By Rebecca Parr
Staff Writer, Bay Area News Group
HAYWARD -- Local TV host Martina Lawson had to halt production of her community access show after her equipment was stolen in August, but she's determined to continue and will be touring area shopping malls to get the word out.
"I want to thank the community for their support and let them know the show is still going on," said Lawson, a Cal State East Bay student who has been hosting "The Martina Show" for five seasons.
Thieves broke into her car at Bayfair Mall in San Leandro and took her purse and laptop, which she used to edit segments for her twice-weekly show. Soon after that, her mother suffered a stroke, and the 25-year-old has been helping with her recovery. Despite the setbacks, Lawson said she hopes to start working on new segments for her show by the end of the month, possibly borrowing editing equipment. In the meantime, she is airing reruns.
The 30-minute show usually has two segments, in which she interviews people about subjects she's interested in, such as dating and staying healthy. One topic she wants to focus on soon: mall safety, because of what happened to her. The show airs at 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays on Comcast 28.
Lawson has had to overcome obstacles before. At age 12, she was diagnosed with scoliosis. She wore a back brace for months, but the curve in her spine continued to get worse.
"I was told that if I didn't have surgery, my lungs would eventually be crushed by my spine, which was pretty frightening to hear, especially at such a young age," she said.
She underwent spinal fusion surgery at Children's Hospital Oakland at age 13. Though she still sometimes has back pain and can't be seated for long, she hasn't let her condition slow her down.
"Just because you have an ailment, it doesn't have to define who you are," she said, a sentiment Lawson took to heart after hearing it expressed on the television show "Girlfriends."
Born in Hayward, Lawson and her family later moved to San Leandro. She graduated from Arroyo High School in 2005, and then attended Chabot College in Hayward. While at Chabot, she was introduced to the college's television station during a mass communications class. Intrigued, Lawson learned just about every job in the studio.
She was studying theater, and hosting a college show seemed a natural fit. She pitched her idea, and "The Martina Show" was born. It later moved from the college station to Comcast.
After she finishes her bachelor's degree in theater arts this fall, Lawson will attend the invitation-only International Modeling and Talent Association annual conference, where agents look for potential models and actors. She also plans to apply for graduate school.
"I'm excited about what's next," she said.