Mariana Atencio is a Peabody Award and Gracie Award-winning journalist, TED speaker, and news personality who covers domestic and international issues, doing breaking news and special reports MSNBC and NBC News. She now adds author to her multi-hyphenated name as she sets to release her first book PERFECTLY YOU: EMBRACING THE POWER OF BEING REAL (HarperCollins). In this bilingual (Spanish/English) book, which is part self-help and part autobiography, Atencio digs into what makes each of us special and the ways in which we can become a force for good in a broken world – offering words of encouragement to young adolescents and adults alike, to be released on June 11th, 2019 – making it the perfect gift for ‘Grads & Dads’.
With a career as a bilingual correspondent working for MSNBC, NBC News, Fusion TV, and Univision, Mariana holds a unique perspective-having immigrated from Venezuela to America as a young adult, having overcome challenges to graduate from Columbia University and eventually become a national news correspondent, and having seen firsthand the humanity that is ever so present in the midst of both adversity and opportunity. Mariana’s story is the powerful, inspiring story of life in the United States as an immigrant. Yet it is at its core a human story. It is all our stories, and it is a call to every man, woman, and child to unlock the magic of their potential and begin to thrive.
The media screens of today perpetuate stereotypes, but in PERFECTLY YOU Mariana asks: What would happen if instead of comparing ourselves and falling short, we compared ourselves and celebrated our uniqueness?What would happen if we believed in our worth and embraced what makes us different?And what if we truly saw those around us as neighbors and not merely adversaries to our particular group or station? The days of doubt and division must end. It starts with authenticity, persistence, and understanding what truly makes you special. PERFECTLY YOU aims to shift the narrative in a positive and empowering way.
Atencio was part of the team at NBC News that helped break and drive the coverage of the migrant caravan of thousands of migrants seeking refuge in the US and the family separation crisis that ensued, when the Trump Administration separated kids from their parents in the summer of 2018. She spent weeks along the border, constantly traveling to Mexico and back. Her live translations literally giving a voice to the refugees became a staple at the networks.
Her overall reporting for NBC and MSNBC encompasses a wide range of stories, from the Women’s March and the women inspired to run for office to the power crisis in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. Her work covering the recovery efforts on the island landed her a job as host of Ricky Martin and Eva Longoria’s Global Gift Gala “All in For Puerto Rico”. During the 2018 Hurricane seasons she was on the ground covering Hurricane Florence and Michael, and during the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season she reported from Mexico, Miami, and Texas for the TODAY SHOW and MSNBC. Most recently, Atencio covered the government shutdown and shared furloughed worker Quashawn Latimer who was forced to choose between paying for rent or her chemotherapy. In 2017, she gave a TEDxTalk about humanity and inclusiveness, which has been translated in 8 languages and seen more than 8 million times.. She followed up with a TEDxTalk on helping to make people care. She has also spoken before the United Nations on the future of Latin America.
The Huffington Post has called her a “breaking news sensation” and “our Latina Christiane Amanpour,” while her former Univision colleague Jorge Ramos called Mariana “the next-gen voice for Latinos breaking all barriers.” She was also named one of OK! Magazine’s “Most Successful People of 2017”
Most important than any of her reporting is her activism work. In 2014, her only sister suffered a devastating car crash that almost left her paralyzed. After years of surgeries, she was able to walk again. Mariana went public with her sister’s story on Univision’s morning show and has since contributed to Fundación Teleton, an NGO helping children with disabilities. As the crisis in Venezuela worsened, Mariana kept reporting on what was happening and in 2018 the story hit home. Her beloved father Alvaro Atencio, died due to health crisis and shortage of medicine there. Mariana wrote a powerful op-ed about it for NBC News and went back to deliver medicine to malnourished children in a public hospital to honor her dad. Ever since, she’s led several efforts to bring aid to her home country, including hosting the annual Fe y Alegría Gala for the children of Venezuela in New York City.
When Mariana is not on the road breaking a story, she splits her time with her husband in NYC and Miami.