One of my great joys of working at Fox News is the friendships I’ve developed, especially with young women I’ve mentored over the years. Kat Timpf and I go way back – and it’s been a delight to see her grow professionally, fall in love, and really hit her stride. Kat read “Everything Will Be Okay: Life Lessons for Young Women (from a Former Young Woman)” and we sat down for an exclusive chat about the book.
Kat Timpf: So you told me to read the book. You said I would love the book and I did. I read it all in a day and I found a lot of it really helpful. So because you were right about me, I want to ask you, who else do you think should read this book?
Perino: I definitely think that young women like yourself, who you’re not in your entry-level job out of college, you’re in your second or third iteration, on your way to either stardom or management or leadership. So you’re in that transition period. I also think that anyone who is an ambitious teenager who is thinking ahead, this book would have been good for me. All the way up through somebody who might already be in leadership or management. My husband read it. Of course, he has to be complimentary, but he also said that if you are managing young women, that this could be also very helpful because women put a lot of pressure on themselves. I’ve known you for a long time. You pile on the pressure, worry a lot. And we’ve talked about that.
Timpf: Yes. You had a part in the book multiple times where you said, ‘I think I’m never going to be on television again. My television career is over.’ And this was long before you ever even worked at Fox. And I laughed so hard because I remember when I was 22 and I got laid off from my traffic reporting job, I called my mom crying, saying ‘my broadcasting journalism media career was completely over.’
And I know you mentor a lot of young women. Is that something that you see from a lot of women and guys don’t really get like that I feel?
Perino: It’s interesting. So I write about something called the quarter-life-crisis that I find that every young woman seems to go through, but they think they’re all alone because they don’t talk about this with anyone else except for maybe their mom. It’s when you get to that period where you think, OK, wait, did I study the right thing in college? Where am I going here? You know, I don’t feel like I’m getting the raises or the promotion. It looks like the guys just seem to be waltzing on through life like they have no care in the world. And they’re getting promoted and they’re getting raises. And you’re sitting there like, wait, what about me?
And then also there’s the other part of it, which is you get to be about 26, 27. And you think, well, wait, I thought I was going to be married by now and I haven’t even met anybody that I would even want to date. And so you start thinking all of these things like, ‘wow, I’m in total crisis now.’ The reason I write about that is because in my experience, almost every young woman I know goes through that. You went through it. And then all of a sudden, the clouds start to part and you’re like, oh OK, things happen for a reason. I mean, thank goodness you lost your traffic job.
Timpf: Exactly. I wasn’t good at it, I didn’t give very good directions, which is the most important part of the job.
Going to the relationship thing… I know your husband, Peter, great guy. And there’s a few things you said that I thought were really interesting. First of all, if I would have read this before I met my fiance Cam, I probably would’ve said, ‘yeah, right, maybe for Dana, but not for me.’ What’s a horrible date that you went on in the past? Like, a really bad date to give people hope that things will get better.
Perino: In college, I dated this guy. He was a basketball player. Not a nice guy, in case he’s watching this. But he dumped me in a way that was like I just never heard from him. Like, this is before ghosting was a thing. I got ghosted when I was a junior or senior in college. I completely fell apart. I got the flu. Everything was terrible. And it was funny because when I wrote my first book and Greg Gutfeld, our friend, he read it and he’s like, does this guy remember? Thank goodness that didn’t work out.
But then when I got to Washington, D.C. and I worked on Capitol Hill and I feel like a lot of women in D.C. feel this way and many women in New York feel this way. I didn’t go on any dates. And then I met Peter on an airplane. That was not a date. That was just like love at first sight. And then I ended up moving to England.
Timpf: I lived in D.C. for two years and I never went on a date. Something else in terms of your relationship that you talked about that I thought was really interesting: you’d worried before that if you’re so focused on your career, if you give attention to a relationship, then that will take away from the career. But you found that Peter actually didn’t hinder your career, actually helped your career. So are there any red flags that women should look out for?
Perino: So I write about this a little bit and it could come from a relationship like somebody that you’re dating or also come from your family. When you are an ambitious young woman like yourself, you’re going to work a lot, you won’t always work this many hours, you won’t always have this intensity. But if you want to climb, you are going to work really hard and you might start to hear from your family or from a boyfriend something like ‘you’re married to your phone.’ They don’t understand that you need to be working on a sketch because there’s breaking news, and you had to do the ‘Gutfeld Show’ live that night and things have changed. There’s just not as much understanding.
What I found with Peter is the opposite, which is he will understand that that’s not always true. Sometimes he gets frustrated with me too. But then he takes a step back is like, absolutely, what do you need? How can I help you? I think that one of the best pieces of advice in the book is you can choose to be loved. Women can take care of themselves. But you also should want to have someone to share your life with. It’s easy to push people away. The harder thing is to make a commitment. But I actually find that there is freedom in commitment. And so choosing to be loved opens up a whole bunch of other doors.
Timpf: I agree with you. When I started seeing Cam, I feel like my work got better. I wasn’t stressed with all these jerks, ya know? It made the world of difference. The relationship was so easy, I remember telling you this is how it’s supposed to be.
Perino: And you thought, is something wrong because it’s so easy? No. It’s supposed to be easy.
Watch the full discussion above. Dana Perino’s “Everything Will Be Okay: Life Lessons for Young Women (from a Former Young Woman)” is available today. Sign up for Fox Nation to start streaming “Dana Perino’s Book Club” and “Sincerely Kat.”