sha hayes :: tv host & producer dreaming big


niki: you just picked up and moved from dc to new york and said, this is what i’m going to do!

sha hayes: yes indeed. it was something that i said i wanted to do years ago anyway, but at the time i was helping to raise my nieces i kinda felt guilty of leaving them. but once they got to the point that they’re okay…i was like, okay, i can go now.

not everybody believes in God but i was literally coming back on the bus from new york and in my mind i was going to quit [my job at] discovery. i said, “God, i don’t know how i’m going to survive financially, i don’t know what i’m going to do, it’s a terrible job market, it’s a recession…

i know she probably thought i was crazy because i was sitting there smiling from ear to ear, thankful to Jesus, and I was like, “oh my God, this saved me!” because then i didn’t have to quit.

i’m on the bus and i get a call on my cell phone and i’m thinking, okay, who’s calling from my job? and it’s hr and the hr lady is like, “hey, i sent you a notice for you to come meet with me this morning.” so i get off the bus and i go in her office and she said, “we’re letting you know that we’re eliminating your position.” and i know she probably thought i was crazy because i was sitting there smiling from ear to ear, thankful to Jesus, and I was like, “oh my God, this saved me!” because then i didn’t have to quit.

sha hayes on “dr. oz”

i give people that testimony because sometimes you just really got to wait on the Lord ’cause i tell you, had it not been for that moment i wouldn’t have been able to survive without having the opportunity of getting unemployment and still be able to go out there and pound the pavement, and sending my headshots out and getting the work i was doing. so it was such a blessing. it just aligned me in the perfect time when i was supposed to be here.

i had just put a security deposit on my apartment where i’m staying now. so i didn’t know that that was going to happen but in my mind i was just like, i’m going to quit in two weeks. so when you move in directions of faith and say, this is going to happen for you without thinking, oh, well, let me see, i can’t do this because of such and such… you’re setting yourself up for failure because you’re waiting on disaster to happen. i didn’t say to myself, okay, well, let me execute more plans. if i had done that i would’ve been five more years waiting to move versus me just doing it. so i’m just blessed behind that.

niki: when did you first know, even though knowing you, you probably always knew, that you had this gift to entertain people?

sha hayes: when i was about 7 or 8 years old i can remember being at a family function and there was band playing at my aunt’s house. they had a cookout or something and i got up there and sang that song like i wasn’t afraid. i was just walking around the crowd. i just felt in my element. i used to sing “i will always love you” and one time my mother had to come up there and get me and she said, “okay, that’s enough now, baby.” i didn’t feel like, oh my God, everybody is watching me. there was never a time when somebody said, “baby, sing that song” and i was like, “no.” i was like, [singing] “AND I AM TELLING YOU…”

on her way to a red carpet event!

niki: let me find out you’re a triple threat! i never knew you could sing too and i know you can dance.

sha hayes: well, you know, the thing about it is i would never make singing a profession only because i’ve had issues in the past with my sinuses that have caused me to not really be able to pursue it. i tried it for a minute. thing for me is that if i don’t feel like i can do it 100%… just like i tried stand-up. although i still feel like i can be funny, but to stand in front of somebody with the expectation of, now i’m gonna make you laugh…i didn’t like it. the same way with singing, i didn’t feel like i can be like an aretha franklin singing, then i didn’t wanna do it.

my goal now is hosting my own show. but like queen latifah did, she sold platinum albums singing a jazz album, so i would never run from it if it ever presented itself. but at the same time, i’m trying to hone in on one thing. i don’t want to be, like they say, a jack of all trades, master of none.

sha at former dc mayor adrian fenty’s birthday celebration

i just have to reel it in because i feel like i’ve got this short window of time because of my age. of course, it’s great to have it so if somebody said, “well, can you sing too?” then i’m like, “oh yeah! of course i can.” but i don’t try to go into the studio and try to cut an album and stand outside of bad boy trying to get my demo to them or nothin’ like that. that ain’t happenin’.

niki: so tell me what you’re doing right now.

sha hayes: right now i’m working with food network on a show called “24 hour restaurant battle.” i worked with them last year and they’ve changed up the synopsis of the show for this year. they’re bringing in their own staff. it’s competing teams that come in and on the first episode that i did i actually cooked for one of the competing teams. so i’m actually helping the person who’s competing to win $10,000 to open up their own restaurant. so i’m doing that. i just finished doing “gossip girl.” i did an episode of that.

niki: tell me about your “single muvas” video and how that came about.

sha hayes: i was riding in the car one day and i had been thinking of developing a show. i was thinking, there are no female late night hosts, but then that damn heifer mo’nique… [laughing] no, i love her. she came with her show, but prior to that i was thinking, i’m going to put together a little pilot for my late night show, but you know whenever you see a lot of late night shows they have these little parodies. so i thought, oh my goodness, instead of doing “single ladies,” we need to do “single mamas” and then it just came to putting pregnant stomachs on and the leotards. we wrote the lyrics for the song and went into the studio and recorded the actual song. then we performed that song this past halloween for the “gong show” at b.b. kings on broadway. so we had the opportunity to actually perform that foolishness in front of an audience.

i think somebody told these people in advanced boo the best talent in the entire show and that’s what happened.

niki: did you all get gonged?

sha hayes: we got gonged. yes, we did. but i think it was a set-up. it was a conspiracy because they had people in there that was humping a chicken and they didn’t get gonged. i think somebody told these people in advanced boo the best talent in the entire show and that’s what happened. somebody was passing out post-it notes, “please, boo the three pregnant black women before y’all leave tonight.” i’m telling you, that’s what happened.

niki: what kind of show are you thinking about? like an “oprah” kinda show?

sha hayes: no, not so much “oprah,” i do love to cook so i think i want to infuse kind of like a lifestyle/entertainment type of show where i am cooking and interviewing people. kinda of like a spin on “rachel ray” with like a little dab of “ellen” in it. i want to have that quirky little fun stuff that “ellen” does incorporated into it because that plays into my personality and not so stoic like just interviewing people like barbara walters. so if i had to give an example based on what’s out there it would be like a dab of “rachel” with a splash of “ellen” in there.

sha as a therapist in a “what chilli wants” spoof

niki: and you’ve been doing lots of red carpet stuff lately.

sha hayes: i did for colored girls in new york, the premiere there and there was an urbanworld film festival that b.e.t. does where they bring out independent filmmakers. i did interviews with tyler perry at for colored girls, janet jackson, patti labelle, phylicia rashad, macy gray to name a few. hill harper was there, ledisi who did the soundtrack for the movie was there as well.

it was an amazing opportunity for me because i have a vision board and i had literally just put tyler perry’s picture on my vision board and i don’t know why i did that, but i just said, let me put tyler perry up there, he’s somebody i would wanna work with in the future. and literally that next week i was meeting him, taking pictures with him, interviewing him. i didn’t see that in the full scope of my vision, i thought it would be grander but hey, if that’s what it connected my vision to then i’ll accept it, i’ll take it.

niki: so what words of wisdom do you want to impart on those who want to pursue their dreams but are afraid to?

sha hayes: there’s one thing that i always live by and it’s something that marianne williamson wrote about called “our deepest fears” and it’s not that we are inadequate but our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. and literally, i live by that. and i write down little quotes to myself. like i remember i had in my signature, “disappointment only comes to those who make an appointment with the future.”

you just have to let yourself live life and know that you’re working hard towards your dreams.

when i was in my 20s i used to say i’m going to be a millionaire by the time i’m 30 and i’m nowhere near, i’m not even 100 near or 1,000 near. so i had to stop telling myself that if i don’t meet this requirement by this time then i failed. you just have to let yourself live life and know that you’re working hard towards your dreams. you’re not your circumstances, you’re your possibilities. you have to really press forward and just know that you are bigger than anything you can ever imagine. that’s one thing i would say, you are powerful beyond measure. keep steadfast in your dreams and don’t let nobody tell you you can’t do it.

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