Interview: Layla Kayleigh – "I doubt the Food Network would ever give me my own show because I've done way too many sexy looking pictures"
Tue, 09 Feb 2010 07:49:58
What's the best way to get to know Layla Kayleigh?
Just watch her as she hosts Randy Jackson Presents America's Best Dance Crew, because it's all there. Mario Lopez's stunning co-host is smart, sassy, sympathetic and simply unforgettable. She cracks jokes at all the right times, and she also helps the dancers keep their sanity in the face of some crazy odds. Layla lights up the show, and she's cultivated her own hosting style from a myriad of experiences—modeling in Maxim and King as well as hosting World Poker Tour and a segment on Attack of the Show!.
She's out there for all to see…
The English-born Layla laughs, "I love hosting because, love me or hate me, this is who I am."
Layla told ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino all about who she is in this exclusive interview. She discusses Dance Crew, cranking Biggie to get pumped up, her seahorse fascination and why '80s kids movies are the best! There's some hilarious video coming soon too…
How much of yourself do you get to inject into your hosting style?
First of all, I've got to give credit to Mario Lopez. I'm his co-host. I don't mind being a sidekick. Doing Dance Crew, I have to be personal because a lot people don't see what happens behind the cameras. The judges can't really communicate with the dancers, and Mario has his own thing going on. I'm there behind the scenes with the dancers when they get their challenges, when they get eliminated and when they make it to the next week. I go through all of those emotions with them, and I don't think you can be fake or disingenuous in situations like that because the dancers will realize and they won't be comfortable with you. How I am on-camera is how I am off-camera. I inject all of myself into my work. Is that a good enough answer? [Laughs]
It was a fantastic answer! So how do you balance all of this on-set chaos?
A lot of the stuff that goes on behind-the-scenes isn't shown on camera. When I do my bit on the show, I interview the last two crews and you see me happily giving them their challenges. People don't see when a dancer is crying or balling her eyes out. For them, it's the end of their world. A lot of these dancers aren't in show biz; they're from all parts of the United States. They've never had to deal with rejection or someone telling them they're not really good enough. They're just trying to live their dream. When they're sent home, it really crushes them. Another thing is, they go on the Internet and Google themselves and see all kinds of horrible comments. I become like their shrink on set. They'll be like, "This person wrote this about me!" You can't sweat it though. It's not a big deal. If you're the nicest person in the world, there's always going to be someone saying something about you. I coach them to be tough [Laughs]. I really enjoy that part of the job.
Were there any hosts that you looked up to as a kid?
When I was growing up in London, I remember seeing Daisy Fuentes on MTV. To me, she was the most beautiful woman that I'd ever seen in my life because I'm kind of mixed. I look different and exotic, and everyone I'd see on TV was white with blonde hair and blue eyes. Then I saw this Latina with curves! I didn't look up to her in the sense of "That's why I want to be a host," but I thought, "It's possible for women who look like me to be on TV!"
Before you go out to host the show, do you listen to music to pump yourself up?
God yes! I am such a music fiend. I honestly would probably be dead if I didn't have music in my life that's how passionate I am about it. If I could've been a singer, I would've loved to have been one. If I were to sing now, all of the windows would break [Laughs]. I like old school rap. I know all of Biggie's lyrics, and my favorite song is "Juicy." That's definitely top ten! I like English artists. I like Kate Nash, and I love Adele; she's one of my favorite artists! I love Radiohead too. I like lovemaking music or music such as Biggie's that basically says, "I couldn't pay the rent, now I'm sipping champagne. [Laughs].
What's next for you?
I don't hold the answer to the future unfortunately, but if I did I would tell you, Rick [Laughs]. I love my job and everything I do. I like politics, and I love to cook. I'd love to a show where I was cooking and arguing with Bill O'Reilly at the same time [Laughs]. That'd be kind of cool. I'm just joking, but I do love to cook. I doubt the Food Network would ever give me my own show because I've done way too many sexy looking pictures [Laughs].
What do you like to cook?
Well, I'm actually pretty good! I go online to SimplyRecipes.com, and they have the best ingredient lists. I check it out every week and try a new dish. Maybe I'll do a cooking show with you! [Laughs]
I'm down…So there's a rumor you like seahorses…
Yeah, I have a bit of an obsession with them. Only the males can have babies. Out of all the things in the universe—the people, animals and fish—they're the only males that can give birth. That's kind of cool! I'd want to know what the seahorse is thinking while he's giving birth [Laughs].
Maybe we should interview some seahorses on the cooking show?
I think we'd need to smoke something first before we do [Laughs].
What are your favorite movies?
I like children's movies! When I was a kid, I missed out on the whole childhood wagon, train, merry-go-round. I love really cheesy kids movies! I love watching Mary Poppins. I like anything that brings out the inner child in me—movies with innocence in them. I love horror movies, but I'm scared of them because I have a crazy imagination. While I'm watching them, I'm like, "Yeah, I'm into this!" Then when I'm alone in the house afterwards, I'm scared to look in the mirror because I think I'm going to see a ghost behind me or my eye is going to start melting [Laughs]. I can't watch horror movies! I really liked Ratatouille. Dumbo is my favorite cartoon! I cry every time I watch it! I love E.T., The Neverending Story and The Goonies. I like all of that '80s stuff! Movies were so innocent back then. They had such a simple message, and something about them was so organic and natural.
Check out Rick Florino's new novel Dolor available now for FREE here…