There isn’t much that Wendy Williams won’t discuss. The legendary television host and former radio personality is no stranger to controversy. On her syndicated live daytime talk show, The Wendy Williams Show, she welcomes guests with open arms, urging them to display their shoes on her shoe cam before diving head first, tea cup in hand, into the nit and grit of their lives.
Williams has been in the game since the late ’80s, so the grind of the entertainment business has become ingrained into who she is. Still, her poignant quips and jaw-dropping opinions aren’t the only hot topics Williams has a handle on. She also refuses to shy away from what goes down in the bathroom.
Her Toilet Talk campaign, in partnership with the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) and Allergan and Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, is about…bowel movements.
“I don’t shy away from talking about taboo topics, and talking about number two, isn’t any different,” Williams said. Recently, we sat down with the talk show host to discuss Toilet Talk, her plant-based lifestyle and her Hunter Foundation.
EBONY.com: When we think about health in general, we don’t often consider colon health or what goes on in the restroom. Why was it important for you to join the Toilet Talk campaign and open up a dialogue about this?
Wendy Williams: I’ve never been shy to talk about anything. Colon cancer runs in my family so when I turned 50 three years ago, I went for my first colonoscopy. Also, it’s very important for me to go to the bathroom, turn around and inspect before flushing. Not enough people do that. There are over 60 million Americans affected by Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I’ve never been one of them, but oh god can you imagine?!
EBONY.com: It sounds horrible.
WW: There are three different types. There’s Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) with constipation, IBS with diarrhea, and then there’s chronic idiopathic constipation, which we don’t really know what the cause is.
EBONY.com: Are there other tips and tricks that people should know about when it comes to their colon health?
WW: I’ve got two great websites that they can check out, TheToiletTalk.com and AboutYourGut.com. That looking thing is also really important. Don’t just go, wipe, and flush. Go and then turn around and look at it. What does it look like? If you’re having a problem, consult your medical professional.
EBONY.com: You’re an extremely busy woman, but you’ve really focused on living a healthy lifestyle. So many people, especially Black women don’t take the time to take care of themselves. Why is living a healthy lifestyle so important to you?
WW: Well, it’s worked really well for me because my husband, son and I all eat the same. I’m a pescatarian. I eat an occasional piece of fish. But besides that, no meat, no meat, no meat. Our son is a total plant-based diet person. He’s on beans and rice and stuff like that; my husband goes between the two. It’s really easy for me because I’m surrounded by people who also eat clean like me. Why is it important? Because I want to live on the other side of 50. I’ve got another 50 years, but I want them to be good. I don’t eat collard greens with ham hocks anymore. I don’t even eat collard greens with turkey wings, but I like collard greens and hot sauce. If you have that collard green cabbage mix and then put some hot sauce on it with some nice seasoning— seasoning is important. There are so many great brands that make good plant-based meat. There are mushrooms that taste like oysters; there are mushrooms that taste like chicken. It’s been two years since me and my family have been eating this way, and I have to say … that um … I go regularly.
EBONY.com: Along with health, you’ve also focused on the Hunter Foundation. What inspired that partnership and what have you learned about yourself from the girls who’ve benefited from the foundation?
WW: Since joining the Hunter Foundation, it really has smacked home. I’ve already thought about my next life being philanthropy. I just never dreamed that I’d have my own foundation. This is like a dream come true. We try to help people. So far the most impacted have been the girls that we send away to summer camp. A foundation is a very difficult thing to start up. Once you get it up and running, the world is your oyster, you know? I think the first summer, years ago, there were maybe eight [girls]. This summer we’re sending 40 girls to a camp. The one with the mosquitoes that don’t have viruses. We’re sending to the good camp [Laughs].
EBONY.com: Why did you want to provide a camp experience?
WW: I went to camp during the summer. As a young person, I think camp is so important. You stay away from your home. That prepares you for those four years of college, so you’re not a scaredy cat and want to live in your bedroom. I went every summer since I was like three years old. Literally. Eventually, I would like to have a community center, and I would like to have after school help for young people, who need help with their homework and qualified people that I could hire to help them with their homework. I would like to help men and women get back into the workforce. Everybody screws up at some point in life, but everybody deserves a second chance. I grew up in a house of service. My parents still to this day, that’s what they do — they do service.