Perthonalities: Michelle Escobar
Since flying the coop from her hometown in Perth, sports-mad journalist Michelle Escobar has been making waves across the East Coast.
After diving in head-first by taking up a job offer in Sydney straight out of university, Michelle's talent saw her break into the highly competitive world of Sports Reporting, cementing her place as a Reporter and Presenter on the Optus Sport team.
Reporting across all European football leagues, as well as covering major tournaments such as the 2018 FIFA Russia World Cup, Michelle is well and truly living the dream.
We reached out to Michelle to gain an insight into her faced-paced world... and her favourite Perth hangouts!
As an Optus Sports Presenter, what does your day to day look like?
A normal day for me starts at 6am. I get into the office and go through all the overnight football news from around the world, I pick the most interesting stories, injury updates or whatever's making headlines and compile that for our daily news segment 'On the Spot'.
From there I'll make more news or feature pieces depending on what's the most topical thing that day. Some mornings start even earlier such as 4am when we've got the Champions League, Europa League, Nations League or Euro 2020 qualifiers. On those days I normally do a wrap package which has all the major results from that morning's games. Sometimes if we're doing live hostings for the games, I'll get on the couch and discuss on-air the results.
Other days I might head out to a shoot which vary from interviews to charity matches. In the build up to tournaments such as the FIFA World Cups (men and women) which Optus Sport has broadcasted, I'll attend press conferences and media opportunities where I'll conduct interviews with the Socceroos/Matildas players and coaches.
Some days are very structured and are in the office, while other days are spent out and about.
Your job has taken you around the world, what has been your favourite trip so far?
My first work trip overseas was to Russia for the 2018 FIFA World Cup draw and although it was only for a few days, it was an awesome experience. I wasn't quite sure what to expect of Moscow, but it was beautiful and I'd love to go back to see more of it. What topped that trip though was interviewing some of the greats of the game such as Socceroos goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, '98 France World Cup winner Marcel Desailly and Belgium coach Roberto Martinez. I was truly starstruck by the talent that I was surrounded by.
However in saying that my favourite trip is my most recent one to France for the Women's World Cup in June. I was on team Matildas, reporting their every move. It was incredible being in so many beautiful cities which are all so unique and have so much culture. It was also fantastic to be at a huge tournament, getting close to the fans and of course supporting the Matildas. The whole experience as a reporter makes it even more special because you have greater access to the team, we were at every single training/game which gives you a chance to build a rapport with the coach, players, other Aussie reporters and people from every corner of the globe.
You began in Perth before heading to Sydney. Where do you call home in Perth?
I grew up in the Stirling area, so I'm a north of the river girl.
Was Sydney the only place on your radar before the move?
I never really planned to move to Sydney, as a teenager my dream was to work in Europe - either England or Spain (because I speak Spanish). I had visited Sydney for holidays and a school trip a couple of times before and thought it was such a nice place, but never really imagined myself here. I only really made the move because I got a job offer straight out of university. I originally only planned to come to Sydney for a year but then my career began to progress and now I've been here for just over five years. I do love it now and, controversially, I always tell people I love it more than Melbourne, which is rare for someone from Perth haha.
Where is your favourite place to hang out on a day off in Perth?
My favourite place to hang out on a day off in Perth is at the beach, especially Mullaloo. I always boast about our beaches, where you can go and not have to worry about them being insanely crowded, especially on a weekday. I love how you can have almost the entire beach to yourself and just relax. I enjoy sticking around for the sunset and eating some fish and chips on the beach, the sunsets are always unreal.
What is the one thing you miss most from Perth?
The one thing I miss the most about Perth is my family. I'm very close to my family and I moved over to Sydney quite young so at the beginning I used to get homesick a bit. I get back for the big occasions as much as possible e.g. big birthdays, Easter and Christmas, so that makes it easier.
Sports journalism can be a tough gig with so many sports on offer these days. What are your favourite sports to watch and were you a football fan before the days of being a presenter?
I've grown up loving football mainly because my family were so into it, especially my brothers. The 2006 World Cup was when I really started to taken an interest in it and how could you not get behind the golden generation of the Socceroos. After that I played it a bit and started watching the English Premier League and I've been a fan since then. The other sport that I love is tennis, anyone that knows me knows that I'm a massive fan of it. Whenever a grand slam/tournament is on at work I always sneak on the matches onto the screens we've got there.
Having worked at Fox Sports prior to Optus Sport I had to be on top of all codes including rugby league (which is foreign to us Westies) but I quite enjoy watching it now. Being from Perth it's hard not to be on board the AFL wagon, so when I get the chance I do try to watch or get to a few games especially if the Eagles are playing. And I don't mind a bit of the NBA too. I basically watch most sports now.
Which ALeague and Premier League team do you follow? And why?
I of course follow Perth Glory, they're my number one team. When I was a child they were a powerhouse so it was awesome to watch them in the NSL grand finals. Then as a teenager I used to go with my friends to the games at NIB, it was also a good social outing, because everyone from school used to go.
My Premier League team is Liverpool, like many Aussies. I started going for them though because I used to really enjoy watching Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres and later on Luis Suarez. Suarez is a controversial character as every football fan knows but his skills are mesmerising and I just enjoy watching him play.
Any bold predictions for the ALeague and Premier League for this season?
I'm hoping I'll be lucky this season and I have my fingers crossed that both my A-League and Premier League teams will finish on top. With Tony Popovic at the helm and given how well Glory did last season I'm hoping we'll win the Premier's Plate again and make it all the way to the Grand Final and win that too.
I really don't want to jinx the Reds, but given how good their start to the season has been so far (and luck has been on our side too) I think this may finally be our year. Manchester City are an incredible team but they've got an injury crisis to deal with and they're not looking as untouchable as before, so we've got to capitalise on that and get maximum points. It also helps that the traditional big guns like Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham are all struggling, so no excuses not to win our first Premier League title.