The Stunning Transformation Of Dylan Dreyer

Dylan Dreyer isn’t just a familiar face for TV viewers. As an NBC News meteorologist, weather anchor of Weekend Today and Sunday Today with Willie Geist, and co-host of the Today show’s third hour, she’s also a welcome addition to many Americans’ morning routines.

And delivering weather reports on air, especially at Today, is a plush gig, as Dreyer told students at Rutgers University in 2013. “It doesn’t really seem like work,” she said at the time. “There is a new experience all the time … and every day [I] pass famous people in the hallways.”

But how much do you know about this New Jersey native? Did you know, for example, that she appeared on a popular HBO series? Or that she originally went to school to study a totally different field? From her years as a high school softball star to her first on-screen jobs to her Today show fame and beyond, this is the stunning transformation of Dylan Dreyer.

Dylan Dreyer grew up in New Jersey in a house her dad built

Making her grand debut into the world in 1981, Dylan Dreyer was born and raised in Manalapan, N.J., just like her parents. And in 2019, she took Today viewers to the township, revisiting the site of her grandparents’ farm and touring her childhood house alongside her father, who constructed the house himself. “This is the most exciting part. This is the house I grew up in. I mean, my entire life, my entire childhood, everything, was at this house, the house my dad built,” Dreyer said in the segment. At the start of the tour, she exclaimed, “This is so fun! I wanna hug the trees! Like, I miss these trees!”

The house tour brought back all the memories for Dreyer. She recalled sitting on the roof as her father did chores, trying to get a good angle on the pool table in the basement, dangling from the ceiling above the stairs, and using the reflections on the photo frames near the staircase to catch a glimpse of the presents under the tree on Christmas morning.

Dylan Dreyer idolized this TV star when she was young (and got to meet him years later)

Long before she was a TV star herself, Dylan Dreyer had eyes for Jason Priestley. She told Today viewers in 2017 that the teen drama Beverly Hills, 90210 was “appointment television” for her every day after school when Fox aired reruns. “I was kind of obsessed,” she added, saying that she remembered thinking the show was scandalous.

During the same segment, she got the chance to interview Priestley about his time playing Brandon Walsh on the show. She told him that all of her friends thought she was Team Dylan — a fan of Luke Perry’s character, Dylan McKay — because of her name. She also had Priestley autograph her old VHS tapes, of course. 

“If I wasn’t home at 4 o’clock, I would tell my dad to set up the VCR: ‘The tape’s already in there, ready to go. Just hit record,'” she shared.

Dylan Dreyer played softball in high school

As a member of the Class of 1999 at Manalapan High School in New Jersey, Dylan Dreyer’s “true passion” was varsity girls’ softball, as she revealed in a 2017 Today show segment when she revisited the school (and, to her chagrin, met high school seniors who were born the year she graduated).

During the nostalgic visit, she reconnected with her old softball coach, who owned up to throwing a bat in frustration amid young Dreyer’s “batting slump” but had nothing but praise for the meteorologist. “This young lady was the toughest, the fastest, quality person that we had here at Manalapan for a long time,” the coach said.

The sport runs in the family, too: Dreyer’s brother Mike, an Air Force veteran who lost his right lower leg in a construction mishap, plays softball with the Wounded Warrior Softball Team, according to a bio published in The Star Democrat.

Dylan Dreyer made her small screen debut on Sex and the City

Dylan Dreyer got her first-ever job at the ice cream shop Jake’s Cree-Mee Freeze in her hometown of Manalapan, N.J., and the job even got Dreyer her first onscreen appearance, as she recalled on Today in 2019. In the Season 5 finale of the HBO series Sex and the City — during which Carrie Bradshaw invites love interest Jack Berger to a party in the Hamptons — you can see a young Dreyer at work in the shop just behind actress Sarah Jessica Parker’s shoulder.

In a 2018 Today video, Dreyer explained that the Sex and the City location scouts chose Jake’s Cree-Mee Freeze as a “Long Island-y” ice cream shop, even though Manalapan is on the opposite side of Manhattan as Long Island. And Dreyer also called attention to what might have been a health code violation for Jake’s: “If you look closely at the video, I wipe my nose!”

Dylan Dreyer chose Rutgers University for its engineering program

After graduating from Manalapan High School, Dylan Dreyer stayed in New Jersey for college, attending Rutgers University with an eye toward an engineering degree. In a 2017 NBC News video, she explained that she didn’t know what to expect in college. She only knew that she was going “to experience everything for the first time.” Unpopularity, unfortunately, might have been one of those new experiences: Dreyer said that she called herself “Chillin’ Dylan” when asked for a nickname in her freshman dorm… and “didn’t make friends after that.” Poor Dylan!

After Dreyer realized that engineering wasn’t her passion, she switched to meteorology, a major that capitalized on her science and math training up to that point. And she served as weather anchor for the Rutger’s TV network and radio station before she graduated cum laude from the school in 2003, according to her NBC News bio. “I realized that there were times where I needed to put aside any social life and really study and work hard,” she said in the video, reflecting on those college years. However, she noted, “I also learned, though, that having a life outside of work is just as important.”

Dylan Dreyer worked as a meteorologist all around the Northeast

As her onscreen career got going, Dylan Dreyer worked as the weekend meteorologist at WICU-TV in Erie, Pa., from 2003 to 2005, according to her NBC News bio. “It was an amazing experience,” she told Rutgers students in 2013, when she returned to her alma mater. “The station’s news director and staff were great. I was getting paid (the princely sum of $16,000 a year); I was on TV; and I was on my own.”

From 2005 to 2007, she served as weekend meteorologist at WJAR-TV in Providence, R.I. And from 2007 until her Today job started in 2012, she was the weekday morning meteorologist on Today in New England at WHDH-TV in Boston, Mass. She even won the title of Boston’s Best Meteorologist from Improper Bostonian magazine in 2008, and she has also earned the American Meteorological Society’s Seal of Approval award.

Along the way, however, Dreyer had to endure constant criticism from viewers — on everything from the timbre of her voice to the length of her hair, to the number of rings she wears. “This is where a thick skin comes in handy,” she said during her Rutgers talk.

Dylan Dreyer joined Weekend Today in 2012

Dylan Dreyer hit the big time in 2012 when she joined NBC’s Weekend Today. “My first day on the Today show was September 14,” she told Rutgers students the following year. “There I was on national television, sitting next to [anchor] Lester Holt, a broadcast icon. I was sweating, nervous, but it was just like all the other times — you just work on making the next show better than the current one.”

That first day in Rockefeller Center came just weeks before her wedding — and just a month before Hurricane Sandy hit New York and her native New Jersey. During that storm, she worked 12-hour shifts in the newsroom day after day. “You have to do forecasting practically around the clock before the storm, then you have to talk non-stop during the storm, and you still can’t stop after the storm,” she explained during her talk.

Since joining Today, Dreyer has covered the polar vortex of 2014, Boston’s record snowfall in 2015, and Hurricane Harvey in 2017, and she was on hand for NBC’s coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, as noted by her NBC News bio.

Dylan Dreyer married husband Brian Fichera in 2012

In July 2011, Dylan Dreyer got engaged to Brian Fichera, a studio technician who worked beside her at station WHDH at the time, as The Boston Globe reported. According to the couple’s wedding website, he started working at the station a year after she did. “I used to think his name was Tom, so our first jokes involved calling each other different names,” Dreyer wrote.

Fichera popped the question on the front porch of his parents’ house in Easton, Mass., with her family and friends hiding in the backyard, excited to congratulate the couple. “When I saw there were roses and two glasses of champagne, I knew,” Dreyer told the Globe, reflecting on the romantic surprise.

Dreyer married Fichera in October 2012, according to the WHDH website. “His personality is so laid-back and pleasant, always making people laugh and smile, and the kind of person everyone wants to be around,” she said of her groom on their wedding website. “He’s the reason for my smile [every day]!”

Dylan Dreyer had a car accident on the job in 2013

In February 2013, Dylan Dreyer was on the way from New York City to Hartford, Conn., to cover a snowstorm when the car she was riding in lost traction in the hazardous driving conditions. “Typical weather-related accident: We spun around, we got hit, I smashed my head against the window,” she told her Today colleagues by phone. The anchors were quick to clarify that Dreyer wasn’t driving at the time, as she’d mentioned tweeting while out on the road.

After the accident, Dreyer went to the ER, where doctors told her she had gotten her first-ever concussion. “They’re not fun!” she said. She even showed off her “goose egg” head bump on Twitter. 

Worse yet, Dreyer couldn’t provide coverage of the blizzard in her impaired state. With her concussion, even looking at her computer screen made her feel dizzy. “It was heartbreaking not to be a part of the storm,” she said on air. “I hated it.”

Dylan Dreyer welcomed her first child in 2016

Dylan Dreyer and husband Brian Fichera, who had become a cameraman for NBC Nightly News, became first-time parents in December 2016. Their son, Calvin Bradley Fichera, tipped the scales at just over 8 pounds, Today reported.

Dreyer had announced that she was expecting on Today six months earlier. In a blog post on the morning show’s website, she told viewers that she “[didn’t] know a thing” about motherhood. Apparently, she and her husband had once sworn off the prospect of becoming parents! But Dreyer described how the sonogram image of her incoming bundle of joy filled her with the maternal love her friends had told her about but couldn’t properly articulate. “When I saw this little guy and watched him dance around and touch his hand to his face, I fell in love instantly,” she wrote. “A love I, too, can’t put into words.”

Dreyer also told readers that she was going to solicit motherhood advice from Today colleague Savannah Guthrie, who was pregnant with her second child at the time, and she quipped that her December due date wasn’t a ploy to get out of winter storm coverage!

Dylan Dreyer had a harrowing experience during Hurricane Irma

Dylan Dreyer was on the ground in Florida in September 2017 as Hurricane Irma made landfall there after ravaging the Caribbean. And after she returned to the Today studio in New York, Dreyer told viewers about the experience, saying that storm-chasing is “out of [her] comfort zone.”

And in terms of storms, Irma was “as impressive as it gets,” she said. “Going into, at the time, a Category 5 hurricane, even if it weakened to a Category 4, I really didn’t know what to expect with 150 mile-per-hour winds.” Even though she had a capable crew at her side and they had found shelter at a hotel, she was scared — and even thought about putting the mattress against the window. She said as much to husband Brian Fichera. “I’m scared. I’ve got a lot at home,” she texted Fichera.

He texted back to reassure her, saying that she is “smart” and “athletic” and that he “believed [in her] 100 percent.” He added, “And if you can give birth and raise a child, you can do anything.” Clearly, Dreyer has the support she needs at home to push through tough times!

Dylan Dreyer bravely shared her infertility struggles

In April 2019, Dylan Dreyer opened up on Today about her struggles to give son Calvin a younger sibling, telling viewers that she had a miscarriage as a result of secondary infertility. An OB/GYN found out that Dreyer had a very low egg count, so she referred the meteorologist to a fertility specialist, who discovered that Dreyer’s uterus was “two-thirds scarred shut” as a result of her previous C-section. The doctor cleared the scar tissue in a surgery, and Dreyer became pregnant soon after.

Five weeks after her positive pregnancy test, however, Dreyer started bleeding, and she told husband Brian Fichera that she thought she lost the baby. Fichera assured her that she “didn’t lose the baby” — her body was just “doing what it [needed] to do.” Dreyer’s doctor said the bleeding was just “a fluke,” but it didn’t stop. Sadly, a few days later, the doctor informed Dreyer about the miscarriage.

On air, Dreyer told viewers that she wanted to share her story to help “shed the stigma” around fertility issues. “I just want people to know that, yeah, I’m kind of going through it with you,” she said. “I don’t know where this ends.”

Dylan Dreyer welcomed her second child in 2020

In January 2020, Dylan Dreyer finally got her wish for a second child when she welcomed her and husband Brian Fichera’s son Oliver George Fichera into the world. Coincidentally, the little guy was born during an airing of the third hour of the Today show. “I feel good,” Dreyer told her co-hosts as she called into the show the following day. “I just feel so happy and so blessed. I just got all my drugs, so I’m doing just fine!”

Dreyer also said that Oliver became a frontrunner for the baby’s name after she noticed a lot of signs — like when picked up a suit for her husband from the London store Oliver Brown during her coverage of the Royal Ascot horse race. And their first son, Calvin, latched on to that selection for his younger brother, even if he pronounced it “Ov-i-ler.”

Baby No. 2 made the family feel complete, Dreyer told her colleagues. “It was a long time coming,” she added, referencing her fertility journey. “This year started off a lot differently than the way it ended.”

Dylan Dreyer talked about the "dysphoria" of breastfeeding and the "emotional toll" of stopping

Dylan Dreyer bared her soul in January 2021, opening up about her experience with breastfeeding. In an Instagram post, she shared that pumping breastmilk for second son Oliver gave her dysphoria, which she described not as depression but as a “sickening” sensation of nausea mixed with “a momentary fleeting feeling of hatred toward everyone and everything in the moment.”

Even after a year of that unpleasantness, though, Dreyer said she found it “impossible” to stop breastfeeding and would tell herself that she’d do one last pump or nursing session. And in her post, she wondered if she was just experiencing hormones or if she was feeling sad that she was leaving that chapter of motherhood behind. “No one talks about the emotional toll stopping breastfeeding takes on a mom,” she added. “No one, not a single person, not a single doctor, not even myself having gone through this with [first son] Calvin, told me what a mind f*** this would be.”

Dreyer also gave a shout-out to other breastfeeding parents who are going through the same thing, saying that her solidarity might not make them feel better but that “misery loves company.”

Dylan Dreyer started hosting Earth Odyssey

From 2016 to 2017, Dylan Dreyer hosted Journey with Dylan Dreyer, a morning NBC docuseries in which she covered topics ranging from ancient Egyptian rulers to Kilimanjaro mountain climbers to Amazon forest-dwellers.

That show begat another NBC Saturday morning show, Earth Odyssey with Dylan Dreyer, the third season of which debuted in 2021. As described by NBC, the show “gives audiences a captivating look at the symbiosis between all living things, in the most larger-than-life places on Earth.”

Dreyer raved about that hosting gig in a 2019 interview as she filmed an intro for the show alongside scene-stealing, wardrobe-nibbling penguins at a Tennessee aquarium. “I am such a science geek,” she said. She added, “So often I’m in a studio. It’s actually good to go out and film the intros and outros in the aquariums. My only thing that I am sad about is that I never have time to bring Calvin, my 2-year-old, who would absolutely love every single inch of these aquariums.”

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