The last few years may have seen funnywoman Loni Love go from veteran comedienne to EMMY and NAACP Image-winning household name thanks to the top-rated daytime talk show, ‘The Real,’ but for decades the 49-year-old says she was being forced to be everything but real.
From her appearance to her comedic material and everything in between, Hollywood’s encouraged Love to trade authenticity for likability – an exchange she’s fought and prevailed against as she candidly reveals via a series of stories in her new memoir ‘I Tried to Change So You Don’t Have To: True Life Lessons’ (available now).
That Grape Juice caught up with the ever-hilarious Loni in early June (ahead of Amanda Seales and Tamera Mowry-Housley‘s respectively announced departures from ‘The Real’) to dish on the new book, her community activism during the pandemic, and so much more.
Look inside to read our chat:
That Grape Juice: How are you holding up during lockdown?
Loni Love: I’m busy working. Since all the studios are closed I’ve had to transform my house to a studio. I’ve done voiceovers for ‘Bridezilla,’ shot the last remaining episodes of ‘The Real,’ and even done #QuarantinewithLoni all from my home.
I feel as an entertainer we should entertain no matter what the circumstances are. I’ve been blessed to be okay and I just know there are a lot of people that are not, so I’m trying my best to help them.
That Grape Juice: It’s great to hear how you’re giving back. And, when not dishing out dollars to the Los Angeles food banks, we see you’re dishing out some good advice via your new book, ‘I Tried to Change So You Don’t Have To: True Life Lessons.’
You’re so young, though. Why did you think now was a good time for a memoir?
Loni Love: I have been journaling since I was a young child, so I have a bunch of stories. A lot of people only know me from ‘The Real,’ but they don’t realize I had a career way before it.
A lot of people don’t know that I was homeless at one point, they don’t know that I was married at one point, they don’t know what I went through when I got my first movie role.
So, I have all these stories of inspiration and laughs, but it’s my story.
That Grape Juice: When you got to the parts of the book that were too painful to relive, what inspired you to keep it real?
Loni Love: The money [laughs]! I owe it to my fans to talk about what happened. Yes, I did hate to relive it, but because I got through it I was able to write the story.
That Grape Juice: Now, as with many interviews, we’ve received five questions from our readers for you. Are you ready for That Grape Juice‘s ‘Five From Fans’?
Loni Love: Yes!
- TGJ #1: What is your dream interview for ‘The Real’ that has not happened yet?
Loni Love: It would be Barack Obama for sure.
- TGJ #2: Do you ever watch your old stand-up videos on YouTube?
Loni-Love: No, I don’t because I didn’t know what lashes were back then!
- TGJ #3: In the past you were very vocal about not wanting children. Has that changed?
Loni-Love: That has not changed. I think we put a lot of pressure on women regarding that and it isn’t fair. I also think marriage is for people that want to have families. I decided early on I was going to be an entertainer.
- #TGJ #4: Given how few female comedians sustain lasting careers, do you consider yourself a trailblazer?
Loni-Love: No, not at all. We’ve had successful women who are all Queens of Comedy. It’s really hard for a lot of women – especially if they’re young and want to have families. If they want to have relationships, it’s hard being on the road.
I just try to be an encouragement to female comedians that have a dream, but I don’t think I’m a trailblazer though.
- TGJ #5: When was the last time you were star struck on ‘The Real’?
Loni-Love: When Patti LaBelle came on, I started that ugly cry. I think I was star struck to meet Smokey Robinson and Laurence Fishburne too.
That tells you how small this world is; you could see somebody you grew up watching and never thought they would know your name.
That Grape Juice: Before we wrap up, we certainly want to extend our congratulations on the recently announced DAYTIME EMMY nods (click here to read).
How does it feel to continue to be recognized?
Loni-Love: People have to understand ‘The Real’ is heavily a glam show. We could not do that show in the studio without our glam team and so for them to get recognized, it’s just great.
This is the first time that wardrobe has been recognized as well and I’m really happy for them. Once you become an Emmy winner for that year it means a lot; it’s an honor.
Loni Love’s new book, ‘I Tried to Change So You Don’t Have To: True Life Lessons,’ is available on all platforms now!