An African-American TV host who got her start on the topical BET discussion series "Teen Summit" before moving to MTV and later to her own syndicated talk show, California native Ananda Lewis turned h...
Appeared in local television and video productions while attending Howard
Relocated to Washington, DC to attend Howard University
Served as a Los Angeles-based correspondent on "The Insider"
Moved from BET to MTV to host specials and series including the celebrity interview-driven "Hot Zone" (1999)
Performed in a San Diego production of "For Colored Girls Who Attempt Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf"
At age two, moved with mother and older sister to San Diego after her parents split (date approximate)
Won a beauty pageant at age eight; began acting in commercials (date approximate)
Appeared as one of the contestants on ABC's "Celebrity Mole: Yucatan"
Co-hosted A&E's "America's Top Dog"
Worked with youth in Washington, DC
Hosted the syndicated talk show "The Ananda Lewis Show"
As host of "Teen Summit", interviewed then First Lady Hillary Clinton; garnered a 1997 NAACP Image Award for her efforts
Hosted the BET series "Teen Summit"
An African-American TV host who got her start on the topical BET discussion series "Teen Summit" before moving to MTV and later to her own syndicated talk show, California native Ananda Lewis turned her desire to work with children into stardom. This Howard University graduate made the most of her Washington, DC locale and auditioned at BET, winning a co-hosting job on "Teen Summit" in the mid-1990s. On this series, Lewis discussed with a panel of teens and experts issues pertinent to American youth and the black community. Striving to both interest its young viewers in important social and political issues and represent their views and concerns, the series was known as a venue for intelligent and provocative discourse. While hosting "Teen Summit", Lewis was given the opportunity to interview then First Lady Hillary Clinton, and was honored with an NAACP Image Award in 1997 for her efforts. Her work on BET led to a job at MTV, where she worked as a VJ and host for various specials and series.
Articulate, charismatic and exceptionally photogenic, Lewis wasn't content with being a pretty showpiece for MTV, and asked some tough questions of her interview subjects, turning the network's fluffy "Hot Zone" (1999) into something more worthy of its name. Among her more memorable confrontations involved the host debating the presence of scantily clad models in friend Q-Tip's video for his hit "Breathe and Stop". When R&B star Aaliyah lost her life in a 2001 plane crash, Lewis was most often called upon to host various tributes on the network, and handled the tough task of memorializing a friend with professionalism and grace. In September of 2001, "The Ananda Lewis Show" debuted in syndication. Aimed at bringing together various generations of women in heartfelt and informative discussions, the series shied away from the more exploitative talk show topics. Lewis, seeking to follow in the footsteps of talk show pioneer Oprah Winfrey, looked at her show as an opportunity to educate and unite. Time would tell whether her ambitious jump would succeed, but in the meantime, Lewis stayed on staff at MTV, where she would intermittently host special presentations.
no longer together
School of Creative and Performing Arts
In Sanskrit, Ananda means bliss.
Ananda is a registered member of the Muscogee Tribe of Creek Indians.
Ananda Lewis tells People (September 10, 2001) about the difference between her MTV gig and hosting her own talk show: "Two years ago, when I was still shallow, I'd say, 'I can't leave the house today because I have a zit.' This show is about inspiring people and keeping it real."
In 2000, Lewis was named one of People magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People"