Susan Carlson

37, Near North Side 

Real-life role: CBS 2 weekend anchor and traffic reporter 
Starring in:
Valley of the Dolls

Rerun or role model? Carlson was in grammar school when she first saw the Mary Tyler Moore show. Right then and there, she decided she could be a TV reporter, too. Never mind her age: “I would write my own news, type it up, and do the entire newscast on a TV tray in my basement,” says Carlson, who grew up in the south suburb of Dolton. “I made the whole thing up, and did it in front of my stuffed animals and dolls.” Following high school at Seton Academy in South Holland, Carlson graduated magna cum laude from Loyola, where she studied journalism. Fast forward a few years and several TV and radio jobs, and she’d snagged her spot at CBS.

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What’s in your pockets right now? A dollar thirty-six—the exact amount of money I need to buy a cup of flavored coffee at White Hen tomorrow morning—and my ID to get into work.

When you’re alone, who do you play air guitar to? I’m not an air guitar player; I’m an air drummer, mostly for commercial jingles.

What songs will be played at your wedding? The Macarena and Muskrat Love.

Fill in the blanks: I’d rather have a significant other who runs to Bloomingdale’s than who runs a marathon.

How do you show someone you’re not interested? Unfortunately, it’s pretty obvious. I’m not exactly a poker face.

In a dream world, who would you look like? A supermodel. Write like? J. D. Salinger. Dance like? Heather Mills. Cook like? Wolfgang Puck. And sing like? Gwen Stefani.

What do you do every day? Work out, laugh, and count my blessings.

Favorite movie hero? George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life.

Most quotable movie line? “I want my two dollars!” from the John Cusack movie Better Off Dead.

Last movie that made you cry? Every movie makes me cry.

Favorite blog? I’m not really into blogs. I still read the papers.

Most recommended book? Anything written by Nelson DeMille.

Name one thing that’s overrated: Sleep.

When you’re alone, who do you play air guitar to? I’m not an air guitar player; I’m an air drummer, mostly for commercial jingles.

What’s your go-to homemade meal? Salad. I’m a very boring eater. I’m a vegetarian; I eat salad every single day.

You pull a Ferris Bueller and call in sick on a beautiful July day. What do you do? I never do it. I’d feel too guilty.

What Chicago neighborhoods have you lived in? Lincoln Park, Rogers Park, Old Town, and Streeterville.

How long is too long to spend looking for a parking spot? Ten minutes.

Teacher’s pet or class clown? Teacher’s pet.

Childhood nickname? Susie.

Name one thing you have in your house from your childhood: I’m a purger; I save nothing. Sometimes I overdelete e-mail.

And one embarrassing thing you hide when guests are coming over: Dirty laundry.

Describe the state of your closet: It’s organized chaos. There’s a lot of stuff, and nobody would be able to understand it. But, to me, everything is in its exact and proper place.

What’s your power outfit? Something combined with good designer shoes and a great handbag.

How much is too much to pay for jeans? You can never pay enough for a good pair of jeans; that’s something you should splurge on.

Last time you jumped up and cheered? When the Bears won the NFC championship.

Last time you told a lie? Two minutes ago, during this interview.

Last time you Googled yourself? Probably about four years ago.

Worst advice you’ve been given? “You would look great in a Dorothy Hamill wedge haircut!”

If you could give someone a talking-to, who would it be? Britney Spears. The girl needs help. I’d like to take her under my wing and take care of her.

Gutsiest thing you’ve ever done? Flying trapeze.

What time is your alarm clock set for? Three-oh-five a.m. I work the morning shift.

How many times do you hit the snooze button? Once, and that’s all. I have everything laid out, and I’m out the door within 20 minutes.

Dive bar or nightclub? Dive bar.

Drinks before 5 p.m.: always, sometimes, never? Always.

What’s your remedy for a tough day? Yoga and Pilates, followed by a glass of red wine.

What did you do on your best date? Still waiting to have it.

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