A chat with Natalie Pasquarella, NBC 4 New York’s co-anchor and Bergen County resident.
After the birth of her son, Jamin James, in September, NBC 4 New York co-anchor Natalie Pasquarella will celebrate her first Mother’s Day this month.
When the BERGEN team showed up at Natalie Pasquarella’s house for a Mother’s Day photo shoot, we were expecting a quick session so she could nurse her 8-month-old baby and get ready for work. Instead we were introduced to her husband, Jamin Pastore, dogs—a 13-year-old pit bull and 15-year-old English bull dog—given a tour of the house and cajoled into feasting on bagels (“Wait, I have to warm them up!”), muffins and coffee (“Iced or hot?”)! Then after the shoot, amid hugs, she pushed several bags filled with the goodies into our arms, insisting we take them home. (We brought them back to the office.)
Such is the personality of the serious—albeit exuberant— journalist, who has garnered an Emmy Award as part of the NBC 4 New York’s team coverage of the 2016 Dallas Police attacks. Now a working mom, Pasquarella is faced with balancing the two roles she loves.
Here she reflects on family dinners and her role model, and shares her secret passion:
Getting to Know Natalie
BERGEN posed a few “this or that” questions to help readers learn more about the NBC anchor.
Text or phone call? Phone call, although text has been easier lately as my hands have been full with our lil guy!
Hors d’oeuvres or sit down dinner? Sit Down
Wine or cocktail? Wine (red)
Heels or flats? Heels
Takeout: pizza or Chinese? Pizza
Gym or walks in the park? Walks in the park
Yankees or Mets? Mets
Tell us about your family.
My husband Jamin and I welcomed our baby boy Jamin James to the world in September. The little guy was born in NYC and he made quite the entrance: My water broke during the 11 p.m. newscast! I called and woke up my husband to come to the city. My producer rode with me to the hospital. The next afternoon, we met our handsome little guy.
Why do you choose to live in Bergen County? And why the Northern Valley?
Beautiful scenery, friendly people and a chance for us to have a yard. With the arrival of Baby J, it gives us more room to spread out. Also, as a journalist who has covered stories throughout our community, the more time I spent here, the more I loved it. It really was such an easy decision to make, and we are thrilled to be here.
Tell us an insider secret about the show.
I sit on a cushion on set and stand on a wooden box in studio because my co-anchors and friends Chuck Scarborough and Stefan Holt are both about a foot taller than I.
What can’t you live without?
Espresso and my NBC 4 New York app (a shameless plug, I know).
Tell us about an on-air glitch and how you dealt with it.
When my water broke on air. I giggled, smiled and finished the newscast. Lucky for me, there was less than a minute left in the newscast, and well, the rest is history!
What’s your recipe for combining a happy family with a demanding, high-profile job?
That recipe has so many ingredients! I couldn’t do it without a supportive family and teamwork. My husband also has a demanding career so we do a lot of juggling, and we help each other when the other needs a break. He always seems to know when I need a nap!
I work the night shift, 2:30 p.m.–11:30 p.m., so no matter how late I get home, I always want to be up early to spend my mornings with the baby. And as soon as noon hits, I go into work mode and prepare to head into 30 Rock for the afternoon/evening. Because I often work on investigative stories during my breaks between newscasts, it’s critically important to manage my time. (Editor’s note: She co-anchors the 4 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts.)
On weekends—Saturday and Sunday— that’s our time. We are super protective of it. As for that happy family recipe...laughter is key because some days the cake looks picture perfect, and other days, it’s a little lopsided!
What made you fall in love with your husband?
He has a heart of gold. He’s always thinking of others. He’s a family man, and that is so important to me. His sense of humor reeled me in too; it’s important to laugh together!
What surprised you most about becoming a mom?
I knew I would love being a mom but wow, it surpassed every expectation. You hope you’ll be able to step up to the plate and know what to do, and it’s pretty amazing when that motherly instinct does turn on. I’ve loved every second of it. I will say, though, that I didn’t believe people when they said, “You’ll be tired!” I am a pretty high-energy person but there have been days when the coffee takes a little longer to kick in.
When was the last time you cried?
My son’s baptism. It was such a beautiful day, and my whole family traveled here for the service so that made it extra special.
What do you hope for your son?
That we can raise him to be a good person who enjoys helping others. That’s why we’re all here after all.
Tell us something that people would be surprised to learn about you.
I am a boxing and mixed martial arts (MMA) fan. My husband and I have been to Las Vegas for a few big matches.
Have you ever wanted to go back and alter something in your life?
No. I’m a big believer in no regrets.
Tell us about the prep involved when you interviewed then President Barack Obama. Were you nervous?
I found out about the interview just a few days before it would take place in March 2011. My station at the time, in Charlotte, N.C., was one of three TV stations allowed sit-down access ahead of a trip the President was taking to Latin America. I knew I would have seven minutes for the interview so I sat down with our special projects producer and focused on local issues. We talked jobs and the President’s upcoming trip to Charlotte for the Democratic National Convention in 2012. It was my first time interviewing a President so I had a bit of nervous energy heading into the White House. That faded pretty quickly because before you know it, the President is sitting in front of you, and the clock is ticking.
Tell about your favorite Bergen hangouts.
I love Closter Plaza...so many new spots opening up there. Shops at Riverside. Wally’s Bagels. I went to Van Saun Park for the first time last summer with friends while I was pregnant. We went on the carousel and the train. I can’t wait to take our son this summer; he is going to love it!
You’ve said that your mom is your role model. Can you tell us why?
She’s the most positive person I know. She taught my three siblings and me to live each day to the fullest and be kind to others. She always used to tell us, “What you say affects every cell in your body.” Be good and do good, and you’ll feel good. She also worked two jobs most of our lives so I always tried to follow her example.
This is your first Mother’s Day. Any special plans?
It will be a special day but no set plans as of now. It really doesn’t matter as long as I get to hang out with my boy. It would also be nice to sleep in!
You love to travel. What special place do you hope to share with your son?
We love the beach, and we’ve already flown with the little guy to South Florida to visit family. I’ve been to Europe once for my honeymoon in Italy. That would be a fun adventure once Jamin James is a little older.
Your son is named after your husband. Will he have a nickname to tell them apart?
He and my husband have different middle names. We’ve thrown around a couple of nicknames but we’re sticking with his full name for now.
Finish this sentence: It’s never okay to ______.
As the oldest in a close-knit Italian family, what traditions do you hope to continue with your family?
We all love sitting around the dinner table and eating and laughing...and eating some more. Sunday family dinners will be a must in our house. Also, growing up in my small town of Steubenville, Ohio, not far from Pittsburgh, Penn., my Dad was a big Pirates baseball fan. He and my mom would load us into the minivan and take us to games all summer long. I can’t wait to take our son to see the Mets and Yankees, and even a few of our local minor league games.
Because Pasquarella works the night shift, she spends weekday mornings at home with her son.
Pasquarella interviews President Barack Obama during her stint at a North Carolina TV station in 2011
Weekends are family time for Pasquarella, husband Jamin Pastore and Jamin James.