“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” is a phrase we’ve heard a lot growing up — and now we have proof that it’s legit. Hoda Kotb had 27 job rejections in just over a week before landing her very first job in her field. Just the other day, she took over Matt Lauer’s spot on Today, making it the first time the television show had two women co-anchors. And that’s not all — she’s still expected to kick back with Kathie Lee Gifford during the 10 a.m. hour of Today, as she’s done since 2008, which means the talented anchor will get a lot of screentime.
Kotb hasn’t been shy about discussing her difficult journey to the top. Back in 2016, she revealed in an interview with SiriusXM that she only went to Virginia Tech since her sister did, and they didn’t have a big journalism program. Graduating in 1986, she realized she only had one job interview lined up, while her friends were steadily finding employment. That was just the inspiration she needed to take her mom’s car out and travel to various news outlets with her demo tape in hand.
Even though she had big dreams, she was told she was “too green” by an employee at the first place she looked. Yet that didn’t stop her.
After driving around for ten days, making various stops in which she was told she just wasn’t ready, she racked up 27 rejections.
Eventually, she had to go home since her mom needed the car. On the way back, she got lost in Mississippi and saw a station. Even though she thought she’d face another rejection, a man named Stan — who thought her name was “Hilda” — liked her and hired her on the spot.
We’re so inspired by Hoda Kotb’s story. If only she knew back in 1986 where she’d be today!