A Story of Her Own!
By Wendy M. Reynolds
The world is full of extraordinary people with amazing stories. Michaela Pereira is one such person. Every day she enters the homes and lives of people through the power of television. She captures and brings to light stories that impact the world around us.
Pereira started her career playing a variety of roles on Canadian television, including documentaries, commercials, and music videos. She obtained a job in 1994 on Canada’s CHEK-TV in Victoria, B.C. as a beat reporter and host of a magazine program. In 1998, she came to the U.S. to host “Internet Tonight” on San Francisco based cable network ZDTV. In 2004, Michaela joined KTLA as co-anchor of the KTLA 5 Morning News. Her excellent work and warm demeanor earned the respect of her peers and the heart of the community. In addition to anchoring, Michaela has obtained guest roles on nationally televised programs such as 7th Heaven; Everybody Hates Chris, and Entourage, as well as feature films like Street Kings.
Her amazing work has awarded her eight Emmy Awards, Three Radio & TV News Association Golden Mike Awards, and two Mark Twain Awards.
Michaela’s life off camera is even more amazing and intriguing than that of her professional life. She was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. She is African Canadian. Her biological mother was a White Canadian and her biological father was a Black Jamaican. The Thomsons, a white couple from British Columbia, adopted Michaela at the age of three months. Over time, the Thomsons would adopt five daughters of various ages. While Michaela is a Black Canadian, her four sisters are Native American. Although the family sometimes met with odd looks and even hostility from outsiders, Michaela’s parents provided her and her sisters with a very loving and stable family that she feels fortunate to have grown up in. According to Michaela, her parents “opened up their home to five little girls who, by other people’s definition, would be considered trash, throwaway children.”
It could have been the experience of the diversity of her family that gave Michaela the courage to pursue a career filled with people who looked nothing like her. She didn’t think she looked like a newscaster. She was curvier, her hair was curlier, and her skin tone darker than the people she saw on TV. She felt that her appearance wasn't what the general viewing public wanted to see. Her Black Jamaican and White Canadian blend resulted in a beautiful exotic look. Growing up watching the local Canadian stations and getting some U.S. feeds by way of Seattle, she saw no one in television she could connect to or pattern herself after. However, in spite of her apprehension, Michaela pursued and excelled in the field of broadcasting.
Michaela is not just active in front of the camera. She believes in being active in the community. She is involved with organizations such as The National Association of Black Journalists, The Black Journalist Association of Southern California, American Women in Television and Radio and the NAACP.
Michaela is a strong advocate for the rights of children (undoubtedly influenced by her upbringing). She serves as an advisory board member of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), supporting children in foster care, and co-chair of the advisory board of Optimist Youth Home, providing services for troubled youth. In addition, she is a member of the board of directors of the Long Beach Boys and Girls Club. Her hands on actions prove that Michaela doesn’t just talk the talk. She is touching lives and making a difference. What a beautiful thing!