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San Diego, California
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The Insider Reporter Channel 8 Hollywood
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Ananda Lewis is an American television personality, social activist, People Magazine`s 50 most Beautiful for 2000. She appeared on  Ananda was one of MTV`s most popular veejays for many years, from the late 1990`s until 2001, when she left the network to host her own talk show, `"The Ananda Lewis Show"`.
Ananda Lewis was born March 21, 1973 in Los Angeles, California  She is of African American and Native American descent specifically of the Creek and Blackfoot tribes. Her name "Ananda" means "bliss" in Sanskrit. Ananda`s mother worked as an account manager for Pacific Bell, and her father as a computer-animation specialist. Her sister, Lakshmi, is a physician. Lewis`s parents divorced when Ananda was two years old, and her mother moved with her daughters to San Diego, California, to be near her own mother. Unfortunately, Ananda`s mother took an extended trip to Europe to escape the pain of her failed marriage, leaving Ananda and Lakshmi with their grandmother. During her absence, which lasted less than a year, Lewis felt abandoned.
"It was like she nurtured me and carried me in her womb and then completely left."
Lewis often fought with her mother while growing up and rarely saw her father, who had remarried. Lewis and her grandmother also frequently "locked horns" while she was growing up.
Lewis struggled with a speech impediment, stuttering until she was eight years old. In grade school she earned a reputation for outspokenness; her comments provoked her teachers` ire or, less often, their amusement. In 1981 Lewis entered herself in the Little Miss San Diego Contest, a beauty pageant, and won, despite being one of the youngest contestants. During the talent portion of the competition, Lewis performed a dance routine, which she had choreographed herself, to Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney’s ballad "Ebony and Ivory." After her win, Lewis attracted the attention of a talent agent and began working in local theater productions and on television. In fourth grade she enrolled at the San Diego School of Creative and Performance Arts (SCPA), a public magnet school, where she remained for nine years. At the age of 13, Lewis began volunteering as a tutor and counselor at a Head Start facility. Lewis was inspired by the work and decided to become a teacher or a psychologist, with the goal of helping young people. However, Ananda`s family urged her to follow a more lucrative career path specifically law. She majored in history at Howard University, in Washington, D.C., from which she graduated, cum laude, in 1995.
Lewis has credited her mother, grandmother, and sister for providing her with a positive, supportive environment. By her own account, as she grew older she felt increasingly upset by her parents’ divorce. In adulthood, Lewis has healed her rifts with both parents. Lewis was a good friend friend of former singer Aaliyah before her accidental death.. She has six God children.
 Early Career
Throughout college Lewis had volunteered as a mentor with the group Youth at Risk and at the Youth Leadership Institute. She was considering attending graduate school to pursue a master’s degree in education when she learned that auditions were going to be held for the job of on-screen host of BET`s Teen Summit. She states that the children she was working with that summer were the main ones pushing her to go to the auditions. She states:
"The kids said, ‘You better go audition for that show. You don`t have a job, and this job is almost over.`"
Lewis` audition would be a success and she became the host of Teen Summit. For three seasons she discussed serious issues affecting teenagers for a TV audience of several million. The show’s topical, debate-driven format enabled Lewis to follow her passion for helping young people, and use her skills she had acquired at the performing-arts school in San Diego. Ananda is known for having the courage to openly discuss taboo subjects without flinching.. Her executives knew that this kind of gumption was the right stuff for a live show host," In 1996, on an installment of the show entitled "It Takes a Village," Lewis interviewed former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, whose book with that title had been published earlier in the year. Also in 1996 Teen Summit was nominated for a CableACE Award, and the next year the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) presented Lewis with an Image Award for her work on BET. Soon afterward the cable network MTV offered Lewis a position as a program host and video jockey. The thought of leaving Teen Summit was painful for her; indeed, several sources quoted her as recalling that she "cried for three weeks" while pondering her choices.. In opting to move to MTV, the deciding factor
Full Name at Birth
Sarasvati Ananda Lewis
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Ananda Lewis (born March 21, 1973) is an American television personality and social activist. She was an MTV veejay from the late 1990s until 2001, when she left the network to host her own talk show, The Ananda Lewis Show.
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San Diego School of Creative and Performance Arts (SCPA)
Howard University, in Washington, D.C.
TV Personality, Songwriter
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