Journalist Maria Menounos, 35, is bringing her private life into the spotlight with a new reality show titled Chasing Maria Menounos airing on the Oxygen channel. The correspondent for Access Hollywood, Today, and Extra quickly rose to the top of her field after graduating from Emerson.
She left Entertainment Tonight to pursue acting and landed roles in Fantastic Four and Tropic Thunder. Television show appearances included The Mindy Project, Entourage, and One Tree Hill.
Maria has recently co-hosted Extra with Mario Lopez, been a contestant on Dancing With the Stars, and even been a professional wrestler.
Here Maria, 35, talks to Jerry Nunn about her new endeavor into the world of reality television.
JN: (Jerry Nunn) Hi, Maria. I am calling in from Chicago.
MM: (Maria Menounos) Hi.
JN: I saw there is a segment in the show Chasing Maria where you went to gay Pride. Were you covering a story?
MM: I was part of the parade actually. I was there to support and be a part of it.
JN: How did get connected to it?
MM: They came to me. I've done a few different I think events tied to the LGBT community and so whether it was, oh God I can't remember of all the different events, but they asked me to play a part in this one. So it was really exciting. I loved it. I brought my parents, Keven [Undergaro], everyone with me and we had a good time.
JN: The pressure that women face to start a family is covered on the show as well.
MM: It's really tough because I feel like more than ever women are in the same kind of boat as me where we really don't know when the right time is. We're really excited by our careers and we're wanting to prolong it more than ever. I definitely know I'm not alone because I talk people about this all the time. I feel like I meet more women that are confused about when to do this than ever. I definitely have moments where I feel like I'm going to throw the towel in and just do it for everybody but then I realize that's not what I'm about and that's not how I do things.
You have doctors that are scaring you and telling you that after 35 your eggs deplete and that it's going to be so much harder to have kids, you could face bigger problems and miss your window.
You've got your parents who are just dying for grandkids. It's really hard. I am completely torn and confused.
It's definitely something we have to be aware of because I do feel like we could easily get wrapped up in our lives, in our careers and forget to have kids. That's something that I am aware of and I don't want to do. I don't know when the right time is.
JN: Have you learned a lot from your friend Kim Kardashian about balancing work and family?
MM: I don't know if I've learned much yet. I mean I've seen her once since she had Baby North. She's been very busy and traveling, planning a wedding. I feel like I've learned a lot from Kim over the years, just that she stays calm and that's like how I feel like she balances everything. She tries to be a good friend to her friends and a good sister and family member and she just a hard worker. If anyone can balance it all I definitely think it's her.
JN: How do you relax after working so hard?
MM: How do I relax? I guess it's definitely not the easiest thing for me to do but I love being at home with Keven, the dogs, and my parents. I love cooking. I love watching movies. I love going to the beach. Keven and I have been going to the beach lately, reading, just breathing and taking it all in. We're making conscious efforts to do that a little bit more. This weekend is my first weekend off in a long time and I think we're going to rescue some poodles from a hoarder situation, groom them, and get them all beautiful to try to place them in some homes so that will be our idea of resting this weekend.
JN: What is the most lavish thing about your life?
MM: Sunday I was at the Oscars and getting drenched in diamonds and gorgeous gowns then the next night you're going to Chili's and having dinner in your sweats. So there's like the me that works in this business and then there's the real me that is outside of that. So I enjoy the perks of all of this but there's a reality to it too.
JN: What do you want people that watch Chasing Maria to get out of your show?
MM: I feel like it will be interesting to see a fish out of water. My family is a regular family living in extraordinary circumstances. I think it's nice to see a traditional Greek family at home. I think it's nice to see someone who made it in this town and stayed in the same relationship they came in with. I don't think you see that very often.
JN: I look forward to watching it.
MM: Thank you.
Chase Maria every Tuesday on Oxygen.