Chances are you’ve heard of Lisa Ling before. Whether she is interviewing members of the MS-13 gang or attending a furries convention, Ling brings a refreshing sense of humanity and compassion to every story that she shares. On her CNN docu-series, This is Life with Lisa Ling, she travels the country to share the stories of people who are often overlooked, stigmatized, or misunderstood.
In the Spring issue of Unearth Women (on-sale now in bookstores worldwide and in our online store), we interview Lisa about her work with CNN, the women that inspire her, and her digital series on sex. Here’s eight things to know about our fierce and fearless cover woman, Lisa Ling.
1. Lisa was host of a teen series in California
Lisa Ling got her start in television when she landed the role of one of the hosts for the teen series, Scratch, which was based out of Sacramento.
2. Lisa was the youngest reporter at Channel One News
At age 18, Lisa joined the now-defunct Channel One News as one of their youngest reporters. While at Channel One News, she took on the role of war correspondent and reported on stories while on assignment in Afghanistan and Iraq. Lisa’s reportage at Channel One News earned her a myriad of awards.
3. Lisa beat out 12,000 people to win a hosting role on The View
In August 1999, Lisa snagged the coveted role of host for The View, replacing then-host Debbie Matenopoulos. Ling beat out an estimated 12,000 applicants who had auditioned for the coveted role. For three years, Ling worked at The View but ultimately decided to go back to international reporting.
4. Lisa was Special Correspondent for The Oprah Winfrey Show
Lisa’s love of international reporting and storytelling led her to National Geographic where she accepted an offer to host the show, National Geographic Ultimate Explorer. The opportunity eventually led Lisa to the opportunity of a lifetime: becoming special correspondent for The Oprah Winfrey Show where she reported on bride burning in India, the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda, child trafficking in Ghana, puppy mills in Pennsylvania, and more.
5. Lisa is the host of her own documentary series on CNN
In 2014, it was announced that Lisa would host a new documentary series on CNN called This is Life with Lisa Ling. On her show, Lisa traverses the United States to speak with people of various subcultures and backgrounds that are too often misunderstood. From psychics to the children of serial killers, Ling’s show reminds us of the commonalities we inherently all share.
6. Lisa gets candid about sex on her digital series This is Sex
In addition to her show, This is Life, Lisa hosts a digital series where she discusses the state of sex in the United States. Looking at the way that sex is too often policed, politicized, and stigmatized, Ling goes out to prove that covering sex need not be salacious.
7. Lisa’s Sister, Laura, was captured and detained in North Korea
Laura Ling is a journalist who reported for the on E! Network before going on to be Director of Development for Discovery Digital Networks. In 2009, Laura was detained by North Korean officials while she was on assignment to film North Korean refugees fleeing to China. Laura and her fellow reporter, Euna Lee, were sentenced to 12 years of hard labor in one of North Korea’s labor camps. Lisa and her family appeared on national media outlets and reached out to numerous diplomats to bring Laura and Euna home. In August 2009—140 days into their captivity—former US President Bill Clinton flew to North Korea to help secure their release.
8. Lisa calls herself a die-hard feminist
Lisa considers herself a feminist and remains outspoken about women’s rights and reporting on women’s issues. In an October 2018 InStyle article, Ling spoke about women in the workplace, calling women better bosses and touting the many ladies she has had the privilege to work with including Oprah Winfrey, Barbara Walters, and Meredith Vieira.