If it seems like FOX 26 Morning News Anchor Natalie Bomke is a whiz at ad-libbing, there is a reason for that. When she was in college, Natalie belonged to the traveling Spicy Clamato Improv Comedy Troupe. "That definitely helped me with anchoring," says Natalie, "because on our morning newscasts, you never know what's going to happen!"
That's one thing you probably didn't know about Nataile Bomke. Here's another: In high school, Natalie was a ‘Barbie for Hire'. It all started when family friends asked Natalie to attend a birthday party for a little girl with cancer. "They asked me if I could pretend I was Barbie. I drove a Jeep Wrangler and wore a tiered, poofy dress," says Natalie with a laugh, "and it kind of caught on!" Natalie suddenly found herself ‘playing Barbie' for local children on a regular basis.
Here are some other things you probably didn't know about Natalie:
In high school, she was President of the National Honor Society, the Concert Choir, the National Thespian Society, and the Drama Club.
She graduated in the top ten percent of her class at the University of Illinois.
Natalie was a runner-up in the Miss Illinois pageant. Her talent was singing, and her community service focused on the dangers of drinking and driving, a cause that hits very close to home for her and her family. "When my Mom was pregnant with me," says Natalie, "her niece was killed by a drunk driver. I was named after her."
Natalie owns a cat with four ears, misshapen eyes, and a crooked tail. His name is Mr. Bill and, just like his TV namesake, he doesn't let a few hard knocks get him down.
Natalie is an award winning news reporter, but how many reporters can say they have award winning hair? When Natalie was a little girl, she won a ribbon in the Illinois State Fair for the longest ponytail. "Every year, we would go to the fair in Springfield," says Natalie, "and I think my mom secretly tried to make my ponytail extra long that day."
Natalie loves anything covered in leopard print, and that means anything. She has leopard print clothing, bedspreads, and candles. She even has leopard print tweezers. "My Mother is the same way," says Natalie. "Growing up, we had leopard print wallpaper and carpeting. For my first car, my Mom made me leopard print seat covers!"
As a news reporter and anchor, Natalie has covered every conceivable type of story, but there's one that still leaves her spooked. "I won an Associated Press Award for a feature story on a witch séance," says Natalie, "and, during the shoot, one of our cameras suddenly went dead for no reason." As soon as they left the séance, however, the camera came back on and started working normally again.
What's another thing you probably don't know about Natalie? She's still in contact with her school bus driver, Mrs. Butcher. "On my first day of kindergarten," says Natalie, "she let me sit right behind her." Later on, Natalie watched Mrs. Butcher battle, and beat, cancer. "There was nothing she couldn't handle, even when she was going through chemotherapy. She will always be my hero."