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On The Set With Shaun Robinson


Being on TV as the weekend co-host of the syndicated entertainment news show Access Hollywood, Shaun Robinson knows a lot about the pressures of being beautiful. “As women we often get our value from comparing ourselves to other women, is she thinner, prettier, smarter,” Robinson notes.


We all suffer from self-esteem issues, whether 15 or 50 years old. “When I was little I used to tie these socks around my pigtails so I would have long hair. My mother saw this and cut her hair into a natural afro haircut to show me that all types of hair are beautiful,” says Robinson.


As a board member of Girls Inc, an organization that focuses on teaching all girls to be strong, smart, and bold, Robinson meets and talks to a lot of girls. “I noticed with increased frequency that girls would ask me, ‘Is so-and-so as beautiful as they are in the magazine or as perfect as they look on TV?’”


As an occasional contributor for The Today Show, MSNBC, CNN, and many others, Robinson used her “access” to celebrities to help girls and asked influential women more personal questions. “I gathered and handpicked women that I thought would be good role models for the girls, to give them advice on reaching into finding a place much deeper than what you see in the mirror, and pulling from that the strength that you need to battle all the challenges that you have as a young girl.”


In her book titled Exactly As I Am, Robinson connects celebrities about their own struggles with self-esteem they had throughout the years. For instance, Janet Jackson hated to look at herself in the mirror, and points out, “I didn’t like my body. My level of confidence was very low.” Sharon Stone notes, “I didn’t think I was pretty until I was 33 years old.”


Robinson’s dream is to one day be able to fund her own organization and help as many girls as she can. “I think there has been no other time when girls have been given more messages about female empowerment but are still feeling so badly about themselves.”


With her busy schedule, Robinson notes that sometimes it’s hard to hit the gym after a long day of work but, if you’ve seen her on TV, you know she has amazing arms. What’s her secret? Robinson explains, “When I was younger, I had very skinny arms so my mom told me, ‘You should pump up your arms.’ So I started going to the gym and using the gravitron, a stationary machine, it’s the best.”


As a reporter myself, I can relate to the fact that sometimes you find yourself in uncomfortable or embarrassing situations, but it’s hard to top what happened to Robinson while interviewing Al Pacino. “I was sitting in front of him, ready to interview him and I see something near his mouth, and I said, ‘Mr. Al Pacino, I’m so sorry, there’s something on your mouth, let me just get it off,’ and as I’m getting closer to him I see that it’s a mole! And I say, ‘I’m so sorry, Mr. Al Pacino,’ and he said, ‘Just call me mole man.’ He was very nice about it but I was very embarrassed.”


The entertainment reporter mingles with celebrities every day, wears designer clothes, and has an uprising career, but says, “All your stuff doesn’t matter.” She follows her dad’s advice, “When my dad signs off he always says ‘Be Happy,’ and like Oprah Winfrey once told me, ‘True happiness and true self-esteem means that you know you’re valuable because you’re a child of God and you have the right to be here.’”     TANIA LUVIANO, www.tanialuviano.com


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