#HASHTAG: MARIA PONTICIELLO
By Dustin O’Regan
By Dustin O’Regan
When it comes to understanding the how, what, or why of Chicago weather, just ask Highland Park resident MARIA PONTICIELLO, who spends a good part of her day analyzing the atmosphere. Ponticiello was born, spent half of her life, and initially started her on-air career in Mexico City. Moving to Highland Park after meeting her now husband of 25 years, she continued her on-air career at NBC Universal/Telemundo Chicago, where she won 11 Emmy Awards. She wore many hats during the 20 years at Telemundo, including hosting a daily entertainment show called Acceso Total, interviewing A-list celebrities, covering hard news stories, and bringing in New Year’s Eve with the “New Year’s Special Countdown.” Ponticiello reinvented herself when she was asked to be a backup weather anchor. She absolutely fell in love with maps, fronts, the jet stream, the clouds’ physics, and all the science, so she decided to go back to school and get a degree in Meteorology and Geoscience from Mississippi State University. Today, Ponticiello works at Univision Chicago as a weather anchor and aside from her love of forecasting, is constantly learning how to tackle environmental issues and learning new ways to be more kind to Mother Earth. When she is not in front of the green screen, she loves yoga and visiting her daughters Nico and Louise, who attend universities in L.A. and New York respectively. This Emmy-Award winner stepped away from the microphone recently to share how she stays current.
I am a huge reader. No matter what is going on in my life good or bad, books bring me pleasure, knowledge, and inspiration. Although my favorite genre is historical fiction, I try to read a little bit of everything (poetry, scientific essays, biographies, etc.). Currently, at the recommendation of a friend, I am reading The Heart’s Invisible Furies by Irish author John Boyne. But along with my current book, I always keep next to my bed a masterpiece called When Things Fall Apart by Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön. This is an incredible book full of wisdom that encourages readers to NOT run away from the pain we experience in life but rather move toward painful situations with friendliness and curiosity to extract valuable lessons from them.
I love the Instagram account of former supermodel Paulina Porizkova. Her content is simply great! She talks with honesty about how hard aging can be for women in today’s world and her reluctance to get Botox, fillers, and surgeries. She is always trying to shed light on women over 50, who are typically forgotten or invisible and even shamed for not fitting the mold of beauty standards.
I wish I could say that I listen to a lot of super cool podcasts, but the reality is that most of the time I am using my phone, it is to consult National Weather Service and other institutions/apps dedicated to weather and climate. However, the last podcast I heard that got me pretty hooked was Predators I’ve Caught with Chris Hansen. These episodes recall the most notorious cases of Hansen’s former show, which I used to love.