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Single lady Nina Chantele on the many faces of family

Radio host NinChantele

Radio host Nina Chantele

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Updated: October 9, 2012 2:11PM

As if juggling three jobs isn’t hard enough, I frequently have to defend my personal life against well-meaning family, friends and sometimes strangers. Why? Because I am single with no children. As a woman and a Latina, I am faced with constant scrutiny of having to explain my personal life.

Early on, I made the decision to focus on career instead of family. It’s taken me a decade of long hours and personal sacrifices to earn the jobs I have today: Co-host of the 107.5 WGCI-FM morning show and host of my own midday show on 103.5 KISS-FM, as well as a weekly segment on ABC-7’s “Windy City Live.”

When I was 22, working as a medical billing assistant at Rush Hospital and taking night classes, a friend dared me to do a demo. (Even back then I had three jobs.) That led to my first gig in radio, and by 23, I had moved to Miami to work as an on-air personality. But then, as 30 approached, I began to question whether I had made the right choices.

Most of the women in my family started having kids in their mid-20s; by 30, a lot of them were done having children. I’ve never had that biological itch women are supposed to have — my life is too fast-paced for me to even think about kids — but I’ve also started becoming selfish with my time and money. I want to buy that fabulous pair of shoes and not worry about a budget. I want to be able to travel at a moment’s notice. I want to be able to stay in bed on Sunday morning and watch Lifetime.

And while everyone in my life is proud of my success, at any family gathering, my relatives ask, “When are you going to get married and settle down?” Of course I want to be able to come home after three jobs and snuggle with my husband. But stop asking me; if I met somebody, you would know about it. I’d be the first to tell you.

Life has taken me down a different path, and I have chosen to embrace it. I’ve been blessed with the power of the mic — so I use it to be an advocate for women and minorities. I like to think that I do have maternal instincts, but I use them in a different way: I take everybody under my wing.

Sometimes I feel like the Drew Barrymore character in the movie “Never Been Kissed.” (Wait ... wasn’t that set at the Sun-Times?) She plays a nerdy reporter who goes undercover at a high school and falls in love with a teacher. Then she pours her heart out in an article, which he reads, and the movie ends with the two of them locked in a Hollywood-style kiss.

I’m still hoping that will happen to me. I just want it to happen on my own terms — and on God’s timing.

Nina Chantele donated her fee for writing this piece to the Kleo Barrett Angel


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