She’s multitasking again, entertaining the kids while doing a photo shoot. Or driving to an appointment while doing an interview on the phone. Mix in work and a couple of charity events during the week, and you’ve got the extra-full life of one of the Tristate’s most recognizable faces — Channel 5 anchor Sheree Paolello.

The diminutive blonde with the warm smile was once on the fast-track to a job as an anchor in a major TV market — say Chicago, where she dreamed of working. But something happened on the road to that supposed dream job. Life.

And when it did, Paolello returned to Northern Kentucky and a job at WLWT and she realized it was where she wanted to be all along.

NKY Magazine talked to the 37-year-old Paolello when she had a rare break in her busy schedule. Refreshed, she and her husband had just returned from a mini-trip to Miami, Fla. Paolello makes it clear that even though there are a lot of beautiful places in the world, there’s only one place she wants to be: Northern Kentucky, with her husband and their three rambunctious boys.

What was your childhood like and how did you know what you wanted to be when you grew up?

I was raised with my dad and I call myself a Tristate girl. My whole family is from the West Side of Cincinnati — Delhi. But my dad kind of moved around. We were on the West Side, then we moved to Northern Kentucky for elementary school. And then from junior to high school we lived in St. Leon, Ind., right by Perfect North Slopes.

In high school, I took a radio and television class and really thought it was interesting and thought I might want to get into some type of radio. I’m kind of a really low-key person, I don’t like a lot of makeup and I don’t like getting dressed up all the time, and so I thought radio would be great for me.

I went to college at NKU because financially it worked for me. I was going to have to put myself through college and I could live at home and commute. Eventually I went on an interview for an internship at Channel 9, and as soon as I stepped foot in the newsroom I knew that’s what I wanted to do. It was intense and busy and, you know, I could tell it was different every minute and I just loved it. From that point on, there was no turning back.

You worked as a bartender around here for a while, and tried to get television reporter jobs. Then you met your husband, Kyle?

I remember when I met him I was like, ‘Look, I’m probably not going to be staying here. I don’t know if you’re really going to want to date me, because I’m going to be moving around.’ Basically, my career was my priority from the minute I walked into that newsroom. And I used to think that I wanted to work in the top market cities, like Chicago or New York and get to the network level.

You got a job as an overnight writer for the Channel 19 morning show, and from there it was off to on-air gigs in South Bend, Ind., Dayton and Charlotte, N.C. By that time you and your husband were married. And then you got your opportunity to come back home?

I got the call from Channel 5 and I came back here … When I was in Charlotte, my grandfather died and I just kind of got a good dose of reality that as much as I loved what I did, my husband didn’t work there, my family wasn’t there, my grandpa had died, and I loved my job there, but it wasn’t everything to me. I finally got it.

What’s been the best or most difficult story that you’ve had to cover?

By far, the hardest was when I lived in Charlotte. I woke up like everybody else and found out what was going on on 9-11 and my boss said to pack a bag and get in the car with a photographer and drive to New York. You didn’t realize the severity of it until, you know, a day, two days, three days later. I was young and I was naïve and I didn’t realize how important my job was until then. Ninety percent of the time we meet people on the worst days of their life.

I’ll interview people after they’ve lost a child that was in a car crash, or their house has burned down because of a fire. But my job is to remember — and this is what I say to my reporters all the time — don’t ever forget that these are people’s lives we’re talking about, not just stories. The day I lose my compassion is the day I need to get out of this business.

When you came back, you chose to live in Florence. Why?

This area feels like home to me. People here are real. I could live anywhere in the Tristate, and when my husband and I were moving back, we decided to build in Northern Kentucky. When I go out, I’ve got my sweats on, my hair in a ponytail, no makeup, I’m with my kids, and to me, that’s Northern Kentucky. There’s no pretense here.

Let’s put it this way: If I’m going shopping in Hyde Park, I feel like I’ve got to wear my nice jeans with my nice shirt with makeup on. If I’m going to the Florence Mall or Crestview Hills, I just feel like I can be myself. I really feel like we have it all over here. I think I have a beautiful home — I don’t think it’s so fancy schmancy that people won’t feel comfortable. And that to me is how Northern Kentucky is — it has a little bit of everything for everyone.

Have you found a comfort zone here now for your career and your family?

Absolutely. You know, it’s funny, because I will tell college students, and especially girls, that I was a girl who wanted it all. I always knew I wanted to be a mom, and I knew that I wanted to be a great wife. But I also wanted to be a great journalist. But when you start to do it, it’s easier said than done to have it all. Luckily, I’ve been able to find a great balance here.

What do you do for yourself in your free time?

What free time? (laughs).

We have three little kids. My oldest, Connor, is 7, Cameron just turned 3, and I have a 5-month-old, Chayse. I‘m really with my kids 90 percent of the time. And my husband, who has been my biggest cheerleader, by the way, I could not have done this without him.

Mostly, when I’m not working, they are my world. When I’m by myself, I just like to go for a jog. We have three dogs and I have a big old golden retriever who’s my running partner. I love running and a little bit of exercise makes me feel great.

You seem to balance your work and your family very well.

I feel so blessed I get to do what I love and be with my family every day.

I always say that as long as everything works out here at Channel 5, I’ll be here as long as they want me.


Sheree Paolello shares family favorites in NKY