Niku Kazori, a fairly new KENS-TV addition, just took on the new job of morning traffic anchor, and she’s over the moon.
“I love it! I’ve never been anywhere where I’ve felt this comfortable with the people I work with, Paul (Mireles) Barry (Davis) and Sarah (Forgany) … really good people. Genuine and nice,” the multimedia journalist said in a phone chat.
Forgany made it clear that the appreciation is mutual. Asked what it was like working with Kazori, she texted one word: “Great!”
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Those who’ve watched the 24-year-old in the three-plus months she’s been on the local air may think they know the ebullient Kazori.
But there’s plenty about the native Texan, who has been helping San Antonio motorists find the best routes to school and work for about a week now, that might surprise and even startle you. For instance:
She’s fluent in Farsi. “My parents are both Persian and came over here from Iran when they were much younger. I was born and raised in Houston, but I’ve been to Iran. I love the culture.” Her name — Niku — “always throws everyone off,” she said. “People think it’s Japanese. But it’s Iranian.”
She’s a passionate pianist. You may have heard her tickling the ivories recently at St. Anthony Hotel. “Usually I’m shy when it comes to playing in front of people. But when she spotted the hotel piano next to the bar, she said, “I didn’t care. It had been so long.”
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She’s currently without her piano as, “Harvey flooded mine in Houston.” So she takes every opportunity to play. “I started lessons when I was 5 … I believe it boosted my confidence. I really connect with the piano, get lost in it. I like playing romantic songs — sad-sounding ones.” One she loves is “Mariage d’Amour” from Richard Clayderman.
Starting work so early doesn’t faze her. Her sleep secret? A powder with melatonin called Emergen-Zzzz. “If I take it by 7:30 p.m., I’m knocked out by 8. It puts me in a deep sleep.” Fortunately, she has only one report to deliver in the 4:30 a.m. half-hour. By the time viewers really need to know the traffic situation, from 5 to 7 a.m., her adrenaline is pumping. “It gets pretty intense.” However, it’s between 7 and 8 a.m., during the local “CBS This Morning” breaks, that she finds herself reporting the most accidents.
She loves big hair. “I’m a true Texan. I find blow-drying mine upside down helps poof it up.” She follows up with a curling iron.
She’s adept at sign language. “I took it for my foreign language in high school.” She’s signed a couple of stories in the past and would love to do more. “I try to reach out to the deaf community. Put the spotlight on them. Everyone has a story, and people who are hard of hearing and deaf have a lot to say.” She was particularly heartened to discover, while working at the CBS affiliate in Knoxville, Tennessee, there was “a deaf Santa Claus and he helped the deaf kids. Things like that I have a heart for.”
She’s single, not even dating, and loves it. “I want to focus on work.” At some point, she hopes to meet the right person, marry and have a family. For now, though, “work is my boyfriend, work is my husband.”
Cocktails aren’t her thing, but ask her about coffee. “I’m not a drinker. I love exploring coffee shops, particularly ones with outside tables. A favorite stop these days is Revolucion + Juice, off Broadway in The Collection shopping center.
To stay in shape, she punches and kicks. “I love kickboxing.” Though she hasn’t the time right now to frequent a gym, she gets her de-stress fix at home while watching Jillian Michaels’ DVDs.
She’s attracted to exotic flavors. Her favorite go-to restaurant is Zoe’s Kitchen, where she usually orders the Greek Salad or spinach roll-ups. “I love anything with spinach.” True to her heritage, she’s also into Persian food, which she finds at Pasha Mediterranean Grill.
While friends swooned over movie and pop stars, she watched TV newscasts. “Growing up, I loved watching the news. I looked up to anchors and reporters as role models.” Among her favorites were Houston anchor Dominique Sashse and Natalie Morales on NBC. In San Antonio, “I really look up to Deborah Knapp, a legend, such a role model … also really like the anchoring style of Sarah Forgany.”
Her dream job? No surprise there. Like so many in this industry, she said, “I’d absolutely love to be a news anchor.” She had some experience at the desk in Knoxville, and she’d jump at any opportunity to fill in here.
Jeanne Jakle’s column appears Thursdays and Sundays in mySA. Read more of her columns here. | email@example.com | @JakleJ