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NBC's Tamron Hall: Back in Philly, where she got her soul 


Article By Sofiya Ballin // Philadelphia Inquirer

Tamron Hall runs across the lawn of the Independence Mall, becoming a bright orange streak as she greets a group of screaming fans for selfies during her brief break.

While doing an interview, she often stops in midsentence to wave back at pedestrians screaming her name.

The cohost of the Today show and host of MSNBC Live with Tamron Hall and Deadline: Crime with Tamron Hall has her hands full covering this year's Democratic National Convention. But she can think of no better place to be than where, she says, she got her soul: Philadelphia.

Also a member of the Temple University board of trustees, Hall makes it back to Philadelphia almost every month. In fact, an old friend she met in her first week as a journalism student at Temple, sits in the studio.

When Hall isn't on the set, her Philadelphia return is filled with late-night gelato and pizza trips to Capofitto. She hopes an Ishkabbibles run is on the horizon. It's through the food scene, Hall says, that she sees the way Philadelphia has changed.

"This is a beautiful city," she said, Independence Mall behind her. "When I came to Philadelphia in the late '80s, it was going through a very difficult time." The city was battling crime, poverty, and an uptick in drug use. She says it was one of the "urban nightmares that would blast out on the national news."

A native Texan, she moved to Philadelphia at 17 after being accepted into Temple. It was in Philly that she began to make story lines for the people she saw on the subway, the mother or father about to start a second or third shift. She worked her way through school, as a cashier at Magnum jewelry store on Market Street, and at Houlihan's restaurant which is now Devon Seafood Grill on South 18th Street, where, she says, "I was a legendary hostess, and by legendary, I mean terrible at my job."

Now, she hosts in a larger arena, with a direct and unwavering approach to interviewing.

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