“Who Will I Be?,” the new children’s book by Abby Huntsman, gives us a dose of what our country needs right now: a reminder that serving others is the greatest job of all. Abby, a friend of Bold, and co-host of “The View” on ABC, joined Bold Life to share how being pregnant with her daughter, Isabel, inspired “Who Will I Be?” as a way to teach her new daughter the values she was taught growing up in Utah and around the world. The book follows a young girl who learns that helping others is life’s most rewarding work.
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Abby’s family is prominently known for public service, including her father, Jon Huntsman Jr.’s, work as an ambassador — he’s currently serving as Russia’s ambassador and served as President Barack Obama’s ambassador to China — and her grandfather’s exceptional business career and work to find a cure for cancer.
Becoming a mother taught Abby herself the importance of caring for others and as she told Bold Life, “You care about something so much more than you care about you. And in our world of television, that’s really healthy. I’m not as hard on myself as I used to be, I’m not as hard on my body, I’m not as hard on mistakes that I make. My anxiety has gone through the roof, I feel like I worry more.”
Abby said that if she could give advice to her younger self it would be “just to not be so hard on me, to know that we’re not perfect. And I hope to teach Isabel that, because the older I get, I realize we’re still learning every single day. Enjoy it a little bit. Not put so much pressure on ourselves.”
Part of how Abby said she stays grounded is to be unafraid of sharing her vulnerabilities.
“You know, I got advice from Roger Ailes of all people, who had a bad falling out and all that,” Abby said. “But he was a genius at what he did in terms of talent and television. He gave me the advice when I went to Fox. He said, ‘people are going to see you on the camera, and they’re going to see that you’re an attractive woman, or that you know, your hair is perfect.’ And he said ‘Show them that you’re like them, show them that you make mistakes. If you screw up a word in a prompter, that’s ok. Because that will help them relate to you.’ And I think that’s a really good life lesson. Even — not to really go there — but with all Megyn Kelly is going through, I think what has hurt her is she did not allow herself to be as vulnerable as she should have and to be self deprecating. And so when you do make those mistakes, people are more likely to say ‘Ok, let’s forgive you this time.’ Because we know you’re a good person — because I know she is, but she’s had a harder time really showing people her real side.”
Abby also said her faith and family grounding helps her to stay true to herself and remain grounded. Abby and I bonded in 2016 when we both shared our Mormon Church exit stories on a podcast with John Dehlin, an ex-Mormon who advocates for LGBT rights.
I asked Abby how she thought that Megyn could have better balanced between her ratings and her values.
“I think it just goes back to being real again,” Abby said. “Like I’ve been fired before, when I was on MSNBC, the show was canceled. And after that I think you tell yourself, ‘You know what, that’s ok, I could get fired again tomorrow.’ But if we’re not ourselves on camera, or just in life, whatever our career is, people can see right through that, and they can see through that character. And so I try to keep true to that, no matter where I go, whether it’s MSNBC or Fox or now “The View” — that people know me for me. And they might agree with me, they might disagree on politics, but they hopefully know that I’m a good person, it’s coming from a good place.”
Carrie Sheffield is the founder of Bold. She is passionate about storytelling to empower and connect others. A founding POLITICO reporter, Carrie contributed on political economy at Forbes and wrote editorials for The Washington Times. After earning a master’s in public policy from Harvard University, she managed credit risk at Goldman Sachs and researched for Edward Conard, Bain Capital founding partner and American Enterprise Institute scholar. She earned a B.A. in communications at Brigham Young University and completed a Fulbright fellowship in Berlin.