The Early Days Of Hoda Kotb's Career Were Marked With A Struggle Many Women Know Well

Hoda Kotb has a successful career that spans more than three decades, but her life hasn't always been easy. The NBC News star was born to parents of Egyptian descent and grew up in the U.S. As a child, she faced racism and discrimination and had a hard time fitting in. "I wasn't Black or white to the kids in school, yet I seemed to be both and neither, which made assimilation on the school bus and in the cafeteria particularly difficult," she told The Wall Street Journal.

Later in life, Kotb found herself struggling to secure work. Although she held a degree in journalism, she was rejected 27 times before landing her first job. "I was home, and all my friends had jobs except me, and I felt sort of like a loser," Kotb recalled in an interview with SiriusXM. When she finally got a job interview at a news station in Richmond, Virginia, the director pointed to her lack of experience and sent her back home.

Like many other women, the "Today Show" co-anchor went through a lot on her way to a fulfilling career. But despite these struggles, Kotb became an award-winning journalist and book author. In 2018, Time named her one of the 100 most influential people of the year. 

Hoda Kotb lived on a shoestring budget in the early days of her career

Many of us have witnessed the stunning transformation of Hoda Kotb, and her career path is truly inspiring. After graduation, she kept getting rejected from jobs over and over again, but she didn't give up. When she finally received a job offer from a CBS station in Greenville, Mississippi, things didn't turn out as she had hoped.

At first, Kotb got noticed for her talent and continued to climb the career ladder. In 1998, she joined NBC as a "Dateline" correspondent. Sadly, her salary was so low that she found herself living paycheck to paycheck. "I know for years I was definitely making a fraction of what my male co-anchors were making. I actually never asked because I didn't want to be difficult," Kotb confessed on an episode of "Today with Hoda & Jenna" (via People).

The daytime broadcaster has also recalled how she struggled to pay her bills. "I was like, 'I'll pay this one, and then pay that one.'" Unfortunately, millions of other women are facing the same gender wage gap problem. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, women working full-time earn around 83.7% less than their male counterparts. The gender pay gap is even worse for Black, Hispanic, and older women. 

The 'Today Show' star is now making millions of dollars

Hoda Kotb took advantage of every chance she got to grow her career. Not only did she become a successful journalist, but she also published several books, including a New York Times bestseller. Today, she's allegedly earning around $8 million per year and has a net worth of $30 million. However, she may still be making less than her male co-workers.

According to Page Six, the "Today" show's former co-host, Matt Lauer, was paid $25 million per year. Kotb took over his role in 2018 after he got fired because of sexual misconduct allegations. Back then, her annual salary was $7 million. But even so, she didn't complain about the pay gap or ask for a raise. "If things go well, Hoda could ask for more next time if she re-ups her contract. But the figures underline the huge wage disparity at NBC News," an insider source told Page Six.

Kotb is now one of the richest "Today Show" stars, and she definitely deserves it. Her talent and determination paved the way for a thriving career and allowed her to overcome adversity. As she told People, she's grateful for having a job that makes her happy, even if the pay isn't quite right.