On today’s episode, our guest is Maria Menounos. She is an American journalist, television presenter, and actress. She also co-created and is the CEO of an online podcast series, AfterBuzz TV. She also hosts the podcast “Conversations with Maria Menounos.”
[3:20] Why should I listen to you?
I am genuinely fun and full of information, and have done much research.
[4:18] Where did the first inkling of stepping into acting and podcasting start?
I had been dreaming since I was 13. I was fascinated by watching TV hosts or actors, and journalists. My dad and mom are strict Greek immigrants. I loved watching the news. I loved watching Joan London or Good Morning America, so I pursued Journalism and broadcast journalism at Emerson College. I knew that I could do a little of everything once I got in there. My first job was in broadcast journalism, and everything started happening.
[6:44] How did you approach the first moment?
I will take you back to the first moment I had a mic in my hand, and that was at Southwest. I was there with my husband’s first movie, and there was a camera and a guy with a microphone. I collected the microphone from him, and I started doing quick interviews. At that point, I had been hosting the school news and won the Evie award for being the best podcaster. Soon after, I got my first anchor job at Channel One News. I also landed in Los Angeles and made my first big move across the country. My executive director told me I was going to get on a plane for an interview which I did. I interviewed Lars Ulrich. It was during the Napster drama back then. I also remember being nervous. I didn’t know what I was doing technically, but I knew I would follow my curiosity, and I just did.
[10:50] How did you have the strength to navigate?
It took work. I did get crushed at times, and I worked in a toxic environment. Having Kevin was huge and important because he was everything. He filled every role in my life that I needed. He was a protector. He was ten years older and wiser than me, and he helped me navigate. We made mistakes, but at least he knew better than my parents. My parents never worked in an office.
[14:44] Can you go back and tell us the journey that pushed you into creating a fantastic podcast and what the podcast is?
My mom was diagnosed with a brain tumor in September 2016, and hers was called glioblastoma, stage 4 brain cancer. Months later, I was also diagnosed with a brain tumor called a meningioma, and it was a tough journey. After surgery, I remember waking up and realizing how I have been living my life, what’s worked, what hasn’t worked, why I am doing things that I don’t want to do anymore, and so on. It was a moment to reassess, and I knew I would have a recovery road ahead of me and I could maintain my SiriusXM radio show at the time. I could keep doing that, but I started realizing I wanted to do meaningful and fun things. I started my podcast as a companion to my serious Accenture because I wanted to dive deeper into health and get the answers I needed to help heal my mom.
Whenever I did the show, I’d get helpful information that was pivotal to our journeys, whether it was mental, physical, or emotional health. I had always planned to make the show a daily show and a daily experience. I’m so obsessed with what I get to do because I bring someone with extraordinary information that empowers us to be better every day. It was called Better Together with Maria Menounos, and then “a thousand better together” popped up, and we officially changed it to “Heal Squad by Maria Menounos.”
[26:10] How do you prompt yourself to find informational people
I didn’t entirely leave TV, but building this is a super passion. There is a lot of human curiosity. No one is pitching. We are going after people. We go rigid on who we bring in. I may make mistakes, but I’m protective of who I carry because I know people trust me.
[28:10] How did you learn to lead with curiosity and create for the world through that?
I don’t know for sure, but I’m a curious person, and I think that’s what makes me a good journalist and interviewer because I’m not going to be someone who sticks to my notes. I’ve always gone on with my flow of where I feel the most interested. I do all my research and get myself prepared. For me, I believe that if I’m curious, someone else is going to be interested. So, I don’t have to worry about algorithms and whatever.
[30:40] Can you unpack the new movie you have coming out?
Yes. It is called the holiday dating guide. I had it on my bucket list for 2021. I remember doing a vision board and on my list under acting was a Christmas movie. I didn’t do anything about it because my mom was passing that year, and it was a rough time. But I had this little video called Mom and Dad that coveted me because my parents just went through Covid, Thanksgiving of 2020, and the little video was a short documentary about the experience. A friend of mine and an actor named Ryan McFarland had seen the video and sent me the most extended, most beautiful letter about his feelings after seeing the movie. We got talking, and moments later, it was like we were shooting a Christmas movie, and somehow I played the role of his sister. This summer, my husband just asked me why we are not campaigning for another Christmas movie, and luckily, the director called me and told me there is a movie, and he wants me to be the star of it. It will air on December 17 on Lifetime.
[34:20] What is on the list you still need to do?
I want to build products. I haven’t done that yet, so my goal is to be more creative. I like creating solutions to problems, whether women’s or people’s lives. I have a lot of different things I want to do, and I will start tackling that in 2023.
[35:48] Where did the massive care to create for the rest of the world come from?
I’ve always had it in me. When you grow up with fewer or hard times, you know how critical care is. I always want to help people because I know what it’s like to need help. So, I live to do that now, whether it’s buying food for people behind me. Oprah was another big inspiration because I watched her do things that helped people. I watched Joan London genuinely care about what she did in the story she told. So, I always want to tell stories that will help people.
[39:50] What promise did God make to the world when he created you?
This could go in so many different directions, but I know that he put me here to help people in the last few years. That has uniquely put me in a position where I can heal anything that comes my way.
[22:40-22:43] We need to know what the medical care system is excellent and weak at and use everybody for what they are.
[24:52-24:55] There is no organization that is going to have your best interests at heart like you are