Jenna Bush Hager and Hoda Kotb were both reaching for the tissues after Jenna opened up about Hoda’s impact on her life and career.
The emotional moment came as the TODAY with Hoda & Jenna co-hosts shared stories about how they got their big breaks in broadcasting. They were inspired by a recent, viral LinkedIn post from a software engineer, Sophia Cheong, who said she weathered 357 rejections and 40 interviews before finally landing a job.
“I remember when I was looking for my very, very, very, very first job and I thought … I kind of thought I was going to get a job right away,” Hoda said, recalling her own arduous search after graduation. “And I remember the first time I got rejected to my face, I was so surprised because I had a tape and I went to college, and here’s my stuff. He’s like, ‘Well, you’re too green.’”
She said after that experience, her job hunt continued with rejection after rejection.
“It just kept going and going and going and going and going, and I kept going and getting the rejection,” she said. “There is a point when you get so many that your whole self-esteem just goes down the toilet. You start thinking, I made a mistake. Because all these people can’t be wrong.”
At long last, one person decided to give her a chance.
“You just need one person to say you can do it, and my one guy’s name was Stan Sandroni, and he was in Greenville, Mississippi. He hired me when no one else would,” Hoda said.
“This guy believed, and that’s so shocking because it was like, you just need the one,” she added.
At that point, Jenna shared an emotional revelation of her own.
“Do you know who my one would be?” she said to Hoda. “You.”
“I know that sounds cheesy, and I almost didn't say it,” she went on. “But I was here for years, doing a lot of different things, and I worked really hard and I had producers say, ‘Well, you're a correspondent. That's where you are.’ And that was good. That was what I wanted to be. I wanted to tell stories.”
“You asked me to fill in with you,” she told Hoda, as both of them fought back tears. “And I'll never forget it, so my one is you.”