Faith and Family: Jannelle’s Secret to Success
She is the host, writer, and producer of the popular “Kababayaan LA”, a daily TV talk show for Filipinos in Southern California. Jannelle So—the ex-PBA reporter, lifestyle show host, public affairs broadcaster, and newspaper columnist.Kababayan LA airs in KCSI (LA-18) Television.
“When I left the Philippines and risked everything to start a new life here, that was I think the biggest risk of my career, of my life actually.”, said Jannelle.
Her parents owned a garment factory in the Philippines. But, at an early age, Jannelle and her parents knew she would end up in a different kind of business.
Back in her college days, Jannelle joined her friends for an audition hosted by Vintage Television. But what was supposed to be just for fun, turned out to be Jannelle’s discovery. She later became known as the courtside reporter for PBA, NCAA, PBL, and several sporting events. She also ventured on to host a cultural travel show, anchored a youth-oriented public affairs program, as well as wrote a lifestyle and sports column for the Philippine Star.She graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Miriam College, where she was an honor scholar. In 1998, she was nominated to the Top 10 Most Outstanding Students of the Philippines.
In 2003, after getting the approval for a petition from their grandmother, Jannelle’s siblings migrated to the United States. Unfortunately Jannelle, who was was over 18 years old at that time, wasn’t included in the petition and so she just stayed back in Manila to continue her career. Her parents then decided to close down their garment factory business and follow.
A year later, Jannelle soon followed her family and attended University of California, Los Angeles for a certificate course in print and broadcast journalism.
It wasn’t easy for Jannelle to adjust to her new lifestyle in the United States. After 9 months at UCLA, she was given one year of practical training and worked for a Filipino network.
She recalls, “When I was freelancing. I was earning a measely $75 for one story that I will work on for days. It’s hard because I worked as a producer,a reporter, and a writer rolled into one. That’s what I like about the US it teaches you discipline, it teaches you humility. “
After a year of practical training, Jannelle heard about LA 18 hosting an audition for a show. She auditioned, but did not hear from the network for months and had started to plan on returning to the Philippines.
But as Jannelle was about to go back home to the Philippines, she received a call from LA 18. It turns out they had already hired 2 people for the job. But, the network decided to look for a different talent – with only a few weeks before the show’s premiere. They wanted someone who NOT ONLY CAN host, but can also write and produce the show.
And Jannelle was just the talent they were looking for.
“This is when I realized that all my past experiences as a freelancer–looking for my own story, writing my own story, editing–were in preparation for Kababayan LA. Because here on Kababayan LA I pretty much do everything on my own.”, says Jannelle.
And Jannelle has been the heart and soul of Kababayan LA since the beginning.
Business really runs in her blood. Besides hosting, writing, and producing, Jannelle also takes care of the marketing side of her own show. She did everything and worked hard to continue and sustain her daily talk show for the Filipinos in Southern California.
I remember when were just starting, I had to attend a lot of events. I remember my mom and I ourselves would setup the tarpaulinbanners . So when people ask me about success of Kababayan LA , my response is first of all it is because of God’s grace and of course, because of my family.
Now on its 6th year, Kababayan LA is the longest running Filipino talk show program outside the Philippines.
That is why it was no surprise when in 2011, the Filipina Women’s Network named Jannelle one of the 100 Most Influential Filipinas in the United States. According to Jannelle, she doesn’t consider being influential as a privilege but more of a responsibility. That is why despite her busy schedule she finds time to volunteer for different organizations like the GawadKalinga where she is now a board member. She also volunteers for CPAF, the Center for the Pacific Asian Family that educates the community about domestic violence.
Because of Kababayan LA, Jannelle has been able to reach out to the community.But, she says she doesn’t mind working behind the scenes in the future.Jannelle hopes to create even moreprograms that will cater to the Filipinos and will help open doors to Filipino talents.She knows how valuable a show, like Kababayan LA, is to the community.
In 2013, Jannelle got her latest achievement – winning the NAM Ethnic Media Awards for Outstanding Community Reporting for Television. Her entry was “Human Trafficking Special : A 4-part Series” which aired on her show Kababayaan LA.
Jannelleleft hercareer in the Philippines and decided to take a risk to come to the US and became successful. A lot of us are like her, we are not afraid to risk it all. Jannelle has proven, that with faith and family, we can hurdle any challenges in life.
And just like Jannelle, we hope we do not forget where we came from. Let’s help other Filipinos, both here in the US and in the Philippines. Dahil‘yanang Power ngPinoy!
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