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Watch: Today Show duo urge viewers to ‘head to paradise’

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There is something healing here: Today Show hosts Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager broadcast two shows from The Loren at Pink Beach. As part of the Hoda & Jenna's Trippin' travel series, the pair explored the island's beaches and experienced the local culture (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Bermuda was once more thrust into the global spotlight yesterday as Today Show hosts Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager filmed a live set promoting the “paradise” island.

Just days after millions tuned into watch the “greatest race on water” — the Apex Group Bermuda Sail Grand Prix — many more will now be watching the two Today Show episodes, one live and one taped, showcasing not only the island’s natural beauty and cultural heritage, but a host of local entrepreneurs and community heroes.

The live set was located in the Pink Beach Club at The Loren at Pink Beach whose parent company The Loren Group is sponsoring the trip, which coincides with the pair’s fifth anniversary together on screen.

A Bermuda welcome: Today Show hosts Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager were welcomed by residents (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

The seafront restaurant was packed with some 50 crew members from the Today Show with local crew assistance, local and international media and roughly 75 invited local and overseas guests.

Introducing the hosts to the live set, Today contributor Donna Farizan urged the audience to let their enthusiasm loose.

While on set, Ms Kotb, an Emmy-Award winning broadcaster who was named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2018, described Bermuda as being “like a secret”.

The pair talked about how quick and convenient it is to travel to the island from the US.

After a series of interviews including with People magazine’s Dave Quinn, E! News’s Daryn Carp and Access Hollywood’s Emily Orozco, Ms Kotb and Ms Bush Hager spoke with The Royal Gazette about their time on the island.

So much more: Today hosts Hoda Kotb, far left, and Jenna Bush Hager, centre, were interviewed live on camera by Daryn Carp of E! News, at The Loren at Pink Beach (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Ms Kotb said: “This is a place that is always close to our hearts because it’s paradise, within a stone’s throw from where we are.

“When we landed and saw the amazing colour of the blue water, we went past all the beautiful homes, I thought, ‘This is paradise’.

“The highlight for me was putting my toes in the sand. I felt rested for the first time in weeks. There is something so serene and beautiful, there is something healing here.”

Ms Bush Hager, Emmy-award winning American news personality, author, and journalist, and daughter of the 43rd US president George W Bush, said: “People don’t realise how close Bermuda is to the East Coast of the US. After I boarded the plane, I started reading. I fell asleep and when I woke up, we were here.

“I think people come for the beautiful ocean and the beach, but there is so much more.

“Bermuda is known for its local seafood. You have incredibly fresh ceviche and fresh fish, and when it’s lobster season there is lobster.

“Bermuda is a dining spot. We had a rum swizzle and it was the best drink you have ever had.”

Ms Kotb added: “Our message is come, and come often. You will not regret it. You think you have been to beautiful locations? Just wait.”

However it was the people of Bermuda who stood out the most.

Ms Hoda said: “That’s it, that’s the X-factor — the people. There are beautiful places all over but the people here are next level. We want to stay here.”

The hosts are here as part of Hoda and Jenna’s Trippin’ travel series and have enjoyed plenty of sights and sounds including a culinary tour that took in Café Olé, The Swizzle Inn and Bailey’s Bay Ice Cream Parlour.

They also took some cricket lessons with St George’s Cricket Club.

Bermudians featured in the live show included Kristin White, award-winning writer, entrepreneur and social justice activist, who took centre stage in a brief interview with the Today stars.

Bermudian singer-songwriter Mishka performed between scenes and chef Ryan Hardy gave a demonstration on how to prepare ceviche.

Singer-songwriter: Bermuda’s Mishka performed for the Today Show’s Hoda & Jenna's Trippin' travel series (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

While on camera, Ms White, who owns the Long Story Short bookstore in St George’s and is a passionate advocate for the town and tourism in Bermuda, told the hosts: “I have worked really hard to curate a group that has high energy and is passionate about Bermuda.

Local fare: Today hosts Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager get a lesson in Bermudian cooking from chef Ryan Hardy (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

“I have family, I have friends and the people of St George’s — it’s the best. I do work really hard to put out positive energy.”

Acknowledging Ms White’s love of literature and the importance she places on education, the hosts announced there would be a donation of $3,000 to purchase diverse books for primary school students in Bermuda.

The hosts also honoured the work of Gina Spence of the performing arts and community outreach programme Gina Spence Productions, which helps those disadvantaged by crime.

Today will broadcast two shows from Bermuda — one live today and one taped tomorrow.

During the week of March 11 to 15, Today with Hoda and Jenna attracted a viewership of 1.4 million.

Presenting Bermuda: Donna Farizan, Today contributor, left, with Kristin White, a Bermudian entrepreneur who was featured on the Hoda & Jenna's Trippin' travel series (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published May 10, 2024 at 11:49 am (Updated May 13, 2024 at 11:38 am)

Watch: Today Show duo urge viewers to ‘head to paradise’

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