Kristen Nicole is eight months pregnant and wakes up every morning way before dawn to report the news as a co-anchor of “Good Day Chicago,” which airs on the FOX station WFLD. The 35-year-old puts all her energy into doing a good job at work, and most of the time she receives positive feedback, but one day last week she got three back-to-back emails from people criticizing her choice of maternity wear.
“It was surprising someone would go to the length and take time to write something so negative,” she told TODAY Style, adding that she was irritated when she read the emails. “Use your time better. Do a good deed; pay someone a compliment.”
The fitted dress with lace-up detailing in the front is one that Nicole said she wears all the time, even when she’s not pregnant. But the fact that she's eight months along seemed to set off these particular viewers. “I was just caught off guard,” she said.
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Earlier this summer, another newscaster in Augusta, Georgia, received a voicemail about her maternity outfit, too. In it, the person said she looked "like you got a watermelon strapped under your too tight outfits."
Nicole heard about this story from her traffic reporter, who asked how she would handle the situation. At the time, Nicole figured she'd probably ignore it. But experience proved her wrong.
After some self-reflection, Nicole took to Facebook to write about the issue. “I wear this dress probably once a month,” she wrote. “No one has EVER had a problem with it. Wear it almost 8 months pregnant?? Whoa...disgusting, right? (insert massive eye roll).”
Nicole said she wrote her message not for the haters but for those who have supported her during her pregnancy. “To everyone else who has sent messages of congratulations and well wishes, you are keeping me motivated through these last six weeks,” she wrote.
An even bigger outpouring of support came after that. “I woke up the next morning and the message on my phone said I had 57 emails, but only three were from the station,” she said. “It was just a universal worldwide show of support saying, ‘Sorry you’re going through this.’”
Nicole said one of the things that baffles her is how women are targeted more than men over wardrobe issues. “During one of our commercial breaks, I asked a male co-worker if he had ever gotten emails about his wardrobe,” she said. In 20-plus years, he had received fewer than five responses. “People feel they have a right to weigh in,” she said. “It’s very sad.” She added that all of the men at her station have been supportive of her, though.
There's been a recent trend of pregnant newscasters coming forward after viewers have criticized how they’re dressed. In addition to the incident with the reporter in Georgia, a Canadian meteorologist received a mean comment about her maternity wear earlier this month, too. All three women have spoken out about it.
Nicole's Facebook post has since gone viral with more than 900 comments showing support, love and praise. “I certainly appreciate the response from around the world,” she said.