Athleisure Mag’s May issue is covered by CNBC's Co-Anchor, Morgan Brennan of ”Squawk Alley" (M-F 11am - 12pm). In addition to her daily show, she also continues to cover a variety of sectors including manufacturing, defense and space for the network. While her shoot showcases a number of pre-summer styles at 498 West End Ave #PH on the UWS, we sat down with her to find out how she came to working as a financial broadcaster/journalist, the stories that she enjoys covering, being a Co-Anchor on her show, as well as what she does when she is off set.
ATHLEISURE MAG: Tell us about your background. What drew you to being as a financial journalist and broadcaster?
MORGAN BRENNAN: I didn’t go to college promptly after high school since I was pursuing a career in the music industry. In my early 20s, I had a change of heart and decided to go to school and set out to be...an anthropologist. It was in my last year at New York University that I realized how similar journalism is to anthropology: research, interviews and ethnographic studies, identifying your own biases and then moving past them to realize facts and bigger societal truths, and the fact that every major trend, topic or issue has people at the heart of it. Plus, it turns out that most have a money trail as well, so examining the business or financial or economic angle is fascinating. I also think - now more than ever - it’s crucial for people to have an understanding of how money works and how business drives behavior and at times, change. Finances are a key driver of our lives as human beings so I feel very passionately about the role we play at CNBC to make these sometimes jargon-laden, daunting concepts and phrases associated with financial and economic literacy accessible.
AM: Prior to coming to CNBC in 2013, tell us about where you started your career.
MB: I started my journalism career working for magazines. I interned at Newsweek International in the fall of 2008 (as I was finishing school), fact-checking articles and writing some of my own. The world was imploding, and financial news was breaking news. The following Spring I got very lucky and landed my first job two days after graduation as an assistant for the video department at Forbes Media. It was a difficult time in the world of publishing as the internet was disrupting traditional revenue streams and the industry was downsizing drastically. But that bred opportunity as well. I was able to take on extra responsibilities and work my way up the ladder, becoming a reporter and staff writer who wrote regularly for Forbes magazine and had a multimedia presence online. I also appeared on cable news programs as a guest and that experience helped catapult me full-time into the world of TV business news. Writing is actually essential to TV so in hindsight that foundation was crucial.
AM: Tell us about your different roles/positions at CNBC. How did you transition from a general assignment reporter to a reporter focused on sectors (manufacturing, defense, and space), to Co-Anchor of “Squawk Alley”?
MB: Like so many people I speak with, my path has been shaped by a trifecta of hard work, sacrifice, and luck. The transition from print to TV was tricky, since TV requires thinking in minutes and even seconds, versus days or weeks when working on a magazine feature story. Telling a story on paper is very different than telling one in 90 seconds on live television. Once I understood that, I was able to focus my efforts on more companies, more trends, more events, typically targeting sectors and industries that were little loved or perhaps little understood. It evolved from there, with instances over the years of being in the right place at the right time to cover a major breaking news event – a scenario that would then open a door to more sources and more stories. Anchoring came once I had established a strong foundation of comprehension across a number of industries. I love that I get to do both – anchoring and reporting – and I believe they bolster each other.
AM: As the Co-Anchor of “Squawk Alley,” what is your day like in terms of prepping for the day’s general news, going on air and after?
MB: The way I see it is I get paid to learn and then disseminate that knowledge to others. Every day involves hours of reading, as well as lots of writing, networking, sourcing – and TV and video watching. When I first started working full-time in this business the piece of advice offered repeatedly was to grab sleep whenever and wherever I could. Days can start very early, especially when traveling, and can go very long, especially when in the field reporting on a story. It takes an incredible amount of time, effort and resources to make just a few minutes of live television – and no one does it alone. I have an incredible team of producers and co-anchors that I am grateful to get to work with every day.
AM: How do you prepare for your sector coverage?
MB: Again, lots of reading. Also, I try to keep in constant contact with a wide network of sources operating in the sectors I cover, be it aerospace and defense or tech or anything else I may be tasked with covering. I make a lot of phone calls, read a lot of analyst notes and meet with as many folks as the schedule permits. Listening to its earnings calls is a great way to learn - and quickly - about a publicly traded company.
AM: What are some of your favorite CNBC stories or interviews that you have reported on?
MB: I have been blessed to be able to travel all over the U.S. to report on stories. So far I’ve visited 46 states. Among my favorites: being the first person to broadcast live from Lockheed Martin's F-35 fighter jet factory floor as the program was facing scrutiny from President Trump due to costs; live play-by-play coverage of SpaceX's first-ever Falcon Heavy rocket launch, from Kennedy Space Center; and the short documentary I did with the CNBC Investigative unit that focused on illegal home-sharing activity on the Airbnb platform, a project that involved five months of research and reporting and required quite a number of field shoots.
AM: When you wake up, what are 3 sites/apps/platforms that you go to to connect with what is going on financially to jump start your day?
MB: First stop is CNBC.com to see where different markets are trading. Second stop is Twitter to see what’s trending and what the financial and media folks I follow are talking about. After that, I start clicking through articles on the homepages of news sites like The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Washington Post, Reuters and Axios. I also receive hard copies of newspapers every day because I think it’s important to visually see what’s made the front page and where (and I still like to hold paper in my hands and make notes with a pen.)
AM: When you’re not at work and taking downtime for yourself, what would we find you doing?
MB: When I’m not working, I’m focused on my other job: raising my amazing (and saucy) three-year old daughter. It is very much a team effort but I try to unplug from my phones for at least an hour a night on workdays to focus all of my attention exclusively on her and the family. I’m also a big Broadway buff. And recently, I’ve been trying my hand at cooking and baking. I make a mean muffin.
AM: Living in Westchester and working in NYC, where can we find you grabbing a meal, shopping and/or working out?
MB: When my husband and I moved out of New York City a few years ago I was nervous about the change; I had been a city dweller for the better part of 16 years. I’m happy to report what millions already know: there is great food, great culture and a great sense of community in the suburbs too. In Westchester, I’m a big fan of the Cookery in Dobbs Ferry, the Inn at Pound Ridge, and for pizza, Johnny’s in Mount Vernon is a must. I currently belong to Equinox because I like the peer pressure of group classes. When shopping, I am in need of adult supervision when visiting Target, Stew Leonard’s, or HomeGoods. I’m also a big fan of diners and will travel for really good coffee, which I drink black, many times a day.
AM: As someone who is a foodie, what are 3 restaurants on your list that you have yet to try, but are looking forward to?
MB: If only it were just three! Definitely Eleven Madison Park in Manhattan; D.O.M. in Sao Paulo, Brazil – which I’m hoping will happen soon since we have a family member from that city; and Osteria Francescana in Modena, a region of Italy that’s highly underrated for its food and from where some of my husband’s family originates. One of my favorite docuseries right now is “Chef’s Table,” on Netflix, which profiles renowned chefs from across the globe, so I have quite the inspired wish list thanks to that.
AM: During our photoshoot, we listened to a 90’s Hip Hop playlist. What are 3 of your favorite songs in this genre?
MB: 90’s hip hop is the best hip hop! But as someone who came of age during that decade I may be partial. Honestly it’s too hard for me to answer because I love music, from classic rock to 80’s pop to grunge. In terms of 90’s hip hop though, I’d say anything by 2Pac, Notorious B.I.G., Wu-Tang Clan or A Tribe Called Quest. (I may also know all of the words to “Shoop” by Salt-N-Pepa.)
AM: As someone who is always on the move and travels often for interviews, what are 3 items you take in your carry on?
MB: I never leave home without a wireless charger. I also always pack an extra set of clothes, since there have been instances in which breaking news or a last-minute assignment has meant I was on the road for longer than initially anticipated. The other item that’s especially handy is a blanket scarf because airplanes can be chilly and you can use one as a blanket or pillow in a pinch.
AM: Is there anything else you want to share?
MB: I have been very blessed to receive some great advice from accomplished individuals. But one example in particular I love is: don’t take yourself seriously; do take your job seriously. I believe that’s the secret to success - work hard and be willing, and try to have fun along the way.
Our cover shoot took place at 498 West End Ave #PH on the UWS of NYC. This 2 level home has great views of the city and is near a number of restaurants, shops and more! We chatted with Louise Philipps Forbes of Halstead to find out more information about this listing that is currently on the market.
ATHLEISURE MAG: The views and natural light at West End Ave #PH are amazing, tell us about the features of this unit.
LOUISE PHILLIPS FORBES: Set atop a quintessential Upper West Side landmark constructed in 1910 by Neville & Bagge, this 3,646 sf 5 bed, 4.5 bath newly constructed full-floor duplex is a rare combination of prewar craft and contemporary artistry. Thoughtfully designed by CetraRuddy Architecture to accommodate a 21st century lifestyle, this exceptional home has spectacular finishes and grand proportions. The premium grade details that grace the interiors impart a pervasive sense of quality, where space and light mix with elevated materials to infuse traditional forms with inventiveness.
The keyed elevator service to this topmost unit opens up into a warm and inviting foyer. Upon entering the penthouse, the new oversized windows welcome an abundance of light from all directions, keeping the home bright and airy, as you mentioned. The solid white oak floors in a custom 30-inch square rift-and-quartered parquet inspired pattern, accentuate the dining and living rooms.
Designed to deliver equal portions of elegance and functionality, every facet of the kitchen exceeds the highest standards while also delivering innovative design concepts - from the outstanding millwork in custom chocolate-stained oak with contrasting cream-colored ceruse, to a single-slab marble hearth wall that conceals the range hood. Outfitted for the most seasoned cooks, the kitchen also showcases Calacatta countertops, Miele appliances, a 48-inch Bertazzoni gas range, and a Gaggenau warming drawer and wine refrigerator.
An expansive wrap-around terrace, at its longest spanning close to 90 feet, makes for a covetable outdoor space ideal for lounging as well as hosting cocktails and dinner parties against the backdrop of an exquisite panorama f the Hudson River.
AM: What amenities are offered in this building for residents (common areas, services, etc.)?
LPF: Among the many amenities of 498 WEA is a fitness room with cardio workstations and an exercise area. For the younger set, a delightful activity center with an ingenious wood-peg wall allows kids to express themselves to their heart’s content.
AM: Tell us about the neighborhood that is directly around this building (Wholefoods, workout studios, eateries, etc.) and what neighborhood is this considered?
LPF: Flanked by two beautiful parks, the Upper West Side is one of the greenest neighborhoods in Manhattan. A favorite with families with its great elementary schools, safe streets and plethora of playgrounds, the vibe of the Upper West Side is relaxed, yet lively. There are plenty of bars and restaurants to frequent along Amsterdam Avenue, and Broadway. The wide, tree-lined streets also host many mom-and-pop stores, some of the best Jewish delis in the city, Zabar’s and Levain Bakery. Cultures abound as this coveted neighborhood is the home to the American Museum of Natural History, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan and the West Side Community Garden.
AM: For those interested in this unit, how can they get more information?
LPF: For more information on this home please head over to Halstead.com/19162124
AM: Do you also represent other units in this building as well?
LPF: Yes, as the exclusive broker for new development in this building my team represents new units as they become available. We just launched a fully renovated 2,093sf 3-Bed, 2-Bath residence on the 8th floor with the same designer details and notable features.
AM: Can you tell us about the artwork that is featured in this apartment?
LPF: The artwork throughout the two-story home has been thoughtfully curated by an interior designer to help highlight its architectural features and, of course, the view.
AM: Where can readers find out about properties that you represent?
Athleisure Mag's May cover story was shot by Paul Farkas, using Canon Mark IV; and selected Canon lenses: EF 50 f/1.2 L, EF 24-70 f/2.8 L II, and EF 70-200 f/2.8 L II.
MAKEUP & HAIR CREDITS
MUAH Bamike Ogunrinu utilized a number of products and tools in order to create the makeup and hairstyles that are in this cover editorial with CNBC's Co-Anchor of "Squawk Alley".
PREP | BIODERMA Micellar Water | REBELS AND OUTLAWS Love Potion | DRUNKEN ELEPHANT B-Hydra Intensive Hydrating Serum | TWINMEDIX Pro:Refine Eye Correction | TWINMEDIX Pro:Refine Moisturizer | BITE Agave Lip Mask |
FACE | MAKEUP FOREVER Ultra HD Cream Foundation KEVYN AUCOIN Contour Book Volume 3 | ILIA Essential Face Palette Warm | MAKEUP FOREVER Pro Bronze Fusion Bronzer 20M | BROWS | BENEFIT Foolproof Brow Powder 3 | IT COSMETICS Brow Power Universal Brow Pencil |
OUT AND ABOUT LOOK | EYES // STILA Eyes are the Window Shadow Palette #mind | LIPS // CHAPSTICK Total Hydration Moisture + Tint #Rose Petal |
FITNESS LOOK | EYES // NARS Orgasm Illuminating Loose Powder | LIPS // PAT MCGRATH | MatteTrance Lipstick #Femme Bot |
RESORT GLAM | EYES // COZZETTE Infinite Eyeshadows #Aquamarine | LIPS // MAKEUP FOREVER Artistic Rouge Light Luminous Hydrating Lipstick L304 |
HAIR PRODUCTS | IGK Laidback + Intern |
HAIR TOOLS | Hot tools ¾" – 1¼" + 1" Nano Ceramic® Salon Flat Iron with Extra-Long Plates + Nano Ceramic® Tapered Curling Iron – Large
Athleisure Mag's Celeb Fashion Stylist, Co-Founder/Creative + Style Director Kimmie Smith focused on looks that incorporate a number of pieces that will become go-to's in your closet with the onset of warm weather.
OUT AND ABOUT // PG 25 + 26 | SOCIALITE CLOTHING Playsuit in Tobacco | QUPID Ankle Booties | AMATOSTYLE Domenica Cream Leather Cord with Python Tassel Necklace + Novella Python Earrings | LAGOS 18K Caviar Gold Large Dome Statement Ring + 18K Bar 7 Gold Bracelet |
FITNESS LOOK // PG 16- 22 + BACK COVER | BEYOND YOGA Burgundy Sports Bra | WOLVEN THREADS Moonlight Mandala Leggings | HOKA ONE ONE Women's Bondi B | LAGOS 18K Caviar Gold 35MM Hoop Earrings, 18K Caviar Gold Diamond 7 Rounds Stack Ring, Caviar Gold Ring + 18K Caviar Gold 35MM Hoop Earrings |
RESORT GLAM LOOK // FRONT COVER + 29 - 33 | OLIVIA VON HALLE Delphine Muse Full Length Dress | GOOSEBERRY So Chic Sweet Sunrise | LAGOS 18K Enso 30MM Circle with Linear Drop Pendant Multi Length, 18K Enso 30MM Circle with Linear Drop Earring, Black Caviar Ceramic Diamond Pave 14MM Ring, Black Caviar Black Ceramic Diamond7 Link Statment Ring 9MM Bracelet + Black Caviar Black Ceramic 2 Diamond Link 9MM Bracelet |