Today we’d like to introduce you to Roqui Theus.
Roqui, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I was born and raised in Los Angeles, specifically in the historic neighborhood of View Park/Baldwin Hills, also known as the “Black Beverly Hills.” My mom Elaine was the 1st black network gameshow model via “Sale of the Century” back in the 80’s (she introduced me on the show as a newborn and we like to say that was the beginning of my career), and my dad Reggie is a former NBA All-Star, Coach, and Broadcaster.
I’m the oldest of three. My siblings Reggie Jr. and Rhyan are my heart! Growing up with my family in our community is my foundation. This experience shaped me. As a child, I was an actress and athlete. Naturally, “Supermodel” and “WNBA Player,” were my first answers to “What do you want to be when you grow up?” but soon after, my lasting answer became “News Anchor.” I knew this because I realized early on that my passions aside from sports, and entertainment, were writing, and people… the career that combines them all? Broadcast Journalism. After graduating from high school, I went up the 405 South to UC Irvine, where I received a full athletic scholarship to play Division 1 college basketball. This experience strengthened me.
I knew I could accomplish anything after that. So, after graduating with a degree in Sociology, I interned for the KTLA Morning News, and my career journey began. After interning and networking, I got the call… offering me my first on-air job in Reno, Nevada. Let’s just say… this LA girl was traumatized but grateful. I call Reno my “grad school.” I ended up reporting, producing and working as a production assistant over 2.5 years, but I struggled. This experience broke me.
I knew in my heart it was time to go and really find my happy and my place in this industry. I took a leap of faith, praying and networking for a full-time on-air job that would allow me to inform and entertain; to update and uplift, in a metropolitan city where I could thrive both professionally and personally. In fact, I literally prayed, “God, please send me to New York or San Francisco.” I then found Good Day Sacramento, and my prayers were answered. This is a unique and fun morning news show, and at that time, they were planning to do a simulcast in the Bay Area. I became their very first resident San Francisco/Bay Area Reporter and was in charge of booking, live reporting, and field producing my own segments. This experience empowered me.
After a year, I was recruited by our sister station, CBS San Francisco. This was a top 5 news market. Imagine that. The jumps I made were unreal, but divine and affirming. I was definitely living in my purpose, and if being a morning traffic anchor in a top 5 market with no traffic experience was a part of God’s plan, then so be it. Also, I never turn down a challenge. This would become one of my toughest tasks… I was pushed completely out of my comfort zone, but I eventually made it my own with help, and became a breath of fresh air for the station and its viewers, while reaching a new level of professionalism. This experience polished me.
After three years in the Bay Area total, I moved on to get back to what I love. I became a freelance reporter for LA County (LA 36) in between finding my next full-time on-air job. I was finally home! Writing and producing feature stories highlighting the County of LA and the work our local officials and organizations were doing. After living out of LA for five years, I needed home, and after so many years of mostly live reporting/ad-libbing, I needed writing… this experience rooted me.
During this time, even with such a strong support system from my family to my agent, the Capricorn in me could not sit still. I knew there was more to my journey. I searched tirelessly online for my next job, and the search was discouraging most of the time. I wanted to be intentional, and only go after opportunities that felt right or for me, and as a pretty unconventional news personality, those opportunities are rare… but one morning, at 3 am, on Indeed, I found “Lifestyle Host and Reporter” in Las Vegas. I knew this was my next move, not because it was close to home, or where my dad famously played college basketball, or because the job seemed right up my alley. I knew because the station’s General Manager was the same General Manager and mentor I met with five years prior that connected me to my first job in Reno. Mind blown. Meant to be. On top of that, I was completely qualified and realized every job I had done over the years was in preparation for this one. I started with CBS Las Vegas’ Lifestyle show, “Las Vegas Now,” in November 2019, and already, this experience has freed me.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I would say the road has been bumpy but I never lose confidence in the driver. I think my main struggle along the way is constantly having to prove myself and fight other people’s preconceived notions. My dad taught me how to maneuver all of that, and showed me the importance of character and resilience.
Both of my parents would remind me growing up that the first line in “A Purpose Driven Life” is “It’s not about you.” So, that’s my advice and reminder to anyone… but for women, especially young women just starting their journey is BE YOU, BE OPEN, BE PATIENT, BE OPTIMISTIC, BE KIND, and KEEP GOING. When things get tough along the way, remember to ask for help and never forget what you have already accomplished. Life is not a competition… What’s for you is for you. Always do what’s in your control… Go with the flow… everything happens for a reason. These phrases help maintain peace of mind.
Also, remember my favorite quote by Maya Angelou, “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” Balance is everything.
We’d love to hear more about your work.
I co-host a Las Vegas centric lifestyle and entertainment news show. When I’m not hosting in studio, I’m reporting on local events, people, businesses, etc. I also host and emcee events and panels outside of work. What am I known for? Besides my height, I think it’s my energy, my ability to connect with and comfort people. I’m also a great teammate. The last sentence of every cover letter or work bio I’ve written is, “You want me on your team, and you want me on your screen.” I’m most proud of my drive and sense of self in an industry that can discourage you and change you.
Finding a mentor and building a network are often cited in studies as a major factor impacting one’s success. Do you have any advice or lessons to share regarding finding a mentor or networking in general?
I’ve always made it a point to attend professional conferences within my industry (like the National Association of Black Journalist, NABJ) for networking, mentorship, and experience. My mom has always told me, “the squeaky wheel gets the oil…” So, shoot your shot, be persistent, and follow your intuition.
- Instagram: @RoquiTheus
- Twitter: @RoquiTheus
@Daymechellephotog for photo in white dress.