You may have seen Malika Dudley on television or perhaps grace the covers of various local magazines. Although always well put together and beautiful, this former Miss Hawai‘i–turned television weather anchor is a self-proclaimed “klutz.” Malika says that she “runs into things” on a daily basis and laughs at the fact that she finds bruises often and doesn’t have a clue about how she obtained them.
Originally from Hilo, Hawai‘i, Malika is a down to earth, surfer girl who is the daughter of a French professor and an oceanographer. Malika never aspired to follow in either one of her parent’s career choices, however, ironically she has. First by becoming a teacher and then moving on to becoming one of Honolulu’s most watched and talked about weather anchors. She comes from a very educated family and has always kept education as a top priority of hers.
Malika always idolized Kim Gennaula and Guy Hagi for their finesse on television, their dedication to work and their ability to still have a family life. Although she longs for a family of her own one day, she is very career-minded and has work as well as life goals to reach of her own.
After graduating from the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, she has made the bustling Honolulu “Town” her current home. She never forgets where she came from as she strives to become an influential icon, as well as an all around water woman.
Tianne: How have your parents’ careers affected your occupation choice?
Malika Dudley: Mom is from North Africa and is French by nationality. She is a French teacher at UH Hilo. I never thought I’d follow in her footsteps, but my first job was as a teacher and I loved it. I’ve always idolized Kim Gennaula, and wanted to learn more so I studied towards that degree and fell in love with it. My dad is an oceanographer and a great resource. At times when I have questions, I feel like he is my secret weapon. I feel that both parent’s careers have guided me towards where I am today.
Tell me about your recent trip to India to research tsunamis and increase awareness.
Initially it was to go as a teacher. I created a “kid-friendly” exhibit so that children could relate and care about the affects and dangers of a tsunami. It started as a teacher project but during the summer when I became a weather anchor, the project became more scientific. It was one of the first reports I ever did and you can still see the public service announcement on TV.
What preparations do you take prior to a morning shift and what does a normal workday consist of?
What people don’t know is that I wake up at 2 a.m. for a regular morning show. If there is major weather or something going on, then I need to wake up at 1 a.m. to get to the station on time. I do research, tape the broadcast and do hair and makeup. A normal work day is approximately eight hours, but it varies. I try not to wear blue or green because if I do, then I will disappear into the backdrop. There are a lot of preparations that I do, that the public doesn’t realize. At the end of the day I’m exhausted, but I need to stay awake so that I can sleep at 5:30 p.m. If I don’t sleep at 5:30 p.m. it’s hard to get up again at 2 a.m. On occasion it’s hard to fall asleep so I just take naps.
What is your greatest achievement at work?
My greatest achievement at work has to be my 2009 Emmy Nomination. I didn’t win it, but it was still a great honor. Other than that there isn’t just a particular moment. My greatest achievement is to be able to let things go and be able to laugh at myself. Our show is live and if you make a mistake, you need to just roll with the punches. Even if things get really bad, you can always turn it around.
Being a previous Miss Hawai‘i, do you think it has helped or hurt you in the workplace?
When you prepare for Miss Hawai‘i, pageant training is crucial, but pageant training is life training. You learn about yourself and pageants force you to look at the good and bad about yourself. From being Miss Hawai‘i I have gained the confidence I need in the workplace and it has helped me be a better speaker. I am a Hilo girl. I couldn’t walk in heels or put makeup on. But being Miss Hawai‘i has taught me these things and they have ultimately helped my career. But there are definitely negatives about being a previous pageant girl. There is of course the stereotype. People think it’s easy. I agree I skipped over hurdles due to the fact that I had a title, but most people think that I only got the job because of my title and not because I was actually smart enough. What makes me different is that I am not a pageant girl at heart; academics has always been number one and it hurts that people think that.
What do you aspire to gain or do in your
I aspire to be Guy Hagi. I love Guy and he has been a friend and a mentor to me. I never want him to leave KGMB9 so I may have to wait 35 years to get his position. It’ll be worth it because they have great people at KGMB9. I feel like I could do this job forever. Other than that I wouldn’t mind being a host on a TV show. I’m flexible and always weigh my options, but two years ago I would have said that the career path that I aspire to follow would be to be a teacher.