Meteorologist Ginger Zee knows how to bring the thunder.
Zee is an author, adventurer, mother of two and of course, the chief meteorologist for ABC News and “Good Morning America.”
“I didn’t study reporting, I didn’t study television. I had studied meteorology,” Zee said about launching her career in broadcasting. “I had no idea what I was doing at first and I was like, ‘Fake it ’til you make it.'”
Zee definitely made it, but not without challenges. The 37-year-old struggled with anorexia and depression, topics she candidly talked about in her book, “Natural Disaster.”
“I dove into an eating disorder that took over my life,” Zee said about her high school years. “I wish I could go back and tell that girl that pizza is not evil and it’s not going to change your life 30 years from now.”
Six months before landing her first full-time meteorologist job in Flint, Michigan, Zee, who was 21, attempted suicide.
“I was very hard on myself and put so much pressure on myself,” she said about her struggle with the disease.
You don’t have to have it all, all at once.
Shortly afterwards, Zee checked herself into a mental health hospital to seek treatment. She decided to share her struggles to help destigmatize depression and bring hope to others who are going through similar experiences.
As you can probably tell, Zee has no problem opening up, especially when it comes to raising awareness around mental health.
With years of life and professional experience under her belt, here is Ginger’s advice from “A to Zee.”
1. Life changes will help you grow.
If you thought Zee was brave in the face of natural disasters, take a look at some of the bold fashion choices of her youth.
“I took every fashion risk at that time and put them all on for one picture,” Zee said with a laugh.
The photo features Zee and her BFF, Jenny Syler. Zee had just changed high schools and was able to reunite with her then bestie for this fabulous pic.
“Friends and relationships and things just change. That’s how life is. Not all of the changes happening at that time were as devastating as I thought they were,” she said.
2. There’s beauty in a cookie.
See said the challenges she faced as a teen affected her psyche in high school.
“This is the time that anorexia really started for me,” said Zee. “I wish I could go back and tell this girl that there’s beauty in a cookie here and there.”
3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
“Yes! This was my time on ‘The X-Files,'” Zee said.
This photo features Zee at her first full-time television job in Flint, Michigan, at WEIY-TV. She said she was hired as a weekend meteorologist though she did not have broadcast experience.
“I would say to myself, feel free to ask some more questions and don’t feel so embarrassed,” she said.
4. Your personal life doesn’t have to be perfect.
Zee said the start of her career was very exciting and looking back, it helped teach her balance.
“Your personal life doesn’t always have to be as wonderful as your career. You don’t have to have it all, all at once,” she said.
This wasn’t the easiest lesson for Zee to learn.
“I wanted to have the guy that was going to be my husband and I wanted my career taking off,” she said.
She wanted it all.
Zee said she put a ton of pressure on herself at this point in her life and wishes she would have been kinder to herself, something she now practices each day.
5. High school isn’t forever.
“You did it! You went all the way there!” laughed Zee as we showed her a photo of herself from her college pom squad team. “Life was really starting for me.”
Zee began studying meteorology at Valparaiso University and credited her time on the pom squad as a way to let loose.
“This was kind of like a creative outlet for me to have,” said Zee, who joined the team her freshman year.
“I was probably still with my high school boyfriend thinking that would work,” said Zee. “Not everybody marries their high school boyfriend and that’s OK!”
6. Having a child is the best thing you are ever going to do.
“I would tell myself in this picture, ‘get ready lady, your life is about to change forever,'” she said.
Unbeknownst to Zee, this photo was taken of her diving in Pulau when she was pregnant with her first child.
Zee was on assignment as the time and kept it a secret until she could tell her husband.
“I think the second that you find out that you’re pregnant it just changes everything but in the best way,” she explained.
Zee said having kids is the best thing she’s ever produced!
7. Try to see the world through a child’s eyes
Zee was all smiles when looking back at this photo of herself as a kid.
“This one looks so much like my son Adrian!” she said. “The smile is the same, the laughter and the pure joy and innocence is the same.”
Zee said her son, who is almost 3, still has that joyful personality.
“It’s nice to know that I had that once too,” she added.
If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.