While watching “The Talk” Wednesday I wondered what shocking secret one of its co-hosts would reveal as part of its “confession week” – their season premiere week theme where each day a co-host divulges something private. I’ll confess: I’m riveted by this. (Hey, it’s less expensive than an afternoon at the salon.) The previous day, Aisha Tyler disclosed her personal challenges with infertility. [Watch it here]. TMI? I think not.
But I wasn’t prepared for co-host Julie Chen’s secret: she revealed having had cosmetic surgery to make her eyes appear wider and less Chinese. Whoa! Yes, I was surprised she’d had the surgery and even more so that she admitted so publicly. But the real issue to me is that Chen, 43, was encouraged to do this to advance her career. Her boss, a Dayton, Ohio news director, told a then-25-year-old Chen that she’d never be an anchor because she is Chinese and that her “Asian eyes” made her look “disinterested” on camera. Whoa! A prominent agent representing top broadcasters told Chen she’s “going straight to the top” if she got the eye surgery. Watch it yourself [right here].
Chen’s admission reminded me of when I decided in undergrad to forgo a career as a TV reporter and instead hide behind my pen as a print journalist because I had a huge Afro. (At the time, I had grown out my relaxer for the umpteenth time and after spending a chunk of my childhood with chemically-straightened hair, pressing it wasn’t an option.) No one, I recall, advised me to do this. I made the decision on my own; after all, how many women did you see delivering the news with a natural ‘do? I knew the hair topic would come up so I took matters into my own hands.
Even now, with more Black women embracing natural hairstyles, the numbers are still pretty low. Ironically, as I wore my hair in neatly-styled twists, braids and flowing coils, strangers would assume I worked on-camera when I told them I was a reporter.
Perhaps I gave up too soon? Maybe. Like Chen, I am at peace with my decision. But there is one question that’s been on my mind for a few years: Who told us that we aren’t good enough? And why do we continue to listen? This question isn’t aimed at one particular gender, race or ethnicity. We’re all affected by it in one way or another. When will it end? When will we accept ourselves as not merely good enough the way we are, but great?
Here are the other TV moments that caught my attention.
1. Ice Cube and Arsenio Hall reminisce about first show, talk about new N.W.A movie. One of my childhood memories of the original “The Arsenio Hall Show” are a couple of appearances that N.W.A made on the show. So it was a bit of nostalgia to see former member Ice Cube back on the couch with Arsenio Hall Tuesday. The men talked about “Straight Outta Compton’s” 25th anniversary and the F. Gary Gray-directed N.W.A movie that’s in the works. They also reminisced about how a producer of the original show initially forbade Hall from having the gangster rap group on his show. [Watch here.]
2. “Luther” marathon, anyone? OK, so my sister has been telling me to watch BBC’s “Luther” since it premiered in 2010. I was like, “Yeah, yeah, I’m not trying to get hooked on another show.” But her recent reminder plus the discussions on my Twitter feed piqued my interest. And guess what? I’ve started watching the first season and it’s pretty good. I see why Idris Elba won a Golden Globe award for his role as Detective Chief Inspector John Luther. The third season began last week but if you’re like me and need to get caught up, check out the first two seasons [here]:
3. “American Horror Story: Coven” trailer put a spell on me. When FX’s “American Horror Story” debuted three years ago, I told myself I’d pass. Why? The high tolerance level I had for horror movies at age 5 had decreased significantly. It seemed I no longer had it in me. However, when I saw the trailer for “American Horror Story: Coven” on Tuesday, I rethought my decision. Oh, yeah, I’ve got to see this! Angela Bassett as Voodoo Queen Madame Marie Laveau! Yep, Bassett, Kathy Bates, who I’ve loved since “Misery,” and Jessica Lange as three head witches would be worth watching. Plus, I also spotted Gabourey Sidibe in the trailer. So, like “Luther,” I’ll be catching up on the first two seasons of this series. What do you think of the trailer? Did it lure you in too? [Watch here.]
4. Tia Mowry-Hardrict talks “perfect” mother fallacy. I’ grew up watching Tia Mowry-Hardrict and her twin sister Tamera Mowry-Housley and it’s good to see they’ve avoided the pitfalls that trap many child stars. While the girls seem “perfect” — they’re both working married mothers — Mowry-Hardrict reveals in an interview with “Access Hollywood” that her new role is about a woman who’s anything but. In the new NickMom series, “Instant Mom,” Mowry-Hardrict plays Stephanie, who went from a partier to a full-time stepmom of her husband’s three children. “I think it’s cool seeing a mom who’s depicted as someone who’s not perfect,” Mowry-Hardrict said. Given the enormous amounts of pressure many women put themselves under to be ideal mothers I think it’s cool too. Check out more from Mowry-Hardrict’s interview.
5. Howard Stern and Robin Quivers reveal her cancer battle. Sensitivity isn’t the first word that comes to mind when you think of shock jock Howard Stern. But the man admitted when his longtime radio sidekick and friend Robin Quivers was battling uterine cancer, he’d lost it. “Robin means more to me than anything. Just seeing her go through this just f—ing tore me up,” Stern revealed on his Sirius satellite show Monday. Quivers, 61, secretly underwent three types of treatments, including chemotherapy, for 15 months and is now cancer-free. Congratulations to Quivers for her recovery and to Stern for being such a good friend. Check out this “Today” clip featuring Stern and Quivers discussing her recovery:
EXTRA. Aisha Tyler bravely shares her fertility woes. Ordinarily, I’m going to limit myself to five things you should make sure to watch, but I’m throwing in a bonus today because so many women might relate. As I mentioned earlier, “The Talk” co-host Aisha Tyler disclosed Tuesday the infertility obstacles she’s faced that led to her and her husband’s decision to stop trying to conceive. “I have like a tortuous Fallopian tube which makes it very hard for sperm to get to your egg so the doctor recommended that we maybe think about IVF,” the 42-year-old Tyler revealed. She isn’t alone in her conception hardships. Six percent of married women ages 15 to 44 are infertile, according to the Centers for Disease Control. And 7.4 million women in that same age group have ever used infertility services. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine says infertility affects men and women equally. See Tyler and her co-hosts talk more on the subject below and learn whether adoption is an option for her and her husband:
NOTE TO XFINITY USERS: You can watch Blair Underwood’s “Ironside” before it’s October 2 premiere on NBC on TV with XFINITY On Demand or online here. Stay tuned as I’m about to watch will definitely write about it in an upcoming CSW – Can’t Stop Watching.
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.