In celebration of her being named Today’s new anchor, here are some interesting facts about this morning show icon.
Hota Kotb has been an integral part of America's morning routine for years, as she sips wine alongside Kathie Lee Gifford in the fourth hour of The Today Show. But now you can wake up with her, since she is officially the new host of NBC’s flagship morning show alongside Savannah Guthrie. In honor of this historic announcement (it’s the first time two women have hosted the morning show), here eight facts you might not know about the inimitable anchor.
She’s a breast cancer survivor.
If her journalistic career weren't inspiring enough, Kotb is also a cancer survivor. She was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent intensive treatment and a mastectomy in March 2007. Heading into 2018, she’s going on 10 years cancer free. She credits her older sister, Hala, for being an incredibly supportive influence during her trying time and calls her sibling “Miss Positive.” She wears a pink ring on her index finger as a reminder of her journey.
She adopted at age 52.
After cancer left Kotb unable to conceive a child, she decided to adopt with boyfriend Joel Schiffman. They became parents to newborn daughter, Haley Joy, in February 2017.
Her first name means “guidance” in Arabic.
Kotb is Egyptian-American. Her parents were born in Cairo and emigrated from Egypt to the U.S. before she was born. Though the name “Hoda,” might seem uncommon in the U.S., it’s a very popular name in Egypt. “I’ve walked down the streets in Cairo and someone yelled out ‘Hoda!’ and like 10 girls turned around,” Kotb said in a 2007 Today anchor chat. “I’m literally the Jane Smith of the Nile.”
She hosts her own SiriusXM radio talk show.
Not only has Kotb hosted an hour of Today for years, but she's also hosted a twice-weekly talk show on TODAY Show Radio since 2015. You can find her Mondays and Wednesdays on channel 108.
She starts her day with water, not coffee.
Being the host of a morning show requires you to be, well, a morning person. Kotb’s trick? The very first thing she does after waking up is down a bottle of room temperature water. She told People magazine in 2014 that it helps her stay alert.
She’s a big country music fan.
She started her career in New Orleans.
She was an anchor and reporter at local station WWL-TV for six years before she moved to a correspondent position at Dateline NBC in 1998. The things she misses most about living in New Orleans are the hugs and the sense of personal connection. “People […] look at you the way a relative would look at you,” she told Today.com in 2007.
She’s published four books.
She’s authored Hoda: How I Survived War Zones, Bad Hair, Cancer, and Kathie Lee (2010), Ten Years Later: Six People Who Faced Adversity and Transformed Their Lives (2013), and Where We Belong: Journeys That Show Us the Way (2016). Her newest literary project is a children’s book, I’ve Loved You Since Forever, which will be released this March.