A Yeungling in the pew | The Triangle

A Yeungling in the pew

A sit-down with Roy Aguilar

Photograph by Ben Ahrens for The Triangle

Listen to the first episode of “Last Call” online!

Two years ago, I sat in a dark classroom in the basement of University Crossings, about to watch my very first episode of DNews, Drexel University’s television newsmagazine. The executive producer at that time, Michelle McHugh, told us to pay close attention to the type of stories being broadcast to garner inspiration for our pieces.

However, the moment DNews’ anchor appeared on screen, I could only focus on him. The way he talked and presented each story showed such natural charisma and kindness that I wanted to learn more about him.

And, luckily, six months later, I got the opportunity when we teamed up as co-anchors. That tenure and subsequent friendship made me realize something: all that I saw on the camera was neither persona nor fabrication. Roy Aguilar was and is still the real deal as a reporter and person.

Funny, humble, intelligent and always ready to tell a story in the least likely of places, he is often the guy I look to when working on a project. If Roy was doing the piece, what would he do? How would that inform my own choice?

However, despite everything I knew about him (such as his love of food, the media, family and Philadelphia) there was still much I didn’t know. Things I wanted to learn about him that I felt would fundamentally make me understand him much better. And, after the interview, I really thought that I had reached that understanding.

In fact, even though this episode has been cut to a length of about 45 minutes, the full interview was 90 minutes of informative and entertaining conversation from the first second to the last.

Numerous stories stood out, including his social media misleading about a tattoo and starting Brazilian jiu-jitsu due to his father’s brutal honesty. These stories did not make it into the episode.

However, stories such as his start in journalism and interactions with the culinary world and food culture provided a level of humorous candor that only Roy is capable of.

This honesty and light-heartedness are what gives his work a unique stamp that no one can replicate. With each answer, he gave a more profound understanding, one that I miss greatly since Roy’s departure for Beijing.

His constant ability to challenge himself and learn more, not to mention his ambition, made him the perfect first guest for “Last Call” in my mind. He didn’t disappoint.

Getting to know him better was the first step on this road of understanding that I travelled with the rest of my guests, and, quite frankly, it was a beginning for the ages.