Erika Monroe Williams Interview: Conquering the Baseball and Entertainment World- My Way!
Sunday March 25th, 2012
MLB reports – Jonathan Hacohen: We are excited to present our featured guest today on MLB reports, the one and only: Erika Monroe Williams. Erika has been involved in entertainment, news and baseball in many capacities over her brilliant career. From a news anchor in Texas and Phoenix, to working in public relations and then a pre-game host on Diamondbacks’ broadcasts. She even recently completed a stint on the VH1 reality show, Baseball Wives! Erika also forms half of what I call the “Baseball Power Couple”. You may know her husband- All-Star Third Baseman, multiple Gold Glove and Silver Slugger recipient and World Series champion, Matt Williams. The Williams couple actually hosted for a period the Diamondbacks pre-game show together (awwww…), before Matt went back onto the field to become a Diamondbacks coach. Matt is currently serving as the Third Base Coach on Kirk Gibson’s staff, as well as being a minority owner of the Diamondbacks. To say that Erika and Matt have strong Diamondbacks ties would be an understatement.
Matt and Erika currently reside in Arizona, raising their children. With hectic work schedules, they are truly living the modern-day baseball life! I had the chance to speak with both Erika and Matt recently. Today’s feature is my conversation with Erika Monroe Williams, with the Matt Williams interview coming up in part two of this two-part feature. In part one, Erika opens up about all the facets of her fascinating life. From meeting Matt and getting married, to working as a news anchor and in public relations, to what it is like to working and preparing as a host of the Diamondbacks pre-game programs. Did I mention that she also appeared on the VH1 show Baseball Wives? ;) For those of you that followed the program, Erika actually quit the show. Today, we find out why. Erika though hasn’t given up on television…far from it. As Matt expressed to me during our interview: Erika is full of life and has a charismatic personality that is perfectly suited for entertainment. She is smart, funny, hard-working and extremely motivated. As she prepares for her next projects (Erika currently has a cooking show in the works), there is no doubt that the sky is the limit for Erika Monroe Williams! She is just getting started.
You know the name. Now get to know the lady. Today on MLB reports, our exclusive interview with Erika Monroe Williams:
Welcome to MLB reports Erika! A pleasure to be speaking with you. Let’s start off with the first thought on our mind: What is a typical day like in the world of Erika Monroe Williams and Matt Williams?
Well, it’s never the same from day-to-day! We have so many things going on with baseball, kids and careers! During the school year, our day starts early getting Madison (daughter) off for school then working on different projects we have going on. For Matt it usually starts with an early workout with my stepson, Jake. Matt is definitely a morning person, while I’m a night owl! Sometimes it doesn’t mix… but we try to make it work.
How did you and Matt meet? Was it love at first sight?
We met after I got off work from anchoring the news and I went to a function with my friend (Carey Pena, a reporter at the time, and now one of KTVK’s main anchors). His agent introduced us at the function and we ended up talking all night. He called my office and left a voicemail the next day- saying it was one of the most intelligent conversations he’d had in a long time and that he’d like to continue it. It took awhile for us to finally go out (I’m committment-phobic a little bit, so it took a month or so of talking on the phone for me to agree to a date!) Once we actually went out, it was all over. We were together all the time.
You were married in 2003: Tell us about the wedding!
Matt was still playing at the time we planned our wedding, so we got married on a sailboat in Coronado with family during the All-Star break…I was never a “giving my hand in marriage” type, so it was scary for me to go down the aisle! Matt thought it was because I was nervous about marrying HIM, but it was just about the actual ceremony itself (seemed so old-fashioned). Seems so silly now!
Erika: Your resume is very long and impressive. TV Anchor and Reporter. Public Relations. Television Reality Star. Tell us about your career: How did you break into the television industry and what brought you to public relations and then baseball?
I started interning at a Los Angeles entertainment PR firm to get my feet wet for entertainment reporting. It’s what I really wanted to do when I started out. Then I decided I wanted to go into hard news instead, so I put together a demo tape before I even finished school…and I got an anchor job in Lubbock, Texas. I packed my stuff and headed to the Lone Star state…and Buddy Holly country! It was a blast working there. After a year, I got an offer to be a weekend anchor in Phoenix. I was thrilled to move up to such a large market so quickly, but was shocked at how fast-paced the news market was! In Lubbock, when a stop sign was changed to a stop light, it was big news (laugh). In Phoenix, it was a whole new ballgame! I met Matt about a year after arriving in Phoenix. The DBacks had just won the World Series and they walked on water in this town. I was not a baseball fan (at the time), so I didn’t follow the series- but now I wished I would have. What a magical time for Arizona!
I understand that you worked with many celebrity clients in public relations. How did you find that role? Any particular celebrities that you worked extensively with?
I LOVED working in entertainment, I had such an amazing time and met so many incredible people and experienced so many unimaginable things– it was glamorous at times, but also a lot of work. I have many hilarious stories… but I’m sworn to secrecy! (BOO!)
You worked with Matt on the Dbacks pre-game show at one point. What was that experience like? Married and working together…very interesting!
It was interesting, especially because Matt and I have very different ways of working. He likes to be uber-prepared. I like to run to the set with my hair on fire (not really but it seems that’s what I end up doing most of the time!) Matt is such a professional and incredible to work with. He was amazed at how I would be talking with people in the stands seconds to air and just jump right into it. It comes from working in live TV News…you get used to it. Matt needs to be focused, it’s probably why he is so much more successful than I am!
Your relationship dynamic is interesting, as Matt finished his playing career around the time you got married. Was it a decision to wait until he hung them up to get married?
No, we had met only the September before we got married, we were together almost every day and it seemed like we knew each other for a lifetime. But looking back it was a short period of time!
How did you find the experience of being on Baseball Wives Erika? What went wrong?
I joined the show with the promise of being able to highlight our projects, charities, family and friendships. I am working on a cooking show and really wanted to highlight that, all the wives I know have projects and numerous charities they are working on. I was so excited going in…but this is reality TV. I didn’t know the whole cast and none of us knew what to expect going in. I quit the show shortly after we started filming, it just wasn’t for me. Going in I was really concerned about how baseball wives would be portrayed. It made me very nervous knowing that we represent a group and that we have to make sure we represent that group appropriately.
Will we ever see either of you in the future in any television programs of any kind?
Are there any offers you have for us? Seriously, I love television so much! As I mentioned, I am working on a cooking/entertaining show that is fast-paced and a really fun. I wanted to do a different kind of show than what we’ve seen on cooking networks. I’m full of energy and love to entertain, so the cooking show really reflects that. I have a few other irons in the fire as well. Matt is working hard coaching and helping his team win…he is so focused on that, so I doubt there will be television in his near future!
What is your future as a whole- where do you see yourself in 5+ years and will it involve baseball?
Our lives will always involve baseball. Matt has lived and breathed it since he was 6 years old. His grandfather played for the Brooklyn Dodgers– it’s in his blood. I see myself raising Madison, supporting Matt and hopefully have my cooking/entertaining show on the air.
How do you both find parenthood? Has it changed in your life in any way?
Yes! I never knew how selfish I was before I had a child. I was knee-deep in a demanding career and really wrapped up in myself and what I was trying to accomplish. I thought being a mom would be a lot easier… boy was I wrong! As soon as Madison was born, she was #1 priority and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Being a parent is so incredibly rewarding, it changed me instantly. She is so incredible and amazes me everyday. When she was a baby, I used to say to Matt “I can’t believe she’s ours! How lucky are we to get to be her parents?!” Matt had experienced it 3 times before with Rachael, Jake and Alysha. But it never lost its thrill and excitement.
Level with us Erika: What is one thing about Matt Williams that nobody knows?
He chops wood at 4a.m.! (Big laugh) Actually, that he is a complete homebody. He likes to be at home at all times!
Final question: I have an issue in my head…you will probably find this amusing. I get the sense that Erika based on her journalistic background is very much a public figure. Matt to me, is the quiet and going about his business type of professional. Do you find you have a struggle in your life between the limelight and privacy? At the end of the day, how do you achieve a balance?
My answer to that is it’s definitely a struggle. Matt is a homebody and very private- he is always incredibly focused on helping his team and what he could do better tomorrow. He never got caught up in the celebrity of being a pro-athlete. I love working in television and never had a spotlight like Matt had, but I would have loved that! (Big laugh) Seriously, I am a very social person and don’t mind putting certain things out there in the public, but I never push Matt to do so. I have always made sure that I let Matt be who is and he let’s me be who I am. It’s worked so far!
***Thank you to Erika Monroe Williams for taking the time out of her busy schedule for us today. This interview is part one of two- as we will feature her hubby, Matt Williams in the next featured interview. You can follow Erika on Twitter (@ErikaWilliamsAZ). To one of the nicest and classiest people I have enjoyed interviewed- All the best Erika. Your baseball future is bright! We also look forward to watching your cooking show and wish you luck on your project. Keep us posted when it’s a go! Also, take care of your big lug at hom…and don’t let him get up too many mornings at 4:00a.m.- Baseball needs him on the diamond coaching the next wave of superstars!***
Jonathan Hacohen is the Lead Baseball Columnist & Editor for MLB reports: You can follow Jonathan on Twitter (@JHacohen)
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