Loni Love has her eye on some potential new co-hosts for The Real! ET’s Deidre Behar spoke to the 49-year-old TV personality, who revealed why Keke Palmer and Raven-Symone would be dream additions to the daytime talk show she currently hosts with Jeannie Mai, Adrienne Houghton and Garcelle Beauvais.
“Keke is always working. That’s why we can’t get Keke… If we could ever lock her down… she’s that young, fresh, fierce, fearless girl that we really, really love,” Love gushed. “The viewers love when she comes on. I love when she comes on too. Keke, when you get unemployed call us.”
Raven-Symoné is a likewise appealing co-host option, largely due to her Cheetah Girls past with Houghton.
“Oh my gosh, two seasons ago we had Raven come on and it was just so magical seeing her and Adrienne,” Loni said. “I would love that. She’s such a fearless person. Plus the Disney stories?! I would love it.”
Most recently, Beauvais joined The Real one month after Tamera Mowry-Housley‘s exit. Love believes that “new people always keep the conversation fresh,” and Beauvais was no exception.
“I learn so much from her… She’s a good time. She has the greatest sense of humor… She’s this great mother,” Love said of Beauvais. “… She’s just a full package.”
Though she’s certainly happy to have Beauvais on the show, Love misses Mowry-Housley. The good friends make sure to stay in touch, though, and Mowry-Housley even stopped by the show as a guest.
“She ain’t going nowhere. She still calls me, bugging me,” Love joked. “… It was nice to have her return as a guest. I thought that was really great. I’m just happy that she’s happy, doing the things she loves.”
“Those children are so important and they’re at the age where they really need their mommy’s attention,” she added of her former co-host’s kids, Ariah, 5, and Aden, 8. “She’s happy and she’s doing all her movies and all that stuff. She’s good, but I do miss her.”
Another former co-host is Tamar Braxton, who was fired from the show in 2016 and went on to unfollow and speak out against her former co-hosts. For Love, speaking out about the drama in her 2020 book, I Tried to Change So You Don’t Have To, allowed her to have closure on the situation.
“I think I owed it to my fans to tell the side that I knew about… That’s what you have to do, you have to tell your side of the story and what you know, and that’s what I did,” Love said, before sharing her message for Braxton today.
“Take good care of your mental health, girl,” Love said.
Despite all the changes to the show, including filming from home amid COVID-19, Love believes it’s only gotten better.
“To be able to still work is still a blessing, because we would have been shut down if we were still in the studio because of the numbers for COVID. We just decided as a TV show just to stay at home,” she said. “… We have really more meaningful conversations because… you really have to have deep topics, deep conversations to keep people’s attention… The show has changed, but it has actually gotten better.”
The show’s changes have brought exceptional guests, including newly inaugurated Vice President Kamala Harris, but Love still has some dream people she’d love to have on.
“I would love to have Viola Davis. I’m really working hard to have Viola come on. I slide in her DMs. She’s probably coming over ’cause I’m stalking her so bad,” Love quipped. “… I’m not a big starstruck person, but if I had to look for, like, Beyoncé, I probably would lose it. I would be like, ‘Bleh bleh bleh.’ I would start crying. I would be a mess. She would just hang up, [and say,] ‘Nah, I can’t take this.'”
In addition to The Real, Love is busy with other projects including guest judging on RuPaul’s Drag Race, after appearing on the celebrity spinoff last year.
“Because I was actually a contestant, I can really relate to being this person who didn’t necessarily fit in with everybody. When you see the queens and you hear their stories, you’re like, ‘Oh wow.’ That’s what really makes it relatable,” she said. “Plus it’s the fashion, it’s the glamour, it’s the clapbacks, honey.”
Love is also gearing up for the Jan. 23 release of Lifetime’s biopic, Salt-N-Pepa, after which she’ll host an interview special with the iconic hip-hop duo.
“I’ve been a Salt-N-Pepa fan since they started in 1985. I mean, they used to have the asymmetric haircut. I went and got the asymmetric haircut,” she quipped. “What I love about this movie is that it tells you everything from the beginning all the way. Their whole journey is covered. To be GRAMMY-winning hip-hop female artists, that’s something that we don’t see, even today. They have stood the test of time. I mean, who didn’t love ‘Push It’?”
“… The nice thing about the movie is I interview the real Salt-N-Pepa afterwards. They still got some issues. There’s still a little drama between them…They’re back together now and they’re performing and things like that, but there was still some things that’s happening and it’s gonna be shown in the movie,” Love added. “… But you can tell that there is still a love there. There’s still admiration between them ’cause they’re sisters. They’ve been together for over 30 years, so you can definitely see that. I just want everybody to see it and understand it. I think they are really gonna enjoy it.”
Personally, things are “going strong” between Love and her boyfriend, James Welsh.
“It’s just nice to have someone that is so supportive, especially in an industry like this. He’s funny and he gets my jokes… He’s just a great guy,” she gushed. “… A lot of couples have broken up because of quarantine. I think it actually made us stronger… A lot of my friends are isolated and they’re single. I feel bad because it can really stress you out being that way. So, I’m glad the timing of having a relationship was really good.”
In the year ahead, Love is hoping for a return to semi-normalcy.
“I’m just looking forward to getting out and traveling. I’m looking to get out and hugging people. I’m looking just to walk outside and go to a studio and see my fans. I want to get back on to the stage. I usually do 40 shows or 50 shows a year. I want to be able to just perform for people and see their beautiful faces,” she said. “So that is the main thing, is to be able to get vaccinated, get out there, and see my fans again in person. That’s what I want.”
Though much in the world is still uncertain, Love is sure about her love for her job on The Real and all the other opportunities she’s worked so hard for.
“This is what I always wanted to do, to be an entertainer. I’m a comedian, I’m an author. I’m not a devoted wife and mother. That was never in my plans,” she said. “… Right now, I’m good. I’m so happy that the show is taking this turn where we are having the type of guests that are interesting to our viewers. This is something I’ve always wanted to do, so I don’t know when I’m gonna leave, but I’m good right now.”
“… What I love about the show is that they’re allowing us to do other things and still be on the show. If you can fit it in, if it can work. I’m working on other projects and I end up doing interviews and I’m doing judging. As long as it fits in, I think it’s nice,” Love continued. “I’m blessed to be able to do this. I’m at peace with being this entertainer I always set out to be.”
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