Ananda Lewis
Birth Date:
March 21, 1973
Birth Place:
San Diego, California, USA
5' 8" (1.73 m)
Famous for:
Her part in Total Request Live (1998)
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Total Request Live


First coming to prominence as the host of BET's “Teen Summit” (1994-1997), American television personality Ananda Lewis gained even wider audience thanks to her 1997-2001 partnership with the MTV Network where she hosted the massively popular “Total Request Live,” as well as other MTV specials like “Hot Zone,” “MTV Video Music Awards” and “Wanna Be a VJ Too.” She left MTV to host her own talk show, “The Ananda Lewis Show” (syndication, 2001), which lasted for one season. Lewis served as the correspondent of the nationally syndicated, nightly entertainment program “The Insider” from 2004 to 2005.

Lewis is a lifelong youth activist. She started  volunteering at Head Start when she was 13 years old. While at Howard University, she became a member of the program Youth at Risk, helping to re-structure the lives of teenagers in crisis, and also worked for the Youth Leadership and Development Institute as a trainer in leadership skills,  nutrition, conflict resolution, parenting, and violence prevention. Lewis has been a spokesperson for Reading Is Fundamental, a nonprofit literacy group, as well as for the Humane Society.    

Currently, Lewis is in a relationship with Ray J, younger brother of R&B singer Brandy.

Little Miss San Diego

Childhood and Family:

Born Sarasvati Ananda Lewis on March 21, 1973, in Los Angeles, California, Ananda Lewis was raised by her parents, a computer-animation specialist and an account manager for Pacific Bell, until at age two, when her parents divorced. Along with her older sister Lakshmi, she went on to live with their mother, who then moved the family to San Diego, CA to be close with her own family. When her mother took an extended trip to Europe to deal with her unsuccessful marriage, the girls were left under the guidance of their grandmother for less than a year. Although struggling with a speech difficulty until age 8, Lewis grew up as a confident child and entered herself in the Little Miss San Diego Contest in 1981. She performed a dance routine, which she choreographed herself, to Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney's ballad “Ebony and Ivory” during a talent competition and eventually won the contest. Lewis spent nine years at the San Diego School of Creative and Performance Arts (SCPA) and went on to attend Howard University, in Washington, D.C., from which she graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History in 1995.     

In 2011, Lewis gave birth to a boy, her first child.

The Ananda Lewis Show


Ananda Lewis began acting on commercials after she won a beauty contest when she was eight years old. While attending Howard, she appeared on local television and video productions. Her career on television received a significant boost when Lewis succeeded on the audition for becoming the host of the BET talk show/youth show “Teen Summit” in 1994. She would retain the job until 1997. During her tenure in the show, Lewis had the opportunity to interview then-First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton in an installment of “Teen Summit” called “It Takes a Village” in 1996 and was given an Image Award  by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) for her work on Black Entertainment Television (BET).

Lured by her success on the BET show, Lewis was offered a post as a program host and video jockey on MTV.  A enormous presence on MTV, she worked on a number of shows like “MTV Live” (1997), “12 Angry Viewers” (1997), “MTV Jams” (1998-2000), “ Wanna Be a VJ Too” (1999), “MTV Video Music Awards Opening Act” (1999), “MTV 2 Large: New Years Eve 2000” (1999), “MTV Sports & Music Festival 4: The Ultimate Survival” (2000) and “MTV Video Music Awards 2001” (2001). She picked up another NAACP Image Award for her hosting of the MTV special “True Life: I Am Driving While Black,” originally aired on October 27, 1999. Additionally, Lewis hosted the celebrity interview-driven “The Hot Zone,” from which she received two Teen Choice nominations for TV - Choice Personality, and the hugely popular “Total Request Live,” from 1999 to 2001. In 2000, she was listed on People's magazine as one of “50 Most Beautiful People.”

In 2001, Lewis decided to leave MTV to star on her own talk show. “The Ananda Lewis Show,” which targeted women between the ages of eighteen and thirty four by covering issues ranging from   domestic violence and breast cancer, to body image and relationship, premiered on September 10, 2001 and was syndicated by King World Productions. The show was canceled after one season.

After the cancellation of her show, Lewis briefly returned to BET, and in 2004, the animal lover   served as co-host of the A&E television-network show “America's Top Dog” and also appeared as a contestant on the ABC network's reality show called “Celebrity Mole: Yucatán.” From 2004 to 2005, she joined “The Insider,” a spin-off of the popular “Entertainment Tonight,” as the chief correspondent on celebrity subjects. Among celebrities she interviewed during this period were Paris Hilton, Dylan Ryder, Don Cheadle, Ryan Phillippe and Dyan Cannon.

In 2007, Lewis hosted a TV series pilot on the CW TV network called “Dash 4 Cash,” a behind-the-scenes look at a TV reality series in which six teams compete against each other.


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Ananda Lewis @ '07 ESPY Awards Arrivals
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silverdragon - Dec 05, 2006
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