Why ‘The View’s’ Sunny Hostin Changed Her Name – And Why She Regrets It
ABC’s The View has yet to fill the seat vacated by former co-host Abby Huntsman. With the current crew of Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Sunny Hostin, and Meghan McCain, chances are show execs will be looking to get a panelist with a conservative bent to join the table since McCain seems to be the lone Republican at the moment.
Hostin has been more vocal on the show over the past year, specifically on issues of immigration. As a woman of color with a Puerto Rican mother and African-American father, Hostin knows first hand of the country’s divide when it comes to matters of race and prejudice.
From courtroom to studio
Receiving her law degree from the University of Notre Dame on scholarship, Hostin started her professional path as an attorney though she truly wanted a career in television news.
“I studied journalism at Binghamton University, even interning for NBC’s longtime anchor Carol Jenkins,” Hostin wrote in an article for Marie Claire last year. “Before graduation, I told my parents I wanted to pursue broadcast journalism. They were incredulous: ‘Carol is a needle in a haystack,’ they said. ‘No one looks like you on TV.'”
Yet Hostin ended up having the best of both worlds. Becoming a successful federal prosecutor, the South Bronx native was later brought onto Court TV as a legal commentator, then served on CNN and ABC, eventually being named Senior Legal Correspondent and Analyst for ABC News. In 2016, Hostin took a seat at The View’s table and became a regular panelist on the show.
Hostin was born Asunción Cummings, but decided to change her name when former Court TV host Nancy Grace suggested it was too difficult to pronounce. “‘No one will remember you,” Hostin recalls Grace saying, according to USA Today.
Deciding to use the name ‘Sunny’ – a modified family nickname – Hostin now regrets the the change since her new moniker doesn’t reflect her Latino heritage.
“I wish I could take back that decision,” the View co-host admitted. “Had I not changed it, perhaps people would identify me as being Afro Latina more. It’s such a big part of who I am. My family doesn’t call me Sunny; they don’t like it. My grandmother in particular was very upset about it.”
Hostin uses her voice on The View to speak for those that are seldom heard. The ABC news analyst is motivated to help others due to the tragic death of her uncle, who was stabbed when she was just 7 years old. Today, she makes a point of “giving a voice to the voiceless.”
“When there’s talk about the border, or how much aid the current administration allegedly gave to Puerto Rico, or about children being torn from their families, I know as an Afro Latina, I have to get it right,” Hostin explained. “Thanks to my job, I have an incredible platform to ask questions that others can’t ask. I can give a voice to people — like my uncle — who might not have one otherwise.”
Rumors are constantly swirling of strife among the View panelists, yet Hostin maintains it’s all just hype. “It’s always been the case that people say that we don’t get along,” she said, attributing the gossip to the co-hosts being “so strong and all so different and we do it in front of three million people every day.”
In October, the married mom of two emphasized that all the co-hosts get along well despite sometimes having disagreements. “I don’t have siblings, but I have cousins that I’m really close to and friends that I’m very close to, and we get into arguments,” she said, as reported by USA Today. “And there are times when you walk back into your dressing room and you’re like, ‘I cannot believe that she thinks that.’ But that’s fine because you’re a family, and you’re going to go to work the very next day and work together as a family.”
Even when tensions rise on the air, Hostin insists they are a team. “I think the viewers are OK with us getting into disagreements, just like kids understand when their parents get into disagreements,” she said. “They just don’t want us to get divorced. And we’re not gonna get divorced anytime soon.”
Watch ABC’s The View weekdays!