INTERVIEW: Inside Edition's Lisa Guerrero Ventures Into DIY With New Book

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Today I had the pleasure of conducting a phone interview with Award-Winning Journalist, Lisa Guerrero. Whether you recognize her from her time as a Sportscaster on Monday Night Football, playing George Lopez's sister on the George Lopez show, or chasing bad guys on TV for Inside Edition, Lisa Guerrero has had an amazing career and she is showing no signs of stopping. At age 52, Lisa is branching into a new career as an Author, with her first DIY book, Jewelry For Your Table (JFYT).  Her book was fast-tracked by Schiffer Publishing and officially hit bookstores last week! Lisa will be in Houston tomorrow night for one of her book tour stops!  Lisa will sign the book and conduct a live demo at The Thinking Girls Boutique (1570 S Dairy Ashford Rd #109, Houston, TX 77077).  For those of you who can't wait to meet this superwoman, you can learn more about her and her new book below: 

Thank you Lisa for your time in chatting with me today! I know my readers will enjoy learning more about you! We're here to talk about your first book, Jewelry For Your Table, but I wouldn't be a great interviewer if I didn't ask you about your illustrious career! Can you provide my readers with some background of your work history?

Sure! Most people know me as the Chief Investigative Correspondent for Inside Edition. I've been with the show for 10 years. Originally, I was an Entertainment Reporter for the show and I was begging my producers to let me do something that was more important and more interesting. They finally gave me a break and let me do investigative reporting several years ago. My first story won a National Press Club award. From then on, I was the main investigative reporter for the show, and it's been really fun!

Before I was an Investigative Reporter with Inside Edition, I was a Sportscaster. A lot of guys recognize me from Monday Night Football, where I was a Sideline Reporter or from a show called Best Damn Sports Show Period on Fox Sports Net. I covered the Lakers, Dodgers, Chargers and all sports for over 10 years. My life is broken down into decades of time, where the last decade I've been with Inside Edition, and the decade before that I was a Sportscaster, and the decade before that, I was an Actress and a Model. I was on a TV show called Sunset Beach, which was produced by Aaron Spelling. On the show, I played the bad girl, Francesca. I also played George Lopez's sister on The George Lopez show, and I was on a couple episodes of Frasier. I had a role in Batman Returns and a couple years ago, I played myself in Brad Pitt's Money Ball, which was nominated for an Academy Award. I've been really lucky. I've had a really amazing career doing a lot of incredible things but they've all been really different, but mainly I've been a Reporter and an Actor.

That is really awesome! Not many people can say they've had that many careers in their lifetime! What made you transition between all of those careers? 
It all goes back to my childhood. My mom died when I was 8 years old, so I was raised by a single dad. As far as sports, I learned the language of sports from my dad, who was an avid sports fan. He took me to football & baseball games in San Diego where I grew up.  I became a huge sports fan. As for acting, because my mom had died my dad put me in a theater program to help me deal with grief. I knew I wanted to be an actress from the time I was 8 or 9. And so early on, I knew that I wanted to be a performer. As I got older and taller I was discovered by a modeling agency in high school. That really launched my career. I signed with a big agency in Los Angeles and immediately started doing photo shoots and commercials and TV Parts. By the time I was 18, I was already working full time as an actress and model, going to college part-time, and living this kind of amazing life in LA as a young women taking acting classes and traveling all over the world.

I was also a Rams' cheerleader. I auditioned when I was 18 and I was a cheerleader for 4 years.  I was a performer, either in front of the camera on or the field as a dancer, but I wanted something more. Because I was such a huge sports fan I decided that I was going to be a Sportscaster. Back in those days, there were no other female Sportscasters. I would tell the girls on the squad that I wanted to be a Sportscaster and they would laugh and say, "You'll never be a Sportscaster, only guys are Sportscasters." A few years later I got a job with CBS 2 (CBS affiliate in Los Angeles) and I became LA's first full-time female Sportscaster. This was over 20 years ago. I quickly went from local Sportscaster to regional to national Sportscaster really quickly. I went from a local Sportscaster to hosting  several different sports shows nationally and then of course I ended up on Monday Night Football in 2003. I had a really awesome career doing sports, but then I got that nagging feeling that I had when I was in my 20s. I wanted to be doing something more important. I want to be doing something different than sports. I felt like I should be using my skills to do something that would help people or feel like I'm giving back in soem way. I got tired of just asking athletes the same questions over and over again. 

I  explored and thought about it and realized the best fit for me was to get out of sports and get into news. Inside Edition quickly hired me when I left sports. They first envisioned me for entertainment reporting and I did the Academy Awards Red Carpet, BET Awards, Grammy Awards, Golden Globes Awards, etc. I did all the award shows for Inside Edition, and still I knew that this wasn't enough. It wasn't entertainment reporting that I was looking for.  That's when I discovered investigative reporting, and through investigative reporting, I also discovered that I needed something to balance my life.  My job as an investigative reporter is pretty dangerous. I travel 200 days a year, live in hotel rooms and surveillance vans.  I confront really dangerous guys. I've been hit by a car. I receive death threats & rape threats. I'm one of the few woman on national TV that does confrontational journalism, meaning I actually chase down felons, scam artists and crooked politicians in real life and put them on camera and confront them.When I get home, I wanted to do something peaceful. 

I wanted something to balance out my life and a few years ago I discovered mosaic art and crafting. That has really become a big part of the balance that I need in my life. I needed to find something that can be an oasis from being on camera. When I do my crafts I can have my hair in a ponytail and no makeup. I can be comfortable, pour a glass of wine and just relax and create my art. That refreshes me for the next day when I have to be camera ready and go chase bad-guys. I'm rested and relaxed and completely in a place of centered-ness where I can go and do a job that is pretty grueling.

How did your peaceful pastime turn into a book deal?
A year and a half ago I was getting ready to throw a big Christmas Party at my house, and I wanted to do something special with the table. I'm really crafty, but I wanted to do something special, so what was I going to do?  I had been collecting vintage jewelry for years to use in my art and because I love anything vintage; especially from the '30s, '40s, & '50s. I had this really large collection of vintage pins and brooches. Some of which I received from my grandmothers including a bunch of vintage Christmas pins. I created this technique of breaking the back of the pins and carefully embellishing a metal napkin ring with it. I put a picture on pinterest, Facebook, and twitter and my girlfriends went crazy. They were like, " Oh my god! I want to buy your napkin rings! Can you make them for me?" 

I kept creating more and more sets with different themes.  I would take cameos or lockets. I'd do a nautical theme, or a theme around a color for a girlfriends' baby shower. I just started creating all these vintage napkin rings and posting them on Facebook. People responded so I thought instead of me trying to make them for everybody, because I can't possibly with my real job, why don't I just see if I can get a publisher and make a book where people can learn how to make them for themselves. I call the pieces jewelry for your table, because they're real pieces of jewelry that make your tables sparkle. The pieces look like girl candy. They're all one of a kind; no two match exactly. I pull the collections together using the same theme, era, or color. 

I wrote to Schiffer books and I sent them a bunch of my pictures that I had been taking of my napkin ring sets. Nancy Schiffer wrote me back immediately, and said they wanted to publish the book. That was a year ago. They fast-tracked the book and it just came out last week. 

How did you come to stop in Houston for your book tour?
Alicia Elatassi is the owner of Thinking Girls Boutique. It's a really cool store in the Houston area. They have all kinds of hand-crafted, really pretty hand-made items, books and clothes. Alicia contacted me on social media, after seeing my JFYT napkin rings and saw that I was writing a book. She wanted to host a book-signing party and a demo. 

I can't wait to get my hands on this book! I just purchased some new napkin rings for Fall decor and now they seem so blah!
You're going to want to do your own sets! Right now I've been doing a lot of local press, guesting on local morning shows, and the women are freaking out! The anchors send me photos of their new napkin rings! It's amazing how it's catching on. It's a really fun thing because it connect you to your heritage, and it also connects you to pieces of jewelry that already exist in thrift stores and at flea markets in your community. I love the idea of upcycling beautiful items that already exist and just making them functional so that you can use them every day and use them in your own life.

How do you collect vintage pieces?
Shop your own jewelry box first and then collect pieces from your grandmother, sisters, mother, and aunts! Then shop at local thrift stores; especially the salvation army. That's my favorite thrift store,. The money that you spend at the salvation army actually goes to helping people in need in your community. If you shop in Houston, that money stays in Houston, unlike other thrift stores where most of the money goes to overhead, management, or other cities. After that ,go to flea markets, consignment stores, and you can even find great pieces online. 

Part of the fun of this craft is actually going out and finding these treasures. I call it treasure hunt in the book. The book gives you tips on how to barter and how to find collections. Once you make your jewelry into table napkin rings I teach you about finding napkins that pull the collection together, either by color, texture or patterns, and then how to gift the pieces. I like to use cigar boxes, baskets, and pretty handcrafted vintage jewelry boxes and giving them as a gift in really unique, one of a kind ways. It's all color, hard-backed, and a great coffee-table. I'm so proud of it but it's also really personal because I talk about my own life and how being connected to my heritage lead me to writing the book.

Congratulations on the success of your craft! Do you have any other ideas for vintage jewelry that can't be used for a napkin ring?
The book is focused on the napkin rings, they're the most showy, and kind of easy to do, but at the same time really, beautiful. But I also teach you how to use vintage jewelry on candles, on frames, in votive, and different ways to sparkle up your table using vintage jewelry. There's a lot of different ideas besides just the napkin rings, but I focus on the napkin rings because they're just so darn cute!

Any plans for a future book; autobiography or another craft book?
That is so funny that you asked me that, because I originally started writing my memoir a couple years ago. It's called between a jock and a hard place, and it's about my career in sports casting. I married a baseball player and I have all these adventures. I've been working on my memoirs for a couple of years and I keep changing the ending because more and more stuff is happening. I've been working with a publisher, and I hope to get a book deal on that after I finish my book tour with Jewelry For Your Table.  But yes, this next book is definitely going to be a memoir and focused on a women in a man's world. Those are the big jobs that I  have had, being a sports caster and a investigative reporter; both careers that are mainly dominated by men. I've been able to be really successful in both of those two very different careers, but I use a lot of the same skill sets and I think women would get a lot out of it. Hopefully, it's very inspirational, but it will also be pretty funny because I've had some crazy experiences in locker rooms and I can name drop a bunch of people. I know almost every famous athletes plus a ton of celebrities and actors from my job, so I think it will be a really fun for everybody. You don't have to just be into sports.  I'm hoping to be done with that by the end of the holidays. I would hope to see it out late next year.  

But now that JFYT has gotten such a great response, I'm thinking of doing a follow-up craft book. So it will be a really busy time in my life. As a woman that's 52, and that has been on camera my entire life, I just think that it's awesome that I'm coming into my own at 52 and that's another part of the story that i want younger women to know is that you don't have to stop being fashionable, or stop being creative or stop being successful at 30, or 35, or 40. I'm 52 and I just did a sizzle reel for a reality show, my first book just came out, my second book will be coming out next year, and I have all these great things happening. I'm doing more career wise and more important things career wise than I ever did in my 20s, 30s, or 40s. So I want them to know that the best is ahead of you, not behind you. You can still be fashionable, and look good, be cool and hip, and look chic and have a stylish life going well beyond your 20. That's another thing I want people to take away from my story. 

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