Tiffany Ogle wraps up her second week Friday as the new co-host of Channel 4's "Morning Blend," the hybrid of chat and advertising that fills the 9 a.m. weekday on Milwaukee's NBC affiliate.
Ogle, who describes herself as "29, indefinitely," comes from Minnesota where she has an extensive resume as a TV host. A native of Waverly, Minn., 45 minutes west of Minneapolis, she was Miss Minnesota 2004, competing in that year's Miss America pageant.
She replaces Alison De Castro, who left the show to concentrate on working in Chicago, where her husband owns a business.
Ogle sat down with OnMilwaukee.com on the set of "Morning Blend" after Tuesday morning's show to talk about her career and what she's been doing in her first days in town.
OnMilwaukee.com: You have an hour of live TV. I know you've done live TV before, but have you done it on a daily basis like this?
Tiffany Ogle: Most of the shows I've worked are live. "Showcase Minnesota," which is very similar to this show in Minnesota, is live. I've done "Shop NBC," which is live, and another shopping show, which was "Atomic Deals," and that was live, also.
OMC: You've done a lot of TV, you've done MTV, you've done "Shop NBC," you've done a lot of commercial work. If someone asks what you're job is, not just this specific job here, how do you say what you do for a living?
TO: I say I'm a TV host and an actress.
OMC: You've also have done modeling. Are you still modeling?
TO: Not a whole lot. I've done modeling. But I'm not your typical model who is 5-10 and size 2. So I enjoy modeling, but I don't do a lot of it.
OMC: If I look at your resume, the thing that pops up, obviously, is Miss Minnesota. When your obituary is written in about 78 years, it's gonna say "former Miss Minnesota..." How crucial for you is that on your resume, and on your career path?
TO: I think it made me a lot of who I am. It's been a big part of my life. I started doing pageants when I was younger and then continued through college to gain scholarship dollars.
Miss America is the No. 1 scholarship provider for women in the world, they do $45 million every year. For me, it helped me gain an education, which really focused me on theater, communication, psychology, those were my undergrad degrees.
That really gave me a well-rounded background to do what I love: to connect with people, communities; tell stories and perform.
OMC: Among the stereotypes of pageants are things like the controversies around Carrie Prejean, and the girl from South Carolina who gave a rambling answer. But the other side of pageants is that they do teach you to think on your feet when you have to answer questions out of the blue from obnoxious people like me.
TO: Exactly! We train for interview so long, it's a 12-minute interview and that interview process is everything from your beliefs on everything in the world, to something you're passionate about, which is called your platform. Mine was children's safety.
And then it talks about just your everyday family and value lifestyle. You have to talk about everything and you become kind of this open book.
I think that's helped me a lot transition into a job like this. You can connect with viewers, really talking about your own experiences. and inviting them to share some of them as well.
OMC: You're paired with Molly Fay, who is well known to Milwaukee TV viewers. The differences is that Molly's a couple years older than you are, she's a mom, you're single, you're new to town. Is this a good blend of women to reach what's really a female audience out there?
TO: Absolutely. I think we make a perfect team. She has been probably one of the most inviting people. And I told her one of the main reasons I decided, when I was offered, to take the job, is because of how well we get along.
I think that shows through on a camera lens. You can't hide that. You can't hide a relationship behind a camera, people can see through it.
We just have a good connection off the bat because I think we're both very mature, but we do have very different life experiences and that complements each other very well.
OMC: Molly is a very open, very inviting, very sweet person off camera and on camera. Did you find that?
TO: She's the same. She's exactly who you see on camera off camera. That was really apparent to me. Not all people are like that, so you know when you find a gem. She's one of them.
OMC: How many weeks have you been in Milwaukee, a couple weeks?
TO: One and a half. Not even one and a half yet.
OMC: Have you found a place to live.
OMC: Are you in the city or the suburbs?
TO: Just outside the city.
OMC; Have you had any time yet to explore Milwaukee?
TO: A little bit. I actually scheduled a trip to come back on my own time before I accepted the job offer.
I drove around the Third Ward, I drove around the Brady Street area, drove around some of the suburb areas. I would say that's the extent of most of it right now.
OMC: Are there any restaurant meals that you've had that stand out yet.
TO: I love Devon's. That was really good. That was at Bayshore. I haven't explored the Downtown menus yet.
OMC: Minnesota is not that dramatically different from Wisconsin ...
TO: People try and convince me of it, though. They try and tell me that it's warmer here. I'm like, "yeah, right."
OMC: You know who Andrew Zimmern is?
TO: Yes, I was on his show.
OMC: He just did a Wisconsin show on Travel Channel and I inteviewed him a few weeks ago and he said he thought Wisconsin was dramatically different from Minnesota. He said the people in Minnesota are more personally conservative, straight-laced, sort of they hold things in. And Wisconsin is more easy-going. Obviously it's too early for you ...
TO: But that's somewhat true. I've noticed a little bit of that already.
One thing I liked about this show before coming here is that they really wanted me to showcase who I really am. They said, "you've got a great sense of humor, you used to do improv comedy. We want to see that. We want you to showcase that."
And I wasn't always allowed to do that on shows in Minneapolis.
OMC: Tell me a little about getting ready for the show. Are you here at 5:30 getting ready?
TO: I'm in my bed at 5 in the morning. I'm up at 6 o'clock, 6:30, depending on the day. And I'm in here at about 7:30. We have an hour to prep on computer, and then we come into the dressing room 8:30, 8:45-ish.
OMC: You don't do pre-interviews?
TO: Just meet the guests, which is always nice to get a brief introduction before they go on the air, calm them, meet them.
OMC: This is an interesting show because it's a hybrid of advertising and your own content, straight interviews. Do you approach those interviews differently, the paid content?
TO: It's very conversational. The whole point of everything is just to connect the viewers with different (things), whether it's organizations, events or charities, to really just connect the audience with people in the community.
So for me, it's a complete conversation, because I'm really getting to know people from the Milwaukee area. Since I'm new, it's really been informative to me as well as inviting to learn what's going on, and to get to meet the people behind the scenes.
OMC: When you and Molly come on you do, I wouldn't call it a monologue, 'cause it's two of you. But do you decide what you're going to decide what you're going to talk about it advance?
TO: Briefly. Sometimes we'll come up with ideas. Today, we had a divorce segment on talking about collaborative divorce, so in the opening, we're like, "let's talk about some statistics."
We try not to talk about too much, because we want everything to be organic and real in the actual conversation. Like, this morning, I asked, "Are your parents divorced?" So, I knew that ahead of time, so I could comment and say, "Yours are married, mine are divorced."
OMC: You talked about, earlier on, that you were told that you should be yourself, "tell us who you are." You told viewers this morning that your parents were divorced when you were young. Do you have any qualms about that?
TO: I'm an open book. I have a blog, I have a Web site. That's just kind of the way I work. That's worked well in life.
OMC: As a TV interviewer, TV personality, do you have, at this point, ultimate goals. Would you like to be on a network? Cable channel?
TO: I'd love it. I think everyone would love it. Right now, I'm just happy to be where I'm at.
The biggest thing that I've always done is to really be present in the moment, and take in everything that you're experiencing and be open to everything each opportunity has to offer.
For me, right now, it's getting to know Milwaukee, learning to meet a lot of the different people, finding my way around, all those sort of things and really being present to the opportunity I have at hand which I feel really blessed to have.
OMC: Is there a thing or an event that you have thought about that you would like to...
TO: Irish Fest! I actually went to Irish Fest when I was younger. I haven't been there in years.
My family is Irish, we're Irish and English, and we love Irish Fest. We do cheers and toasts and really celebrate our Irish heritage in style in my hometown of Waverly.
I'm so, so excited to go to Irish Fest again. I think my whole family'll probably come down too. Roadtrip it.
OMC: I assume they're all excited for you.
TO: Oh yeah. My mom is a little sad, of course, like any parent. But she's been really excited. She came in, helped me move, and so did my brothers and they just really feel comfortable with the area and the people because everybody has been so kind so far.
OMC: I think that should do it.
TO: Don't you want any fun little tidbits?
OMC: Whadda you got? Give me something that's really embarassing.
TO: Really embarassing? No, but my family collects Hamm's Beer memorabilia. That's a big thing.
I'm a ping-pong fan, too. That was my only bummer when I came is I have not seen a ping-pong table around the station yet. I have my own paddle.
OMC: One thing I didn't ask was: Vikings or Packers?
TO: I'm not really a big football fan, I'm a huge baseball fan, and I don't feel like I'm cheating on the Twins.
One of my very close friends, she's a very die-hard Packers fan. She's like, "You just wait, you're going to come over to the other side." I figured, you never know, I could get swept up in it.
I can kind of admit the only thing I've ever really watched is the Super Bowl and I do it for the appetizers.
Tim Cuprisin is the media columnist for OnMilwaukee.com. He's been a journalist for 30 years, starting in 1979 as a police reporter at the old City News Bureau of Chicago, a legendary wire service that's the reputed source of the journalistic maxim "if your mother says she loves you, check it out." He spent a couple years in the mean streets of his native Chicago, and then moved on to the Green Bay Press-Gazette and USA Today, before coming to the Milwaukee Journal in 1986.
A general assignment reporter, Cuprisin traveled Eastern Europe on several projects, starting with a look at Poland after five years of martial law, and a tour of six countries in the region after the Berlin Wall opened and Communism fell. He spent six weeks traversing the lands of the former Yugoslavia in 1994, linking Milwaukee Serbs, Croats and Bosnians with their war-torn homeland.
In the fall of 1994, a lifetime of serious television viewing earned him a daily column in the Milwaukee Journal (and, later the Journal Sentinel) focusing on TV and radio. For 15 years, he has chronicled the changes rocking broadcasting, both nationally and in Milwaukee, an effort he continues at OnMilwaukee.com.
When he's not watching TV, Cuprisin enjoys tending to his vegetable garden in the backyard of his home in Whitefish Bay, cooking and traveling.