Mornings are "personal," says Alexa Conomos. She knows. She delivered the traffic report on WFAA-TV (Channel 8), then transitioned to midday anchor and to Daybreak main anchor. After nearly 20 years of waking up at 3 a.m., she turned off her early-morning alarm on Thursday for the last time, on her last day at WFAA in Dallas.
The decision was personal, she explains. Leaving WFAA "means I get to do something I've never had the chance to do: I get to make breakfast for my kids and take them to school," she says.
Conomos is a mother to three kids, ages 10, 8 and 5. Longtime WFAA viewers know that, though, as Conomos' personal life has played out on TV since she arrived in Dallas in 2001.
"People were there to see me get engaged and married," she says. "They would send us cards. They really rejoiced for me when we got married."
After her first son was born premature, "I could not believe the amount of emails I got of people praying for him and thinking of our family," she says. They even sent hats and books for the baby, then sent more when Conomos' other two kids were born.
Just as special, Conomos told viewers about her 107-year-old grandmother in Greece, and viewers sent birthday cards to "Yaya."
"I feel like I grew up here," she says of her 17 years with WFAA.
Conomos' departure will allow her to spend more time with family as well as buy and sell homes via a new residential real estate company called Anderson Conomos Homes. Conomos plans to launch short videos inside each home, which will allow her to use her broadcast journalism experience in her new role. The company is a project between her husband, Bradley Anderson, and his brother, Brooks Anderson. They also own Veritas Wine Bar and Dallas restaurants Rapscallion and Boulevardier.
We asked Conomos a few questions about her most memorable moments at WFAA and her future in real estate.
A lesson she learned being on TV
"There will be people who will tell you to change this about yourself," she says. "The lesson I learned was: Never do anything that was untrue to who I am, inherently. I am enough just the way I am, and it took me a while to learn that."
A major excitement
"The fact that I'll be able to sleep in to 6 a.m. is going to be just huge, for how I feel physically and mentally."
What she'll miss about WFAA
"The camaraderie. Working together as a team. I work with so many incredible journalists and photojournalists and producers and writers. Being surrounded by that kind of excellence is really inspiring.
"And also the laughter. We laugh a lot."
Her interest in residential real estate?
"My parents are first-generation Americans. Their parents came to this country and struggled. But they were so proud that they were homeowners. I was raised to believe that owning a home is the American dream."
Her tearful thank-you to viewers
"Please know that in addition to being a wife and mother, being welcomed into your homes, earning your trust, being able to learn your stories has been the greatest privilege and honor of my life," she said on-air on Jan. 4. See the video here:
One crazy thing she'll do next
"I've been dying to wear my hair parted down the middle," she says. "I'm going to love not having to do my hair every day!"