1. What was your big break?
De La Cruz: For me, it was landing at CNN.com from a TV station in Yuma, Arizona. I have had so many amazing opportunities since I first walked through the doors of CNN Center in Atlanta -- and now the TimeWarner building in New York -- my entire life has changed.
Who was your mentor or role model?
I’ve had a few – more than my fair share. I think it would be quite unfair to single anyone out. Let's just say if you've made a difference in my life, have sat with me through hours of tape, corrected my scripts with your red pen, graciously reached into the back of your closet to make sure I had at least one good suit, and listened to me talk about work endlessly over brunch -- you definitely know who you are.
2. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
De La Cruz: One of my best friends in Los Angeles recently got into roller derby. I used to think she was crazy until I saw it for myself. Given my background as a figure skater, I secretly think I could be very good at it. Plus, I never got to have a skater name like "Mila Minute". How cool would that be?
3. What’s on your iPod?
De La Cruz: My favorite song this past summer was “American Boy” by Estelle. I put it on when I’m feeling nostalgic for the season, especially since it's been raining a lot here in NYC. I’ve also been listening to a lot of Sia. I’m a big lover of all types of music. World music really feeds my longing for travel and other cultures. I’m also a big fan of Cesaria Evora and Bebel Gilberto.
What are you reading?
Besides dozens of blogs and my Twitter feed, I’ve been making my way through Barbara Walters’ memoir – “Audition” and Fareed Zakaria's “The Post American World.” I normally send everything and anything to my BlackBerry and read it that way.
4. Last movie you saw?
De La Cruz: Oliver Stone's “W.” I found the film’s final scene -- a dream sequence where President Bush ends up in a stadium losing sight of the ball – to be particularly symbolic and disturbing.
Off-camera Veronica: family, hobbies, favorite authors, episodic TV?
My father is a French-German Jew whose family escaped Nazi Germany and changed their last name from Schertz to De La Cruz. My mother is a Filipina-Chinese immigrant who was the 4th of 18 kids. I have a little brother who lives in Las Vegas and I grew up in California, spending more than a decade of my life as a competitive figure skater. My skating career ended after I was injured. I don't get to read enough for pleasure; instead I consume massive amounts of information through newspapers, magazines and the Internet. I’m addicted to Twitter and am always reading my Twitter feed. I grew up reading Thomas Friedman every Sunday in The New York Times. I was constantly entertained by post-modern authors such as Brett Easton Ellis and Jay McInerney. I don't have time to watch episodic TV, though I used to Tivo “24.” Now the only thing I Tivo is Zakaria's CNN program “GPS,” though I try to catch it when it airs on Sundays. I must admit “Family Guy” is a guilty pleasure.
5. When did you decide that you wanted to be a journalist? What attracted you to this profession? If journalism wasn't your initial career goal, what was?
De La Cruz: When I was in college, writing and music were my passions. So I figured I’d become a music journalist. While I was in school, I came across the opportunity to work for a new company called DEN.net that was launching Web-based alternative programming for Gen XY. Instead of writing for a music publication, I ended up on camera, hosting and producing a music show. It was an amazing experience that allowed me to travel around the world. It ended up launching my broadcasting career. Shortly after, I took my first news job in Yuma, Arizona.
What's your favorite must have gadget?
I would say my BlackBerry and my Flip video camera. I never leave home without them.
6. You’ve come a long way from Yuma, Arizona. Is there anything you miss about living in the Southwest?
De La Cruz: The big open skies. When I lived there I used to get away from all of life’s stresses by going to the park and lying in the grass. I loved staring up at the big open sky and the clouds. It was also a bonus that I could go swimming in December when my friends were living in places where snow was falling. I would always call them to say it was 84 and sunny.
7. What about you would surprise viewers most?
De La Cruz: Probably my ethnic background. I think it’s confusing for many people. Some think I am Asian. Some think I am Hispanic. I think people would be very surprised to find out that -- much like Barack Obama describes himself – I’m a mutt. I’m a Filipino-Chinese French-German-Jewish-American. I am curious to see how the Obama White House might change people’s perspectives on race.
8.Live television can be unpredictable- can you tell us about an on air moment that didn't go quite as planned or went awry?
De La Cruz: There was a funny moment on “CNN Saturday/Sunday Morning” with T.J. Holmes and Betty Nguyen when my chair got stuck and we couldn’t get it to go down. We wrestled with it all during the break and realized we were coming back in 10 seconds, there was no way we were going to be able to lower it so we were all about the same height. We did my segment with me towering over the two of them, at least six inches taller. It was totally and completely awkward, but we had a good laugh about it.
9. If you could pick one story from history to cover, what would your dream story be?
De La Cruz: I’d pick an entire decade: the 60’s, including the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights movement, MLK Jr., Cesar Chavez, Neil Armstrong, JFK’s assassination, and especially Woodstock. There were so many important events that took place during that short decade, it would be difficult to choose just one.
10. What is your guilty pleasure?
De La Cruz: I’m embarrassed to say that I love romantic comedies and I don’t discriminate. I like them all, even the really bad ones. It probably has something to do with the fact that I’m a self-described hopeless romantic and an eternal optimist. I think I also mentioned that I watch “Family Guy.” I was Asian Reporter Tricia Takanawa for Halloween.
ATC would like to say thank you to Veronica for taking time out of her busy schedule to answer our questions. Veronica is a CNN correspondent for Newsroom which airs weekdays from 9 AM until 3 PM (Eastern).