Former TV host Ananda Lewis was once a powerful young voice on television, but now the former host of some of your favorite 90s youth shows has found her passion as a contractor.
“For me, this is the only work I’ll ever do in my life,” Lewis told Shondaland.com.
Lewis’ TV resume includes BET’s Teen Summit, and MTV’s TRL and Hot Zone. She even went on to host her own daytime talk show, The Ananda Lewis Show.
But then Lewis said the stress of her career, and a sick grandmother who had raised her, eventually made her rethink was she wanted — and she disappeared from the spotlight.
“Three months before [my talk] show shut down, my grandma was having a personal emergency and I was 3,000 miles away,” she said. “She was in her 80s at that time and needed help. So, I felt like this woman who sacrificed for me to have a childhood that was stable and full of happiness and love — I wasn’t going to let her just be left hanging.”
She continued: “I was completely unhappy with this talk show. I felt like I was drowning, so I packed everything and went to my grandma’s home and took care of her for the last two years of her life.”
Lewis now spends her days in the world of construction. Years ago, she felt a pull to get an associates degree in carpentry. And it all started when she was trying to build a shoe rack without much success.
“I was so frustrated, so I said, ‘I need to take a class’,” she explained. “I started to search and I ended up on Los Angeles Trade Technical College’s website and felt this swelling in my heart. I don’t know how to describe it, my heart filled up with gold.”
But those days of small-project struggles are long behind her and Lewis is now working on a nonprofit organization that offers free renovations for single mothers and the elderly.
“Single moms need help — and there is a lot of help out there for single moms in many ways, but when it comes to the place where they come home with their kids, that’s where I want to have the biggest impact. When your environment is beautiful, it’s like you can thrive in your environment. When moms are better, kids benefit.”
You can read her full interview here.