Q&A with Maria Menounos: "I Love Doing Things that Scare Me"
With the premiere of Chasing Maria Menounos just hours away, you're in for a world of Greek family drama, baby mama drama (or lack thereof, which kind of is the drama), and loads of heartrending family and relationship issues along the way. It's not a premiere you want to miss...but don't take our word for it! Check out this Q&A with Maria, where she discusses being the kid of immigrants, the pressure to have kids, and her journey from being a nightclub janitor (!) to hitting it big as a major TV personality. Read below, and don't miss the premiere tonight at 10/9c!
You’re already all over TV -- why let the world in on your personal life?
It was hard to make the decision, but in the end there are so many reasons why we said yes. I love doing things that scare me and embracing new challenges. It has always yielded good results.
I also think we have a lot to share that people would identify with. When you look at how many women are struggling with the same issues: do I get married? Do I have kids? When? Are we supposed to do these things? No one is talking about it publicly, so I think it will be helpful for someone out there to be the voice of these issues. Plus, the fact that Keven and I have been together for 16 years and aren’t married, and the fact that my parents live with us...is a little different! Also, I’m a big fan of reality television, so why not jump in and try it!
What are some things that only the children of immigrants will understand?
People will get the whole My Big Fat Greek Wedding dynamic, because we are a real traditional Greek family. As children of immigrants, we are rooted in our culture, but we’re still trying to carve out our own path as young people. We want to please our parents, but not lose ourselves in the mix. Some people just listen and don’t do what’s right for them. I know so many people who married the wrong person, for example, because their parents wanted them to. For a while it was a huge problem that Keven isn’t Greek. He’s Italian! In those situations you have to be strong enough to say ‘I love you, but I’m going to make the best decision for myself.’ It will be helpful for everyone in the long run.
How did you go from being a janitor in a nightclub to hosting the Today show?
Growing up and cleaning those nightclubs…there was always a stage right there! I always felt some kind of connection to where I was going to end up someday. Luckily there was a series of good decisions, good education… and Keven too! Keven was the one who helped me get my first job at Channel 1 News and told me it was okay to do the Today Show. I was frightened to be honest because 14 years ago, you could either be a journalist or be commercial, but you couldn’t do both. But Keven is the one who told me: “you can do both, because you are both!”
Growing up I didn’t just do one thing. I did 10 things. I was President of the Youth Organization, I sang In choir, I competed in pageants. He made me feel like I could push the limits and do those things that weren’t acceptable at the time.
What should viewers look forward to the most about Chasing Maria Menounos?
I think they should look forward to the fact that we’re talking about real, relatable issues: marriage, babies, health struggles that are really serious. There are very deeply emotional episodes where it becomes apparent that Keven and I have had a really hard road together, even though we’re so blessed now. I think people will really identify with it, and enjoy the journey!
Watch Susie Castillo interviewing Maria!
Watch the premiere of 'Chasing Maria Menounos' tonight at 10/9c!