By Judith Salkin
Who you wake up to in the morning can set the tone for the whole day ahead of you.
If it’s KESQ morning news anchor Alex Batres, your day is probably off to a pretty good start.
Along with co-anchor Jeff Stahl, Batres has been on the early shift at the desert station for the past year. She works the 6AM and noon newscasts, along with the cut-ins during “Good Morning America.” Her work day usually finishes around 1 p.m.
The best part for Batres is being back in SoCal after two years in the wilds of Casper, Wyoming.
“That was a shock for me!” Batres said recently from KESQ’s new home in Thousand Palms. From the wide open spaces to the hip-deep winter snows, “I’d never experienced anyplace like that before; and it was eye-opening.”
The mid-twentysomething Batres was born and raised in the South Bay area of Los Angeles County and earned her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from CalState Fullerton.
As a teen and throughout her college years Batres worked as a model and part-time actress. “But I was never that interested in acting and modeling,” she said. “It was something to do and it paid well.”
Not that she brags about her former career, but she does have some good stories. “I don’t remember when, but Jose and I were talking when it came up that I’d been in “Don Juan (Demarco)” with Johnny Depp,” she recalled. Mendoza was reluctant to believe that his girlfriend at the time had actually been on a movie set with Depp, let alone had an on-screen scene with him.
“When I went home I asked my mother if she knew where the picture (autographed) of Johnny and I was. I found it and showed it Jose,” she said with a smile. “which really surprised him.”
She became interested in news and journalism in high school, and followed her muse into college. “I was in the journalism club and I realized that I could change people’s lives,” she said. “I wanted to tell the stories that touched people or gives them information that they need.”
Batres interned at the KCBS/KCAL newsroom in Los Angeles, which prepared her for working at the ABC affiliate in Wyoming. Driving around Casper and looking for a place to live her first day in the area had her wondering what she’d gotten herself into.
“I’d researched all my options and picked what I thought were my top five possibilities,” she recalled. While some pictures tell a wonderful story, sometimes they lie. “Every place I went to was worse than the one before. None of them looked anything like the photos I’d seen.”
With darkness closing in, Batres contacted her new News Director asking for help and he directed her to the home of a local who had rented a room to another affiliate staffer.
“I lived in his basement for about four months,” she said. “Until Jose was able to join me and we got a place together.”
Jose is Jose Mendoza, Batres’ husband, whom she married in early June.
While in Wyoming, Batres took advantage of what the area had to offer by hiking and exploring the area, even trying her hand at whitewater rafting on the Snake River.
“Living there gave me an opportunity to explore and experience a part of the country I never had before,” she said. “I wouldn’t have seen Denver or Yellowstone (National Park) or gone rafting. It changed my life.”
With her family in L.A. County, Batres wanted to get closer to home. One of her co-workers came from the Coachella Valley and encouraged the SoCal native to look into jobs in this market.
It turned out to be good advice. “It’s not L.A., but it’s a lot closer than Wyoming,” she said. “And I’m living across the street from my friend’s mom, which is really nice.”
While it’s not the typical life her close-knit Latino family would have expected, Bates credits her mother with encouraging her to pursue her dreams.
“My mother always supported me in everything I wanted to do,” she said. “In my culture girls usually live at home until they get married, but my mother supported me in going to college and then when I got my job in Wyoming.”
Along with seeing family more often, Batres and Mendoza are hoping to do more traveling. For their recent honeymoon they went to Tokyo. “It was amazing,” she said. “It was a total culture shock and we just loved it.”