All About Global BC’s Anne Drewa

The award-winning broadcaster chats about her unusual career path and where she can be found when she's not in front of the cameras

If life had run a different course, Anne Drewa might have raced as an Olympian. In fact, the five-foot-10 North Vancouver native won a scholarship to UBC for athletics, but eventually traded her Olympic dreams for a career in broadcasting.

Drewa’s first on-air job took her to a now-defunct TV station in Red Deer, Alberta, before her move to CTV in Halifax, where she spent five years honing her skills. In 2005, she returned home to the West Coast and now finds herself juggling reporting duties with running the weekend anchor desk at Global BC.

Anne Drewa says she was once a shy young girl with dreams of becoming a professional athlete. Credit: Linda Mackie of Linda Mackie Photography

In this exclusive interview, Drewa sat down to chat about the path her life has taken, the best parts of her job, and why she’s still searching for the perfect mate.

Q&A with Anne Drewa

Was it your childhood dream to become a broadcaster?

No, because I’m really shy by nature. I was the girl who, when the doorbell rang at the house, I’d run upstairs. I always had dreams about going to the Olympics as an athlete. I’m an all-or-nothing person. I put my whole heart into something; there’s no halfway with me, so when I got into [sports] I did okay. It got me to UBC [on scholarship] as part of the varsity team. Even after university, I was still thinking, ‘Can I make a go of this?’ But those girls are so immensely talented and you have to give up so much . . .

How did you transition into television?

I come from a family where we’d have discussions around the table — I have a brilliant father and brother — so I thought about going into broadcasting, but I thought it might be a bit of a rat race. I took one night course at BCIT and I thought, ‘I kind of like this!’ I didn’t like the sound of my own voice, though. I hated it! I got discouraged, but the instructor said, “Hang in there,” so I did.

So your instructor recognized a natural ability?

I don’t know . . . I wasn’t sold on it. I went to BCIT and it was a great program, but I wasn’t at the top of my class or anything. I have an English Lit degree, so I was used to long-form writing, so I struggled with that. There’d be times I’d go to these press conferences and I’d just be overwhelmed, and to turn it around in 30 seconds was tough.

There are thousands of broadcasting grads and only a few anchor seats — how did you manage to beat the odds?

I think the key is, and what sports has taught me, is there are no free lunches. So honestly, it was pure work and pure determination. I really believe you’ve got to follow your passion. I love what I do. I really don’t care if you want to be a chef or a doctor, or a nurse or a fireman or a broadcast journalist — if you want to do it, and if you stick to it, I totally believe it will happen.

And you’re an award-winner, too.

I wouldn’t say I’m an award-winner. I’ve won a couple of awards. I should be due for hopefully one in the future. [Laughs] I gotta work harder on that!

Credit: Linda Mackie of Linda Mackie Photography

If broadcasting hadn’t panned out, what other careers might you have considered?

I thought about law. I thought about teaching, and I actually started coaching kids after I graduated from university and I really did enjoy that. Do I think I would’ve been good at law? Probably not. I think I’m too emotional for law. It’s very meticulous, and I think that this [broadcasting] is more creative and you meet all sorts of great people. I know it sounds really cliché, but one day I’m at a court case and the next day I’m finding a rare bird from Japan in New Westminster — it’s all over the map, and I like that.

Has there ever been an interview subject who really intimidated you?

I don’t think anyone intimidates me too much. I think when I started out it was a bit intimidating, but I think that’s natural.

Has anyone in particular really impressed you?

I think people who are dealing with adversity: they impress me. You learn a lot from people, you know? People who have gone through tragedy and yet they’re still so generous, and still so kind and their world is coming down, and they’re still so composed: that impresses me. I always say it’s an honour to interview people, especially when you’re getting their most intimate moments when they’re really vulnerable.

What’s the best part of your job?

I love the variety, I love the people I work with. I think the camaraderie, the dedication in the newsroom. That’s what I’ve noticed compared to other newsrooms. I haven’t worked in a lot of newsrooms, but there’s a real dedication there — from the editor to the assignment editor to the reporter. Everyone is working hard for the final product. You don’t always get that, but you do at our shop. We come together, sometimes we agree, sometimes we don’t, but everyone’s dedicated to delivering the best-quality product.

After your time in Halifax, what’s the best thing about being back home?

Oh my God, where do I start? I love being close to my family. I’m pretty close to my mom and dad. My dad is like my best friend. I love the Maritimes, don’t get me wrong. It’s a beautiful part of the country, and I fully enjoyed my five years there, but the mild temperatures [in Vancouver] are a plus. I’m back skiing on the mountains, which I try to do as much as possible. I love golf, though I’m not great at it. I just love Vancouver, you know? It’s beautiful, and I just love getting up and going down to the seawall and unwinding. It’s hard to beat.

Does it bother you to get recognized?

No, it comes with the territory. And I don’t consider myself a celebrity, I consider myself . . . I’m Anne — pretty down to earth.

What’s the worst part of your job?

You know what? I would say if I had to get up super-early in the morning, that would be difficult. I did that out east. I’m not a super-early morning person, I’m a night owl, so doing the late night is perfect. [At my previous job] I had to get up at like 3 a.m., and I couldn’t fall asleep; that’s the problem. I would be falling asleep at midnight and getting up three hours later. I could never fall asleep at eight at night.

Your parents must be so proud of you.

I don’t think my dad has missed a single newscast. He was a mechanical engineer, retired now, and I know he wanted to be a journalist, so he takes a special interest.

Have you ever had an embarrassing on-air moment?

I’m trying to think . . . You know what, I’m sure there was one.

But nothing that stands out?

Not yet. Not yet! [Laughs]

Credit: Linda Mackie of Linda Mackie Photography

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

Well, I think it’s the shyness because people think I’m pretty direct and suffer no fools. And I’m very shy by nature — for me to walk into a room, I’m still very shy. I’m still that little girl.

So how did that shy girl end up in front of the camera?

Because I don’t see anyone when I’m in front of the camera — it’s just me and the camera. I think you put on your body armour and you go out there. You can’t be shy, if you’re shy, nothing’s going to happen, so you’re in business mode. Outside of this, I keep it pretty low key. I’m pretty easy to please, even though I may look high maintenance. Simple pleasures . . .

What are some of your favourite local hangouts?

I’m on the ski hill, I’m running, I’m golfing, I’m spending time with friends. I have a massive appetite, so I like a good meal. I’m liking what’s happening in Gastown right now: L’Abattoir, Bonita. I like going to some of the cocktail bars at the Four Seasons.

Do you still run?

Yeah, big time! This is the funny thing, people think I’m a marathoner or a long-distance runner. I wasn’t. I’m an 800-metre runner. I don’t like going on long, long runs, but I do because I need to keep in shape. I love working out, it’s in my blood. I started skiing on the hills at the age of three. I was active from an early age, and that doesn’t leave you. I’m pretty disciplined that way, pretty hard on myself that way.

Are you married?

No. I’m single. I haven’t found the right one yet. It’s hard to find a match. I’ve had my share of boyfriends, certainly — people say I could write a book! — but I haven’t found the right one. And I think it’s because I have many close, fantastic men in my life.

My best friend is a guy; my brother and me are tight; my dad and me are tight. They’re really great guys. I think that’s my bar. It’s what I grew up with, it’s what I know. These are compassionate, intelligent men with substance. Someone asked me the other day, “Who’s your perfect guy?” And I said, “My perfect guy has the looks of [Jon] Bon Jovi and the substance of my father.”

That’s a tall order. I know that’s not gonna happen, and I’m perfectly fine on my own. Like my dad says, the wrong guy would be like a noose around your neck.

Originally published in TVW. For daily programming updates and on-screen Entertainment news, subscribe to the free TVW e-newsletters, or purchase a subscription to the weekly magazine.