How did you get into television?
I grew up in Austin and went to Concordia University. While I was there, I was hoping to get into news reporting. Later, I settled down when I had my first child, and I became a stay-at-home mom for a while. Before Shop LC, I was an insurance salesperson for the state of Texas. I really took a turn in my career once I heard about Shop LC having auditions back in 2008. I was hired on the spot and it was so awesome. It was the best career choice I’ve ever made. I love it!
What’s your favorite thing about working for Shop LC?
I love that it’s a home away from home. Not only are my co-workers close, but I also consider the audience my extended family. We’ve built these relationships, and I really enjoy coming here. It doesn’t even feel like coming to work.
Do you ever get a chance to connect with the viewers?
Actually, many of the viewers use social media, send emails and text to the show. Facebook allows us to share thoughts and photos, so we can see each other’s kids and read about what our viewers are doing. Facebook has really been a great way for me to reach out to the audience and get to know them a little more. I know about their lives, their likes and their dislikes. I feel like I have friends I’ve never met in person. The fact that we can have that kind of connection is just awesome to me.
Have you traveled anywhere exciting with Shop LC?
I’ve traveled to many exciting places with Shop LC, but Madagascar was epic. We went in July 2013 for about a week. We got to visit the sapphire and ruby mines, the tourmaline mines, and we even got to go on a safari. It was a bit of a culture shock for me because they have over 200 different tribes in Madagascar. Getting to actually see the miners at work was so incredible. Just seeing how gemstones are mined by hand is amazing. You hear or read about it, but when you actually see it, it’s like, wow!
How was traveling within Madagascar?
Traveling was scary because there are no streetlights or street signs. Once, we were going to the mines and it was pitch dark. There are no roads to get to the mines, so the driver had to just make a way. At one point, I hopped out of a moving vehicle because I really thought we were going to fall off the cliff. We didn’t, but at the time all I thought of was my babies back at home. Now it’s a running joke we all have, but back then, it was frightening.
What do you do when you’re not hosting?
It’s all about family to me. I’m from Austin, so all of my family is here. I have three boys and spending time with them is important. I have one grandson and another one on the way. I’m also an advocate for victims of domestic violence. I’ve worked on the phone lines at the national domestic violence hotline since 1999. I’m not ashamed of saying that I was once a victim of domestic violence. This is a way for me to help and give back.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I always say in my shows, “Count your blessings and not your problems.” I feel like we should really live like that every day. We can’t let our hard times, struggles, trials, and tribulations make who we are. We have to think about all of the other good things that are going on in our life. A lot of people respond positively to that during the show. I try to incorporate positive and inspirational affirmations when I’m talking about gemstones. Focus on the positive!
You can follow Loretta Gonzales @lclorettagonzales on Facebook.