KTLA 5 Morning News reporter Ellina Abovian’s L.A. story starts halfway across the globe.
She and her family fled Armenia as refugees when she was just a year old. The family stopped in Italy before making their way to Hollywood.
“That was a huge culture shock,” she explained. “We didn’t speak the language, we didn’t know anyone.”
About a month in the U.S., Ellina’s family moved to Glendale. The city’s Armenian population helped them feel more at home and made it much easier for them to transition to American life.
Decades later, the next generation of Ellina’s family are enjoying life in the Jewel City.
“Ever since I was little, this is what I aspired to, I wanted to have my kids grow up in Glendale,” she said. “I feel so fortunate they get to do that now.”
Ellina has two sons, Christopher and Nicky, and their favorite hotspots are The Americana and all the city’s parks.
While most of Los Angeles knows Ellina as a serious journalist, her sons just know her as mom.
Nicky has no clue what his mom does for work, but little Christopher has more of an idea- but he did get confused.
“He told his teacher once, ‘mommy works on the streets,'” Ellina laughed.
However, we think he has a better idea now.
“[She] talks with a microphone, and then you turn on the TV and you turn on (channel) five and that’s where mama works,” he explained to us.
Growing up, Ellina always loved the stage. When she was assigned a book report in fourth grade, she volunteered to perform a play instead of writing an essay.
“I knew I wanted to do something in front of the camera,” she confessed. “I also loved watching the news as a kid, that’s how my parents learned how to speak English. I fell in love with the anchors on-air, I thought they were so classy.”
Ellina was an avid KTLA viewer and has been watching the greats like Mark Kriski, Eric Spillman, Sam Rubin, Gayle Anderson, Lynette Romero and Hal Fishman.
“They’re not just names, they’re not just faces. They are the fabric of this city,” she explained. “I have my first memories watching TV, watching them.”
While she may have the dream job, Ellina feels most proud to represent her community.
“I know how special it is to do what we do and to represent the community to really have the community embrace us, just means everything,” she gushed.
KTLA’s My Very Own Story series airs Thursdays at 8 a.m., noon and 5 p.m.
Track the stories online at ktla.com/mystory.