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My Valley of the Sun: TV Personality Tara Hitchcock

Tara Hitchcock tells all, from her time on television and movie screens to where she recommends you visit in the Valley.

A familiar face on screens big and small, Tara Hitchcock began her television career in Beaumont, Texas, before later moving to Arizona to host KTVK’s “Good Morning Arizona.” After 15 years, whe left to pursue other career goals. The two-time Emmy Award-winner is currently seen on movie screens hosting celebrity interviews for Harkins Theatres, hosts weekly "At the Movies" segments on "Good Morning Arizona," and writes for magazines—among other ventures. Here, she chats about television, traveling and her favorite places around the Valley.

What drew you to television?

Seeing Diane Sawyer anchor the evening news in elementary school. I remember thinking, “Now there's a job that never gets boring. Things happen every day.”

You had a long career with “Good Morning Arizona.” What are you doing now?

Trying to figure it all out. Oh, and crafting my celebrity interview segments while traveling with family and friends, and occasionally writing about it.

Tara Hitchcock interviews Tom Cruise.
Hitchcock interviewing Tom Cruise at the "Mission: Impossible—Rogue Nation" premiere. (Courtesy Tara Hitchcok)

What do you love about it?

Everything! What I'm doing now combines my passions for travel, entertainment, sports... and ALWAYS food!

What has been your personal career highlight? 

It will always be the fact that a few guys (Phil Alvidrez and Dennis O'Neill–former KTVK news director and assistant news director)
decided to take a chance and give a very raw 25-year-old with really bad hair, working in Beaumont, Texas, a shot at hosting a big morning show in Arizona! I was called into the office only once in eight years for something I wore on TV. That's UNHEARD OF in an age of image
consultants and focus groups. You know what they asked me every day? “You still having fun?” I wish for everyone to have bosses like that.

Do you have a favorite movie? 

“Love Actually.”

Any advice for someone trying to get into your field?

As simple as it sounds: BE YOURSELF. The best compliment I get is, “You're just like you are on TV!” Although... now that I think about it, if they think I'm a b**ch on the air... not sure that's a compliment. :) 

What has been your biggest or unexpected career lesson?

Best lesson: If you're not happy, do something about it. It's too easy to stay in situations that drain you. Why? Honestly, everything goes back to Oprah. She said once about relationships, “You want to be with someone who makes you more of yourself, not less of yourself.” You can apply that to work. People thrive when they're supported and happy and allowed to be “MORE of themselves.”

Tara Hitchcock and Scarlett Johansson
Tara and Scarlett Johansson on the "Ghost in the Shell" junket. (Courtesy Tara Hitchcock)

When you’re not working, where are your favorite places to frequent in the Valley?

Any Harkins Theatres! (Yep, I'm biased!) My Sister's Closet and My Sister’s Attic—for great deals—and Arcadia, our neighborhood.

Any favorite restaurants?

The Mission, Tarbell’s (and his Tavern), the Starbucks at Scottsdale Fashion Square (that counts as a restaurant because I get a vanilla bean scone there almost daily!). 

The places you always recommend that visitors to the Valley try or experience?

Where do I begin? Explore Old Town Scottsdale, hike Camelback Mountain, drive to Carefree, take in a round of golf ANYWHERE, drinks at J&G Steakhouse at The Phoenician, the Desert Botanical Garden, the guacamole and tequila at La Hacienda at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. Sedona, Jerome, Flagstaff. Should I go on?

You travel a lot for work… any travel tips you can share?

This may require a separate article! Global Entry for sure... TSA Pre-Check saves you. Never check on luggage, enroll in a frequent flier program ASAP—and get your kids enrolled. You can steal their points for YOUR upgrades! Always look for deals, and DON’T WAIT to take that trip! Life is too short.