Waking Up with Araksya Karapetyan

October 26, 2021

Araksya Karapetyan co-anchors Good Day LA from 5:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m alongside Tony McEwing. She does segments and interviews from 7-9am. She joined the FOX 11 team in March of 2012.

A native of Armenia, Karapetyan moved to the U.S. when she was seven years old. A devastating earthquake, a brewing conflict with Azerbaijan, and the demise of the Soviet Union all contributed to her family’s decision to leave their homeland. She grew up in Palos Verdes Estates. Karapetyan worked as a general assignment reporter and fill-in host at KOIN-TV in Portland, Oregon. Prior to that, she was a reporter, anchor, and producer at KIDK-TV in Idaho Falls. Karapetyan began her television career as an intern at KABC-TV in Los Angeles and KFI 640 AM radio in Burbank. Her interest in journalism sparked when she went back for a summer visit to Armenia. She decided to spend her time there not by being a tourist, but by exploring to see what everyday life was like for the majority.

John Shegerian: This edition of the Impact Podcast is brought to you by ERI. ERI has a mission to protect people, the planet, and your privacy. It is the largest fully integrated IT and electronics asset disposition provider and cybersecurity-focused hardware destruction company in the United States, and maybe even the world. For more information on how ERI can help your business properly dispose of outdated electronic hardware devices, please visit eridirect.com.

John: Welcome to a special edition of the Impact Podcast because I have one of the people that I greatly admire, Araksya Karapetyan. She is the Good Day LA morning anchor. Welcome to the Impact Podcast, Araksya.

Araksya Karapetyan: Thank you, John. Nice to meet you. I heard a lot about you, and finally, we get to do this.

John: We get to do this. I’m a huge fan of yours. Every time I’m coming through LA, I watch the news that you’re anchoring because I’m so proud of you. As an Armenian-American, that you’re hosting the Fox LA News. It just makes me so proud.

Araksya: Thank you, that means a lot.

John: You know, before we get talking about all the great work you do at Fox LA, can you share about where you were born, and your journey to get into this position as well?

Araksya: Yeah, sure. I was born in Gyumri Armenia, which is the second-largest city there in Armenia and following the earthquake in 1988. Then, went to war with Azerbaijan in 1990, and the Soviet Union began to collapse. My family and I migrated here to the United States. By the way, today happens to be 30 years of Independence for Armenia. On this day, 30 years ago, September 21st, the people of Armenia voted in a referendum to proclaim independence from seven decades of Soviet rule. It’s an important symbolic day.

We came here and my grandfather’s brother, my great uncle, had come to the United States following World War II. He had ended up going through New York, ended up in Montebello, and then came to Palos Verdes, which is the South Bay here in California, a beautiful area as we were speaking about earlier. With all of those things happening in Armenia, he arranged for us to leave everything behind and come here. That’s how I ended up here.

It’s not the typical immigrant story in the sense that we were fortunate enough to have someone who had established themselves in this country. His story is the American dream story that he brought us over had laid the foundation for us. We just got to work, and we’re able to succeed based on everything he has done to get us going. So, we were fortunate and I don’t ever take that for granted. I think about that all the time. The reason I’m sitting here talking to you, that you’re even interested in speaking with me, what I do every day. It goes back to this man who didn’t even know us but felt a sense of duty to his family. To help set them up for generations to come ((my children, their children)), who are going to benefit off of his generosity.

John: Right. Is he still alive?

Araksya: No, he passed away in 2000, seems[?] 13 now, so it has been a while. Yes, he passed away. He was 91. He lived a long life, but he was the patriarch of our family, and his absence is still there to this day. Every time I drive home, and I’m on the cliffs of Palos Verdes, I look over and see this amazing view of the ocean. I think to myself we’re in paradise, and I think about him every day.

John: That’s so nice of you because so many people forget the sacrifice that our ancestors made as immigrants. First of all, I believe I always feel closer to immigrants no matter if they’re Armenian, Filipina, or Korean. I have a connection. I think all immigrants feel connected as a DNA number one, number two. It’s so nice to always remember who sacrificed before us to give us these great opportunities that we truly have here.

Araksya: Absolutely.

John: So you come here, you’re young, little girl.

Araksya: Seven and a half.

John: Seven and a half when you’re here. Talk about growing up in America, you already have some experience growing up in Armenia. How were you received by your friends here? How did that go growing up here in the Greater Los Angeles Area?

Araksya: Well, as a child, I think we kids assimilate very quickly, and I didn’t speak a word of English. I remember going to my first day of school, it was a little intimidating. On the first day of school, I was so excited to get to wear whatever I wanted because in Armenia during the Soviet Union, I’d wear this uniform. It was this brown dress with a white apron. It wasn’t the nicest, most flattering outfit. The fact that in America, I got to go to a public school and I could wear whatever I wanted.

So, on the first day of school, I wore this pink laced, just over-the-top outfit you would wear to a wedding if you’re a flower girl. I remember my mother trying to convince me, “You don’t wear that it’s a little… People dress a little casually here.” I’m like, “Nope, it’s a special day and I’m wearing this outfit”. So we walked to school and of course, everyone was staring at me and I said, “Why is everyone staring at me, Mom?” “Oh, they know each other here, everyone knows one another.” “Not really. They were staring at me because of what I was wearing.”

I can speak English, so they enrolled me in ESL, English as a second language. I remember immediately not liking the feeling of standing out in that way and being separated in that way. My goal became coming out of that class as soon as possible, and I succeeded. I remember it didn’t take very long for me to get out because I wanted to be like everyone else and blend in and not stand apart in that sense. So, English came to me quickly.

I always credit I Love Lucy. One of the first things I ever watched when I moved to America. That’s how I learned English because she was such an animated character and you don’t need to speak English to watch and follow along with the show. I always say, she played a role in me learning English, and I began speaking English quickly, and then I got involved in everything, every sport, every activity, every club, just because I wanted to be a part of everything and not miss out.

John: When was were growing up, where did you get your news from? The internet wasn’t a big thing back then. Were you watching your news locally or nationally? Was there a news anchor that spurred your interest in going into the news industry?

Araksya: No. I didn’t grow up watching the news at all. People always say, “How did you get into this?” I don’t know, I kind of stumbled into it. I went to Syracuse University in New York. Why did I go there? I don’t even know. They gave me a grand, but I always envisioned going to the East Coast for school. [inaudible]

[laughing]

John: There are so many great schools that surrounded you, and you decided on maybe the school that’s geographically[?] the furthest from Palos Verdes, California. They are known for having a great journalism school.

Araksya: There you go. I believe everything is meant to happen the way it’s supposed to. I did not know that at the time. When I went to Syracuse, I majored in international relations and political science. After that first year, it’s so cold there. It’s miserable and like, “What am I doing? Why am I here?” Then, I decided if I’m going to suffer through these winters, I might as well leave with the degree that they’re known for, Newhouse School of Communications. It’s one of the, if not, the best school for broadcasting. I double majored, and political science became a minor. It was meant to be, but even on the day of my graduation, I looked around thinking, “What do I want to do?” All of these people already have jobs lined up. They’ve been doing these internships at TV stations. I haven’t done anything. I don’t even know if I want this. So it’s funny how things work out, and here I am.

John: That is funny. I had read your background that you went to Syracuse. It makes perfect sense. It’s the greatest journalism school in America. Oh, she was so focused that this was what she wanted and there you go. So you come out of Syracuse. You’re still a little bit unsure. So then you start paying your dues. Explain what that means in the news industry.

Araksya: It means you have to go to a small town that no one’s heard of and cover stories that you don’t care to cover and be away from family and make no money. Something I thought I could avoid doing because everyone always thinks they’ll be the exception to the rule of how things work.

I was stalling because I did not want to do all the things I just said. You couldn’t get a job here in LA. It just doesn’t work that way with no experience. I went from no internships to all seven, I had three or four internships at the same time. This is my personality. It’s all or nothing, I’m all in or all out. When I go hard, I go hard. I did all of these internships.

I went to Armenia that summer of 2006. While I was there, the story is that you go from this house to that house, eating, drinking, just doing all the touristy things, but not getting a sense of what life is. I had a camcorder that I grabbed that we had with us, and I started just kind of for fun going around talking to people. I created a little project for myself. I went to visit an orphanage and an elderly home. I talked to people on the street and did all kinds of things. I wanted to visit a jail, but they’re like, you can’t just go to the jail. This isn’t America. You don’t just walk into jail and say, “Hey, I want to take footage.” I have all these tiny tapes to this day that I always say I’ll turn into something one day, which I probably won’t, but that experience ignited my passion for journalism.

When I came back, I made a tape, I sent it out to all these places. I ended up picking up the car and just going off to Idaho Falls, a place I’ve never been in my life. I had no place to live, didn’t know anything about it, and I just went and signed a contract and made 18 thousand dollars a year and lived by myself. There were no other Armenians there. They had no idea what Armenia was. They couldn’t pronounce my name, but it was an amazing experience. At the end of it, everyone in town knew where Armenia was and everyone could perfectly pronounce my name. I had memories and friends I made that will last me a lifetime

John: You bring up a great point, Araksya. You talk about when you first came as a little seven-and-a-half-year-old girl, and how you assimilated and became part of everything, did everything because you want it to become part of it all. Does the Immigrant experience live? Does it help people succeed? Because you build up a certain resilience and grit that maybe others don’t need to have or never even had a chance to hone.

Look, you came to Palos Verdes, and you became part of the community. You went to Idaho Falls, and you replicated what you did as a seven-and-a-half-year-old.

Araksya: Yeah, that’s true. I haven’t thought about that, but you’re right. I think of the Immigrant experience probably, and what you’ve been through. You want to belong, and you want to work hard and prove to yourself and others that you’re capable of everything and anything. I also think it’s part of the personality.

It makes sense now, looking back. I’m doing what I’m doing based on my personality, which I didn’t see before my curiosity for things. My interest in people wanting to know the side I don’t necessarily agree with because I’m curious as to why people may feel the way they do. I like that I embraced that and don’t shy away from what is unfamiliar to me. I run toward where the excitement is. All of those things are part of my personality.

John: Right. That’s so interesting, but it’s so funny. You were informed by Lucille Ball. So to me, you could have gone the other way and became the next Elaine Benes or Julia Louis [inaudible], or somebody like that. That could have been right in the cards as well. You pay your dues. Idaho Falls, where did you go next?

Araksya: Portland, Oregon. First of all, for those who are not familiar with the markets in broadcasting, the smaller the town, the higher the number in the scale. Idaho Falls at that time was 182, I think, or 187. Portland was a big jump. I went from that to 50, which was great. Portland was exciting. I mean, of course, it rains and the weather’s not [inaudible].

There was nightlife, there were restaurants and things to do, and exciting people. I spent two years there. Ultimately my goal was to make my way back to Los Angeles. In the end, it came down to New York LA, or going abroad, being a foreign correspondent. I went with LA because all of my family’s here, my husband’s family’s here. We weren’t married yet, but we were dating.

Also, I wanted to be part of the Armenian community. There’s a huge Armenian community here in Los Angeles. The largest Armenian community outside of Armenia except for Russia. Russia, as a bigger one, I believe. I wanted to be part of something where I could belong and highlight the stories here, and bring up issues that otherwise would never get brought up. That’s what I ended up doing, thankfully.

John: I’ve watched you so many mornings and all the great work you’re doing. We’re going to get into that in a section. Before we do that, you’re a mom and a wife. You have two young, beautiful children.

Araksya: Yes, Sona and Sevan. Sevan is five and Sona is almost two and a half.

John: Give us a day in life. Is that [inaudible]? A wife, a mom, a professional that not only is a professional and has to be on her game every day. Also, you don’t have the luxury of when you don’t feel like dressing up or looking your best that you don’t have to. You have to present your best every day. How do you juggle all three of those? Give us a little bit of a day in the life.

Araksya: Well, it is challenging, and not everyone can do it. Not to say that it’s impossible it just takes a lot. It takes a toll especially with me because I’m trying to always be involved in so many things. It’s not just going to work and coming home. I’m always juggling events, and activities, and charities, and that sort of thing. So, the people who helped me, thankfully are my family, my husband, my mom, my sister-in-law, my sister, my whole family, if it wasn’t for those people I couldn’t do what I do.

Basically, I get up at 2:30 in the morning, which is crazy. Immediately it’s not like you slowly wake up, and make a cup of coffee and convince yourself. I just go from 0 to 60 immediately because every second counts in the morning. I have everything already set, what I’m going to wear the night before. I can’t waste time, and I just grab and get to work.

Because of COVID-19, we don’t have hair and makeup right now, but we did before. Before, I could come in and open up my laptop and prepare for the show and they would get me ready. Now, I have to do that myself as well, so it takes up time. A lot of multitasking. I’m listening to the news, I’m reading, I’m going over scripts, I’m preparing for a segment. Producers are coming in, talking to me. All of that is happening while I’m getting ready to go on the air. I get on the air at five in the morning and then we go two hours straight of the traditional newscast with my amazing co-anchor, Tony McEwing, who’s been in the business. He always says longer than I’ve been alive, which is kind of true. Then, we still have this show to do after seven. I do segments throughout until about 9 o’clock, or so.

In addition to being aware of what’s going on in the world. You need to know a little bit about everything. It’s not just sitting there and reading the teleprompter. You have to have a little knowledge about everything. After that, I’m always working on other projects, stories on putting together in an [inaudible] I’m doing. I head out of here around eleven in the morning, but I don’t just get to go home and rest. That’s where it gets hard.

Believe it or not, work is my fun time. It’s the time where I come to life and then when I leave, I have the mom job to do. That is the hardest job, much harder than this. I get home, and sometimes I sit in the driveway for a few extra minutes to mentally prepare for what’s about to happen when I walk through the front door. It’s pure chaos, I walk in, and it looks like a hurricane hit my house. I have all these dishes and the floors covered in food, and everything is a mess. I immediately clean everything up, put everyone back together, glue it all back together, then entertain the kids. I have all day with them which is wonderful, but I’m also tired.

I feel like the zombie, that’s the part I wish I could change. If I could do a better job of getting more sleep, which is a little harder right now with young kids. But if I was well-rested, I think I would be a happier person. I feel like people and all the strangers get the best of me. Even you, we just met but you’re getting the energetic Araksya here, the fun Araksya. When I leave, I’m tired Araksya, and I don’t want to talk and have fun. I just want to relax.

John: I can’t blame you. So now, you’re home with the kids all day. What time is dinner, and what time do you turn in?

Araksya: Not early enough. Last night, for example, I went to sleep around nine. That’s not much sleep, but part of that was my fault. I could have been asleep by 8:30, but I had to squeeze in an episode of The Sopranos.

John: The Sopranos [crosstalk]

Araksya: I know, 20 years too late.

John: I’m just saying that’s interesting that you have to squeeze it in.

Araksya: I love my mob shows.

John: Oh my gosh, that is so cute. Have you ever watched it before?

Araksya: Back when it was on, I had seen episodes here and there. I’ve never had sat and it from beginning to end, so I’m binging it. You know everyone binges everything these days.

John: Yeah, I know. Your generation is all a binge. It’s one big binge. Let me ask you about your children, do they watch you on television? Do they know that’s Mom up there? Do they know that you’re on in the morning?

Araksya: They do. My daughter, my older one calls me a Newser[?]. A Newser, yes.

John: That’s an interesting term. I’ve never that.

Araksya: It is. She’s so funny. I do her hair, braid her hair, get her ready when I’m home. She always says, “You should stop being a Newser and be a hair saloner[?]. You do such a good job with the hair.” It just makes [inaudible].

John: There’s no filter.

Araksya: They do watch, but not always. I think when I first came to Los Angeles, my family never really quite understood what it was that I was doing away from home because they couldn’t turn the TV and watch me. They didn’t quite understand.

When I first got here, there was a lot of excitement, “Oh my gosh, like we get to see you.” They still struggled with the fact, “Okay you went to work for 8-10 hours, but you were on for 32 minutes.” It’s when I first started reporting. “What were you doing all that time?” “You don’t understand, I have to go to a location, get the story, do the interview, right it, edit.” They still have a hard time with that.

Now that I anchor, they get to see hours of me on TV. They’re having an easier time understanding my job. Initially, there was so much excitement that they could turn on the television and see me. It was all worth it because I was constantly being encouraged to leave whatever it was that I was doing and move back home there. They supported me. I mean financially, they had to if I wouldn’t have made it. They supported me and they didn’t stand in my way. I think they still just didn’t quite get it because all my life I was told to be an attorney or doctor, which is the typical immigrant thing you get told. I will say the one person, who from the beginning told me to keep going, it would be worth, was my husband. He wasn’t my husband at the time, but my husband. He always said, “Put your head down, keep working at it, it’s going to be worth it. You’re going to be good at this.” He supported me from the beginning.

John: That’s so nice. For our listeners and our viewers, and our readers. You’re consuming the Impact Podcast today. We’re so lucky to have you with us today. Araksya Karapetyan, she’s the anchor for Good Day Fox L.A. Araksya, do you still have family in Armenia?

Araksya: I do. Yes. I do have family in Armenia. My immediate family is here in the States, but I do still have family there and I haven’t been there for quite a while. I had hoped to go, and then I became pregnant with my second daughter. The doctor advised me not to, so I missed out on that opportunity. A lot has happened obviously with COVID, as well as the past year. We’re coming up on the anniversary. The commemoration of when the war began in Armenia.

Last September 27th, 2020, which was followed by just 44 days, and after the worst anxiety I think I’ve ever experienced in my life. To do the job I do and to be dealing with that. It was a lot for me. Just coming to work and reporting on stories. Stories that sometimes felt not important for me, or frivolous or silly, or what the latest viral video was, while something of mass importance was happening. All these miles away, and then working hard to try to bring those stories to light for this community, and to make people who are not Armenian care about what was happening so many thousands of miles away with so much history that people couldn’t comprehend. It was a lot of work and pressure and stress, and it was the hardest thing I’ve probably had to experience in my whole life.

John: I want to cover those two topics. You brought up two very important topics. I want to cover where we are in Armenian history right now, where we think we’re going. I want your take on that. Before that, I want to say that I’m constantly so proud of you because when I watch you on the news, one of my favorite segments that I’ve watched you on was when you had virtually an unknown, Armenian name, [inaudible].

I was blessed in the October of 19 to meet. When I was in Armenia, I was with him at some events that he was hosting. You hosted him on your show and gave him great exposure in LA. Let’s be honest, if there’s going to be a Nobel Peace Prize, talk about a guy who deserves it. I think he sits in many ways as the founder of Moderna, was one of the great conquerors of COVID-19, one of the greatest tragedies to ever strike the entire world as we know it. I loved your interview with him and I love that you continually talk about your Armenian heritage, and bring up stories that are relevant to both our history and our future.

Before we talk about Armenia, talk about the organizations that you’re involved with. Why is it so important to never forget our roots as Armenians and to always represent them?

Araksya: Well, our history, going back to the Armenian Genocide. The reason you’re here, it shows back to the Armenian Genocide. As a result of the Armenian Genocide, Armenians are scattered all over the world. Therefore, we have to work extra hard to preserve our history, our heritage, our culture, our traditions. It’s a big challenge for all of us because we go into different countries and different communities and we assimilate. We always have this sense, at least I feel speaking for myself, a sense of duty to keep our roots alive. It’s a bit easier for me to do that. I was seven and a half when I moved here. For example, my sister and my cousins, were nine months, old one-year-old. They don’t have this same longing and the same pull that I feel towards the soil there. I feel this pulling from the roots there in my heart.

It just comes naturally to want to do stories that highlight Armenian issues and causes and organizations. I do it because I want to. I also do it because I feel as though I have this platform, and I need to use it for the betterment of our people.

I have to be honest with you, John. Well my kids, how am I going to instill what I feel in them? They were born here. They haven’t been into Armenia yet. Who knows who they’re going to marry and what happens with their children, and their children’s children. Sometimes I get really sad when I think about that because I can only control what I can control now. I can’t control what happens later. I want to make sure that we preserve our heritage.

I have these deep moments where I think about, and I go back to our history and what happened and why it is this way, why we live where we live and do what we do in a different country, yet we feel this sense of belonging yet to the motherland. It’s a unique situation, I think. I feel it’s up to me to help people in our community and to have exposure and a voice. If we are going to book a therapist to talk about a segment, I’ll find an Armenian therapist and suggest, “Hey, let’s give this person a shot where otherwise that person would not have had a shot.” It’s so important to have representation.

John: It is, and you’re doing a great job of it. When I first moved to Los Angeles from New York, I was a Chairman of the Western Region of the Armenian Assembly, I’ve always felt that we were so underrepresented, in media and politics, by the way. I still feel we’re greatly underrepresented in politics. So, it’s so great to have you as a brilliant and beautiful voice that continues to shine in a very major market, which is great. You’re doing this on a big stage. I’m very grateful for what you do, and I know there are lots of other Armenian’s there, as well.

Talk a little bit about that though, because I was in the same position you were, many moons ago when I was much younger. How do you instill upon your children all the luck and the blessings that we have to be here in America? Probably one of the greatest countries on this planet. Also never forget their roots.

My children, I always encourage to help them to go back to Armenia numerous times. They want to go back and buy a house there in the future. When are you going to start taking your children over there? What’s in your mind? Have you mapped this out?

Araksya: I can’t take extended time off. If I could, it would be to spend a good chunk of summer there in my ideal world. I think for them to have the development of the language, they need the exposure, they need to be around it. Right now, it’s becoming challenging because they’re going to school and they’re surrounded by English speakers. Although I try hard to only speak to them in Armenian and have my family only speak to them in Armenian, it’s this constant battle. I have to push and push.

They do these zoom classes with a teacher in Armenia, twice a week and 30 minutes, which is great. Yeah, it’s wonderful. It’s a great program. It’s called թութակ or t’ut’ak. In Armenian, it means parrot. It’s written as to talk, but to t’ut’ak means parrot. It gives jobs there in Armenia for these teachers, but it also allows them to interact and engage with someone and speak the language aside from me. Again, this is where you have to work even harder and push even harder if it’s important for you. It is for me to have them speak the language. I just speak English all day long.

I used to be fluent in Russian and I came to this country, and my Russian completely dwindled and faded away. I still can speak a bit and understand it. Grammatically, I hesitate to engage because I know I’m probably going to make many errors, but it’s still there deep down. If I just was exposed to it, it would come back. Language is such a wonderful thing and I don’t want to lose it. When you don’t use it, you lose it.

John: That’s true, unfortunately. Talk about social media. Social media wasn’t around when I was young, it’s become so big. What’s so interesting now, Araksya, is my friends are breaking out into different layers. They say some of my friends say, “If they don’t watch the news, they feel uninformed. If they watch the news, they sometimes feel misinformed.” Now, so many people are just focusing on social media as their news delivery service. How does that play with your career?

You used to be just called a journalist. People in your position were journalists, but now as you’ve pointed out to me before we went on the air, you’re more of a news personality. How does that bridge happen, and how do you balance being a qualified journalist? Both educationally speaking, and with all the right credentials. You paid your dues, but also being a news personality in a very Hollywood Market.

Araksya: First of all, I have this love/hate relationship with social media. I think if it weren’t for work, I wouldn’t be on it. Believe it or not, I’m more of a private person than it appears. Because it kind of has become part of the job, it goes along with it. It’s become part of my life, and I find myself, “Okay, I haven’t posted for a while. I better post something,” kind of that mindset. I get really angry like, “Why do I have to feel that way? Why do I have to feel like I have to post something? Why do I have to feel like I have to get followers? Why do I have to feel like people [inaudible] like something?” I think a lot of people have this battle now.

For me, it was part of my job and is part of my job. I do this balancing act where I do a little bit of news in my postings because I feel people expect it for me. I also find that people are more interested in the personal side of my life, right? With the kids or behind the scenes of what happens at a TV station. Behind the scenes of my life when I’m getting ready for work or what have you, how I spend my weekends. It’s this balancing act.

I also use it to highlight a lot of Armenian things. Otherwise, that would never get attention. I have to pick and choose when to do what and how much of it to do not to get people to turn away. There’s a lot that goes into it. I’ve also found that I have a different following on Instagram than I have on Facebook and Twitter. They’re very different. What I might post on Instagram, I might not necessarily post on Facebook and vice versa.

Every time you post a selfie, which I hate to do believe it or not, but I do because that gets the most attention. It’s this crazy thing where you want the important things to get attention. You better have a following and to get a follow, you need to also engage in frivolous activity, which is like a selfie or your outfit of the day or what have you, silly things. It’s this cycle and you’re feeding the beast constantly. You’re trying to keep up and it’s exhausting.

It was my New Year’s resolution and I’ve done a pretty good job of it. On Fridays, I completely disconnect until Monday, and it is a cleanse. [crosstalk]

John: I heard you’ve talked about the on the air.

Araksya: It’s so wonderful. It’s this mental-emotional, I call it a cleanse for the soul. It is great, and I encourage everyone who does social media to take a timeout.

John: Like a digital sabbatical.

Araksya: Yes. You become distracted by it. Instead of being in the moment, you’re taking a picture or video to post, but you were never in the moment because you were too busy trying to capture the moment. I lose my mind.

John: I was at an Armenian wedding on Saturday night and the groom’s father wasn’t watching his son toast him. The son was giving the most heartfelt speech. He was videoing it with his camera like, “Put the camera down. Put the phone down. Listen to your son, he’s pouring his heart out to you, thanking you for being such a great father.”

You’re right and what you’re doing is because you’re a public personality. First of all, it’s fascinating what you said, most people don’t understand that. Facebook versus Instagram versus Twitter, the science behind the different platforms. You’re right, Araksya. The art is different. The sheer, just to keep up with the numbers, and feeding the beast, has to be mentally exhausting.

Araksya: There was a time here where they were monitoring. COVID hit and everything kind of changed, but they were monitoring our social engagement. All the newsrooms here in Los Angeles, literally have this giant monitor board where it showed in a 24-hour cycle, who was most engaged and who was number one. [crosstalk]

John: Come on. You have to see a scorecard every day.

Araksya: No. I’m not kidding. Every day you walk in and it’s in front of you. Then COVID happened, everyone went and started working remotely and it didn’t even matter and no one cared. I don’t know what happened because it’s not on anymore. I am sure it still exists somewhere on the web. [crosstalk]

John: Let’s be honest, no one misses it.

Araksya: Yeah, and I was number one for a long time, but it’s because I was constantly posting and replying to every comment. It’s before I had kids so I had the time. I had kids and I just don’t have the time to respond to every single comment. I just stopped and was like, “I can’t do this anymore.”

John: Talk about where we are as a country. I’m so glad you brought up that it’s our 30th anniversary of independence that’s such an important milestone. We did go through a tragic war last year, and we’re still living with the aftermath of that. You still have family there, I have so many friends and relationships there. Where do you feel that we’re going, and how can we help our country move past these bad chapters to a better future?

Araksya: We’ll just speak on a personal level here. I just think that it is these moments that you realize how much the country of Armenia has gone through. It was a very terrible awful year that Armenia was forced to face and deal with. So many innocent young men and women lost their lives, so much blood was spilled. Armenia is very wounded right now, physically emotionally mentally. it’s tough, but today, looking back and reflecting on things, the importance of staying united and focusing on the good.

There’s so much noise and negativity out there, but seeing the light, finding the light, you being the light. Those are the things that will help Armenia make progress in the long run. There’s so much there, so many young children and young adults with so much talent and skillsets. You want them to feel like there is a future and they have a future. I think it is our responsibility again, as [inaudible] to lend a helping hand. I’m not just talking about financially money-wise, I’m talking about just visiting or showing the skills you have and what they can achieve, and how they can get there. Just always being engaged with the people there. With what happened last year, it was very difficult. I have PTSD from it, honestly. It was really bad.

John: What are some of your favorite organizations in America that you are involved?

Araksya: There are so many amazing things. Children of Armenia Fund, which I’ve been working with for a while. They’re so great and they’re based out there in New York. They are wonderful. They do so much work for the rural communities of Armenia. Giving these kids who would never have an opportunity as they do now. They have these smart centers in their building. They’re helping even people from [inaudible], and other displacements of the families. They do so much work.

I have to get a list, honestly, because there’s just so much. I’ve done so many stories like the Armenian International Medical Fund where they go and they do cochlear implants for children and soldiers. There’s a doctor here, a Japanese American doctor. On his own, pro bono, he goes several times a year to Armenia and does these surgeries for free. He’s the most amazing man, but he changes these children’s lives. If it wasn’t for him, they wouldn’t be able to do it. They’re always doing fundraising because they need these implants. These implants are not cheap.

City of Smile, that’s something helping kids who have cancer. SOAR, which is an organization for orphans. There are just so many if I could go on and on, but I’m always posting about them and sharing as much as I can to highlight some of these amazing organizations. People need help. Especially post-war, the people who didn’t end up losing their lives lost limbs or had such trauma that if not dealt with for generations to come, that’s going to be an issue. There’s a lot of need for help there.

John: Araksya, how can our listeners and viewers find you? On the news and also find you on social media, so they can follow you and continue to learn about all the great things you’re up to and all the important things you’re doing.

Araksya: I’m most active, I would say on Instagram. That’s my favorite social media outlet. Just by posting stories, you get snippets of life and news. It’s quick and I’m most engaged with that. It’s just araksyakarapetyan, common spelling. You just find me there. For Twitter, I’m least engaged with. I honestly don’t look at Twitter anymore so don’t even bother, don’t waste your time. Then Facebook, you will find me there as well. Usually, I check in there, once in a while. It’s a public page so it’s not like I have to be your friend. You can just go there and you’ll follow me along.

You can also stream our show. You don’t have to be in Los Angeles to watch in the morning. If you go to foxla.com, 5:00 am to 7:00 am actual LA time. If you hit the live little button there, you can watch the show in real-time.

John: Anywhere we are in the world we can watch you.

Araksya: Yes. Just make sure that you’re watching the Pacific Standard Time. 5:00 am to 7:00 am.

John: Araksya, I have to just tell you it’s called the Impact Show because we have people that are making important impacts on this planet. You are making such a great impact. I’m so proud of you as an Armenian-American. I’m just honored to have you today. I wish you continued success, great help. I want you to come back and share your journey with us, as you evolve as a professional and keep doing all the great work you’re doing. Thank you so much for being with us today.

Araksya: John, thank you so much! It was a pleasure meeting you, and thank you for the opportunity.

John: This edition of the Impact Podcast is brought to you by Engage. Engage is a digital booking platform, revolutionizing the talent booking industry. With thousands of athletes, celebrities, entrepreneurs, and business leaders. Engage is the go-to spot for booking talent, speeches, custom experiences, live streams, and much more. For more information on Engage or to book talent today, visit letsengage.com.