They say that a good woman is worth the chase, and it seems the Oxygen network is intent on proving the theory true with their new reality show, “Chasing Maria Menounos,” airing Tuesday nights at 10 p.m. The alliteratively monikered Medford beauty, who’s most recognizable for her work as a correspondent on entertainment news shows like “Access Hollywood” and “Extra,” is allowing us all to take a closer look at her life behind the scenes as she tackles new projects–writing a book, being the grand marshall in a parade, among other adventures, all while enduring the stress of living with her conservative Greek parents, security guard, and 5 dogs. Maria is no stranger to intense pressure situations–to date, she’s the only journalist to interview the entire Obama family, she’s reported from Afghanistan, she’s competed on the WWE, and made it to 4th place on season 14 of “Dancing with the Stars.” We talked to the 35 year-old renaissance woman about what it’s like adjusting to life where the cameras follow you home after being in front of them at work all day.
“Just knowing that work is never really over…it’s especially difficult to know that when you get home to your sanctuary, they’re there. But you become family with the crew and get used to it,” said Menounos.
On this week’s episode, Maria returns to her roots, and comes back to Boston to visit the first “home” she shared with her boyfriend of 16 years, producer Keven Undergaroo.
“It gets really emotional…when we left, it was this unceremonious exit. It was really sad, years ago how everything went down,” said Menounos. “There was a time when I was not speaking with my parents, and I had a really hard time, being so close to them and then them shutting me out because I was dating Keven and he wasn’t Greek. You wouldn’t think this would happen in modern times, but it did.”
Along with their friend and current head of security Joe, the couple shared a basement space with several others in a dormitory-style set-up, with only a mattress on the floor to call their own.
“I remember sitting down there, and we were listening to Howard Stern, and he was talking to a star on there and Keven said ‘you’re going to bigger than her someday, and you’re gonna be on that show’ and I was 19 or 20 I thought ‘what is he talking about?’ I was 40 pounds heavier, then. You don’t think it’s gonna happen, and you work towards it, but you never think it’s gonna happen.”
But for Maria, it did.
“It’s so easy to judge when you see someone; no one ever knows the journey that they go through. The struggles I’ve endured…when you watch this show, you get a taste of it.”
Many years later, Maria and her parents are now on very good terms, as they all share a house together in California, and viewers get to see both the comedy and the conflicts that arise when parents begin to meddle in their adult-children’s lives in regards to marriage and kids.
“I do think that’s a Boston thing, that we’re brought up to be really tight knit with our families and friends,” said Menounos. “People have asked me though about living with my parents and not being married or having kids, but, we take care of my parents, they are like my kids. I couldn’t imagine my life without them, and so many people don’t have theirs. Keven doesn’t have his father, and I will cry when I think about it, and it makes me sad. It’s a really special thing to get to have them around so much.”
What also seems to have been forged in that Boston upbringing is a tireless go-getter whose obvious talents are only surpassed by her fearlessness.
“I think life is ours to grab. If you called me tomorrow and said ‘we want to do a segment about girls coming back to Boston where they parachute off the Pru, I’d say, “let’s go, let’s do it!” I love to live and experience, and I think I have always shown I was willing to sink or swim on camera. Sometimes I’m better at certain things than others. A great quote from a favorite wrestler of mine says ‘you never lose unless you quit.’ I take it one step further and say, you never know unless you try. We’re not all going to be good at everything,” says Menounos. “Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”
What’s left for a lady that shows no fear and seems to have the world at her fingertips? Something totally out of this world, as it so happens.
“I want to do the first broadcast from the moon.”
Catch the amazing Maria Menounos and her family and friends on all their crazy adventures on “Chasing Maria Menounos,” airing on the Oxygen network, Tuesday nights at 10 p.m.
★ Concord, Massachusett’s Steve Carell purchases a new home in California.
★ Another peak at Katie Holmes as Jackie O in the new Kennedy miniseries.
★ Marshfield, Massachusetts resident and Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler is officially named a new judge on “American Idol”.
★ Dorchester, Massachusett’s Mark Wahlberg recounts an incident involving one of his sons and an octopus during a recent appearance on “The Late Show with David Letterman.”
★ Fairfield, Connecticut born actor Justin Long talks about his awkward experience with co-star Christina Applegate in his new film.
John Cena, who got his start as a professional wrestling superstar, is venturing into new territory with a part in the drama Brother’s Keeper. One of the newer endeavors from WWE Films, the movie is a change of pace from some of the previous projects produced by the same company.
Cena was born in West Newbury, MA, and made a career in professional wrestling before trying out his hand at acting in 2006 in The Marine, and again in 2009 in 12 Rounds. Cena, who is married to Elizabeth Huberdeau, certainly hasn’t forgotten his roots, though, as he’s forgone the regular path of living in Hollywood and is taking up residence back in his hometown. Perhaps best known as an action hero from his first two movies, both of which focused on his physical abilities, Cena is taking advantage of the chance to show us something a little different.
Brother’s Keeper is about a teenage boy trying to reunite his broken family by joining a high school wrestling team. Cena plays the older brother, a former collegiate wrestling champion, who fell into a downward spiral after his father died and later returns home to see his younger sibling compete. Brother’s Keeper also stars Patricia Clarkson, Danny Glover and Devon Graye and will undoubtedly give Cena the opportunity to flex his dramatic skills and put him on the map as a real actor.
According to the Eagle Tribune, John Cena is excited about his character and is enjoying the challenge of a more serious role. “I feel like I’ve been able to get involved in the story,” Cena says, “and it’s an easy story to embrace. I think everybody will be able to pull something from it.”
★ Jay Leno graces the cover of the Improper Bostonian this week.
★ Plymouth Rock Studios downsizes after stops and stalls in securing funding.
★ Review of the Cape Cod filmed The Lightkeepers starring Richard Dreyfuss.
Perched on the ropes of the square ring wearing his customary jeans shorts and flexing his sweat-speckled muscles, it is not hard to deduce from his physical appearance why John Cena is at the top of the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) roster. Since the beginning of his wrestling career, Cena has become a five-time World Champion (he won the World Heavyweight championship twice and the WWE championship three times), three-time United States Champion, and a two-time World Tag Team Champion. Though his success in his wrestling career is indisputable, it is lesser known that Cena, alongside his championship belts, holds the profession of actor as well as musician. Following the footsteps of other wrestling superstars such as Hulk Hogan and The Rock (who now also go by Terry Bollea and Dwayne Johnson, respectively), Cena recently starred in the 2006 WWE Studios film, The Marine as well as his most recent film, 12 Rounds, which was released on March 27 and is now available on DVD and Blu-ray. He also released a hip hop album in 2005 entitled You Can’t See Me (which serves as a type of catch phrase for Cena) that debuted at number 15 on the US Billboard 200 chart.
Despite his successes on both the small and large screens, Cena hails from the small, rural town of West Newbury, Massachusetts, where he recently purchased land. Born on April 23, 1977 to John and Carol Cena, the future world wrestling champion was reputedly a quiet child, with an interest in music rather than grappling. It was only until later when Cena developed an interest in bodybuilding did he begin to consider a future in wrestling. He relocated to California where, working as a clerk at Gold’s Gym, a friend suggested that he explore the possibility of professional wrestling. Cena’s first trained and wrestled for Ultimate Pro Wrestling, eventually moving on to Ohio Valley Wrestling where he wrestled under the in-ring name of “The Prototype” and “Mr. P,” then finally ending up at WWE.
There seems to be no concrete plans for Cena in the future of film and music, but in the realm of WWE, he continues to dominate in and out of the ring. As his wrestling popularity is at a peak, there is no telling what this actor-rapper-wrestler will add to his repertoire.
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