Solana Beach producer sails to success with luxury boating show
By Rob LeDonne
Up until recently, Solana Beach resident Anjie Balla had limited knowledge of boating, and was unsure of what to pursue after college.
“After graduating, I decided I to take the summer off but I got bored. I started applying to jobs, and one of them was for the One America News Network,” she said. That gig as a production assistant for the San Diego-based network led to another gig on AWE TV (formerly known as
WealthTV), and from there Anjie found herself the host and producer of “Wealth on the Water,” a show that is best described as a sort of “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” for boating.
“We tour amazing, amazing yachts. I’m very, very blessed... I took sailing lessons at Mission Bay when I was little, but nothing this extravagant,” says Balla of her whirlwind year. “Initially producing was my goal, so I think I need another one.”
Balla reached her goal the way many successful young people do: through a combination of luck and timing. As a student attending Santa Fe Christian School, Balla, who grew up in Del Mar, had a typical life in North County and, at the time, couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. That is, until her father suggested Texas Christian University.
“They have a really good broadcast journalism program, but I only applied because my dad wanted me to. I wound up visiting on a whim a week before the deadline to apply, and ended up falling in love,” Balla said.
Texas Christian, which is located in Fort Worth, has a small student body but an extensive history. Founded in 1873, some buildings on campus are more than 100 years old and a nationally-known school for communication, recently named for CBS newsman Bob Scheiffer, is one of the school’s claims to fame.
“I was a broadcast journalism major entering college,” explained Balla. “However, on one of my first days as a freshman, my advisor put me in the wrong class.”
That wrong class, a senior-level television class, sparked an interest in production which prompted Balla to change her major.
“I got to learn more about the production aspects of film and television through that,” she says of the twist of fate. “That helped place exactly what I wanted to do in my brain.”
After four years in Texas, Balla returned to North County this past summer and soon after helped launch her first show.
“Robert Herring, the CEO of Herring Broadcasting, asked me one day if I wanted to cover the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show for AWE,” Balla said. “I said yes, and a week later I was thrown into it... the best way to learn is by doing. This past November, I went to the boat show with a camera man, and that turned into ‘Wealth on the Water.’”
As for the future, Balla is going to continue to focus on “Wealth on the Water,” as well as a similar series she’s helping launch called “Behind the Gates,” which chronicles multi-million dollar homes. Until then, she’ll still be searching for another goal. “My mom likes to say to me that someday I’ll own my own network. You never know...”
“Wealth on the Water,” along with the rest of AWE’s lineup, can be found on AT&T U-Verse and Verizon Fios, as well as on Roku. Full channel listings can be found at https://www.awetv.com/.