From rising through the ranks on local news to becoming the anchor of “Catfish,” Kamie Crawford’s journey epitomizes trust in the process and a commitment to authenticity. Breaking barriers as the first female host on shows like “Are You the One?” and “Ex on the Beach,” Crawford advocates for a much-needed woman’s perspective in a realm dominated by male voices, navigating the challenge of proving herself in these roles while winning over new audiences.
Beyond the screen, Kamie’s podcast, “Relationsh*t with Kamie Crawford,” resonates with listeners by talking through personal topics. As an ambassador for Best Buddies International and a proactive advocate, Crawford channels her influence for positive social change, from combatting vaccine hesitancy to championing LGBTQIA+ rights. Looking forward, Crawford envisions a future where diversity continues to flourish in the entertainment industry, with a focus on uplifting individuals from diverse backgrounds, producing projects she’s passionate about, and expanding her influence in the realm she aptly calls her own.
You’ve seamlessly transitioned from being a guest host on “Catfish” to becoming a fan favorite and now the show’s host. How has this journey influenced your approach to hosting, and what unique perspective do you bring to the show?
I think it’s taught me to just trust the process. I had been working as a guest host on local news stations in New York and Connecticut and hosting smaller projects for 7 years before I booked my first guest spot on “Catfish.” and then eventually the full-time gig. But “Catfish” is unlike any hosting job I’ve ever had before – it’s a lot more casual and documentary style, so I was able to just be myself and I feel blessed to have viewers love me for me. Being a Black woman and being a big sister – there’s so much wit, intuition, perspective, and genuine love that comes with that, and I think that is necessary in every space.
As the first female host for both “Are You the One?” and “Ex on the Beach,” you’ve broken new ground. How do you see your role influencing the landscape for women in the hosting and reality/documentary space, and what challenges have you faced along the way?
Men get a lot of feedback in the real-life dating scene (as some should), but they tend to dominate the reality TV space, especially when it comes to dating shows. I think there is a need for a woman’s perspective in a lot of areas of TV – from hosting to executive and casting roles. I’ve now come into three shows that were previously hosted by men who I respect and admire, but there is still a certain level of “proving myself” that I’ve had to do as a woman in these positions. As a big fan of reality TV, myself, I don’t like change either! So, coming into these roles, I’ve had to win over new audiences again and again and again and find my style despite what was previously shown.
Your podcast, “Relationsh*t with Kamie Crawford,” has gained significant traction, being named one of the 17 Best Podcasts for Women by The Today Show. How has the podcasting platform allowed you to connect with your audience on a deeper level, and what topics do you find most resonate with your listeners and why?
When people watch me on TV, they are usually seeing me help others with their dating lives and situations. I love that my podcast can accomplish that while also allowing me to get more personal. We talk about everything from infidelity and dating apps to mental health, self-care, and astrology. My listeners, or “besties” as we call each other, value perspective and point of view and I’m honored that they value my particular take on things. They know that I’m always going to be real and give them the advice that I would give to my little sisters or my best friends. In a space filled with “buzz words” and “hot topics,” I think relatability is what sets “Relationsh*t” apart.
Beyond your on-screen roles, you’re actively involved in building out the production side of your business, with a focus on the reality/documentary space. Can you share your vision for this expansion and the type of content you aspire to create?
I want to explore the stories that haven’t been told yet. Giving voices to those that haven’t been heard and also amplifying the voices that aren’t heard enough. I’m always going to have a passion for any kind of content surrounding relationships, love, and the unique ways that we are connected. I’m a sucker for some piping hot relationship tea!
Your inclusion as a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Rookie was a significant moment, celebrating diversity in backgrounds and body types. How do you use your platform to amplify the importance of body positivity, and what changes would you like to see in the fashion and media industry regarding representation?
Sometimes I think we’ve come a long way in the fashion industry when it comes to representation and doing away with unsustainable beauty standards, but then some new fad or beauty trend rolls in and reminds me that we still have some ways to go. As society changes and demands to see something different, we will see more representation in the media that reflects the world we live in. Whether it’s on TV or on my podcast, I enjoy hearing and sharing our guests’ unique experiences and stories. Change begins with education and the more that people see and hear new information, the less likely they are to return to old ways of thinking and viewing the world.
Your role as an ambassador for Best Buddies International reflects a commitment to supporting marginalized groups and communities. Can you share some impactful experiences or initiatives you’ve been involved in, and how do you envision using your platform for positive social change?
Advocacy has always been a part of my life. I have been involved in several charitable organizations since I was in high school. After winning Miss Teen USA when I was 17, I was able to dive into different causes that I connected with and that’s what led me to Best Buddies, an organization that helps to enrich the lives of people with intellectual disabilities. With them, I’ve lobbied on Capitol Hill, completed bike races, gone to proms, holiday parties, bowling events, etc., but the most heartwarming for me was a “buddy check-in” we did during the pandemic over Zoom to see how everyone was doing and coping. I’ve always been inspired by the positive energy of our Buddies and the love they share with everyone around them.
In 2020, I had the honor of working with the Biden-Harris administration and Stacey Abrams’ Civics for the Culture initiative getting BIPOC voters out to the polls in the 2020 elections as well as serving as a Voter Engagement Ambassador for the Congressional Black Caucus PAC. During the pandemic, I also worked with the California Department of Health, the Pandemic Action Network, and the NAACP to combat vaccine hesitancy amongst Black and Brown communities through education and social media advocacy.
I’m also a proud ally to the LGBTQIA+ community and use my platform to raise awareness about the issues they face as well as the active legislation that is being pushed to abrogate their rights. I believe that being a person with influence means that you have the power to advocate for the change you want to see in the world. Not speaking up for others has never been an option for me and I will continue to do so whenever possible.
“Catfish” deals with sensitive and often challenging situations. How do you navigate the emotional aspects of the show, and what strategies do you employ to connect with the individuals involved while maintaining a level of professionalism?
There’s no real way to prepare for the stories we come across on the show because every case is different, but I always come into every episode with open ears and compassion for everyone involved. Regardless of how intense the situation may seem; these are real people, and their emotions are very real too. I don’t have a strategy if I’m being honest – I just listen, try to understand, and give the advice I would want to hear if I were in their shoes.
From your overall deal with MTV Entertainment Studios to hosting multiple shows and the success of your podcast, how do you perceive the evolution of the entertainment industry, especially in terms of the opportunities it now provides for hosts and producers?
I’m excited about the future of the entertainment industry. We have so much more diversity and opportunity than ever before and so many amazing stories are being told. I want to continue being a part of bringing those stories to light and I feel blessed to have been given the platform that I have at MTV. I think that as long as networks and production companies are willing to uplift and give opportunities to people (particularly women, people from marginalized communities, BIPOC, etc.) who are passionate about this space, we will continue to have even more amazing, diverse content to be a part of and enjoy.
Whether it’s hosting a show, producing content, or engaging with your podcast, what does your creative process look like? How do you approach each project to ensure authenticity and connection with your audience?
It sounds very cliché, but I go into every project just being myself and trusting my intuition. Everything that I have accomplished I’ve gotten by maintaining my authenticity and I feel very privileged to have built a career on being myself because I know that a lot of people in my industry have not had the same experience. I do what feels right in my gut and my heart and I trust that it will resonate with whoever I’m meant to reach. And if it doesn’t… Well, they can tune in to someone else, haha! No hard feelings.
What exciting projects or goals are on the horizon for Kamie Crawford in the near future? Are there specific areas within the entertainment industry or advocacy work that you are particularly passionate about exploring?
TV world domination! I’m excited to produce my own projects that I’m passionate about and lend my name to projects that speak to me as well. It feels amazing to say that I am currently living my teenage dream, so I’m looking forward to exploring new goals and opportunities to expand my reach and touch the lives of everyone watching.
Follow Kamie Crawford | @kamiecrawford
Podcast | Relationsh*t with Kamie Crawford
Kamie Crawford Website