Tara Wallace came into viewers’ homes through reality TV—but her new Impact Network series Soul Food with Tara Wallace is a different kind of real. As the title indicates, it’s one-part talk show and one-part cooking show as she gets to know her guests through honest conversations while featuring talented chefs. As the series kicks off today, I spoke to Tara about what motivated her to get into the crowded talk show space and what she loves about her new venture.
Brittany Frederick: Were you interested in launching a talk show, or what motivated you to step into the space?
Tara Wallace: I can’t say that it’s something that I always wanted to do, but I met [executive producer] Steve Marcano and [he] told me what they were trying to do. We sat down and we talked about if this were to happen, where did I see it and who would I want to speak with. After that lunch, I just stepped into the next thing that was happening in my life. I met [executive producer] Royal Jackson and Soul Food was born. I always try to remain open and it was a different calling, and I’m just happy that I had an opportunity to do it.
BF: You’re used to being interviewed. What was it like for you to be the one doing the interviewing, and how would you describe your approach?
TW: I did my homework. I listened to people interview people, whether it was the most popular person or someone just starting out. Who was I affected by? Who did I feel really listened? What kind of questions do you ask? Once you do all of that homework, then you get to really know the people you want to bring on the show. [And] I go back to my actor mode. I just trust that it’s there and I try to be in the moment and see what comes from that.
It’s great to have a plan but if the plan oversees you being in the moment, then we don’t get the true authentic me and it was really important for me to show a different side of myself that people had not seen before. All of the people that came on the show, I knew them [previously] and had an opportunity to observe them, and I thought they had a story that was worth sharing…I tried to remain open, I tried to be responsive and asked questions that I genuinely wanted to know.
BF: You mentioned knowing your guests before they appeared on Soul Food. Was there anything you learned from having them on the show that surprised you?
TW: There were a few things that I was surprised by. Sometimes when you are working in the media or in the public eye, [people] always think that this person has it together. They’re not struggling or they’re not worried about their next job or they’re not stressed out financially. When we had some of those conversations—I think it was Yolanda [Whittaker] who opened up about some of those things—it was really important for people to hear that.
I think that sometimes people think that when you arrive. then that’s it, and that’s not the business of entertainment. For her to open up and share that, I was shocked and that made me look at myself and say hey, I struggled and maybe I need to talk about that more. I have been worried about what I’m doing next and what’s my next check, and we don’t share that enough. Everybody now lives off Instagram and those two moments of someone taking a picture, they think that’s the person’s life. It’s just so much more than that.
BF: Is there anything you’re hoping viewers take away from the series? Or anything that you would say makes it distinct from other talk shows that have come before?
TW: It’s just to remain open. You’re going to learn something and hopefully you’ve taken away some advice or something that someone else has gone through that’s going to better your experience in some way. I have to go to Chef Nancie [Greene], who changed professions after she raised her children. That’s such a scary place for people, and I want people to go into this and realize wherever they are, [if] they have it all figured out, that’s wonderful. If they don’t, there’s always tomorrow. There’s always things that you really want to do and it’s never too late. Jump in and get it done.
Soul Food with Tara Wallace airs Saturdays at 3:00 p.m. EST/12:00 p.m. PT on Impact Network.
Article content is (c)2020-2022 Brittany Frederick and may not be excerpted or reproduced without express written permission by the author. Follow me on Twitter at @BFTVTwtr, on Instagram at @BFTVGram.