Jacque Reid is a well-known and highly-regarded journalist. This Atlanta native honed her skills as an anchor on CNN Headline News and BET Nightly News, co-hosted radio programs with Steve Harvey and Tom Joyner, was a correspondent for Larry King and has interviewed both President Clinton and President Obama. She’s serious; but, she also knows how to let her hair down. This month, the veteran reporter takes a stab at reality television, co-starring in the VH-1 show, Let’s Talk About Pep, which follows Sandy “Pepa” Denton (of Salt-N-Pepa fame) and her three girlfriends as they strive for love and success in New York. Reid gave us the skinny on her most difficult celebrity interview, having sex on the first date and her challenge to our home town news queen.
944: You were born and raised in Atlanta and attended Clark Atlanta University. How did this city prepare you for success?
Jacque Reid: I am known for developing strong chemistry with the people that I interview. I feel my ability to disarm and relate to various types of celebrities, politicians or just everyday people is attributed to growing up in Atlanta. I have a strong sense of self-respect that comes from seeing men in my hometown treat women like ladies.
944: You have interviewed everyone from Bill Clinton to Beyoncé. Who has been your most interesting? Your most difficult?
JR: My most interesting interview was probably Barack Obama the night after he gave that amazing speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston. When Barack Obama walked in the room, he just owned it. He was very humble and honest. His answers were not rehearsed like many politicians that I have interviewed. My most difficult was Don King. It was also in 2004 after King announced he was supporting the Republican Party. He was determined to talk over the interview and turn it into a commercial for himself. I fought to keep control and made him answer my questions honestly. It was exhausting.
944: You’ve transitioned from covering celebs to becoming one. Was that a challenge in any way?
JR: Well, I don’t consider myself a celebrity, but I get that people recognize me. It actually embarrasses me when people make a big fuss, but it also makes me proud that people appreciate my work.
944: Why have you decided to delve into reality television?
JR: Cheryl (Salt) and her sister, Kim James, actually asked me if I would be a part of the show. They said my personality would be perfect. I knew they wouldn’t steer me wrong, but I still had reservations. When you watch the show, you will see I open up about some very personal issues. And most of all, our show is about women that are friends who get along. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a disagreement, but this show does not focus on how we don’t get along.
944: How do you fit into the group of women?
JR: I’m the one who wouldn’t dream of having sex on the first date … or the first six months of dating, in most cases. I am also the only one without children, and that is a huge issue for me.
944: Were you worried about hurting your credibility as a journalist with the reality show?
JR: I don’t think branching out hurts my credibility at all. It just gives me more experiences to draw from. Plus, I am careful about how I carry myself in everything that I do.
944: Would you ever move back to Atlanta?
JR: I am trying to move back right now. I am looking for a way to live in Atlanta and New York and just go back and forth. I just have to find the right job in Atlanta. Maybe Monica Pearson and I can do something together! That would be amazing for me, but I would have to step up my hair game!