Isha Sesay

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Isha Sesay
Born Isha Isatu Sesay
(1976-01-06) January 6, 1976 (age 38)
London, England
Education Trinity College, Cambridge
Occupation Broadcast journalist
Years active 1998–present
Relatives Kadi Sesay (mother)

Isha Isatu Sesay (/ˌʃə səˈs/; born January 6, 1976) is a British journalist of Sierra Leonean descent, and an anchor for CNN International and HLN. Based at the network's world headquarters in Atlanta, she hosts the news programs CNN NewsCenter and BackStory. In addition to her work at CNN International, she is the permanent presenter of 360 Bulletin on Anderson Cooper 360°. She recently joined HLN as a co-anchor for Evening Express.


Sesay lived in Sierra Leone for most of her childhood. Sesay was born in the UK to Muslim parents from Sierra Leone in 1976 and is one of three children, having an older sister and a younger brother. Her mother is Dr Kadi Sesay, a former lecturer at Fourah Bay College, who entered Sierra Leonean politics in 1992 as an advisor to the government of Valentine Strasser. Her father, who worked as a legal advisor to the SLPMB (Sierra Leone Produce Marketing Board), died in 1988.

Sesay moved to Sierra Leone with her family when she was seven years old, where she studied at Fourah Bay College School in Freetown. At the age of 16 she returned to the UK, and after completing her A-levels was accepted into Trinity College, Cambridge, where she studied English.[1] It was there that she decided to become a television presenter, having previously aspired to become an actress, and during her final year began writing to media groups seeking work.


After graduating, Sesay began her television career as a researcher for the BBC talk show Kilroy, initially as an unpaid volunteer but later as a full-time paid employee. In 1998 she moved to Glasgow to work for BBC Scotland, and after a period behind the camera got her first job as a TV presenter on BBC Choice.[1] She went on to present a variety of programmes for the BBC, CNN, and TWI, before joining Sky in March 2002.[2]

At Sky, Sesay spent over three years as a presenter on Good Morning Sports Fans for Sky Sports News.[3] She considers the high points of this period to be meeting former boxer Michael Watson,[4] interviewing Ellen MacArthur, and travelling with members of the Arsenal football team following an exhibition match at Reebok Stadium in support of Nwankwo Kanu's heart foundation.[2] She later moved to ITN, where she anchored the ITV Morning News programme, and was also a newsreader on breakfast programme GMTV.[3]

She worked in the UK as a newsreader for Sky Sports News and ITN.

In November 2005, Sesay became a news anchor at CNN International, based at the network's global headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. She travelled to Nigeria in April 2007 to cover that country's presidential election, where she conducted one-on-one interviews with both outgoing president Olusegun Obasanjo, and the newly elected president Umaru Yar'Adua. Later that year, she was in South Africa to cover the launch of the Global Elders.[3]

In 2009, she became the host of the first edition of the weekday news program International Desk. In 2011, however, she swapped roles with Michael Holmes, becoming the presenter of BackStory.

On 16 April 2012, as CNN International refreshed its European primetime lineup, BackStory became a weekend-only show. Sesay became the anchor of a new show, CNN NewsCenter.

In addition to her duties as anchor on CNN International, Sesay contributes to Anderson Cooper 360° on CNN as presenter of the 360 Bulletin, a position she has held since January 17, 2011, and Evening Express on HLN, since June 4, 2012.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Sesay was reported to have gotten engaged on Saturday, January 5, 2013, in the presence of her family and friends. She confirmed this to Anderson Cooper live on air.[6]

Isha Sesay married a fellow CNN staffer, Leif Coorlim, in Atlanta, GA, on August 17, 2013.


  1. ^ a b Benjamin, Chantal "Isha Sesay: A star is torn" Mano Vision, 2000, retrieved 2 August 2008[dead link]
  2. ^ a b "Presenter Profiles - Isha Sesay" Sky Sports, 19 July 2004, retrieved 2 August 2008[dead link]
  3. ^ a b c "Anchors & Reporters - Isha Sesay", retrieved 2 August 2008.
  4. ^ "Presenter, Sky Sports - Isha Sesay" Archived 18 May 2007
  5. ^
  6. ^