At a time in her life when many of her contemporaries are trading in their press passes for a ticket to retirement’s easy street, NBC’s ageless whirlwind, Andrea Mitchell, is stepping it up. The network’s chief foreign affairs correspondent, who also hosts the hour-long Andrea Mitchell Reports daily on MSNBC, has been in her element during the Middle East crisis, starting many mornings at 7 on MSNBC’s Morning Joe and NBC’s Today, and signing off after 9 p.m. following her NBC Nightly News hit and perhaps an appearance on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show. “These are ridiculous hours,” she says, “but I guess I just love what I do.”
But the question is: How, at 64, does she outrun competitors and look like she’s just arrived for her Oscar red carpet glamor walk? Mostly it’s the rush of adrenaline—and Starbucks. “You never stop . . . it’s now absolutely really 24-7,” says Mitchell, who received the National Press Foundation’s Sol Taishoff Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism this week.
There are tricks, and physical fitness is key, says the stylish Mitchell. Like many gym rats, she’s a fan of the results, not what it takes to get them. When she’s not on the air, she hits the free weights and treadmill with her trainer at 7 a.m. But asked her favorite exercise, she concedes, “I hate it all.” That’s not the case on weekends, when she plays tennis with her hubby, former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan. “I love playing tennis,” she says.
Diet is also huge. Up at 5:30 a.m., she washes down a single banana with a quad espresso. “And the fifth shot that my husband brings me in the morning to get me up,” she adds. Lunch is a salad. Dinner is fish or chicken, with veggies. “No meat,” she says, though she’s got a big sweet tooth. Peanut M&M’s are her secret. “Red, of course!” she adds.
And looking good on TV, especially in the age of high definition, requires a nose for fashion and makeup. She won’t endorse any product, but Mitchell’s partial to Armani cosmetics. And her hair color? Well, she laughs, there’s evidence she used to be a brunette, but “I’ve not turned gray,” she swears.
“I’d like to think that people want to know what we’re saying and reporting,” she says. “People, I hope, get something from the fact that there are a lot of older women on the air now, we’ve got something to offer, and we’ve learned something over the years.”
As for the future, she’ll continue reporting “as long as they’ll have me,” she adds. “I hope I’m an example that you can keep being productive and have fun and be healthy.”
Illustration by Ed Wexler for USN&WR.