Don Lemon on how to look cam­era-ready

CNN host’s well-de­vel­oped rou­tine is part sci­ence and part rit­ual

The Hamilton Spectator - - GO - BEE SHAPIRO

AS THE HOST of “CNN Tonight,” Don Lemon, 51, is on the air about 260 days a year. Over time, he has de­vel­oped a rou­tine for look­ing his best that is part sci­ence, part rit­ual. Here, Lemon, who lives in Har­lem, New York, shares his tips on how to be cam­er­aready:


I live by co­conut oil and ar­gan oil. In the shower, just as I’m done, I’ll put on reg­u­lar old coco oil. I look for the ones that are 100 per cent frac­tion­ated, be­cause they stay liq­uid. Then I put ar­gan oil on my face. It’s the youth se­cret. If I didn’t have to be on TV, I would never cut my hair. I would never comb it. I would just have a big Afro. But be­cause I am, I keep it short, and I’ve had a sim­i­lar hair­cut for the long­est time. I have a guy I go to in Har­lem, I have a guy on the East Side, I have a guy in Times Square and I have a guy who can come to the stu­dio.


I’ve al­ways been sort of preppy. I grew up in Ba­ton Rouge, and through el­e­men­tary school to high school, I had to wear uni­forms. At first it was khaki pants and white shirts, and later it was navy blue pants and then white shirts or light blue shirts. It was poplin, but­ton-downs and po­los. I just sort of kept that same easy, clas­sic Amer­i­can style. Maybe I’ll wear them with boat shoes or bucks. Lately, I’ve been wear­ing brown shoes — it’s a new thing. I also love a navy blue jacket or a dark jacket with a white shirt. Lately, for my on-air cloth­ing, I’ve been a lit­tle more tai­lored. I won’t try to do too many pocket squares. I don’t want it to be about my clothes. Prob­a­bly the fan­ci­est thing I’ve worn is a Dries Van Noten jacket that some­body who works in fash­ion gave me. But I’m not a la­bel per­son. I don’t care where it comes from as long as it looks good and fits well.


I try to run out­side, even 20 min­utes, as much as I can. I’m go­ing to run to work tonight. That’s a good three miles. I’ll shower in the green room or at the nearby Equinox. I’m not a good run­ner. I’m more, “God, please help me get through this run.” I do set goals. Like, if I get to that next light pole or tree, I’ve made it. I run be­cause it’s the only thing that re­ally keeps the weight off. I like to eat, and I don’t like to re­strict my diet. But also, all of the best ideas for the show have hap­pened dur­ing runs. If I feel blocked about any­thing, I’ll go for a run. I think it’s the en­dor­phins. It breaks through.


The best thing that I try to do is sleep. Be­cause my day is seg­mented, I wake up in the morn­ing, have my morn­ing meet­ing and then go take a nap. I read and am up on news all day. When I get to work, I have a rou­tine: I en­ter and leave the same door to my an­chor desk. There are two doors and I al­ways make sure I go out through the one I came in. Then it’s off to my amaz­ing hair and makeup peo­ple. It takes about 10 min­utes at most. Af­ter, I go to my of­fice, check that my tie is straight, but­ton my jacket and have a few min­utes alone. I don’t read. It’s re­ally just my time be­fore I go on air.

Don Lemon, host of CNN Tonight in his of­fice at the Time Warner Build­ing in New York.

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