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Sunny Hostin Recalls the ‘Tough’ Early Days of Working with Barbara Walters on ‘The View’ (Exclusive)

After eight years on The View, Sunny Hostin seems woven into the fabric of the daytime talk show — but things haven’t always been so easy.

In an exclusive interview with Us Weekly to promote her new book Summer on Highland Beach, out May 28, Hostin, 55, reflected back on the earliest days of her View tenure. 

“I was really nervous,” Hostin recalled. “I mean, think about it. It’s Barbara Walters’ legacy. I worked with Barbara Walters when I was auditioning.”

Things between Hostin and the late Walters, who created The View back in 1997, didn’t exactly smooth over right away. “She was tough,” Hostin said. “She would look at my questions and I would change my questions.”

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In due time, however, Walters gave Hostin the coveted seal of approval. “She was like, ‘You’ll do well here.’ I remember her telling me that,” Hostin said. 

Sunny Hostin Recalls the Tough Early Days of Working with Barbara Walters on The View
Sunny Hostin, Barbara Walters Jamie McCarthy;Cindy Ord/Getty Images(2)

Still, given her background as a legal analyst and correspondent, adjusting to the vibe and vulnerability of The View wasn’t always a cinch. 

“You really have to bear a lot of your personality,” Hostin noted, “but also just your own history and your family story and your views on things.”

Luckily, she had more experienced cohosts to lean on for advice. 

Joy Behar explained to me that once you open up your mouth and give a view, a belief, 50% of the country is going to hate you,” Hostin said. “That’s hard, because I want to be liked. I want people to like me. I want friends. That was really hard.”

Over time, Hostin was able to figure out that she didn’t have to waste her breath catering to people she didn’t care to impress in the first place. 

“Eight years in, I’m so centered. I’m so authentically myself,” she told Us confidently. “I show up that way every single day. And I don’t really care if people don’t agree with that. I’m centered enough to know that I actually do speak for a lot of people.”

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She continued, “I do speak for the 50 percent that likes me. It’s more fun now because I feel more free to be authentic.”

Her new book,  the third in Hostin’s New York Times bestselling Summer Beach series, Highland Beach — which was founded in the late 1800s by the son of Frederick Douglass and is the oldest Black resort community in America — was picked as the setting for very specific reasons. 

“It’s really important to me. I feel like we don’t know a lot of our history,” Hostin explained. “American history is so young, we haven’t been a country for that long. It’s a shame that a lot of young people just don’t know our history. Older people, too. There’s been this erasure of truly what American history is, which covers so many people, places and things.”

Hostin likened inserting impactful anecdotes into the book to “when you give your kids broccoli with maybe a little bit of seasoning on it. They don’t really want to hear about the history.”

It’s with those “spoonfuls” of information, as Hostin called them, that she hopes readers will appreciate “real American history with people that were so important to the fabric of our country.”

“I thought I’d bring it back,” Hostin said. 

Summer on Highland Beach is available Tuesday, May 28. 

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