Omi
This interview took place April 16, 2013 prior to Collins leaving CSN Chicago. 

You grew up a die-hard Chicago sports fan from Downers Grove, IL. Where were you when you found out you got the job at CSN Chicago?

I was living in New York at the time but one of my friends had a contact at Comcast SportsNet and asked me to send her my resume and reel. The next day I got an email from the news director. I went in and talked to this guy for two hours, it went really well and we hit it off. I thought I had nailed it but I didn’t hear from him for two weeks, so then I thought I blew it! I had gone for a run and had a missed call from his number, when I called him back he said they really liked me and wanted me to start in two weeks. It was crazy! Coming home to Chicago and covering the teams I care about was the ultimate goal for me so it only took about two seconds for me to be like, “Let’s do this!” That night my parents were so excited and crying and we all went out with a big group of friends in the city and had champagne. It all happened so quickly. In a way I’m glad it happened that way because otherwise I tend to overthink things.

Which player gives you the hardest time about being interviewed?

With the White Sox, Adam Dunn is funny. When I come up with the microphone he’ll always pretend to blank out at first but then he’ll talk to you. He’s just a joker like that. In the Blackhawks, Bryan Bickell is pretty funny. Every time he sees me coming with the microphone he’s like, “Oh God,” and rolls his eyes but they always oblige and are very nice about it. In general the Blackhawks are a great locker room and most of the guys will talk. It’s obviously easier when they win and they’ve been doing that a lot lately which makes my job that much easier. You can kind of gauge when they are ready to talk, they’ll be at their locker and putting their stuff on or taking their stuff off and then they’ll turn around and look and that’s when you know. If they avoid eye contact, I’m not even going to try.

Most nerve-wracking part of your job?

The thing I get the most nervous for is the player interviews at the end of the game and only because my voice is piping through the whole stadium. There is just something about hearing your own voice, just that aspect of it psyches me out a little bit. That’s probably the moment when I get the most butterflies.

What do you love the most about the sports industry?

My whole mantra is that sports is entertainment and people turn it on because they want an escape from all of the crap that is going on in the rest of the world.

Do you get any funny viewer mail?

I get lots of marriage proposals over tweets. I had a kid ask me to prom, that was really cute.

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Are you single?

I’m married! When you’re the new girl in the locker room there is always that feeling out period of like, “What’s this girl all about?” but most of those guys have wives and girlfriends. That’s a big thing about my job, I’m sure there are people in the industry who try and take advantage of their position but nothing will take away your credibility faster than engaging in that.

How did you meet your husband?

I actually met my husband in London, he’s from Liverpool. He has the accent and everything, the whole shebang. We watch a whole lot of soccer in our house!

What neighborhood do you live in?

River West.

When you have a night off, how do you guys like to relax?

We’re sort of amateur foodies. Chicago has such an incredible restaurant scene so on my rare nights off we’re usually trying to make reservations to have dinner somewhere but we’re just as happy watching “Mad Men” in sweats with a nice bottle of wine.

Tell us one thing we’d be surprised to find out goes on inside the Blackhawks locker room.

Win or lose, it’s not that different. After a loss there isn’t the loud music playing and stuff like that but it’s a pretty business-like mentality in the locker room. Even after a win they are not overly excited, they are in a good mood obviously and are more willing to talk but it’s not like they’re celebrating. It’s pretty much all business with the Blackhawks.

What a season for your first time covering the Blackhawks.

I know! When they were on that winning streak I was like, “I think I deserve a little credit, I’m just saying!” [Laughs]

Who is your support system?

My parents for sure. They have been there for me for every stage that I’ve gone through. When I wanted to study broadcast journalism they said, “Great! That sounds perfect.” Then when I was like, “Actually, I think I want to be a singer and dancer,” they said, “That sounds great! You go after it!” They have never questioned me. They let me find my way and I’m always so appreciative of that. I honestly believe that everything I’ve done up until this point has prepared me and I wouldn’t change my journey at all. From the get-go they’ve supported me so just seeing them so proud and so happy is probably one of the most gratifying things about my job.

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Do you have a dream sporting event that you’d love to cover?

I come from generations of Cubs fans so the Cubs winning the World Series would be the ultimate experience. I don’t know if it’s ever going to happen but… My prediction is 2016!

Spending so much time covering athletes, are you athletic?

I feel so much better when I take care of myself and eat right. I love to run, I love Pilates. I go to FFC in the West Loop. I do reformer classes there. I like to keep myself on my toes! I enjoy those lovely runs along the lake as well.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Man, that’s a good question. Honestly, I think what this job is allowing me to do is figure out what I’m good at and what my strengths are in this industry because they are giving me an amazing platform. I get to do the reporting, the interviewing, the sit-downs and shows like “Gas Money”. There is this whole range of things I get to do so I hope in 10 years I’m doing the things that I feel I am the best at and in a job where I really feel like I can shine in those areas. When I moved back to Chicago I thought, “I don’t want to move away.” I would love to stay here, it’s where my heart is.

Most memorable career moment thus far?

The night they honored Marián Hossa for his 1000th game. After the game I was asking him questions and everyone started yelling, “Hossa! Hossa!” Watching him in that moment was pretty awesome. He was so overwhelmed, definitely having a moment so I just wanted to let him soak it all in.

If you could have a drink with anyone, who would it be?

Blake Shelton. He just seems like a guy that you could go and have a drink with and laugh your butt off with. One of my biggest regrets is that I didn’t get back to Chicago in time to meet Ron Santo. He was my dad’s hero and I was always number 10 in high school sports and my dad was always number 10 in high school as well because of Ron Santo. Our whole family loved that guy so I really wish he was still around because I probably would have gotten a chance to meet him. That would have been pretty special.

CSN ChicagoCSN ChicagoEMILY GUALDONI PHOTOGRAPHY

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Omi