It’s 4:30 a.m. — time for Abby Ham to begin her conversion. She walks into the studio bathroom at Channel 3, takes her makeup out of her Vera Bradley bag and begins to add 10 years to her face. “I look like a kid without makeup,” she says.
The 27-year-old has a point. She stands only 5 feet 2 inches tall and, although she looks almost sultry on camera, without makeup she’d pass for an exceptionally pretty college kid. But this is the woman who, next to co-anchor Mark Nolan, won Channel 3 one of the most coveted demographics in the morning news business — the most female viewers between the ages of 25 and 54.
Within minutes, morning meteorologist Hollie Strano rushes in and hugs Abby. “How was your Christmas?” she gushes. There are hair dryers, flatteners and curling irons of various widths plugged into a power strip. Eyelashes are curled, concealer is applied, and lips are made bright enough to pop on camera. But even clouds of aerosol hair spray can’t slow down their chatty, happy conversation. They sound like old friends, though they’ve known each other less than two months.
A lot has changed in the last year for Abby. Professionally, she went from the 58th largest news market in Knoxville, where she was adored and where her parents live, to the 17th largest in Cleveland, where she began as the morning anchor on Nov. 8. Personally, she got engaged last March to Herby Lambert, the man she met during her first job after college at a TV station in West Virginia. “Christmas was a little bit different,” Ham says. Without family in town, she and Lambert spent the day alone unpacking in their new house in Rocky River.
By the time Abby’s done, her huge pale green eyes have an intensity that a local blogger called “soul piercing.” She’s reviewed nearly 100 stories that will air this morning, put her twist on the ones she will read and even wrote a few to give the producer a hand.
It’s 5 a.m. and the show’s about to begin.
Check back Feb. 1 for the complete story.