Ananda Lewis: Complete Wiki & Biography 2024

Ananda Lewis: Complete Wiki & Biography

Ananda Lewis: Complete Wiki & Biography

Ananda Lewis, born on March 21, 1973, is an American television personality, model, and social activist. She gained prominence as an MTV veejay during the late 1990s, serving until 2001. Following her time at MTV, she ventured into hosting her own broadcast syndicated television talk show, titled The Ananda Lewis Show.

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Ananda Lewis – Profile

  • Name: Ananda Lewis
  • Siblings: Lakshmi Lewis
  • Education: Howard University
  • Spouse: Harry Smith
  • Role: Television Personality
  • Born: March 21, 1973 (age 50)
  • Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
  • Occupation: Television personality, model, social activist
  • Nominations: Teen Choice Award for Choice TV: Personality
  • Movies and TV Shows: Teen Summit, The Insider, Color of the Cross, The Mole, The Ananda Lewis Show
  • Similar People: Chris Webber, Jean‑Claude La Marre, Betty Thomas

Early life

Ananda Lewis, born on March 21, 1973, in Los Angeles, California, is an American television personality, model, and social activist. She is of African American and Native American descent, specifically of the Creek and Blackfoot tribes. Her name means “bliss” in Sanskrit. Lewis’s mother worked as an account manager for Pacific Bell, and her father was a computer-animation specialist. Her sister, Lakshmi, is a physician. Lewis’s parents divorced when she was two years old, and her mother moved with her daughters to San Diego, California.

Her mother took an extended trip to Europe to escape the pain of her failed marriage, leaving Ananda and Lakshmi with their grandmother. During her absence, which lasted less than a year, Lewis felt abandoned. She often fought with her mother and rarely saw her father, who had remarried. Lewis and her grandmother also frequently clashed while she was growing up.

Lewis struggled with a speech impediment, stuttering until she was eight years old. In 1981, she entered herself in the Little Miss San Diego Contest, a beauty pageant, and won. This victory caught the attention of a talent agent, leading to her involvement in local theater productions and television. In fourth grade, she enrolled at the San Diego School of Creative and Performance Arts (SCPA), where she remained for nine years. At thirteen, she began volunteering as a tutor and counselor at a Head Start facility, inspiring her to become a teacher or psychologist. However, her family urged her to pursue a more lucrative career in law. She majored in history at Howard University, graduating cum laude in 1995.

Ananda Lewis

Personal Life: Lewis has credited her mother, grandmother, and sister for providing her with a positive, supportive environment. She healed her rifts with both parents in adulthood. A good friend of the late singer and actress Aaliyah, Lewis has six godchildren. In 2011, she gave birth to her first child, a boy, and currently resides in the San Fernando Valley.

Early Career: While in college, Lewis volunteered with Youth at Risk and the Youth Leadership Institute. She auditioned for the job of on-screen host of BET’s Teen Summit, becoming the host for three seasons. The show addressed serious issues affecting teenagers, showcasing Lewis’s passion for helping young people. Her courage to discuss taboo subjects without hesitation set her apart.

In 1996, Lewis interviewed then-First Lady Hillary Clinton on an episode entitled “It Takes a Village.” Teen Summit received a CableACE Award nomination in 1996, and Lewis received an Image Award from the NAACP in 1997 for her work on BET. MTV offered her a position as a program host and video jockey, where she hosted Total Request Live and The Hot Zone. Lewis received another NAACP Image Award in 2001 for her hosting of the MTV special True Life: I Am Driving While Black.

In 1998, Lewis made headlines by announcing her intention to remain abstinent for at least six months, aiming to help other young girls by sharing her own experiences. During this period, she became a familiar presence at celebrity-attended events in and around New York City.


In 2000, Ananda Lewis earned a spot on People’s prestigious list of the “50 Most Beautiful People.” The following year, in 2001, she made the pivotal decision to depart from MTV and embark on her own talk show venture. The Ananda Lewis Show premiered on September 10, 2001, generating considerable anticipation with comparisons to Oprah Winfrey, a renowned talk-show host. Despite Lewis’s continued special presentations for MTV, her syndicated series, produced by King World Productions, targeted women aged eighteen to thirty-four. Addressing critical issues like domestic violence and breast cancer, the show aimed to provide an alternative to the sensationalism of daytime talk shows like Jerry Springer and Ricki Lake. Unfortunately, Lewis’s show faced challenges, including the impact of the World Trade Center bombing on its debut week. Ultimately, it was canceled after one season, with Roger King, the chairman and CEO of King World Productions and CBS Enterprises, citing the chaotic post-9/11 environment.

Following the conclusion of her talk show, Lewis briefly worked for BET. In 2004, she assumed the role of chief correspondent for celebrity subjects on The Insider, a nationally syndicated nightly entertainment program and a spin-off of Entertainment Tonight. Her interviews included celebrities like Paris Hilton, Dylan Ryder, Don Cheadle, Ryan Phillippe, and Dyan Cannon. Lewis also made guest appearances on various sitcoms.

In 2004, Ananda Lewis participated in the reality show Celebrity Mole: Yucatán on ABC, which earned an Emmy for Outstanding Achievement for Enhanced Television. Known for her love of animals, Lewis served as co-host of the A&E television-network show America’s Top Dog and became a spokesperson for the Humane Society. She frequently introduced her two pet chihuahuas during interviews. Additionally, Lewis actively supported Reading Is Fundamental, a nonprofit literacy group.

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