Having worked with her I had the pleasure of interviewing Mrs Tarnia Green in an interview to remember.
When Dominicans hear the name Tarnia Green they usually automatically think of the Government Information Service. What is it like having a job play such a big part in how people perceive you?
Working with Information arm of the Government of Dominica on Television for almost two decades (17 years) with two administrations, it’s no wonder why people would automatically associate me with the Government Information Service (GIS).
People have been able to perceive Tarnia based on what they have seen as an outsider or a viewer. I’ve had my challenges in my career but I’ve always allowed my professionalism to outshine the lows. Early on in the game I understood that being perceived in a positive light will help shape my reputation as a TV personality.
My presence on Television for many meant that I was a political target good or bad. That said, I’ve always kept in mind that perception is not necessarily truth. I stand firm by the belief that irrespective of how I am perceived my character ultimately belongs to me and the spirit that I’ve been able to continuously build on.
You’ve been called ‘One of the most respected and admired public news journalists and news anchors in Dominica’ how do you feel about that?
For me my job was never about fame. What was more important to me was always remaining down to earth and getting the job done to the best of my ability consistently and professionally.
It meant working with politicians, public servants and the public locally, regionally and internationally. It meant developing a relationship where people believed in and placed value on the quality of my work. It meant working with young aspiring journalists like yourself to realize their dreams. It meant never compromising my journalistic standards.
Having such a huge following in Dominica meant that I had to maintain the standards I had set myself as a media professional. I am humbled that people have such admiration for my work. I was happy to have served in such a capacity, to have realized my career goals and to have left such an indelible mark.
How did you manage work plus an active social life?
That’s an interesting question Kerdisha. While my job as a Media practitioner over the years has been demanding, it never got to the point where it became overwhelming.
Fortunate for me, balancing work and my social life has not been difficult due to the wonderful support base that I possess with my family.
My family have always understood the demands of my job, the obligations and the responsibilities that came with it and always availed themselves to be there and assist me when the need arose.
Throughout the years, I have been blessed to sufficiently meet my social commitments while at the same time adequately perform my responsibilities at work.
There’s a lot of pressure that comes with constantly being in the spotlight (which I’m beginning to realize) how do you deal with the constant critique?
There are several misconceptions about the life of a television news personality. Many people get carried away about the fame you’re sure to get or the celebrities with whom you’ll be rubbing elbows, but let’s get real about the profession of journalism.
It’s true that you might have a chance to meet a celebrity or powerful politician and even be on TV, but journalism involves a lot more thankless hard work than just showing up and getting your makeup done. To survive and thrive in the industry, I’ve learnt that one has to be ready for long hours, low pay and plenty of stress about deadlines.
Being a news anchor/ reporter has not always been glamorous as some would like to think. Falling victim to a lot of pressure is really an understatement Kerdisha. The pressure lies when you feel like you almost have to exhibit a perfect persona at all times on and off television.
Some people have failed to realize that apart from being a television personality, I am first human, a woman, a mother, a wife, a sister, a friend and is faced with life’s daily challenges like everyone else. This means I have good days and bad days. Being a TV news anchor you’re automatically placed on a pedestal as being near perfect.
The greatest challenge of it all is that very often I yearn privacy and to enjoy the basic luxury of being anonymous.
How do I deal with constant critique? I know for a fact that not all criticism is bad. I am open to accept constructive criticism and very importantly I try to understand what is being said to me. I analyze and see if there is any truth to what is being said and make plans to address the concern. I appreciate constructive criticism and thank my critiques for being honest with me. These experiences have helped me to grow in mental strength, and continuously live my life on a positive trajectory.
What would you say was a significant event which shaped your media career?
I think participating in the Miss Dominica National Queen Pageant back in 1997 really helped pave the way for my acceptance of my career as a Media personality. I did not win the pageant title but that experience taught me fundamentals of having a dream and pursuing it, in spite of criticism and opposition. That experience taught me the lesson of how to rise when you fall. It taught me the need to embrace opinions and it really propelled me to embrace my media career. I did that by getting out of my comfort zone and I pushed myself into the unknown with my passion and purpose in mind.
The introduction of your show “The Tarnia Green Show” was well received by so many….what made you decide to create such a program?
As I blossomed in my media career, I felt the need to do more than just report Government news. Working with the Government Information Service (GIS) for all these years had sadly restricted me to echoing only the messages of the Government. I felt that with such a huge following on Television, I could use that medium to explore other topics of national interest, hence the idea of developing my own Television show. I wanted to bring another side of me, a lighter, fun and more socially balanced persona to my audience. I had a burning desire for creating meaningful content while at the same time inspiring others especially women and youth. When I became the Media Operations Manager with Digicel/SAT telecoms in 2014, this presented the ideal opportunity for me to launch my own Television talk show.
Being in the limelight also affects our family…how did your son deal with having such a well-known mother?
He is still dealing with it…. Since his birth he has always known his mom to be on Television. Today I’m excited to admit that my son Nathaniel has developed into such a mature teenager- I am so blessed to have him as a son and I love him unconditionally. He is truly the best thing that has ever happened to me. I believe he is very proud to call me his mom, because of the positive way people perceive me. He had the rare experience of appearing as a guest on my show in 2014. He got to be interviewed by his mom on National Television. That memory will forever be etched in our minds. Being in the limelight as you call it Kerdisha, has not had any adverse effect on Nathaniel. He feels very proud to have a role model as his mother. He often tells me about the questions that his peers ask about me.
Your work in media has taken you across the globe… what are some lessons that you have learned while traveling?
Traveling has taught me more about myself and about the world than all of my years of institutionalized education. Quite frankly, I attribute most of my travel experiences to my career as a Media practitioner working with the Government of Dominica. I recall, I received my first visitor’s visa to the United States several moons ago because of a travel assignment abroad. My overseas travels, undoubtedly have broadened my scope for acquiring knowledge about different cultures, politics, social way of life, languages, etc. spanning from the Caribbean to as far as the Asian continent.
Having these first hand multi-cultural experiences has helped me better understand people, it has broadened my perspective on many issues that were otherwise misrepresented in the media. My trip to Cuba for example was definitely an eye opening experience. During that visit, I had many misconceptions about the island cleared up. On my visit to China, I was most impressed with the work ethics exhibited by the people of China and their desire to succeed at all levels. In a nutshell, during my travels, I’ve met unforgettable people, developed my confidence and have definitely become a more resourceful person.
If you had to give advice to a young Tarnia what would it be?
- Place more emphasis on Education at a young age
- Be less trusting of strangers
- Stop trying to predict and control the future and enjoy life
- Read more
- Don’t ever get married at 21
Can you give three facts about yourself that people would be surprised to know?
- I have a strong spiritual background and was raised fellow-shipping with the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
- I am very domesticated, loves cooking and entertaining guests.
- I am a side of a twin, was born on a moving vehicle and weighed 3 pounds 11 ounces at birth.