Anybody who saw KARE 11 weekend anchor Camille Williams intrepidly covering stories in the field in the weeks before her twins were born knows she’s tough.
We don’t normally imagine toughness in a package that beautiful, soft-spoken and apparently tidy.
When I interviewed Williams and her husband, KARE 11 “Sunrise” anchor Cory Hepola, the part of their home I saw was absolutely spotless. I thought maybe it was because Williams’ dad, Max, and stepmom, Yvonne, were visiting Minnesota. Maybe the young woman keeping their toddler Cormac busy helped clean?
Then I ran into Williams’ and Hepola’s co-worker, reporter Lou Raguse. Raguse was positively rhapsodizing about how clean that house was when he dropped by to see babies Senia and Sevi.
Sevi. That’s only a letter away from meteorologist Sven Sundgaard’s given name.
“Sven was pumped,” said Hepola. “He thought it was really close.”
When it comes to the Williams-Hepola romance, it came close to not happening.
They were working in upstate New York. He was at the ABC station and she at the NBC.
“All I know is I was at the gym and I’m like, ‘Man, I’ve got to talk to her.’ You know?” said Hepola. (See the video to appreciate how enthused he was upon laying eyes on her. There’s a baby holding extra beyond the credit.) “Then we ended up seeing each other on a story and I was kind of flirty with her. Then I e-mailed her. We ran into each other again. She like turned me down the first couple of times. The worst part was she said Yes and the day of she canceled.”
As Hepola told this story, Williams laughed.
“Then I called her and said, ‘This is it. I will not call you again. I will not bug you but do you want go out?’ ” She said Yes and we went out and now we have three kids.”
Williams said she kept canceling “because I was really tired. I had just started a new job and was running and gunning. Just super exhausted. I just didn’t want to go out with him when I was tired. You know.”
Her energy level must be pretty good because she returns to the anchor desk from maternity leave this weekend (Saturday).
In addition to handling a 21-month-old toddler and 3-month-old twins whose sleep patterns change, she wants to add mentoring to her life.
Williams said she welcomes e-mails “from moms-to-be who have questions or fears about natural birth. I would love to answer their questions, offer advice. Not everybody wants to but if they do …”
She probably wouldn’t mind those questions when she is offstage as emcee of the ALS Association’s Walk Sept. 17 at Lake Phalen Regional Park. The Walk is scheduled to start at 10 a.m.
Q: What does big brother Cormac think of these interlopers? Does he resent them?
Cory: No. He’ll run up and put his head on [theirs and say], Ohhh. He’s a very loving kid.
Camille: He’s very sweet.
Q: No pains meds for the births, huh?
Camille: Unmedicated. It’s what I wanted, actually.
Q: How’d you do that?
Camille: It wasn’t easy and I did cave. My water broke around 10:12 a.m. and eight minutes later contractions started. Probably more detail than people want. But I dilated fully in about 30 minutes. I asked for the epidural and my doctor said it was too late. Even though it was what I wanted prior to walking into the hospital, at that moment I thought It’s NOT really what I wanted. It ended up happening anyway and I’m glad I did it. My recovery’s been really great.
Corey: Before she had the baby she’s like, OK I’ll have the epidural now. Doctor’s like [No way].
Q: So do you not take aspirin?
Camille: Oh, I do. It’s just a weird thing. I wanted to experience not having medication. I knew there were women in the Twin Cities who have had unmedicated twin births, so if they could do it, I could do it. With my other son, I wanted unmedicated because I knew it was possible and I wanted to experience it, but it didn’t happen and I had the epidural. It something I kind of mourned and just wanted to try it. When I found out we were having twins I didn’t think it would happen because it was more of a high-risk pregnancy, and it ended up happening. It was my doctor’s first experience with term twins [and] an unmedicated birth. [She laughed]
Q: I saw you hauling around, going to interviews before you had these children and I thought: This woman is a trooper!
Camille: [Uproarious laughter]
Q: I’m thinking she’s kind of tough. Cory, am I right?
Camille: I’m a little … I’m tough, for sure.
Cory: Yeah. I think that’s one story we can tell about Camille that encompasses who she is. She is very, very strong in everything that she does. She’s gone through a lot in her life and always just been so strong. I think that’s a big quality in what makes her successful, too.
Q: So if Adrian Peterson treated you to one of his bone-crushing handshakes, you would not wince?
Camille: Nooo. And I think I’d probably crush his hand. [Laughing]
Q: You’re pretty but apparently not much of a Princess-type?
Q: If there is a mouse in the kitchen, you take care of it yourself, no screaming, no calling for Cory?
Camille: No. That’s where it gets a little … I couldn’t even kill a spider. That would definitely be a call for Cory.
Cory: She’s like, Is [halting] … That may be [halting] a bug up there.
Q: Which one of you needs to prove you’re right vs. simply knowing you’re right?
Camille: That would be me [she laughed]. He looked right at me! [Laughs] I always want to be right, even if it’s not always correct. [Uproarious laughter]
Cory: Yeah, I think that’s probably correct.
Q: Who changes diapers faster?
Camille: Probably me. I do a lot of them.
Cory: Yeah, when I’m gone. She changes more at this point.
Q: Do you have three 529 account opened and operating?
Cory: We have one for Cormac and I talked to my parents because I guess if you do it through the grandparents there are some tax breaks. So they started one up for our son. They are going to add Senia and Sevi this summer.
Camille: Do you want to maybe donate to that? Is that why you’re asking?
Q: Should the media stop stating the names of those who commit atrocities like what happened in Orlando?
Cory: You know KARE 11 made the decision to not use the name of the Orlando shooter. I really am glad that we’re not. We don’t need to glorify these people with some sick, twisted thought that “this is going to get me glory, fame.”
Camille: It’s s good that KARE 11 is no longer going to be broadcasting his name, but it’s not that his name is not out there. We need his name so that we know who he was and do Google searches to other mass shootings that might happen. He’s dead. He’s not getting fame or glory. He got what he deserved.
Q: Does Cory have to have the last word in a conversation?
Camille: No. Cory is a trooper. To deal with a woman who was pregnant with twins, that’s double the hormones. Really, just having to deal with some irrational decisions and thoughts I had when I was pregnant, and just go with it. Looking back [---------------------] that really was not a rational decision and he let me do it. I think Cory is OK with me having the last word. He’s very easygoing in that way. Where I’m probably a little more intense and kind of want to have the last word all the time.
Q: You would never dress like Liberté Chan [the LA meteorologist who was handed a sweater on-camera to cover a revealing dress]. But how should that have been handled?
A: I think it should have been handled before she went on air.
Q: The trend toward TV women dressing as if they are on their way to cocktail parties, I find a little distracting.
A: Absolutely. My parents live in Miami and there’s a lot of that going on down there. I think that’s a bit much. It’s distracting. The reason we are on the news is to tell people the news. [While wearing] the big earrings, shiny dresses people are not listening to what you’re saying.