Casey Torres still can’t believe she’s actually living and working in Phoenix. “It’s like the stars aligned for me to be in Phoenix,” says the newest nightside reporter for AZFamily at 3TV and CBS 5. Just a few months ago, she was preparing to layer up for the deep freeze of her second Wisconsin winter while getting ready for her fiancé Patrick Hayes’ year-long deployment with the U.S. Army. “No one warned me about how long the winter is,” Torres says of Green Bay, where she worked for just over a year after stints in Roswell and Albuquerque. “The sunlight in Phoenix has made me very happy.” And the move to Arizona gave her a chance to spend time with Hayes, a former general assignment reporter for ABC-15, before he had to leave. “The universe knew I needed to be closer to home, and I’m grateful for that,” she says. Torres has had her eye on Phoenix – with its mountains and saguaros she adores – since her South Texas childhood. “It’s funny how things work out. This is a fresh start.”
You worked in Roswell for a while. So, are we alone?
I’m very much into sci-fi, so getting the chance to start my career in Roswell was… out of this world. It was fun seeing alien stuff everywhere. I was nerding out being out there. I covered the entire southeast of New Mexico. So, I would drive maybe two hours to a story by myself, shoot it, edit it and drive back. It was all on me, and I was just learning the ropes. I’m grateful that I started there.
What are your favorite stories to cover?
In Albuquerque, I reported on homelessness, and it opened my eyes. It’s something I’d love to continue [reporting on] here. And now, I’m learning more about what military service means for members of the military and their families, so I’d love to do more stories on their challenges and issues that need to be addressed. This will be the market where I find out who I am as a journalist and what I can do for my community. I want to find what that thing is, and I’m excited for it.
How do your family roots influence your passion for your work?
My parents are from Mexico, and I’m a first-generation American. I just feel like being able to do this is not an opportunity I would have had if my parents didn’t decide to move here. If there are other people who think they might not have a chance because of their background, just keep going for it. Try and work hard and you can make it happen. This dream of becoming a journalist started when I was a kid, and I’m grateful it came true. I wasn’t lucky. I worked hard and made sacrifices and I was determined. That’s what you really need to be successful. Be resilient. Don’t get down. This business is tough, and you have to pick yourself up and go at it.
Will Arizona be the backdrop for your upcoming wedding?
We’ve started planning the wedding, even while he’s deployed. We’re figuring it out over Slack. We’re thinking we’d love to have our wedding in Arizona, because it would be easier for our families. But we met in Albuquerque, so we’d like to go back to New Mexico where our love started. We’re also thinking we might do Ruidoso. It’s my favorite place. So, there’s serious competition between Arizona and New Mexico.
What do you look forward to experiencing here?
Hiking is a hobby of mine. I like being outdoors. It’s so good for my mental health and physical health. I’ve been to Arizona and Phoenix many times before – I’ve had the date shakes – but I haven’t gotten a chance to explore. Once I settle in, I’m going to be hiking as much as possible. I also want to check out the Superstition Mountains and the mining folklore. It’s very interesting. I just want to explore the entire state, if I can. I’ve fallen in love and want to see what else there is.