Travels from New York, New York, USA
Elizabeth Vargas's speaking fee starts in range: $30,000 to $50,000
One of the first Latin-American women to ever be an anchor on a major broadcast network, journalist Elizabeth Vargas won over millions of viewers with her poise, her class, and a slight hint of vulnerability. Since publicly opening up about her battles with alcoholism and anxiety, both of which she had thoroughly hid for more than 20 years on and off camera, Vargas has become a nationwide inspiration for those dealing with mental health issues and addiction.
For over a decade, Vargas was the face of ABC’s 20/20, serving as co-anchor from 2004 to 2018. Previously she had been a newsreader on Good Morning America, co-anchor of World News Tonight, and anchor of World News Tonight Sunday. At that time she was only the third woman in U.S. history to anchor a major network evening newscast.
Vargas holds an Emmy for her coverage of the Elián Gonzalez story in the late 1990s. Described as one of the most versatile journalists in the industry, she has conducted news-making interviews with multiple household names, ranging from President George W. Bush to pop icon Madonna.
Born to a military family, Vargas often moved as a child, the frequent changes exacerbating her anxiety. She chronicles her lifelong struggle with mental health and addiction in her bestselling memoir, Between Breaths, winner of the Books for a Better Life Award.
Vargas is currently pioneering an investigative docuseries for A&E. The first of her indepth reports is entitled Cults & Extreme Belief.
As an award-winning anchor and correspondent, Vargas has traveled the world covering breaking news stories, reporting in-depth investigations and conducting newsmaker interviews. During the historic Iraqi elections in December 2005, she anchored World News Tonight; from Baghdad. She anchored for both World News Tonight and 20/20 from the U.S. Gulf Coast, covering Hurricane Katrina’s devastation.
Her international coverage has also sent her to Beslan, Russia, where she found stories of hope after rebels attacked a school and killed more than 300 people, over half of them children. She also reported from the Middle East for a special on the resurrection of Jesus; and reported from Cambodia on the plight of orphans and questionable international adoption practices there.
Vargas has also anchored ABC News coverage of live, breaking news stories including the deaths of President Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy, Jr. She won an Emmy in 2000 for Outstanding Instant Coverage of a News Story for anchoring live coverage of the Elian Gonzalez case.
Vargas was credited by the New York Times in November 2004 as reinvigorating the newsmagazine format with her “intellectually brave” reporting of an examination of the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard, a young man whose murder gained national attention as an anti-gay crime. In July 2003, she hosted “In the Shadow of Laci Peterson”, an ABC News special that examined the disappearances of several young women in northern California and why their stories failed to attract significant media attention. In November 2003, she anchored “Jesus, Mary and Da Vinci”, an hour investigating many theories raised in the best-selling novel The Da Vinci Code. Her February 2001 exclusive interview with the owners of two dogs that killed a San Francisco woman was so revealing, prosecutors in the case say it was critical to winning convictions against the couple.
In 2002, Vargas was the narrator of the four-part, award-winning ABC News documentary series “ICU”, which provided a unique look at life inside one of the nation’s elite pediatric cardiology intensive care units. Vargas has anchored and reported several one-hour ABC News “Vanished” specials. Other hour-long specials include “Same-Sex Marriages,” “Surrogacy” and “It Takes a Miracle.” She has also been involved in ABC’s Children First Program, participating in a Children First Safety Special and in ABC’s March Against Drugs.
Vargas was previously the anchor of World News Tonight Sunday and was also a frequent substitute anchor on Good Morning America. Previously a correspondent for 20/20 and Primetime Thursday and a co-anchor of Primetime Monday, Vargas joined ABC News from NBC News, where she was a correspondent and anchor, primarily for Dateline NBC and the Today show.
Journalist Elizabeth Vargas clarifies the difference between nervousness and anxiety as she recalls the panic attacks she had from early childhood and how she hid her condition for decades while leading a high profile television career. Though Vargas did not let her condition hinder her from following her passion for telling stories, the stress and anxiety she experienced led her to alcohol dependency as well as panic attacks on the job.
Vargas describes having a panic attack for an hour while anchoring the news in Chicago. “I still to this day don’t know what happened...It was so terrifying to me that I lived in fear for decades later just that the panic attack would happen to me again,” she confesses.
She claims that it’s almost impossible to explain to someone who’s never had a panic attack what it’s like. “It’s ‘fallen off a cliff’ so to speak,” she tries to put the sensation in words. “Your anxiety has hijacked your brain and your body and does not respond to thought.”
Elegant, classy, and real, skilled journalist and beloved television personality Elizabeth Vargas delivers incomparable value as a speaker on current events, career building, and mental health issues. No matter what your audience’s interest, Vargas will fully engage them, taking on questions with warmth and sincerity.
Since the publication of her raw and inspiring memoir, Between Breaths: A Memoir of Panic and Addiction ,Vargas is especially called upon to share her own story and experience as a “high-functioning alcoholic.”
The polished career woman and working mother does not hold back on her struggles with addiction and anxiety or the toll they took on her personal life. Her honesty about her inner battles shows that recovery is always a work-in-progress and offers hope and strength to anyone dealing with mental or physical illness.
Living the American Dream
Vargas shares her experiences growing up as the daughter of Puerto Rican and Irish-American parents, the struggles she overcame and continues to confront, and openly reveals personal anecdotes as a wife, working mother and Hispanic-American.
The Media in Today's Society
Drawing from her nearly four decades as an international journalist, Vargas discusses the roles and responsibilities of the continually-evolving media in our dynamic and fast-paced society.
In the News Now with Elizabeth Vargas
This is a timely look at the domestic and international scene with context and political analysis to better understand this moment in history and where the future may lead. With her signature wit and style, Vargas engages audiences with her global perspective of the latest hot spots and world issues.
“Please extend to Elizabeth our sincerest appreciation for her participation in the Menninger Clinic’s Annual Signature Cocktail Reception and Luncheon this past week. Her presentation at the Luncheon was fabulous as expected, but the really nice surprise was her warmth and approachability, as well as her engagement with the many participants who regaled her with numerous questions and stories of their own. She was patient with all of us, which made the event warm and human. We all thank Elizabeth for speaking up on behalf of those suffering from anxiety and addiction, for sharing the challenges of her journey to recovery, and for joining with the Menninger Clinic in proclaiming there is no health without mental health.”
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Between Breaths: A Memoir of Panic and Addiction
Winner of the Books for a Better Life Award in the First Book category | Instant New York Times and USA Today Bestseller
From the moment she uttered the brave and honest words, “I am an alcoholic,” to interviewer George Stephanopoulos, Elizabeth Vargas began writing her story, as her experiences were still raw. Now, in BETWEEN BREATHS, Vargas discusses her accounts of growing up with anxiety-which began suddenly at the age of six when her father served in Vietnam-and how she dealt with this anxiety as she came of age, to her eventually turning to alcohol for relief. She tells of how she found herself living in denial, about the extent of her addiction and keeping her dependency a secret for so long. She addresses her time in rehab, her first year of sobriety, and the guilt she felt as a working mother who had never found the right balance.
Honest and hopeful, BETWEEN BREATHS is an inspiring read.
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