When Chicago morning news anchor Tanja Babich wore glasses on air last week, it was a deviation from her usual look.
“Before we go, I just want to say thanks to the many of you who’ve reached out this week to say that you’ve liked seeing me in glasses,” Babich said at the end of the ABC7 broadcast Friday. “And some of you have also asked why I’m wearing them.”
Babich's 10-year-old daughter Adelaide was not wearing hers on Zoom for remote school, because she was afraid of what people in her class would say or think about her.
“So in a gesture of solidarity,” Babich said, “I’ve been wearing mine all week to make this point: Whatever people say or think about you is none of your business. Just be yourself, authentically and unapologetically. The rest will work itself out.”
The segment closed with images of celebrities like Taylor Swift and Idris Elba in glasses before panning to the entire news team, who were all wearing glasses, too, in a show of support.
Before signing off, Babich encouraged social media followers to send her photos of children wearing their specs.
“I hope you will share your kids’ pictures with me on social media,” she said. “I will only be too happy to tell them how beautiful they look.”
On Friday, she posted her own photo with Adelaide.
“This is Aidan and he’s in kindergarten. He was so sad when we found out that he needed glasses. He totally embraces them now because he can see so much better than before,” Keith Heyward commented on Babich’s Facebook post.
“Mirror, mirror on the wall...Thank you for making it beautiful!” wrote another alongside a sweet snap of her daughter.
Babich has been commenting on the photos.
“It never occurred to me how many people would connect with this,” she told the Chicago Tribune. “I heard from parents whose babies were diagnosed with vision problems and they’re trying to wrap their heads around what that’s going to be like. Teachers who said, ‘Thank you. My students are so afraid to wear their glasses.’ A good friend, my daughter’s optometrist, actually, said, ‘Tanja, you have no idea how hard it is to get kids to wear glasses. Thank you.’”
Babich shared it was her oldest daughter, age 10, who initially felt insecure about wearing glasses. Babich has shared the nationwide response with her.
“I’m not going to change her mind about her glasses overnight,” Babich said. “But I can tell she feels good when she sees that her story is making other kids feel good about their glasses. Hopefully that helps to soften whatever insecurity she has.”