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Bermudians go all out to welcome Today Show hosts

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Showcasing Bermuda: Kristin White, far right, with Today hosts Hoda Kotb, left, and Jenna Bush Hager, centre, who broadcast two shows from The Loren at Pink Beach (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Locals turned on their Bermudian charm as part of the live audience for Today with Hoda and Jenna filmed at The Loren at Pink Beach yesterday.

There were about 75 guests on the set and when asked to make some noise for the Today Show hosts, they went all out.

Kristin White, award-winning Bermudian writer, entrepreneur and social justice activist, was a featured guest, highlighting her contributions to the community.

A group of her closest friends, family and associates surprised her on Monday in her St George’s bookstore, Long Story Short, with the news that she would be on the show.

Ms White, who has just released two episodes of a comedy series based on St George’s called town(e), told The Royal Gazette: “My friend called me and said ‘Oh my God, I have a friend who is friends with Tracee Ellis Ross [American actress] and they are coming to the island. I told them they had to meet you’. I was like, ‘I love Tracee Ellis Ross so much.’

“On Monday, I was in the store dressed up, I had my make-up done, and I look out the window and there are 50 people with balloons and a camera.

“Then everyone swarms into the store and the on-air personality Donna [Farizan] is in my face with the mic and she is like, ‘I am Donna from the Today Show — surprise!’

“I see my family and the whole community, all the other business owners, Members of Parliament, the Mayor — and I started crying.

“I was just overwhelmed with gratitude. I couldn’t believe what was happening.”

"Then they showed videos of people talking about me and what I do in the community, and what I mean to St George’s. It was really, really amazing. Then they are like, let’s go and meet Hoda and Jenna.

“I said, ‘So Tracee isn’t with you?’ She wasn’t, but I was still very excited. People can work their whole lives and never get any recognition, so I feel like this is such a gift.

“It’s just what I would do anyway, I love St George’s, I love telling stories and being part of communities that are actively advocating for change.

“They talked about my book store, the Haunted History Tours, how I founded Social Justice Bermuda and a bit about the TV show.”

A Bermuda welcome: Today hosts Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager broadcast two shows from The Loren at Pink Beach with a live audience made up of locals and overseas guests (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Dennie O’Connor, local entrepreneur, was invited as a guest of Ms White.

He said: “I’m really excited for Kristin and what she has accomplished. We went out and did a whole live set a couple of days ago with the film crew. It’s really exciting to have this kind of exposure, to have NBC here and to see this energy. It is a really beautiful feeling and I am very proud.”

Legs before wicket: Today Show hosts Jenna Bush Hager, left, and Hoda Kotb (Photograph supplied)

Mikaela Pearman, the owner of a PR agency Mikaela Ian PR, was in the audience as a "friend“ of The Loren.

She said: “I have just been here today hanging out and have also been doing some behind-the-scenes stuff for the Bermuda Tourism Authority.

“I’m enjoying being on a live TV production set. With my media background, this is like heaven for me.

“I think it will be amazing for Bermuda. It is May, so the season is just about to start. We market mainly to the East Coast, so the audience fits that and it’s great for Bermuda to get in front of even more people.”

Top cricketers on the set: Allan Douglas Jr, left, with Today hosts Jenna Bush Hager and Hoda Kotb, Kamau Leverock and Delray Rawlins (Photograph supplied)

Ayo Johnson, a communications professional, was also part of Ms White’s group.

He said: “We are all friends with her and wanted to support her. I was there for the surprise. There was a secret WhatsApp message that went around all of us — I think it was Bermuda’s best-kept secret.”

Other guests on the show included Gina Spence of Gina Spence Productions, chef Ryan Hardy, and Bermudian singer-songwriter Mishka.

Also spotted in the crowd were Owen Darrell, the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport; Kyjuan Brown, owner of Northshore Medical and Aesthetics Centre; Donte Hunt, the director of micro, small and medium enterprise at the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation; Liana Nanang, chief executive of multimedia entertainment studio Unstoried; and Sara Clifford of the Bermuda Human Rights Commission.

Gita Blakeney Saltus of Flowers by GiMi provided the on-set flower arrangements.

Two fans of the Today Show, mother and daughter Valerie Del and Evelyne Del, were the lucky winners of a competition that saw them join the Today hosts on the trip.

Evelyne Del said: “It is our first time in Bermuda. Everybody is so pleasant. We will come back.”

Rebecca Singleton, owner of Tabs Bermuda, talked to the show hosts about Bermuda shorts and how to wear them.

Two fans of the Today Show, mother and daughter Valerie Del, right, and Evelyne Del, centre, were the lucky winners of a competition that saw them join the Today hosts on the trip. (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published May 10, 2024 at 8:00 am (Updated May 10, 2024 at 9:58 am)

Bermudians go all out to welcome Today Show hosts

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