Anniina Valtonen vividly remembers the moment when she decided to become a meteorologist. We lived in the late 1990s and at that time primary school age Anniina was on her way to Tenerife with her parents. As the plane soared over Germany, the captain called to look out the window. There would be thunderclouds that would not be dangerous to passengers, but would look great. Anniina heeded the advice.
- I remember looking out the window and the sky shone wonderfully in different colors. It looked insanely great. I then asked my father how miraculously the captain knew this. My father then told me that the captain got that information from the meteorologist, Valtonen recalls.
- That's when I first thought I wanted to be a meteorologist too. As a teenager, that dream then remained until my father once asked, “Do you remember the job of the Meteorologist you liked when you were younger then? At that moment, I marched on the speeches of the study supervisor and asked where it could be studied.
Photo: Antti Hämäläinen
Now, almost 20 years later, Anniina Valtonen, 30, predicts the weather for almost a million television viewers every week. However, few would believe that Valtonen, who enchanted numerous Finns with his lively nature through the screen, tried his best to be as invisible as possible. When he was younger, he didn’t make a fuss about himself or dream of a career on television. Vice versa.
- I remember trying to be a wall flower all my life. We had quite a lot of bullying at school, so maybe that’s why I wanted to be the one no one sees. Indeed, I was always left out. I was only necessary when someone had failed to do their homework, Valtonen says.
Now the situation is quite different. Valtonen, who worked as a meteorologist on Broadcasting for a year and was still known as Anniina Törmä at the time, began his career in television when he was only in his twenties. Valtonen was only a second-year meteorological student when he decided to apply for summer jobs at the Finnish Meteorological Institute.
This is what Anniina Valtonen looked like in 2013.
Photo: Terhi Ylimäinen
Half a year later, he was lured to test shots for Nelonen, who needed meteorologists on television. Thus, at the age of 22, Valtonen became both a television face known to numerous Finns and a meteorologist on duty at the Finnish Meteorological Institute.
- At least then it was relatively easy to get a job, because we meteorologists were trained very little and at the same time the need was really great. I was also young then, and I couldn’t say anything. When I did two jobs and studied, I had really long work tubes and the working day always continued at home with my studies, Valtonen says.
- It was a tough time. I don't like the saying that you can do it when you are young or that you can do it when you are young. When you think that a person in his twenties is put in such a centrifuge and wanders through four collective bargaining, even a young person cannot cope with everything. On the other hand, it was all new and the charm of novelty gave the work terribly energy.
Photo: Antti Hämäläinen
When starting her career in television, Valtonen had to deal with many difficult issues for a young woman. Perhaps the most difficult of these was related to his appearance. Attempts were made to fatten the slender Valto with clothes and age with make-up, as well as to fit in a certain mold predetermined by experts. It was reflected in uncertainty, which was also passed on to viewers at the time.
- Meteorologists are experts. Many people still have the perception that an expert is a formal and rigid person wearing a jacket, often a middle-aged man or an older woman. I wasn't really any of these. I was dressed in big jackets as well as knitwear and my hair was always on a tight braid, which I hated above all else. I didn't get to influence myself.
- It was awful. I didn’t feel any comfortable because black was trying to do something I wasn’t. It was definitely visible to the viewers. Then Jaana Saarinen came to give us performance training. I will be forever grateful to him that he gave me permission to be myself and just the way I am.
When Anniina Valtonen left television at Nelonen in 2015, she spent several years before joining Yleisradio. Today, however, Valtonen says he enjoys performing in front of the camera. He still gets feedback on his appearance, but it has become much easier to deal with. When Valtonen steps in front of the camera today to predict the weather, uncertainty is far away.
- I know I looked insecure in the early days of my career, because I was really insecure. Today, I try to think that camera is my friend. Yes, before the broadcasts, I always get a little nervous and itchy at the bottom of my stomach, but it only says that my work is important to me, Valtonen explains.
Photo: Antti Hämäläinen
As ten years ago, Valtonen is still a television face familiar to millions of Finns and a meteorologist at the Finnish Meteorological Institute. Unlike many other meteorologists, Valtonen does not dream of an international career or writing a dissertation. He is happy with his life just like that.
- I focus on telling people about the weather. Whether you need to put on a sweater in the morning or whether you need to protect the party from the rain. It’s heartfelt when, in March, the grooms call and ask how the bride’s hairstyle could be protected at a summer wedding, Valtonen laughs.
- I have a dream my profession and I hope that it will also be displayed. I really like what I do. I hope that just about every person would end up in a profession they enjoy. Then life will be much more meaningful.