College News talks to Adrienne Bailon, Tamar Braxton, Jeannie Mai, Loni Love and Tamera Mowry-Housley
Earlier this fall, I was lucky enough to sit down with five of the busiest women in the entertainment business. You may know them from their immense list of former projects including, books, movies, albums, and televisions shows; Loni Love, Jeannie Mai, Adrienne Bailon, Tamar Braxton, and Tamera Mowry-Housley are the hosts of the brand new and innovative daytime talk show, The Real. After a successful and extremely entertaining test run, The Real received the green light of approval for its first, full season. It was a beautiful morning at Fox News Studios in Chicago, and Love, Mai, Bailon, Braxton, and Mowry-Housely had just wrapped up a radio interview minutes before we sat down to chat about life, advice, staying busy, and The Real.
College News: First of all, congratulations on your new show! Do you ladies remember exactly where you were when you received the news?
Adrienne Bailon: I was in St. Martin on my 30th birthday vacation, I came to breakfast and my boyfriend told me to call my lawyer and he told me the news. I was just so excited like all my friends and family had champagne and mimosas. That’s the best birthday present I could ever ask for knowing that I could come back and do the show.
Tamar Braxton: We were so excited! We knew there was something missing in daytime television that was fun, energetic, and you know, all about women.
College News: Women empowerment is a major part of the show. What women inspire you?
Tamar Braxton: I think it would be my mother and I have a lot of sisters so I look up to them a lot to not make the same mistakes as they did and I kind of pattern myself after them because they are really strong.
Loni Love: I look at my mom too, and also the First Lady, Michelle Obama all the stuff that she’s been through to be strong, to want to help the country, and keep her family and her girls together; it’s something very admirable. Plus, I’ve interviewed her twice and it’s always a pleasure. She always tells me something that is revealing about her and what she’s going through as a woman and I think we take her for granted in this country.
Tamar Braxton: Definitely.
Tamera Mowry-Housley: I’m going to have to say my grandmother. She is 85 years old right now, she is a cancer survivor, and a lot of people didn’t think that she would push through because of her age and because of her surgery that she had to go through but she fought it and with flying colors. Not only that but my grandmother is a very religious woman, but also she is the most nonjudgmental human being I have ever met and sometimes you don’t really get that mix. I think she kind of passed that down to me. She’s all about unconditional love and I think that’s what we can use more of than anything now, unconditional love.
Adrienne Bailon: I would say the women that I surround myself with, these women. Being around each other and the fact that we really celebrate our differences, it allows me to want to be who I am. It inspires me to stay true to who I am. I think that when you hear someone like Loni tell me “Adrienne you just keep doing you. You get out there and you be yourself. You bring something different to the table.” It’s a reminder to not only be myself, but to also find that special thing that is in everybody else, you know, that everybody has their own unique magic and their own personal being that makes them special and that to me is really inspirational.
Jeannie Mai: I would say that the type of viewer that we pray for. The woman that is living her life proudly, going through her mistakes and sharing it with other women and laughing through it with other moms and working women. Going through the struggle but owning it the entire way. That’s the ideal woman to me because that’s hard to do everyday consistently and not let yourself get down.
College News: Who would be the ultimate guest on the show? Who are you dying to interview?
Adrienne Bailon: I want to pick George Clooney’s brain because being in a relationship myself of five years; you always want to ask, “What is the moment that makes a man say ‘I want to get married.’” So, I’d love to pick his brain–so interesting.
Loni Love: I say, any fine man that I can try to take his clothes off.
Loni Love: No! We play games, like we just had Tank, an R&B singer, and we played a game like you know, a strip game where you ask questions.
Adrienne Bailon: And he got the answer wrong.
Loni Love: That’s the type of show this is, it’s an entertainment show.
Adrienne Bailon: It’s a fun show!
College News: I saw Morris Chestnut was a guest on the show. That seemed like a fun interview! (Chestnut kissed Love on the lips during the interview).
Adrienne Bailon: Great interview for Loni!
Tamera Mowry-Housley: I think our show is a very positive show, you know, it’s about women empowerment so I think Demi Lovato would be great. She went through so much and now she is just killing it and she seems happy, so I would love to hear what made her change.
Tamar Braxton: For me it would be either JLO or Mariah Carey. I’m very interested to know how they both juggle parenthood and being a major superstar and how a day in the life for them works.
College News: So far, what are some memorable moments while working on The Real?
Tamera Moswry-Housley: I think it was our first show of the test run. We all were just very grateful to be there and I remember I just started crying because this is all somewhat of a dream job for all of us and the fact that we have fun doing it, you kind of want to pinch yourself every day. So I think it was when we first made that walk down the stairs on our stage to start the show and start dancing; it was a surreal moment that I haven’t forgotten.
Loni Love: Any moment that I can get a man to take his clothes off.
We all laugh.
Adrienne Bailon: Twitter dares are back and those are always pretty memorable and they’re pretty hilarious.
Jeannie Mai: We give away a luxury designer bag every month and one time we gave away Fundies [in the designer bag], which is one pair of underwear made for two people and Adrienne and I got into a pair together.
Adrienne Bailon: Our Twitter dares and those kinds of moments are always shared with Jeannie and I.
Jeannie Mai: They’re just funny. I would say my favorite moment hands-down so far, is having our guest, Tara, who is a fan of Tamar and her dream was to go shopping with Tamar and there was not a dry eye in the house to see this woman, who is terminally ill with brain cancer, experience a moment with us on the show and us to be there as a fly on the wall was huge. I hope we do more things like that.
Loni Love: A good moment too was when we had Laurence Fishbourne and we were prepped that he was serious and he was going to be serious like “Loni don’t flirt with him, don’t lick his face”. They scared me, but the girls were so pro on it and when he came out, he just totally melted. You see these women and you feel their energy and their spirit and it’s like he just started getting with us and it was a great interview it was a real good time and that’s how we want it with everybody. This show is about us, and we have to carry and lead our show and we want to do that by presenting to the world things that are important to us: motherhood, our careers, empowering young women and letting them know how to identify themselves. I know because I’m the oldest person [hosting the show] and there are things I have been through that I can discuss freely because when you become a certain age you don’t care what anybody thinks.
Adrienne Bailon: I love that about her.
Loni Love: You know, and you’re just like “Whatever! I’m still here!” So, that’s what you’re going to see as the show evolves.
College News: The Real is little different from what all of you have done in the past. It’s still relatively new, but have you noticed any growth or changes within yourselves from when you first started the test run?
Tamera Mowry-Housley: I think for me, I was a little bit quieter in the beginning.
Adrienne Bailon: Yes.
Tamera Mowry-Housley: It’s not their fault. I just sometimes have a completely different view. Maybe I just felt like “Oh my God, I don’t want to say this because it’s going to be so different and they’re going to judge me!” But, they don’t. So now I feel a lot more comfortable being myself and you know, just be you.
Loni Love: And she learned to take my jokes!
Tamera Mowry-Housley: And yes, I learned not to take Loni’s jokes personally because they’re not personal. We’re just having fun.
Loni Love: And I’ve learned how to stop and not try to dominate.
Tamar Braxton: What? Is that what you were doing?
Tamar Braxton: Are you sure?
Loni Love: No! But as a comedienne it’s comic timing. If you hear some silence, you’re like “Okay I gotta talk. I gotta fill this silence.” Now, I’ve learned and I’m just saying this is what I learned, is to hold back and let it breathe and somebody, eventually [will speak] and they surprise me every day with what they say.
Tamar Braxton: Do we really? I’m glad to hear that!
Everyone laughs again.
Loni Love: And I’m like “Oh! It’s just different. It’s a difference.” You gotta understand, as a standup I work by myself now y’all put me in a position where I gotta work with four other people? That’s hard so I’m proud of myself.
Tamera Mowry-Housley: We’re proud of you too, Loni.
Tamar Braxton: I think the biggest thing for me, I’ve always felt comfortable at the table with these girls but when we did the test run I just had a baby, what a month before? Two weeks? Three weeks? I don’t know.
Loni Love: It was three weeks!
Tamar Braxton: I was totally uncomfortable in my skin, you know, I was still trying to figure out how I was going to balance everything with my singing career, with this talk show that I wanted to do all of my life, with my reality shows. I think now I’m more comfortable in my skin and being my own woman and being proud of the woman that I am. Also, not afraid of saying, “If you really work hard towards your dreams and your goals, it can definitely happen for you” without sounding like you’re stuck up or your stuck on yourself, but to empower other people. That you too, can be in these shoes, if you work your ass off like I did.
Loni Love: And she works! I mean, two reality shows, a talk show, a baby?
Adrienne Bailon: And a husband!
Loni Love: And two albums! A Christmas one, which I wanted to try to play trumpet on but for some reason…
College News: I saw you play during the test run talent show! You were pretty good!
Loni Love: Thank you! Do you see that Tamar?! Did you hear that Tam?
We laugh some more.
College News: How about you, Jeannie?
Jeannie Mai: I came from a history of just hosting 7 seasons of How Do I Look?, which is a show all about the other woman. What she’s going through? How she’s in a style rut and how she gave up on herself. So, I had to learn how to speak up too, but keep it short and get in there!
Loni Love: And we’re still working on that.
Jeannie Mai: We’re still working on that. You know those games at summer camp where they make you fall back and trust somebody but you can’t see them? I’m learning to do that and just this past week I shared something pretty revealing with the girls. I didn’t want to talk about it and Loni had these big eyes that were so encouraging and everybody around the table was just like…
Loni Love: “Tell them!”
Jeannie Mai: So, then you do and I felt like “Okay, I’m falling back” and I felt caught and that was really special for me.
Loni Love: Adrienne?
Tamera Mowry-Housley: Adrienne?
Adrienne Bailon: I think I’m growing in the sense of not caring what anybody thinks and I think that happens with turning 30. I feel like this is who I am, take it or leave it.
Tamar Braxton: Wait ‘til you turn 35.
Adrienne Bailon: It gets better right?
Tamar Braxton: It’s beautiful.
Adrienne Bailon: They say it gets better and better. I think for me, what I love most is knowing who I am and really feeling confident in who I am and knowing that if anybody else has anything to say about it, those things don’t matter. What matters to me is what these four women think of me and what my family thinks of me and that that’s what matters.
College News: What would be some advice you have for college students?
Loni Love: Don’t be a slut in college!
Tamar Braxton: Oh! I was going to say the opposite!
Loni Love: You have your 30s for that.
Tamar Braxton: OH MY GOD!
College News: I heard on The Real you say have your fun in college, Loni!
Loni Love: I didn’t say slut, I didn’t say slut!
Tamar Braxton: I would go with the opposite. I think this is the time when you’re supposed to find yourself and find exactly what you like!
Loni Love: Don’t be a slut in college!
Tamar Braxton: This is your life, you nut! About being a woman in general, it’s about not making any apologies for who you are and just accepting yourself first. That way, other people will learn to accept who you are 100% because you don’t have to scale down and be someone else to fit in. Just be you and that should be good enough. I like to tell that on all of my shows and spread that message around because I was bullied in school and I tried to be everybody in school but myself and they didn’t like me anyway so it’s either their going to like you for you or they’re not going to like you for you.
Adrienne Bailon: I love that. I love the saying “Be yourself, everyone else is taken”, I like that. I like it because I feel like my mom always used to tell me that when I used to go for auditions. I would always be like, “Oh my God!” If I was sitting in the room waiting to go in and read lines I would see all the other girls and I would be like “Oh my God! They’re so tall!” I’m only 4’11 and I would think “They’re so thin!” One day, my mom sat me down and was like, “Adrienne, there’s always going to be someone that’s smarter, there’s always going to be someone that’s more qualified, there’s always going to be somebody that’s prettier, taller, fancier, whatever it is. But no one is you and that’s what makes you great for the job and everything that you do, is what you bring to the table.” Whatever it is, that makes you special, is you just being you. No one will ever be the you that you are and I think that that also helps women to have confidence in any job that they go for. There’s always going to be somebody that’s more qualified but what if that person hiring just sees something special…
Tamera Mowry-Housley: In you.
Adrienne Bailon: Yeah, in you. I think that always helped me find the confidence to go for my dreams.
Tamera Mowry-Housley: I would have to say there are two things I wish somebody would have told me while I was in college. One, is it’s okay to balance your life out. Don’t just do so much, so much, so much, so much studying and don’t do so much, so much…
Adrienne Bailon: Partying.
Tamera Mowry-Housley: So much partying. What people are going to look at, when you get out of college is a well-rounded human being. They want someone who’s going to be smart and do their homework, get good grades, but also someone who learned something about themselves, like are they sociable? How do they work in a group setting? The other thing is sometimes people go to college to find out what they want to do, and sometimes people go to college to find out what they don’t want to do. So don’t be mad if you’re a senior and you’re studying to be a lawyer and that last day you’re like, “Damnit! I don’t want to be a lawyer!” It’s okay! It’s totally fine! You got your college experience and that’s great!
Adrienne Bailon: But it’s a waste of money!
Adrienne Bailon: I’d be pissed!
Tamera Mowry-Housley: No, you learned a…however much it was, a twenty-five thousand dollar lesson!
Loni Love: One piece of advice is to get the degree. Get that education because education is so important. I have an engineering degree. The only way I would be able to get out of the projects and find myself is through education, so education is very important.
Tamar Braxton: Finish school!
Loni Love: And like she said you can always change because I was an engineer, I worked for a Fortune 500 company. Now I’m a talk show host.
Adrienne Bailon: You always have something to fall back on though.
Jeannie Mai: Exactly!
Loni Love: Take care of yourself and you don’t have to depend on someone else!
Watch the premiere episode of “The Real” below: