Broadcast news is loaded with glamor. Anchors and on-air talent are relentlessly sized up for their audience appeal. It's a high-wire act, especially for women, who are typically judged harshly on their looks -- by other women as well as men. Once the red light on the camera goes on, they're working without a net.
Memphis anchor Pam McKelvy decided enough was enough. She had gone through dozens of styles, with wigs and her own hair, as female news anchors do to stay current with fashion trends. Breast cancer treatment took her hair, so the wigs went on and stayed -- until a week and a half ago.
McKelvy is a news anchor at WMC-TV5 in Memphis. Like many of the news anchors who make the "hottest women TV anchors" lists that have sprouted up all over the Internet, McKelvy is a former beauty queen. She was Miss Kansas in 1992 and a runner-up in the Miss America pageant. She's been in news broadcasting for 15 years.
Narrating a feature piece about women and hair, folding her own story into it, McKelvy describes the pressures on women in public life, particularly the ongoing critique about their appearances. Overlaid with sexism is racism and, particularly for women in television, ageism. She speaks without bitterness about chemo's effects, her embrace of her natural hair, and her gratitude for being alive.
It was a bold gesture from a brave heart. Watch it here.