an you imagine Judith Rakers in a woolly hat, with a sleeping mat and a fat-covered paper cup standing on the streets begging for money? No? Then perhaps like this: at the main train station scrummaging through garbage looking for bottles with a refundable deposit? Still no? But then surely with “Ricky”, “Rambo” and “Banane” under a bridge at night looking for shelter and being warned, “don’t zip your sleeping bag – some people come by at night and set fire to it”. Can you still not imagine that this is Judith Rakers?
OK, then we can try it like this: Judith Rakers is not only Germany’s favourite news anchor but also a brave and engaged journalist who doesn’t shy away from emotional or physical challenges. Apart from spending time living with the homeless, she has also covered Asylum-seekers, poverty in Hamburg and life in a women’s prison. She spent an entire week in the German prison “Vechta”.
That Judith Rakers is more than a cool and attractive blond, has been clear since her childhood. After the separation of her parents, she decides to go with her father at the tender age of 7. The physiotherapist is always busy and Judith is left to look after herself. With 11, she already knew the menu of the local takeaway by heart, as the favourite dinner was Asian food and when her father had time on the weekends – a healthy serving of fun was guaranteed. Her father taught her to drive when she was only 9 years old, with 11 she learnt how to shoot from her grandfather and with 12 she was allowed to buy her own horse. She had been saving for a long time and the rest of her childhood was spent on the pony farm.
Even though Judith Rakers is regularly reading the news on the Tagesschau and presents as the partner of Giovanni di Lorenzo at “3 nach 9” (where she has been honoured by being named the 2nd most-liked talk show host in Germany); her participation in languages was more-or-less self-willed. She started speaking relatively late, her parents already worried that she may be deaf. As soon as she did start to speak, however, she immediately began speaking in complex sentences. After her high-school graduation, she went on to study PR and Communications, work as a radio moderator and write in several daily and specialist newspapers.
Her TV career begins in 2004 with the moderation of the “Hamburg Journal” and with Jan Hofer, who wants her to join the Tagesschau. “I had to do speech-training for a full year and had to essentially learn to speak again because my voice was too high and I had a local accent. That was tough!” Things would not get easier for her first 6 years at the Tagesschau. The ‘graveyard shift’ – from 11:00 PM to 06:30 AM. Her first performance happened in August 2006 in the final broadcast of ARD’s “Tagesthemen” with Uli Wickert. In March 2008, Judith Rakers for the first time presents the prime-time Tagesschau and has been since then the undisputed viewers favourite.
Judith Rakers could make herself comfortable hosting the Tagesschau, a talk show and her own entertainment format “Pleiten, Pech und Pannen” (in English: Bankruptcies, misfortune and mishaps) as well as several events. However the ambitious TV personality Judith Rakers can’t and doesn’t want to leave it at that. “I have to regularly come out of my comfort zone. Experiencing unfamiliar worlds and social crises is very important to me because it keeps me grounded and allows me to give back what I can”.
And then there is something else that is of vital importance to Judith Rakers: her horses! First of all, there is Carlsson, a gelding with a blonde maine who she found and adopted. When he had a torn ligament he couldn’t walk for 2 years. Judith Rakers didn’t put him down, as was recommended to her, but instead had them operate twice on her darling horse and even did the rehabilitation with Carlsson herself. All the hard work once again pays off as Carlsson regains his fitness. Then there is also Sazou, a mare who was also a problem-child as she had not been looked after properly by her previous owner. Finally: Arcor, an older horse that had been abandoned during its training and brought back to life, with love and care and is now being ridden by her husband.
If you ask Judith Rakers what the highlight of her professional career is, she doesn’t need to think for more than a moment: the hosting of the Eurovision Song Contest in 2011 in front of 120 Million viewers and 60,000 guests in Düsseldorf. She moderated along with Anke Engelke and Stefan Raab in three languages. The show was awarded Germany’s most prestigious TV prize, the “Fernsehpreis”, in the category of “Best Entertainment”.
Currently, Judith Rakers is planning a piece on unaccompanied asylum-seeking youths between 16 and 18. For this project she doesn’t need three languages, instead three of her other skills – bravery, a big heart and a lot of empathy.
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