Natalie Morales knows marathons. After all, she’s run five of them. But she also knows her Fifty Shades of Grey, since she’s the only one of the TODAY anchors who has read the entire trilogy.
In her latest Facebook chat, Natalie dishes on cooking, who she frequently gets mistaken for, and which of her TODAY colleagues she’d go freefalling out of a plane with.
1. In another life, she would be working with animals — or as a celebrity double.
- Judy Oliver: Don't know if it's already been asked, but I wondered what would you do if you weren't in the news profession?
- Natalie: I'd be a veterinarian. Actually went to college thinking that was the plan, but too much math and organic chemistry!
- Nancy Brown MacDowell: Has anyone ever told you that you could be Martina McBride's twin? Can you sing?
- Natalie: I have had that a couple of times, but more often hear Maria Shriver. Huge compliments. Sadly, no, I can't sing. Haven't you heard me on our show? Pretty pathetic. It’s the one thing in life I wish I could really do.
2. South American nations tug at her heart, for different reasons.
- Stephanie Reynolds: What story have u covered to really had an impact on you? One that you just couldn't get out of your mind?
- Natalie: The Chilean Miners rescue. I got to spend 2 weeks in the Atacama Desert getting to know their families and then finally to watch the rescue and interview some of the miners. It truly was the most inspirational story I have ever covered and to be able to witness it and report for our show was one of the highlights of my career.
- Jessica Bradley: Out of all the interviews you have done which one was your favorite?
- Natalie: The Chilean Miners or the man who called himself "Clark Rockefeller."
- Paige Silva: How often do you travel back to Brazil?
- Natalie: Well, twice in the last 3 years but I'm hoping with the Olympics to get to go back later this year then of course in 2016. Can't wait to give everyone a tour of "My Brazil."
3. Everybody knows she’s a runner.
- Richard Garcia: I am planning to run my first half marathon. What do you recommend I eat the night before and how many hours of sleep?
- Natalie: Hydrate, hydrate the day before. Don't overdo the carbo load or you will feel like you have a load in your stomach. In fact I go very light on carbs. It's more about protein in my opinion. Get up 2 hrs before race time though and eat then to give your stomach time to digest. Not too heavy with breakfast. Oatmeal is my breakfast of choice or a banana and coffee with not too much cream or sugar.
- Clara Hodgin: What one piece of advice would you give to someone running their first marathon?
- Natalie: Establish clear training goals and try to stick with it as much as you can. Start slow and work your way up. First time is not about the time on the clock but rather, the time you had running it, having fun, enjoying the moment, and feeling victorious.
- Gail Martino: What is your favorite running song? I'm bored w/ my playlist and need some new ideas.
- Natalie: Always love sharing my playlist because I swear by it. Lose Yourself, Eminem starts me off.. good build up. Waves, lots of Coldplay (Sky Full of Stars). Gavin DeGraw, Finest Hour. One Republic, I Lived. The Killers, Mr Brightside. Just some of the very eclectic playlist.
4. We think she likes Coldplay.
- Mark Ramsey: Natalie, Who are your favorite musicians or artists?
- Natalie: Coldplay, U2, One Republic, More Coldplay… U2. Did I mention how much I love Coldplay?
- Becki Jerry Matyas Rongstad: What was your favorite concert that TODAY had on?
- Natalie: Coldplay or Bruce Springsteen
5. If she could choose her next venture with Jenna Bush Hager...
- Dacia Cole: If you could choose any adventure to take with Jenna what would it be?
- Natalie: Skydiving. If she was screaming ‘Mommy’ going off a cliff what we will she do when free-falling down to earth? Actually that could be frightening.
6. She never diets and she always gets her workout in.
- Nicole Fieser: Clearly you exercise. When/how do you find the time to exercise with a full time job and young children?
- Natalie: When I get home (usually around 2p) I go straight to the gym, don't pass go! I do an hour most days. It's my "Me" time. Then the kids get home from school. But the answer is I try to schedule it whenever I can when I'm too busy or traveling. Even if its walking the airport… or while cleaning the house or cooking… little things like taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Jolanta Bershefsky: Hi Natalie, I'm a mom of two small children and can't seem to find the time to exercise consistently. Do you have any diet tips or suggestions for getting back into shape after having kids?
- Natalie: It's tough to find the time. I know and while I miss my kids as little toddlers, there are benefits to them being a bit older and more independent now (they are 11 and 6). On the diet, I never diet but I eat healthy for life. I don't eat a lot of crappy foods and rarely fast food. That doesn't mean I don't have cravings and don't snack. But I try and eat well, like snacking on Greek yogurt or fruit. For me the hardest part is avoiding carbs. I try to eat only complex carbs and multi grains. And I try not to eat anything past 8pm. As far as squeezing in exercise, if you are swinging your kids at the playground try doing some squats in between pushes. Those monkey bars are the hardest now as an adult. I also will find reasons to go up and down my steps an extra couple of times. Also consider a babysitting swap with a neighbor… you go to a class and workout while she watches the kids and then do the same for her. Just some ideas to get you started.
7. She loves her rescue mutt.
- Cindy Termuende: How is Zara? Your dog?
- Natalie: I could spend hours answering your question. Talking about my dog is like talking about my children. She is awesome, amazing, the best thing after my children of course. I can't imagine someone ever gave her away but more reason why I always say check out your local animal shelters… so many loving animals that need good homes. Zara is a blessing to our family and to see my boys loving her is just the sweetest thing.
8. Being a working mom has gotten easier as her children get older.
- Katie Griffin Hines Gibbs: You travel so much, I wonder how your children feel about it. Do they ever complain or ask if they can go with you?
- Kathy Perry: Do you ever take your kids and/or your husband with you?
- Natalie: My children have enjoyed the occasional perks of getting to come along with me, but usually it’s all work. My kids understand it's what I do and they know when they turn on the TV and see me on a remote somewhere I'm ok and I'll be home soon. It was hardest when they were smaller and I felt like they would be mad at me. But now I think they actually enjoy it because when I'm away it's playtime usually with my husband – and when I come home the house is usually a mess since they don't have me nagging after them about picking up after themselves.
9. She loves to shop.
- Courtney Elizabeth: Hey Natalie!! I love your coat today!! My question is.. Do you choose what you wear on the show everyday?! If so, Where's your favorite place to shop for your adorable dresses?! Also, if I'm allowed to ask two, are you going to run the Boston Marathon again this year?!
- Natalie: I do chose my own clothes and shop for it myself (sadly my husband thinks I love to shop too much.) I do a lot of Zara, JCrew, Banana Republic and Saks, which is right across the street from us. I am not running Boston again this year.. still dealing with an injury from training for it last year. However, I am running the More Half Marathon here in NYC with Erica Hill in April.
10. Natalie is a rom-com gal, except when it comes to "Fifty Shades of Grey."
- Savannah Guthrie: How many times have you read the Fifty Shades trilogy? Be honest. I will fact check your answer. xxxooo
- Natalie: Only once. But I may have consulted the books for research after having read them. Can't wait to watch the movie with you.
- Hope Weston: What type of movies do you enjoy most ? All time favorite ?
- Natalie: Romantic Comedies. All-time favorite is Casablanca. I am a huge movie buff though and have lots of favorites.
- Siobhain Summer Perez: Are you excited to watch “Fifty Shades of Grey?”
- Natalie: I'm curious about it. As the only one of the show who admittedly read all 3 books, I want to see how it turned out and it's like the book. I still am curious how they are making it rated R. I do think, having seen the clips all week, that Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan were the right picks for Anastasia and Christian. They do look the part at least.
11. Her multicultural childhood influenced her career.
- Emily Rasch: Who inspired you to be a journalist?
- Natalie: Maybe more what inspired me… I grew up an Air Force Brat living in lots of countries. It opened my eyes at an early age to the rest of the world and made me want to see and learn more. My dad though is a huge news junkie and sitting around Sunday Night was always 60 Minutes night in my house.. appointment television. I realized there was a way to continue my passion of traveling, seeing the world, telling stories and meeting fascinating people by becoming a journalist.
12. She wants to travel east, Far East.
- Nikki Schultz: Whats on place that you would like to visit that you have not gotten to yet?
- Natalie: SO many places I would love to go to. I was born in Taiwan and my dad has these incredible home movies, so I would love to go see what it is like. I have never been to Japan, Australia… New Zealand is definitely on my bucket list!
13. She enjoys cooking, but not necessarily with raisins — or crickets.
- Stacy Keene Hammons: Do you enjoy cooking? You seem very knowledgeable in the cooking segments. If so, what's you favorite thing to cook at home for all of your boys?
- Natalie: I love to cook! In fact, I spend a lot of my weekends making big stews or soups for the rest of the week. My kids are super picky eaters so I think I think I am the master of chicken 1001 ways! I'm trying to get them to be more adventurous.
- And later: Most nights my "relax" time is making dinner with a glass of wine in hand of course. My specialties: Lots of Spanish and Latin recipes because I watched watching my mom and grandma a lot.
- Sally Kohls: Have you done a cooking segment where it had a "gross" ingredient like insects that you had to sample?
- Natalie: Yes, we had cricket tacos on the show once and surprisingly once I got past the "gross" factor, they were quite crunchy (as you'd expect and tasty). That said, I would never eat them for real unless the zombie apocalypse was happening.
- Connie Maier-Patterson: Do you like raisins? We have a heated debate in our family. Baking with raisins kills the flavor. Straight out of the box is the only way. Do you agree?
- Natalie: Love raisins. Agree, don't like them baked as much.
Check out these other Facebook chats:
- Matt Lauer reveals secret talent, favorite part of parenthood
- Savannah gets candid, squashes rumors and admits to setting a fire
- Carson Daly does one-liners about vodka, TRL and more in Facebook chat
- Hoda Kotb talks birthday plans, on-air drinking during Facebook chat
- Why Al Roker is the Elton John of weather and other things we learned from his Facebook chat