About me

Words always


... played a major role in our family: we talked a lot, read a lot, and we all ended up being journalists.

My father chose that profession as a young man, my mother sort of got sucked in after being asked to write a column for a woman's magazine about rearing children based on her vivid oral narrations. My older brother studied History and found himself not the academic type, and what else do you do as a historian? My older sister didn't bother with any plan Bs and published her first article in the local paper at the age of 13. The subject was an opera singer she greatly admired, the next article was about a pop singer. And so it went.

I, on the other hand, wanted to become an actor. Or a dressmaker. Anything that was not journalism. Anything that didn't require the Matura, the Swiss entrance exam to university studies. I was fed up with school. And wrote a couple of articles for the local rag as soon as I had left school (after much fighting with my mother). For my troubles of going to the opening of a department store, being well fed in the process and having to write a short piece about it, I got 70 Francs.I started to like journalism. After ten months as an au pair in London I returned to Zurich with plans to go as an au pair to Paris and Mexico City as well, to learn the language. in the meantime, I worked at a woman's magazine fetching the mail, packing knitting patterns for the readers and helping whoever needed help. One day I decided that one of the authors needed help with his article and wrote on the topic myself. They liked it. Good bye Paris, good bye Mexico City.

My French is still lousy, my Spanish worse. But with my German I've made a living ever since. I worked as a news writer, as a lifestyle editor, as a freelance writer for whatever was needed, having plenty of work because I had ideas and was reliable. Sometimes I seemed to be doing nothing but interviews with film stars, jetting from Zurich to London for a media bash with Sylvester Stallone and to Paris for a date with Charlotte Rampling in the same week, meeting Christopher Lambert on set in Sicily on Friday and dashing back for an  interview over lunch with Arnold Schwarzenegger on Sunday. I loved it. In those days, film stars didn't just appear for ten minutes in front of hundreds of journos taking only questions about their latest movie. I had a one-on-one with Sissy Spacek on «Coal Miner's Daughter» that lasted an hour, and we talked about everything, including her personal life. Sylvester Stallone had a group of us, all from minor countries in the eyes of the distributor, in his London hotel room for over an hour and after that we all had lunch with him. Being the most fluent in English and less shy than my colleagues, I more or less conducted the interview and sat next to him at lunch, watching him swallowing about a dozen pills in all sizes and colours before lunch was served, which he hardly touched. He was in training for the next «Rocky», he explained.

It wasn't all glamour, though, writing about the pressure of gymnastics on young bones or reporting on the struggle for a modern abortion law was less fancy but equally rewarding. Women's issues have  been a staple of my reporting, and I love to interview or portray people of all walks of life. Sport interests me on an economic or sociological level, and travel stories are something I do now more then ever, because now I am on the road.

When the Swiss online publication 20.minuten.ch looked for someone who would cover the two days a week not covered by their nightly news updates from Hong Kong, I put up my hand. Since June 2012 I'm updating the news site from midnight Swiss time until 8 am on Friaday and Saturday. Which means I'm sitting at my laptop on Thursdays and Fridays from 3 pm if I'm at the West coast of North America. On Australia's East coast, it would be Friday and Saturday morning, in Hawaii more or less the other half of the day. In New York, it would actually be more or less a nightshift which means the east coast is out. Pity. But the West has a lot to offer, and I don't know it at all well. I'm hoping to change that in the next couple of years.

What I already know: There's a lot of golf courses out here. And since I carried my clubs from Switzerland – the bag for the golf bag doubles as my shoe cabinet and general storage – I fully intend to play all the affordable ones. So, no Pebble Beach, I'm afraid, but Pacific Grove Municipal Links a few miles up the road on the Monterey Peninsula will do me nicely, thank you very much. Sometimes I get to write about golf which of course is like having your cake and eating it.

Back at home I used to love to get on my bike and pedal a couple of hours to a nice restaurant in the countryside, eliminating the good of exercising with the even better of eating. I just love it. I try to eat less fat and sugar and lots of veggies and salads, and most times I succeed. But being around fries all the time doesn't help. Stupidly, I like them. A lot. And my bike is at home. So I hike, jog less than I should, think seriously about going to the gym and cook. Some old family recipes, or some improvised dishes which we call «Emergency Pasta» in our family: any kond of pasta with whatever sits in the pantry or the icebox. Mostly delicious, but when we want to cook it again, we don't remember what we put in then. My repertoire of Emergency Pasta has grown way beyond pasta thanks to the dozens of cooking shows on TV. I could watch them for hours and what I see finds its way onto my dining table eventually. Since I never take notes I can't exactly remember what went into a dish, but my approximations usually turn out pretty good. And if not, so be it. It's trial and error, in the kitchen as in life.


Bea Emmenegger – Journalistin, Quizautorin, Digital Nomad

+41 (0)79 196 52 64 | be@bea-emmenegger.ch


Aktualisierung: August 2023 | Datenschutzerklärung

by Art & Media GmbH