Broadcast Journalist Marysol Castro and Dr. Joshua Lander’s Westport Love Story and Recent Engagement Celebrates Community, Latino Culture and a Deep Adoration For Family Time Spent Together.
interview by samantha yanks // photography by klye norton // styling by alexandra willinger cohen
Samantha Yanks: Tell us a bit about how the two of you met.
Joshua Lander: We met during the COVID lockdown in May 2020. An ironic story of two Gen-Xers meeting via social media. Restaurateur Bill Taibe commented on one of Marysol’s Instagram posts. It was a casual referral to the Yankees-Mets rivalry, and it was sort of funny, so I gave it a simple laughing emoji. I guess she started following me at that point. One day, I received a random DM that literally read, “Who are you?” From that point, it was an immediate connection. We exchanged some banter and then talked on the phone the next day for two hours; very old-school! She cooked me dinner two days later and we have been inseparable ever since. Marysol has multiple talents including being a talented cook.
Marysol Castro: Three months into the COVID lockdown, I had resigned myself to dying a spinster at 46. The daily routine was: set up my home tv studio, do live television while my children were attempting to learn on their laptops, shut off the tv camera, home-school, go for a run, eat dinner with my sister and her family, drink two bottles of wine, watch the cousins make TikTok videos, go to sleep. Wash, rinse, repeat. On May 24, 2020, my friend Bill Taibe commented on an IG post about my working for the New York Mets. A laughing emoji proceeded Bill’s comment. I took a deep dive and when I could not figure out who this “Lander Sport + Health Sciences” guy was, I slid into his DM: “Who are you?” Josh followed up with “I’m the guy behind the guy.” A day later we spoke on the phone for two hours! The next day he sent me flowers, my favorite pink peonies, and I had I never told him they were my favorite flower. We have been inseparable ever since.
SY: How long have you lived in Westport and what makes it the perfect town for you both in this next chapter of your family?
JL: I have lived here for over 20 years, since 2002. Marysol has been here for about 15 years. Westport’s obvious strengths are its educational resources and family-oriented amenities. Its location and access to beaches, mountains, New York City the and Northeast corridor’s cities, airports, healthcare, and of course, great food make it ideal for us.
MC: I moved here in 2005 and thought it was temporary. After the boys were in elementary school, I accepted Westport and I would become bedfellows. My sister lived here, and I couldn’t imagine being in Westport without her. The schools are fantastic, the beach, Main Street, the restaurants! Eating in Westport has come a long way since 2005. The proximity to NYC is great. Riding Metro-North home and seeing the water out the right side of the train car when you get to Greenwich makes me smile.
SY: Talk to us about the importance of family, and what that looks like for the two of you?
JL: I do not really have family on my side. Marysol’s family is my family, and I love
her two boys, Liam and Gavin. With both parents working, sports, theater, music—like many local families, we have an active household.
MC: My sister has since moved to Long Island, and I miss her and her family so much. The boys’ dad lives in Westport with his partner and we have a great system and blended family. Josh and our pup Nico fit so beautifully into our family. We can’t remember a time they weren’t with us.
SY: How would you both describe yourselves in three words?
JL: Conscientious, reliable, blunt.
MC: Curious, resilient, empathetic.
SY: What do you both hope the kids learn from your professional experiences and passions?
JL: I think the boys see and appreciate our work ethic and diligence. I hope they see a career not as “work” per se, but as an opportunity to find their purpose in life to solve problems they are enthusiastic about.
MC: I’m designing a life that combines my passion for storytelling with my passion
for my culture. It’s my hope the boys see this and learn that what I do is not a job
but rather, a calling. I want the boys to question their sources, listen in order to understand the people around them and above all, be open to new opportunities.
SY: How are you and two aligned on health and fitness? What importance does it play in your lives?
JL: Well, I would say not just fitness, but our health in general, is very important to us. Since we met relatively late in our lives (I’m 50 and Marysol is 49), we have many experiences to share through our middle and older years. After I proposed, I said, “I want to squeeze a full 80 years of life into half that amount of time with you.” I want us to be vibrant, functional, capable, and productive for many decades. Our health is vital for us to attain our goals and enjoy life together.
MC: I second what Josh said! And, yes, he did tell me he wanted to squeeze
80 years into 50 with me. Fitness is not just working out to exhaustion (although we do get after it). One of my favorite things Josh will say is “rest your brain,” it makes perfect sense and it’s so important.
SY: This is the “New Year, New You” issue. Describe your fitness routines. Do you have any advice?
JL: I was an All-American boxer in college and still do some boxing workouts. I competed in triathlons for about five years but stopped racing after COVID. Currently, I cross train five to seven days a week: weight-training, running, biking and pick-up basketball. We enjoy a track workout and lifting together whenever we can. Marysol is deceptively strong, which always impresses me.
Advice: The No.1 most important fitness advice is to choose activities that are enjoyable. People will repeat actions that are rewarded so the choice of exercise should be a positive experience. Aesthetic goals aside, current guidelines for health benefits from exercise are quite realistic for most people. They are: 150 minutes per week of moderate aerobic exercise (brisk walking, running, biking, etc.) or 75 minutes per week of intense exercise. Two sessions of resistance training (20-30 minutes) are also recommended.
MC: My schedule, including my commute, is pretty brutal. I jump on the Peloton three- to five times a week at 4:45 a.m. It helps [with] wake-up and it centers me for the day. I love lifting heavy things and then putting them down, so I try to weight train at the Westport Y two to four days a week. Josh and I love playing tennis (I’m terrible) and running races and training at the Staples High School track. Josh is also coaching me to be a better basketball player. I love it so much, and though I’m not going to play point guard for the New York Liberty any time soon, I keep practicing like I am.
SY: Marysol, let’s discuss your brilliant, impressive and trailblazing career, and what it means to be a Latina and a strong role model/spokesperson/mouthpiece for your community.
MC: When I graduated Wesleyan, I almost went to work for JP Morgan. Instead, I taught high-school English to 9th and 12th graders. I also coached Girls Volleyball and yes, we won a State Championship. I’m that kind of coach. Broadcast journalism found me. There is no other way to put it. When I became one nearly 20 years ago, I just wanted to tell interesting and insightful stories that resonated with people. From News 12, to GMA to CBS, ESPN and PIX, I always had an eye on the Latino community. I grew up in The Bronx and saw my community being torn apart and also come together for the greater good. I’ve always felt a great responsibility to not only tell the stories of Latinos but also represent them on television. I’ve been a first and an only in nearly every newsroom and it’s my goal to change that.
SY: You have exciting projects on the horizon, can you share your goals with the Somos launch and the up-and-coming fashion designers.
MC: What they don’t tell you in TV news is that sometimes, being good is simply not enough. I came up in the business at a time when television was going through enormous paradigm shifts. The model changed, the way people watched (and still watch) television changed and cuts were inevitable. I was let go of legacy broadcast networks in part because deck chairs were being shuffled but also because I was a non-issue to decision makers. The people at the top didn’t understand the value of the Latino voice. As television changed, so did the eyeballs watching them. Latinos make up 18% of the population. Investing in us isn’t just philanthropy or something to do for Hispanic Heritage Month, financially it makes less sense to ignore us. Somos* is something I dreamed up in 2013.
I didn’t have the resources of business acumen to bring it to fruition back then. As Maya Angelou said, and Oprah repeated, “When you know better, you do better.” All this to say, broadcast-level content made by Latinas, for everyone, is coming in 2024.
SY: Sports are such a big part of your career story. Tell us about being the first Latina/female PA announcer and what that means to you personally?
MC: I come from a pretty sports-driven family and being an athlete is a big part of my identity. Being the first female PA announcer for the New York Mets and the first Latina PA announcer for Major League Baseball is an honor and something I do not take lightly. Baseball is so boring, and there are so many rules and it can be so slow but I love it like no other. It was never my goal to be the first in anything. It has always been my hope to live out my passion, open doors for other women and bring up their names in rooms where no one else is speaking for them.
SY: Josh talk to us about Lander Sport + Health Sciences and what you specifically focus on in your practice.
JL: I have been in private practice for 22 years with Lander Sport + Health Sciences. I provide very personalized physical health-care and rehabilitation. People ask me what my title is and what I do, which seems like a simple question but it is not always easy to explain. I have a few different degrees totaling 13 years of education. I am a chiropractor with a secondary board specialty in neurology and I am also an exercise scientist. The practice consists of about 60% neurological cases such as concussions, balance disorders, Parkinson’s, strokes and 40% orthopedic and athletic injuries. Treating, guiding, and consultingpatients to help solve their health problems is still very rewarding. My practice has always been 100% referral and I am eternally grateful for the trust and confidence that patients have shown through the years.
SY: You are always at the forefront of new studies, specialties and expertise what are you excited about that is on the horizon.
JL: Yes, I teach a neurology course at Sacred Heart University and have had the opportunity to complete some original research. My colleague, Dr. Matt Moran, and I recently completed a study investigating the relationship between gait and cognition in Parkinson’s. I am also the Section Editor for Neurologic Disease for the Journal of Clinical Exercise Physiology. The interest in the effects of exercise and movement on the brain is a burgeoning field of study; especially as it pertains to aging and longevity. The development of artificial intelligence, brain-computer interface devices and the monitoring of health markers is something I am cautiously excited about.
SY: You both play such an integral role in our community and curious minds want to know, can share anything about your upcoming wedding?
JL: Landersol thinks it will be at a location with either books, art, history—or all three.
MC: Don’t forget music and delicious food!
4 Things We Love About Westport
Favorite place to work out Josh: Cross-training at Staples High School Track. Marysol:
Favorite dish and cocktail Josh: Bill Taibe has been feeding me since his first restaurant, Grand, opened in the early 2000s, everything he has done has been superb from
Napa & Co to Kawa Ni. We love the Art Space Café in Norwalk. Marysol:
Casa Me. I start with a Paloma Rossa — it’s aces. That damn Insalata Verde is so simple but so good. A nice bowl of Mafaldine al Limon is also nice. And the Milanese di Pollo. If Josh has put me through the paces at the track, the Italian Sundae is my reward
Favorite family activity Josh: NOT apple-picking. Marysol: Apple-picking!
Favorite family-centric restaurant Josh: Don Memo. Marysol: Don Memo