WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - Sunni and the City may be best known as the voice of WPGC radio, but it’s her inspirational story of how she skyrocketed to DC radio stardom that FOX 5 is highlighting during Women’s History Month.
Sunni and the City was born Vildana Puric and in a small town called Donji Purici in Bosnia. She recalls living a wonderful and peaceful life with her family before the war broke out.
“My life in Bosnia before the war was beautiful. I just have these rich memories of my childhood. We lived in a small village in between these hills,” Sunni described. “Our lives completely changed once the war started. Just imagine one day you are waking up and you are hearing bombs falling and snipers shooting and they are like, ‘you have to leave.’ And you just grab whatever you can and you just run.”
Sunni was just 8 years old when she and her family gathered all they could carry and fled Bosnia. Sunni and her family would spend the next few years living from refugee camp to refugee camp. At one point Sunni, her brother and sister, and parents all lived in an attic with no running water or electricity.
Finally, Sunni and her family were able to come to America. Sunni said she learned English in very quickly because knowing the language meant she was an “American kid.”
“When I came to the United States they put me in the 7th grade. All the kids that were regular kids were upstairs and all the ESL classes were downstairs,” Sunni recalled. “You wanted to get to the top floor because that meant you were an American kid.”
Sunni has gone from refugee to radio star, making her mark on the DC urban radio market as co-host on the Joe Clair Morning Show.
“I think the reason why I’m so connected to the communities I live in is because of the way I grew up and the things that I've seen,” Sunni said. “I remember what it was like to not have things.”
Sunni said her American dream was bigger than her parents’ fears for her. She’s making history as a woman in entertainment, giving back to her community and encouraging young girls to follow their dreams.
“If you would've told me when I was 12 when I was living in a refugee camp that 10 years from that time that I was already going to be a radio host in America I would've been like, ‘you're crazy, how do we even get to America?’” Sunni said. “The impact I would like to leave on everyone, especially young girls, is that you have to follow your dreams and that was the biggest thing that I had to overcome outside the war was to live for me.”