Symone Sanders Speaks Onstage At Girlboss Rally Nyc 2018 At News Photo 1651784735.jpg

Symone Sanders on Her New MSNBC Present and Classes From VP Harris

This Saturday, Symone Sanders will grow to be the most recent anchor on MSNBC, internet hosting her personal namesake present Symone on each the cable community and its hub on Peacock. It’d appear to be a pure transfer for the 32-year-old, who left her place as a senior advisor and chief spokesperson for Vice President Kamala Harris on the finish of 2021. However when she first began exploring the thought, she was met with disbelief. “I had an government inform me to my face: ‘Nobody’s going to present you a present,’” Sanders instructed over the telephone a couple of days earlier than the Symone premiere. “There have been people that instructed me they didn’t see me a lot as a political particular person….which could be very attention-grabbing, as a result of I’ve labored on the highest stage of politics. I labored at each stage, really.”

Sanders was 25 when she grew to become the nationwide press secretary for Sen. Bernie Sanders’s 2016 presidential marketing campaign. From there, she was a commentator and analyst at CNN and a senior advisor to Joe Biden throughout his presidential marketing campaign, earlier than becoming a member of the Biden-Harris administration. However now—at the very least on Saturdays and Sundays at 4 P.M. EST and on-demand on Peacock on Mondays and Tuesdays—she’s the star. “I spent my profession being a spokesperson for different individuals,” she stated. “And now it’s simply me.” Sanders stated she hopes to go deep on her present, discussing politics and tradition and offering important context across the “most urgent problems with as we speak.”

Beneath, Sanders provides an inside have a look at the making of Symone, together with the teachings she discovered from Harris that she nonetheless carries together with her and why, even within the midst of this profession excessive, she nonetheless plans to prioritize self-care.

I used to be wanting again to when we spoke in 2020 for ELLE’s Workplace Hours collection. In that piece, you stated your dream job could be to have your personal present, and now right here we’re.

Life comes at you quick, Madison.

Did you all the time suppose this might be the next step after working on the White Home?

I wish to let you know that I had all of it deliberate out, and my crystal ball was proper, and all people else was nonetheless making an attempt to catch as much as me and my goals. However I didn’t know that this was precisely what I used to be going to be doing subsequent. Moving into, I didn’t know once I was going to depart the White Home. I stated on the time, and it’s nonetheless true, that I used to be drained. Additionally, I wished the chance to plan my marriage ceremony and luxuriate in being engaged. The third factor I thought of once I was leaving was that I like politics, however I additionally love the chance to speak concerning the broader cultural tendencies and provides my opinion. I wished no matter I did subsequent to permit me to have interaction within the media dialog.

You’ve spoken about how individuals dismissed the thought of you having your personal present or instructed you do different issues.

Oh honey, I had an government inform me to my face: “Nobody’s going to present you a present.” They stated, “Look, as your buddy, nobody’s going to present you a present.” In my head, I assumed, they undoubtedly gained’t if I don’t ask. Then, when [MSNBC president] Rashida Jones requested me what I wished to do subsequent, I instructed her I wished a present. Rashida’s response was, “Effectively, what sort of present would you have got?” That was the primary time anybody allowed me to element the imaginative and prescient that was in my mind. There have been people that instructed me they didn’t see me a lot as a political particular person. They noticed me as doing one thing else, which could be very attention-grabbing, as a result of I’ve labored on the highest stage of politics. I labored at each stage, really. I ponder, would they be saying that to me if my title was Tim, and I used to be 35 years outdated? I don’t know.

symone sanders and rashida jones

Sanders and Jones.

MSNBC/Shannon Finney

How did you begin to craft the imaginative and prescient to your present?

I’m a recovering communications staffer. In that position, I used to be usually essential of the media equipment, and I began to consider the issues that I’ve been essential about and what I’d do in a different way. If I’m essential of the truth that I don’t suppose sufficient individuals within the media break issues down or spend time to peel again the layers of a narrative or are as intentional as they may very well be concerning the phrases that they use to explain issues, then I’ve to make it possible for, now that I’ve this chance, that’s what I’m doing.

I additionally actually took time with the executives at Peacock and MSNBC in order that they might get to know me. The present is titled Symone; it’s me bringing my perspective. They will’t assist me craft a present in the event that they don’t know who I’m. So I had plenty of conversations about who I’m, what I consider, my background. I like to explain myself as a bald, curvy Black woman from North Omaha, Nebraska. So I believe I’m totally different than plenty of the opposite individuals on the market on tv.

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You’ve additionally talked about wanting to succeed in the “non-political group chats” along with your present. What’s your technique for making {that a} actuality?

First, now we have to have conversations that individuals who don’t reside in Washington, D.C. are having and use the phrases that they use. I simply checked on my scripts for our follow rehearsal as we speak, and in one of many scripts, it stated “GOP.” I stated, “What does GOP imply?” and all people checked out me like I used to be being loopy. I stated, “Effectively, I do know what it means, however I need you to know, common individuals don’t know what GOP means.” I didn’t know what it meant till six months into dwelling in Washington, D.C. So you’ll want to say “Republicans.” Let’s simply say what we’re making an attempt to say. I wish to break it down and make it plain and be direct. The second a part of that technique is that we’re using a sturdy digital technique. I’m 32 years outdated; once I get up within the morning, the very first thing I do—don’t inform my new boss—however I don’t activate the TV. I’m checking Twitter, Instagram, my e-mail, and my textual content messages. The primary time I activate the information might be once I get within the automotive. And I’m plugged in, proper? I care about what’s occurring. There are such a lot of individuals like me. These are your non-political group chat people.

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How about your private type and the visuals on the present?

My major coloration on my present is inexperienced. My emblem is whimsical, and I’m bringing the style. I instructed the group, “Give me all of the standup pictures. I can placed on a cute shoe.” I’ll always remember at this seminar in D.C., again once I was an intern, they stated individuals in D.C. actually solely put on three colours to work: black, grey, and darkish blue. I used to be considering, oh my God, I used to be about to put on a colorblock jumpsuit to work the following day. Can I not put on my jumpsuit? I wore my jumpsuit! And I’ll proceed to put on my jumpsuits. I’ll rock my daring lip, as a result of it doesn’t simply must look a technique.

You as soon as stated working for Vice President Harris was the primary skilled state of affairs the place you noticed a lady that regarded such as you, making historical past each day, able of energy. How did that have have an effect on the way you strategy your profession and the way you present up in these areas?

I’ve discovered one thing from everybody I’ve labored for, and the factor that I discovered from Vice President Harris was a dedication to diligence. She is devoted to creating positive she will get it proper, and that’s what she expects out of her workers. Additionally, I had the chance to spend so much of time together with her, and I by no means as soon as noticed her let what individuals have stated about her maintain her from doing her job. She obtained up each single day and continued to go to work and make house for different individuals. That’s one thing I’ll all the time take with me. I’ve a duty to maintain the bar excessive and substantive, but in addition ensure that I’m opening up doorways for the folks that come behind me.

My anchor producer, who additionally serves as my assistant, is a younger Black lady who not too long ago graduated from faculty. I’ve a duty to make it possible for she has work expertise, that she sees me standing up for myself and the individuals on my group, that she sees me holding different individuals accountable, that she sees me keep true to who I’m. I need her and the entire different younger individuals, whether or not they’re Black, white, Native American, Asian American, Pacific Islander, or in any other case, to know that you would be able to stroll into an area and be your self and do a rattling good job. That it’s okay to face up for your self. That it’s alright to convey your totally different perspective into the room⁠—simply do your analysis. I felt that once I labored for the Vice President.

symone sanders talking to a group of reporters  after the eighth democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season

Sanders talking to media after the eighth Democratic major debate of the 2020 presidential marketing campaign season.


You talked about that while you determined to depart the White Home, you wanted a break. How has your relationship to relaxation and self-care advanced over time?

I’m very protecting of my relaxation and self-care. I like going to the nail salon, but it surely’s not simply because I like large, fabulous nails; it’s my time to decompress. Household can be extraordinarily necessary to me. I misplaced my father 5 years in the past. He died unexpectedly, and I dove proper again into work. This occurred in 2017, and no one would’ve identified that whereas I used to be driving the best of highs—I used to be a commentator on the time, I used to be touring—I used to be actually struggling. I used to be unhappy considering via the entire issues I missed with my father, the calls I didn’t return, the texts I didn’t ship, the occasions I made a decision to not go residence. Within the aftermath of my father’s passing, I used to be so regretful. I’ve his textual content messages saved to my laptop. However I don’t wish to must reside via textual content messages for anyone else that I like. I need to have the ability to reside via the good reminiscences that we’ve had. However I can’t try this if all I do is figure. I’m enthusiastic about this present and the alternatives earlier than me. However I additionally care about my household and prioritize my psychological well being. I really feel nothing however pure, unadulterated pleasure proper now, and if I wish to proceed to reside in that house, I’ve to be intentional about defending my peace.

This interview has been evenly edited and condensed for readability.

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