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Like mother, like daughter … this duo is the brown girl magic of journalism

ESPN’s Toni Collins gets it from her mama, but she’s earned her own props in journalism

ESPN’s SportsCenter anchor Antonietta “Toni” Collins rocks. She is a second-generation journalist who earned her position through hard work and dedication. But it helps that she is the daughter of internationally known veteran television reporter María Antonieta Collins, who has been in the game for more than 40 years in Mexico and the United States.

The two are like peas in a pod. They mirror each other in so many ways, yet they are different in their styles and delivery. They even share the same name, with a different spelling.

María Collins told a room full of journalists during the Association for Women in Sports Media convention last week that she would rather be called “Mac.” Toni Collins giggled. “She says she is the original Mac, way before the makeup,” referring to the popular cosmetic line MAC.

The two were part of a convention panel moderated by Patricia Mays, senior director and coordinating producer for ESPN.

María Collins paved the way for female journalists across the board. She didn’t realize she would be opening doors for her own daughter. She has been a role model to many, including Toni Collins, who covers sports. Just like her mother, Toni Collins said nothing was handed to her. Just like her mother, she said she would not change anything about her journey.

María Collins is a journalist, TV host and best-selling author of seven books. She has won four Emmy Awards after first hitting the scene in 1974 as a general assignment reporter and news correspondent. She has covered Major League Baseball and is widely known as both a Mexican-American and international journalist.

Toni Collins is always in work mode. Spanish was her first language. She spends time studying all sports for her shows and practicing on-air transitions. What she’d like to work on most? Building her confidence.

Toni Collins began playing soccer at the age of 10 and was asked to join Mexico’s national team in the under-19 division. She is a graduate of Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio, with a bachelor’s degree in communications, with an emphasis in sports management.

Upon graduating in 2007, she became a production assistant at Univision in Miami, and has collaborated with producers of national programs such as Nuestra Belleza Latina, Premios Lo Nuestro, Premios Juventud and Primer Impacto. She also worked with the CBS Sports Radio affiliate in St. Petersburg, Florida, as a production assistant, then as a sports reporter covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Tampa Bay Lightning and the University of South Florida football team.

In 2009, Toni Collins accepted her first on-camera job as a news reporter for Univision’s Noticias 48/FOX2 news team at the dual-language station in McAllen, Texas, where she covered stories on immigration and drug trafficking on both sides of the Texas-Mexico border, also filling in as a sports and weather anchor.

María Collins watches her daughter’s SportsCenter segment daily. The two talk often and she does not hesitate to leave motherly comments on her daughter’s social media pages. She even picks out her daughter’s wardrobe.

“I’m the worst dresser,” Toni Collins said.

María Collins said there are times when she advises her daughter on what she can do better on air.

“She’s not going to sugarcoat anything I do,” Toni Collins said.

When María Collins found out her daughter wanted to go into journalism, she gave her the best professional advice she would give anyone: “Work.” María Collins said although she and her daughter are both talented, they are very different. “She’s opposite of what I am – very shy, soft and sweet,” María Collins said. “Nothing was handed to me, so you have to work hard for what you get,” she told her daughter.

Toni Collins said when she first graduated from college she had a degree and no one would hire her. She couldn’t find a job. But she continued to work hard and made the necessary improvements to be successful.

“That’s the way I saw my mother work,” Toni Collins said. “She came to this country to give me a better life.”

María Collins recalled the time she left Mexico to come to the United States. It was Sept. 7, 1974.

“I came here with absolutely nothing. I came to make my dreams come true,” she said. “I told God never take me off the passion.”

Before joining ESPN, Toni Collins was a sports anchor for Univision Deportes’ morning show Despierta America, as well as for the network’s magazine show Primer Impacto. She served the same role for UniMas Network’s Contacto Deportivo, its flagship sports highlights and analysis daily program.

Previously, Toni Collins was a sports anchor and reporter for Deportes 23, Univision’s Dallas affiliate, where she covered the NBA postseason and finals, Major League Baseball’s playoffs, the Dallas Cowboys, FC Dallas and the Dallas Stars. She also produced and anchored Univision 23’s local sports show Accion Deportiva Extra.

These two are a pure portrayal of like mother, like daughter.

Kelley Evans is a general editor at The Undefeated. She is a food passionista, helicopter mom and an unapologetic southerner who spends every night with the cast of The Young and the Restless by way of her couch.