Maurielle Lue is a millennial media powerhouse and Detroit’s own Wonder Woman.
By Jackie Headapohl
Make Up Artist: Cassandra Ward
She might not have that famous golden lasso or indestructible bracelets like she does on our cover, but Fox-2 morning anchor Maurielle Lue can be considered a Wonder Woman nonetheless. Lue, 31, has ascended rapidly through the ranks of broadcast journalism to anchor morning news shows in a major media market — and has built up an impressive following in social media while she’s been at it.
The Emmy Award-winner anchors the morning news from 4:30-6 a.m. weekdays and also weekend morning anchor. She hosts The Nine from 9-11 a.m. and co-hosts Let It Rip Weekend with Charlie Langton on Sunday mornings. She’s also taken over the station’s “Style File” segments, highlighting the best in Metro Detroit fashion.
She says she hardly ever sleeps. “I’m obsessed with my job, but in a good way,” she says. When she clocks out at 11:30 a.m. she is still watching the news of the day, running errands, living life and being active on social media. “People look to me and trust me as their source of information. This job is not one you can just turn off at the end of the day.”
Witty, unpredictable and often regarded as a spitfire, Lue is known for bringing high energy and personality to the morning show. “I believe a platform cannot make you who you are. It can only reveal who you are,” she says. “I’m driven by a very strong moral compass because I believe you cannot be an extension of a heart you don’t honor. I would rather do and say what I feel is right instead of worrying about what people think I should say.”
A RAPID RISE
Lue says she knew she wanted to get in the news business as far back as elementary school. She grew up in Atlanta, Ga., and began her journalism career before she graduated from high school, getting her first on-air gig at age 15, anchoring and reporting for Brookwood Upclose, a syndicated series focusing on local events and issues impacting Atlanta’s youth. At 16, she won her first international journalism award for a documentary she produced on a local shelter for troubled youth.
She graduated with honors from Hampton University’s Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communication. Her first TV job after college took her to the hills of West Virginia where she worked at the NBC station WVVA doing it all — reporting, anchoring and producing.
At age 23, she made the jump from her small West Virginia market to a major market in Cleveland, an unheard-of move for most journalists starting out their careers. “I probably had no business sending my tape there according to my experience,” she said. “But sometimes it’s about the right people coming into your life at the right time.”
The acting news director who saw her tape recognized her potential, brought her in for an interview and offered her the job. “He has been a mentor of mine ever since,” Lue says.
During her three years in Cleveland she worked on some incredible stories, including the notorious “Cleveland Strangler,” who was eventually convicted of killing a dozen women and hiding their bodies inside his home. She was also in Cleveland when Lebron James left Cleveland for South Beach and angry fans burned their No. 23 jerseys and her reports were featured on ESPN.
Her favorite memories from Cleveland include covering the first presidential campaign of Barack Obama. “It was incredible to see,” she says, “and the election of the first African American president came just when I was at an age where I was starting to care about politics. It was the first political campaign I covered.”
One her biggest regrets was not meeting the president face to face. “It felt like the local press was right there with him on the campaign trail,” she says. “He was shaking hands and talking to the press, but I was a 20-something ‘serious’ journalist and didn’t want to seem unprofessional so I just looked on. I cared way too much what people thought of me back then. Now I regret it. I think, gosh darn, I could have a picture of me with Obama and I don’t because I was too concerned about what others thought of me.”
Lue says she enjoyed her time in Cleveland, a “gritty city,” but she had her sights set on another move up in the markets — Detroit.
MOTOR CITY WELCOME
Young love brought her to Motown. “I was dating someone in Detroit at the time so I was in the city often and wanted to stay,” she says.
Although there were no job opening in town at the time, she persisted. “I kept calling Fox-2 — finally, I just drove to the station and dropped off my tape,” she says. “The assistant news director at the time decided to meet with me and we had the best conversation and he liked my work. I was practically hired the next day.
“It was as if my steps were ordered and I was preordained to be in Detroit,” she says. “That love relationship is long gone but the job continues.”
Lue has been in Detroit for five years now. “Five years in Detroit is like 20 years in any other market,” she says. “The workload here is like nothing else in the business. In Cleveland, we did one story a day. In Detroit, it’s two lead stories a day because there’s just so much happening. My friends who work in the business in New York are astonished at the day in the life of a reporter in Detroit.”
She’s covered so many Detroit stories, it’s hard for her to choose which ones stand out. “For me, it’s been more about the people,” she says, “it’s about being accepted, embraced and adopted by the city. What’s meaningful to me is being able to speak to and for the people of Detroit.
“Detroit is a tougher city than most, and I mean that in the sense of pride,” she adds. “The way people represent Detroit when they go out of town is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. No matter what they go through, there is such a sense of pride when people say they’re from Detroit. Professionally, for me it’s garnered so much respect. When I meet with network executives at CNN or MSNBC at national conferences I get this look like ‘this girl knows her business.”
A UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE
Lue is among the youngest full-time anchors in Detroit. As a millennial African American woman, she brings a unique voice to Fox-2. She is a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. and National Association of Black Journalists.
“I feel a responsibility to be the voice not only for me but for the people. Sometimes it can be a complicated line to walk,” she says. “Minority communities tend to place higher expectations on their more visible members, I carry that with me every day, the pressure to be twice as good, twice as smart, twice as dedicated, twice as determined.”
On The Nine, the three hosts come together and talk about the stories of the day from their own perspectives. “It’s not the news that our parents used to watch. We do discuss very difficult topics and I’m very conscious to make sure that both sides are equally represented.
“When we were talking about police brutality, about how Cleveland police shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was playing with a toy gun, within two seconds of arrival, I was the one who noted it was physically impossible that the police said ‘put down the gun’ three times before they shot as written in the indictment. There simply wasn’t enough time.
“I took some heat for raising the question whether Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49er who took a knee during the National Anthem as a way of protesting the social injustices that plague black and brown communities, is being blacklisted by the NFL,” she adds. “These things are uncomfortable to talk about, but it’s a conversation worth having.”
That courage to share her perspective has garnered a lot of fan support and a big audience on social media. Lue does a Facebook Live show called “Mornings with Mauri,” which has really taken off. It has a post reach of 1 million. The show goes behind the scenes in the morning news and she pitches out ideas for stories she might want to do on The Nine. “I like to get perspective — see what works and what doesn’t — from our social media audience before we bring it to a wider audience.”
From her Facebook Live show, a very loyal group of fans — the Lue Crew — has created Instagram and Twitter pages with more than 1,000 followers and often wear custom shirts and hats. Lue didn’t create the Lue Crew but she’s gratified by the positive attention they send her way. “They’ve actually become a part of The Nine and live Tweet with us during the show. I can’t tell you what’s it’s like to be in the grocery store and have someone walk up to you and say, ‘I’m in the Lue Crew.’ I’m lucky to have them.”
That fan loyalty can be credited to Lue’s consistency and accountability. “That trust has to be there,” she says. “I strive every day to be a better, stronger Maurielle than I was yesterday. I am my own competition.”
She also likes to work to empower others and is active with My Brother’s Keeper and Big Brothers Big Sisters. “I’m interested in social justice issues and mentoring. I want to be the best example to women and young girls, in particular. “I notice sometimes, especially in this cutthroat industry that some women or maybe people in general feel that there can only be one — one woman, one black woman, one millennial, one pretty girl, one smart girl and so on. I don’t subscribe to that theory. Watching other strong successful women should make all women stronger and more successful because it raises the bar and standard for us all. Who wouldn’t want that?”
Downtown Detroit feels like home to Lue. “There’s no town like Motown. It feels like home. With this new boom, it’s been incredible. It’s a big city feel with this young vibe. I just like how accessible everything is. I like to be out and about meeting people.” When she isn’t working, she’s probably planning a trip. “I love to travel and explore different cultures and different areas,” she says. Recent trips include a jaunt to Traverse City with girlfriends and a trip to Bali last year with her mom, who still lives in Atlanta as does her brother, who’s an architect. “I don’t get to see family often, and it’s hard being away from family for so long,” Lue says. “If I could change anything, that was what it would be.” Lue also enjoys Michigan’s abundant waters. “I love to get on a boat and be in the middle of nowhere with just my thoughts, my friends and a journal,” she says.
Times for getting away are few and far between and that doesn’t bother Lue in the slightest. “I love my job,” she says. “My true joy comes from bringing positive stories to viewers. I want to tell the stories that make people smile, laugh and maybe even forget about the rough times, even if it’s just for a few minutes.” NS
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