Isha Sesay

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Isha Sesay
Born Isha Isatu Sesay
(1976-01-06) 6 January 1976 (age 41)
Bordeaux, France
Education Trinity College, Cambridge
Occupation Broadcast journalist
Years active 1998–present
Spouse(s) Leif Coorlim (m. 2013)
Relatives Kadi Sesay (mother)

Isha Isatu Sesay (/ˌʃə səˈs/; born 6 January 1976) is a British journalist of Sierra Leonean descent. Since 2005 she has worked as an anchor and correspondent for CNN International. Originally based at CNN's world headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, and now based in Los Angeles, California, in the United States, she hosts the news programs CNN Newsroom Live from Los Angeles. In addition, she was the presenter of the 360 Bulletin on Anderson Cooper 360°. In 2012 Sesay also joined HLN as a co-anchor for Evening Express.


Born in France in 1976 to Temne parents from Sierra Leone, Sesay returned with them at the age of seven to their homeland. Reared in their Muslim faith, she lived in Sierra Leone for most of her childhood. She is one of three children, with an older sister and a younger brother. Her mother is Dr Kadi Sesay, a former lecturer at Fourah Bay College. Dr. Sesay in 1992 was appointed as an advisor to the government of Valentine Strasser. Her father worked as a legal advisor to the SLPMB (Sierra Leone Produce Marketing Board); he died in 1988.

Sesay studied at the private Fourah Bay College School in Freetown. At the age of 16, in 1992 she returned to the UK for further study and college. After completing her A-levels, she was accepted into Trinity College, Cambridge, where she read English.[1] She decided to become a television journalist, having previously aspired to become an actress. During her final year, she began writing to media groups seeking work.


Nima Elbagir and Isha Sesay accept the Peabody Award, May 2015

After graduating, Sesay began her television career as a researcher for the BBC talk show Kilroy, initially as an unpaid intern. She later was hired 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 announcer 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 an anchor 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]

In November 2005, Sesay became a news anchor and correspondent at CNN International, based at the network's global headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, in the United States. 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, Sesay became the host of the first edition of the weekday news program International Desk. In 2011, she swapped roles with Michael Holmes, and was assigned as the presenter of BackStory.

On 16 April 2012, BackStory was changed to a weekend-only show. Sesay was assigned as 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 17 January 2011. The following year, she also took up the role of presenter on Evening Express on HLN.[5] She is currently based in Los Angeles, California, United States.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Sesay was engaged on 5 January 2013, to Leif Coorlim, a fellow CNN staffer. They announced it to family and friends.[7] They married in August 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. Archived April 25, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ a b c "Anchors & Reporters - Isha Sesay", retrieved 2 August 2008.
  4. ^ "Presenter, Sky Sports - Isha Sesay" Archived 18 May 2007.
  5. ^ "Evening Express", Hollywood Reporter.
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ Ernest Dela Aglanu, "CNN’s Isha Sesay engaged, set to marry soon", 'My Joy Online', 10 January 2013, accessed 30 April 2013.