For the second season of her daytime talkshow, TV veteran Tamron Hall wanted to bring back the same pull-up-a-chair ethos she created in season one. After all, Hall's goal with the show has always been to create a space where everyone can be a part of the conversation. "I used to say when I went into the pitch meetings, I want to set a table and whatever your chair is, it can be a height chair, it can be a barstool, that you’re able to pull up your chair and have a conversation," Hall tells Woman's Day. "Sometimes difficult, sometimes fun, sometimes inspiring, but that you have a seat at the table."
And if Hall's 20-year-old self were to pull up a seat at the table, 50-year-old Hall has a few things she would tell her. The first is that she's not alone. The second is that, "when you're sitting there looking at your career and it's not working out exactly as you thought, it's easy to hide it, it's easy to mask-up. But vulnerability is strength."
Finding the strength in being vulnerable is something that Hall has taken years to learn, and something she's struggled with since childhood. "My dad was in the Army for 30 years, my mom was a single mom at 19, and a lot of the times, I felt the need to be tough," Hall says.
"I call him my dad: He is my stepfather, but I've always said that I was born to a different father, but God brought in the man who should be my dad — and that is Clarence Newton Sr.," Hall wrote in an essay for Today. She continued on in that essay to share how her father's time in the military "brought discipline" into her life. And though she says she's grateful for the ways that sense of discipline has prepared her for her life and career, there is an element of toughness that can seem antithetical to publicly sharing one's vulnerability.
Hall also built an armor for herself during her time at Temple University in Philadelphia, where she went to school. "So much of what I learned about resilience I learned the four years I lived in Philadelphia," Hall said to ABC6 News. "It teaches you how to take a punch and it teaches you how to get up from a punch. Everything about the city is, to me, the spirit of our show, which is to never give up."
But now, as a 50-year-old television staple, she realizes that being tough doesn't mean hiding emotions. "Now I wish I could tell my 20-year-old self being vulnerable is being tough," Hall says. "I always tried to shield the pain or hide the fear or mask it. And we don't have to do that. You don't have to do that."
Of course, Hall is still a tough woman. But these days she gives herself the space and acceptance to balance her toughness with vulnerability. "It's OK to get in a room with a bottle of wine and cry your eyeballs out," she says. "It's OK to get with a couple of friends on a phone call and use a few choice F-bombs when you're pissed and feel like giving up. That's OK." And after you've had your cry session or your emotional regroup with friends, get back to it. "Sometimes I'm tired of pretending to be strong," Hall says. "So it's like OK, I'm good, let me be weak. Then I'll get up the next day, and I'll get her done."
Tamron Hall begins season two on Sept. 14. Each episode will re-air on OWN.
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