Journalism is all about the best stories surrounding the most unique people or events. Some are considered about amazing topics with creative people. Podcaster and Online Talk Show host Juliet Lemar is here to tell us about the steps she is taking to have a successful career in Journalism. Ms. Lemar has had the inspiration, drive, and focus of what she wants in her career and where she intends to go on as her rise to success continues. Here she tells us what inspired her to go into this field and where it has led her today career wise.
Q: How much do you do in the entertainment field?
A: I am a creative producer, on-camera talent, multimedia journalist, and podcaster. Currently, I am head of the video department for 6 local news and entertainment outlets, the producer and host of the online real estate show “Westside Cribz”, and the creator and host of the multi-media show ‘Life Reflected’: A guest centric show striving to show the limitless possibilities of human growth and kindness.
Q: You are a tv producer, on-camera personality, multimedia journalist, and podcaster correct?
A: Since a young age I have always wanted to “See it all.” This curiosity in the world around me pushes me to learn everyday and strive to improve myself with each challenge.
As a former National Champion gymnast the drive, precision, and discipline required to excel at a highly competitive level never leaves you. One of my favorite quotes is by Rosylnn Carter and I think it sums up my career thus far – “Outwork, outsmart, outperform, live life like you mean it”.
Winning isn’t about beating someone else, it’s about achieving your own personal best. Currently I am living my life in a non scarcity mentality. When you help others achieve their highest potential.
Q: What inspired you to do all these activities?
A: My unquenchable curiosity drives me to explore many different outlets in the entertainment industry. All with the common thread of storytelling. Since I was a child I have always been an entertainer. I was constantly acting, singing, dancing, and storytelling. My career was similar to many. Until 5 years ago when my life changed forever.
The past 5 years of my life have molded me in ways I never imagined. I have been to the limits of my emotional, creative, physical and psychological being. Travel with me back in time for a moment.
In 2015, I got married. During my honeymoon in Thailand, my life was forever changed.
On our 2nd week in Thailand, I get a phone call from a family member. My cousin is frantically trying to tell me that something terrible has happened. My mother had a brain aneurysm that ruptured. She was being airlifted to the hospital and she might not survive; she might already be dead.
Ruptured brain aneurysms are fatal in about 40% of cases. Of those who survive, about 66% suffer some permanent neurological deficit. Approximately 15% of patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage die before reaching the hospital.
Time stops. I lose all sense of reality. Colors, sounds and feeling blur and spin. I spend the next several hours cycling through emotions of shock, panic and helplessness. Our phone connection is sparse; I receive very limited updates. The only thing I can grasp onto is a song that my mother used to sing to me as a child. I sing it over and over and over. Hours pass; day turns to night.
We get on the next flight back to the United States (a whole day later). The flight is 18 hours long. For an entire 24 hours and an 18 hour plane flight, I do not know if my mother is alive or dead. I am a tiny, fragile human journeying through spaces and moving through time.
I keep singing to myself. The same song over and over. It’s the only way to keep myself standing and moving forward. When I land in Taipei on a layover, I get an updated voicemail saying that my Mother is on life support. The message is from my father. “Nancy is on life support, she isn’t responding to anything, it doesn’t look good…” His voice trails off, the message ends. I look at the ceiling of the airport and pray for her to hold on; hold onto life.
I land in Virginia. It is the middle of winter. Finally back in the U.S and I call and get ahold of my Father. He tells me my Mother is still alive, minimally responding to touch and is now breathing on her own but it is still very critical. Arriving at the hospital, I quickly walk/run to the ICU. Feeling the sand still stuck to between my toes and on my feet, all the way from Thailand. Just a memory ago I was sitting on a beach basking in newlywed bliss. How quickly things change.
Tunnel vision as I find my mother’s room. She is hooked up to machines and laying very still. I go to her and I immediately start softly singing our song to her. I hold her hand; she squeezes. She is alive.
In order to stop the bleeding and repair the ruptured aneurysm, my mother Nancy must undergo and survive open brain surgery. The 8 – 10 hour surgery is agonizingly long. The doctor comes out and tells us the surgery was a success. But her future is still unknown.
Another brain surgery and 2 weeks of rehab later, Nancy is making progress towards recovery. She cannot walk on her own or speak in complete sentences. She doesn’t know who we are or where she is. Each day she makes very small progressions forward.
The neuro-rehab in Virginia has a time limit on how long a patient can stay for ‘in-patient recovery.’ After only 2 weeks of therapy, Nancy is discharged. She cannot walk, use the bathroom, or eat without assistance and is mentally very confused and unstable.
April 1st – two and a half months after her aneurysm. 2 days after her discharge from rehab.
Now I am back in Los Angeles while my parents are still in Virginia. I call my parents everyday to check in. On April first I call, my dad answers in a panic. “Nancy fell, she fell, she hit her head, she isn’t breathing.” I must have called him just after she fell.
I was driving on the 405 on my way to work. My foot releases the gas pedal, my car comes to a stop, complete panic fills me, helplessness, anger, rage. I am sitting alone in a sea of cars on the busiest interstate in Los Angeles, angry drivers honk at me, yelling for me to move.
I am frozen. For the second time in 3 months I know my mother is dead.
Instantly I fly back to Virginia and is different than the last time. I have no song, no hope, feeling separated from my reality. My life is moving in slow motion and I feel numb with panic. I come back to the familiar ICU. Slowly I enter to see her head is shaved, staples holding together the large incision from her most recent brain surgery. Her breath comes in an unnatural rhythm from a giant tube stuck down her throat. Life support. The machine fills her lungs like clockwork. I squeeze her hand, she doesn’t squeeze back. No sign of life or sign of her.
No change. 7 days pass. No change. The hospital arranges for us to meet with palliative care: the folks that help you through the process of taking someone off life support. They walk us through how her story will end. We meet with the trauma surgeons who work at the ICU. They tell us Nancy’s recovery is extremely unlikely. She will never live a normal life, she will never leave the hospital. The feeling of my body being crushed by the realization that I will be witnessing my mother’s last unnatural breath.
My father and I ask to speak with the neurosurgeon to get another final opinion. The Neurosurgeon who performed the surgery was the same doctor who saved her life the first time. He tells us there is no way of knowing how or if she will recover, he says “But I wouldn’t have operated if he didn’t think she had a chance.”
Hope: a small shimmer. We take a day to decide. My dad and I both agree she deserves a chance to fight. The next day, Nancy is given a tracheostomy (hole to breath through) and stomach feeding tube. Weeks pass. My dad and I take shifts at the hospital, never leaving her side.
One day she moves her pinky. A week later she opens her eyes with a blank stare. Her movements are random but she is waking up slowly. She breathes on her own. Months pass. She can’t talk, eat solid food, can’t sit up. My mom doesn’t know who we are. But the fire in her eyes is returning. Right now she is not herself. But she is fighting.
I arrange for her to be medically flown to Los Angeles to continue recovery at a SNF (skilled nursing facility) near our home. A year passes. She leans to walk, talk, eat and do daily personal care again. She slowly remembers who I am. Each step forward is slow and we have MANY setbacks.
Our time at the SNF is nothing short of hell. Uncaring staff, unsanitary facilities and an extreme lack of empathy. My father and I continue to rotate our vigilant caregiving, never leaving her side. Day and night. Everyday without fail.
5 years pass. Nancy has made incredible progress. She attends classes at Santa Monica community college. She volunteers at the library, sings in a choir, goes out dancing, cooks, gardens and takes the bus all around town! My moms life will never be the same as it was before but she has a life to live.
Recovery is never complete; it is an ever changing journey. A daily challenge. Each day brings: thankfulness, hope and pride alongside fear, frustration, and anger.
Throughout this journey many people showed us kindness. I have learned to never underestimate the impact ONE PERSON can have on an entire life.
Celebrities didn’t save Nancy’s life. TV shows and movies didn’t save her life. Instagram followers and twitter posts didn’t save her life. Everyday people saved her life. Anna and Stormy Gale, her nurses. The brain surgeons and social workers that never gave up hope. The bus driver that takes her to a free Traumatic Brain Injury recovery class run by amazingly caring and patient people. My father and my husband for their unwavering patience and persistence.
This experience changed how I tell stories, how I produce and write content, and what I believe matters in the world of entertainment, news, talk shows and podcasting.
My own traumatic experience was the catalyst to create my passion project
‘Life Reflected’. Our guests’ lives are not defined by their circumstance. Through sharing these stories we truly see the unlimited possibilities of human growth and kindness.
Q: Is there someone you would love to interview?
A: Terry Gross from NPR’s Fresh Air. She is my idol, role model, and favorite host of all time.
Q: If you had to pick one, which field would you choose?
A: I thrive in front of the camera talking to people on a human level. My disarming and empathic interview style allows for engaging and vulnerable conversations to form naturally with my guests allowing them to tell their story authentically. If I had to choose I would continue my path as a producer/on-camera personality acting as a conduit for epic conversations.
Q: Last, where do you hope your dreams will take you?
A: My ultimate goal is to have a platform that unifies and amplifies underheard voices through visual storytelling. Also, I have a goal list that includes Emmys, Webbys, and writing a best selling book.
Ms. Lemar seems to have what it takes to make an incredible. With her inspirations and back bone, she could possibly join the ranks of some of the greatest women in Journalism. Barbara Walters, Oprah Winfrey, Maria Shriver, and some day Juliet Lemar will join the ranks of these great female journalist. Her passion and interest in helping expose others will definitely be her boost for the career of her dreams. You can keep up with Ms. Lemar at the following pages below.
YouTube Life Reflected