Lester Holt Describes Trip to North Korea: 'You Don’t Know What’s Real There'
Lester Holt just returned from a historic trip to North Korea, and came straight to “Extra” at Universal Studios to tell Mario Lopez all about it.
Holt told Mario about his experience, “Well, you don't know what's real there. Like most people in most countries, they want to put their best foot forward, but in this case they really want you to see things that defy your expectations.”
He explained, “You have to ask permission before we can roll the cameras on anything. We all had our iPhones out. They saw us taking pictures of things they didn't want. We were asked to delete those photographs, sometimes for reasons that were not quite clear.”
He said he was most surprised by the fact that the people of North Korea didn't seem to pay attention to them. “It's like we were invisible.”
The “NBC Nightly News” host is traveling the globe as he gets ready to report on the State of the Union, Super Bowl and the Olympics. “We knew going into January this was going to be an incredible month for me.”
He is reporting on the news of the day every day, which includes the political climate in the US. “It's dynamic. It's exciting… we're just trying to hang on. It moves so quick. We used to talk about a 24-hour news cycle, now we are down to about a two-hour news cycle.”
Weighing in on the relationship between the White House and the press, he said, “You hear what the President says. Listen, it's no fun being bashed by our leader every day, but you have to shrug it off… we just have to move past that. We're professionals. This is what we do.”
Lester also shared how he feels about the changes at NBC with Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb anchoring the “Today Show” after Matt Lauer's departure. “I love that Hoda has joined Savannah. The first morning I saw them I was like, 'Yes, this works. This is great.' Can't think of two nicer people. I am so happy we have been able to move on with the two of them and they have had great success.”
Opening up about Matt Lauer's exit, Holt said his first reaction was, “I love where I work, I love the people I work with. To think that anyone that I work with has been harmed, or anyone I worked with may have brought harm, is sad.” As for whether he thinks Lauer will be back on TV, Holt said, “It's just hard to know in the current environment where he goes from here.”
The anchor also offered an opinion on who he would want to play him in a movie. “Will Smith… because I used to sport a mustache back in the day and I picture him in a mustache.”
When the 58-year-old isn't working, he's busy being a grandfather to his new grandson, the son of his eldest son Stefan. “Oh my goodness. It is the best... little Henry is about 5 months now. When you watch your son hold his son, there's nothing like it… it's true what they say about being a grandparent. You get to have all the fun, but then gotta go.”
Holt also spends his free time making music. “I'm in a band called The Rough Cuts. I've named it Rough Cuts because most of the members are editors at 'Dateline NBC'… I've discovered my inner rocker now.”