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California Questionnaire: Natalie Morales

The journalist and active mom tells us her favorite things about her new California life in Los Angeles County

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Allured by the year-round California sunshine and ready for a lifestyle change, NBC news anchor Natalie Morales swapped The Today Show studios in Manhattan for new studio digs in Los Angeles in 2016. Morales first joined NBC’s popular morning program—which averages more than 4.3 million viewers a day—as a national correspondent in 2006, and in 2011 became the program’s news anchor. Her move to California meant transitioning to a West Coast anchor role in addition to cohosting Access Hollywood.

When she’s not in front of the camera, you can find Morales running or hiking in the Santa Monica Mountains and exploring her new neighborhood with her two young sons and husband, Joseph.

Where do you live? Brentwood, Calif.

Why there? We were looking for a town where we could walk around from our doorstep. We also wanted to be central but near the beach. What I love about Brentwood is that it has great New York–quality restaurants and takeout options, and it has the feel of the East Coast suburbs but with everything nearby—the beach, mountains, and a real town.

What’s your greatest California love? The hiking all around! The hills are stunning and I can’t get enough of being outside. Every day is pretty close to perfect. My favorite hike locations are the Santa Monica Mountains and Malibu.

What is the biggest misperception about Californians? That they are plastic or fake. I have yet to meet anyone like that—or maybe they are just not in my circle. 

What is the stereotype that most holds true? Californians are as laid back as people believe and are truly all about living outdoors! That was number one for me when making the move—knowing my kids can be outside year-round. 

What is your favorite Golden State splurge? Shopping on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. What about Rodeo isn’t appealing?! The beautiful stores, the high-end designers...

Time for a road trip—where are you going? Anywhere where there is good hiking and I can bring the kids and dog along. We can’t wait to take a drive up the coast, but for now just staying close to our new home is pretty sweet. 

If you could decree an official state culinary experience, what would it be? Anywhere in Napa Valley is a culinary experience! But then there are those delicious fresh tacos at the Brentwood Country Mart. I can’t get enough of them.  

Best California song? I could go classic but for more uplift I’ll say “California Gurls” by Katy Perry.

How would your California dream day unfold? I’d pack the kids in the car and head to the beach or go on a hike—or better yet, both—then stop for lunch somewhere on the way, enjoy the sunset with a glass of Rosé and end the day with a good dinner in Malibu.

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