience, but one I would not trade at all! As pretty much one of maybe three Asian Americans from elementary school to high school, you couldn’t miss me. That was a good and not-so-good thing. The not-so-good thing, I got made fun of a lot. I was a cheerleader from Junior high through high school. In Louisiana, we always marched during the Mardi Gras parades with the band. While fun, almost always there would be a few people in the crowd who would say some rude comment about a Chinese girl in the squad. I never reacted, but of course it hurt on the inside. My Dad once told me not to take anything to heart. He said people will make fun of my ethnicity because it’s the obvious and they have nothing else to poke fun of. He said, if today I was white with thick glasses, crooked teeth, a little over-weight, they’d make fun of me for that. So I tried my best to let those ignorant comments go in one ear and out the other.
But… the great part of growing up in Louisiana is also because I stood out. As I got older, I used that to my advantage. I figured well, why not run for student council, theater club president, class officer? I was always the over-achiever, might as well use my culture and share it. So if there was an election of sorts where the class had to vote, I would hand out fortune cookies, or chopsticks, Chinese candy with my name tag asking for their votes. That made me unique and memorable. Most of the time, it’d work!
AAM: How did you begin your career in news broadcast?
Chang: I was in high school at the time when a local t-v station started a segment on their daily news, highlighting what’s going on in each school that week. They asked me to do it. After that, I got addicted. So I started volunteering my time during the summer at that local station. They let me go out to get movie reviews for a feature segment. I get to watch the movie, then run out right before the ending to interview people as they come out to get “thumbs up” or “thumbs down.” It was fun!! From that moment on, I knew what I wanted to major in in college. Then I got my first break as a weekend anchor/reporter during my senior year in college. I was a full time student with a full time t-v job. It was tough because I couldn’t go out like most normal college kids, but worth it because after years of moving around, climbing that t-v ladder, here I am. I’m grateful.
AAM: Why are you interested in this career/industry?
Chang: I love to write and I love knowing what’s going in the world. I feel like it’s my job as a citizen to know, understand, and do what I can to make our community better. I try to do my small part. I’ve always had a passion in health, animals and non-profits. So on our weekend morning shows, I try to devote time to talk about the latest in health news, what we’re doing here locally. You’ll also notice our “pet adoption” segments. I want to help find good homes for all these animals. It’s something I’ve always had in my heart. And with our economy, I want to help as many non-profits and fundraisers as I can. It’s a way for people to give back. So if I can help get that information out, then that’s a start.
AAM: Who or what inspires you?
Chang: My parents of course! They’ve made me the person I am today. Anything good about me, I have them to thank for sure! But honestly, “life” in general inspires me. I see and meet so many people from different walks of life every day. I feel it’s an honor and a privilege to get their trust, so they allow me inside their lives. Some stories are positive. Others not so much. I’ve met people who shared their journey battling cancer, only to lose their battle a year later. I’m honored and beyond humbled to see the strength from these fighters (as I like to call them) and the love from their families. Because they don’t have to talk to me. But they do because they want to encourage others and bring attention to the disease. THAT takes courage. So as bad as you might think you have it, it can always be worse. Now, it’s not to say I don’t have my moments where I complain or feel down, but I try to remember those stories and in that moment, I remind myself of how blessed and lucky I am. You only have one life so make it the best you can!
AAM: What has been your most rewarding/memorable experience?
Chang: When I can make a difference in some small way. When a dog is on our show and gets adopted within an hour after. When someone comes on our show to talk about a fundraiser for those in need in our community, then they tell me it was standing room only at the event. I’d like to think that helping get the word out made a difference.
AAM: How has being an Asian American helped or hindered your career?
Chang: Someone once said to me, you’re the “Token Asian” at Channel 7. I never took offense to it, but others have told me it’s insulting. Apparently the meaning behind “Token Asian” is you represent racial equality in a place, when they’re just trying to create an illusion. To me, I think it’s helped me in some cases because if you’re in a city where there’s not that big of an Asian population, then you will stand out. And it’ll hopefully help better market you there since people will probably remember you. But at the same time, if it’s in a city you want to go to, and there’s not a lot of Asians Americans living there and they already have enough Asian American representation, then your chances of getting hired might not be as high.
AAM: What do you love about Denver and/or what do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Chang: I love playing tennis! That’s a passion of mine since I was young with my Dad. He got me started on it! I also love yoga and running with my standard poodle Lana. Anything outdoors for the most part. I’m so lucky to live in Colorado. With so many activities to do here, it’s hard to stay put and just sleep on my days off.
AAM: Are you currently working on any interesting projects or involved in any organizations?
Chang: I try to help out with any local organizations when I can, be it help emcee and event or get the word out about the event on our weekend morning shows. Other wise, work keeps me pretty busy juggling the different shows. But it’s fun, never a dull moment!
AAM: When can our readers watch you on KMGH?
Weekend Mornings: Saturday 7am – 9am, Sunday 7am – 8am and 9am – 10am.
Mile High Living Show: Monday-Wednesday 4:30am – 7am, Friday at 9am.
Read Christine’s news team bio here.