Mika Brzezinski may share a dais on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” but the candid co-host and a speaker at this year’s Festival of the Arts Boca doesn’t take life sitting down.
Mika Brzezinski is breathing heavily between sentences, but not because the line of questioning is wearing her down. The master multitasker is talking toBoca Ratonat 4 p.m. while running on a treadmill. It’s the end of a workday that began at 3 a.m., her typical wake-up time to prepare for “Morning Joe,” the MSNBC talk show based in New York City that she hosts alongside Joe Scarborough from 6 to 9 a.m. weekdays. Some days find her working until 9 or 10 at night.
Somehow, Brzezinski manages to have a personal life as well. The 44-year-old daughter of Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was national security advisor during Jimmy Carter’s presidency, is married to ABC news correspondent James Hoffer and has two daughters in high school; they keep sane because they’re all busy, all the time. “We’re like a tornado that disguises itself as a family,” she says.
Brzezinski unspools her hectic life and more in “Knowing Your Value,” (Weinstein Books, $14.76), her second nonfiction book in two years. It opens with the surprising news that Brzezinski was seriously prepared to quit “Morning Joe” at the height of the 2008 presidential campaign because the network wasn’t paying her enough to recoup the wardrobe and travel expenses she had to pay out of pocket. She was a national television personality, and she was bouncing checks.
In the rest of this compact, 200-page hardcover, she shares her journey toward pay equity and the advice she gleaned along the way through candid interviews with everyone from Arianna Huffington to Donald Trump to Susie Essman. The book is also filled with humorous insights into life behind the scenes at MSNBC, including vivid descriptions of Scarborough’s frequent red-faced, finger-jabbing rows with network president Phil Griffin.
She will speak about her book, her job and the 2012 presidential race in March at Festival of the Arts Boca.
What was it like growing up in a political home, with your father being such an important figure?
Well, it made for some interesting dinner-table conversations. I will say that with my father being a foreign-policy expert, my mother being a brilliant artist, my brother Ian being a Republican, and my other brother, Mark, being a Democrat—and me ending up where I ended up—it was probably all because of how my parents promoted important conversation and diverse thought in our household.
They challenged us to push ourselves intellectually, and to find goals, and to stick to them. It wasn’t always pretty. It was not easy growing up Brzezinski. They were tough on us, but they wanted us to measure up and to make an impact. They did not come over here from Eastern Europe in the difficult ways that they did to raise kids that would squander it.
For more about Mika Brzezinski, pick up our February issue of Boca Raton magazine.