Getting Personal: Amanda Bossard

Getting Personal: Amanda Bossard

Getting Personal is a Q&A with a local personality. Today, 23-year-old Champaign resident Amanda Bossard chats with The News-Gazette's Paul Wood. Bossard is the Champaign bureau chief for WAND-TV.

What is most interesting to you right now?

At the risk of sounding simple, I'm really interested in improving my cooking skills right now. After years of eating takeout daily, I recently received a slow cooker as a gift, and I've spent a lot of my free time trying out new recipes. My first attempt was chili, and I must admit it came out better than I expected, so I plan on putting that recipe to good use during the upcoming winter months.

What's something people don't know about you?

I speak Spanish fluently. My mother was born in Cuba and immigrated to the U.S. as a child, so when I was growing up, she spoke to me in Spanish every chance she could in hopes that I would learn the language. Now, as an adult, I can hold my own in conversation, which comes in handy during our family gatherings, which are usually very loud, high-energy and a ton of fun.

What do you love about TV news?

I love that every day brings something different. Most days, I arrive at my office without a firm idea of what I'll be covering for the evening newscasts. I enjoy the collaboration that takes place during our morning meetings to figure out which stories I should pursue. The subsequent adrenaline rush that comes while I'm running around to get my interviews and video with enough time to meet my deadlines is what I thrive on.

What's the favorite story you've done?

My job has given me the opportunity to tell hundreds of stories, so it's hard to choose just one. However, a story that stands out in my mind was about a husband and wife celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. That's a major milestone for any married couple, but Rich and DeeDee Adams were unique because in their 50 years of wedded bliss, they had never seen each other; they were both blind. Listening to them tell their love story from start to present, and hearing about how they raised five children — who all had vision — was beyond inspiring, and I'm very proud of how my depiction of their life together came out. It also sparked some national and international attention, making it all the way to Germany.

What made you come here from New Jersey? Do you miss it?

I'm a Jersey girl born and raised, but I had my first introduction to the Midwest when I moved to a Chicago suburb for college (I attended Northwestern University. Go 'Cats!). After my four years were up, I didn't want to leave the Midwest, so I started applying for jobs throughout the region. When I visited central Illinois during my interview at WAND, I felt right at home and knew this was the place for me. While I do miss my family and friends back in New Jersey, I've been lucky to make many friends in Champaign and beyond and receive such a warm welcome by this community.

As a Northwestern grad, how do you feel when they play the Illini?

I am full of Purple Pride, so whenever my Wildcats take on the Illini, you'll find me chanting "Go 'Cats!" without restraint.

You love to dance — did you take lessons?

My love of dance stems from the fact that I began taking lessons at the ripe old age of 2. My mother enrolled me in a dance class for toddlers, and I caught the groove bug there and then. As I grew up, I refined my focus to ballet and danced competitively for a few years before deciding to focus on musical theater in high school.

What time do you typically get up? What do you do the first hour of the morning?

My alarm goes off at 6 a.m., but it typically takes me about 15 minutes before I finally get out of bed. Once I'm awake, I go to the gym, where I spend about 20 minutes on the stationary bike and another 30 on the elliptical, all while catching up on emails, skimming through The News-Gazette and watching "WAND Today" so I'm well-versed in the news of the day by the time I get to the office.

What do you regard as your most treasured possession?

Before my great-aunt passed away, she gifted me with a beautiful sapphire ring that never leaves my finger. Unfortunately, while traveling back from a vacation in Costa Rica, I noticed the ring was missing, and I was devastated. I spent weeks digging through luggage in hopes that it was misplaced while packing, and when that search hit a dead-end, I reached out to hotels, airports and airlines with some far-fetched dream that someone found it and would return it. But no luck there either. Months later, as I was preparing to make the move to Champaign, I dropped an earring that bounced underneath my bedroom dresser. As I crouched down to retrieve it, I spotted something glimmering and, assuming it was the earring, reached out to grab it. You can only imagine my shock when I opened my hand to reveal my great-aunt's ring. Call me superstitious, but I took it as a sign that she was with me in spirit as I was beginning a new chapter in my life. I immediately took it to get resized, and it hasn't left my finger since.

Do you have a guilty pleasure and what is it?

My guilty pleasure would have to be crime dramas. I can confidently say I've watched just about every episode of "Law and Order: SVU," "CSI" and "Criminal Minds," just to name a few. My viewing habits usually consist of me being curled up on the couch, with a pint of Ben & Jerry's "Everything But The " in hand.

What book are you reading now? What is your favorite book ever?

I'm currently reading "Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania" by Erik Larson. I really enjoyed his earlier novel, "The Devil in the White City," so I felt compelled to read another one of Larson's books. However, my all-time favorite book would have to be "Gone Girl." I'm a huge fan of thrillers.

Where on Earth are you dying to go? Why?

I would love to go to Europe, although exactly where in the continent is up for debate. I adore culture, architecture and history, and that part of the world is so rich in all three. The fact that it lends itself to adventure as well is a bonus.

Tell me about your favorite pet.

My family adopted a newborn black cat with white paws when I was 6 years old, so naturally I named her Mittens. She was an indoor pet but would try to slip outside every time a door was opened, which led to our family joking that she was a cat that truly lived all nine lives to the fullest. She was my small, sassy and adorable companion for 17 years. Unfortunately, we had to say goodbye to her recently, but I never imagined a cat could be so loyal or that I could love an animal so devotedly.

What would you order for your last meal?

Pizza. An endless amount of pizza.

What's your best piece of advice?

When I first started working at WAND, a co-worker told me, "whatever you do, don't freak out." It seemed like a simple statement at the time, but it's proven to be a great phrase to live by, especially in my line of work, where things can get hectic at a moment's notice.

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