Cape Town – When I got the opportunity to interview Malika Haqq I was pretty excited.
After watching her on TV for so long I felt like I practically knew her.
She's not only Khloe Kardashian's BFF, but she's also an actress in her own right with an impressive list of movie and TV credits to her name.
Malika will be starring in the second season of Famously Single on E! (DStv channel 124).
The popular series sees seven new celebrities and one returning lovelorn star, who have all lived through public romances, even more public break-ups and want to learn how to finally pick the right match.
The cast will live together in a loft while taking part in dating exercises and coaching sessions with relationship experts Dr. Darcy Sterling and Robert Mack.
Watch the trailer here:
It’s about 18:55 when I get the call.
The NBC representative connects me to Malika. She introduces me, we greet each other and then I hear a fit of coughing from the other side of the line.
"Oh forgive me, my voice is trying to go out on me. For some reason I am drinking tea and I seemed to choke. It’s been a rough morning for me, but I will get through it," says Malika.
After that introduction it's easy for us to start chatting like friends.
Malika decided to join the show because she enjoyed the first season especially the therapist Doctor Darcy.
Therapy is something that she believes in and has used it for various aspects of her life, but not her love life.
"I have never applied therapy to my love life so I thought this was a new and different experience. I would say my love life was a part of my life that needed a bit of help and I figured why not. I had the support of my friends and family – I jumped on in there."
LIVING WITH STRANGERS
Other celebrities joining her in the house are: British model Callum Best, Bachelorette/Bachelor in Paradise alum Chad Johnson, Jersey Shore alum Ronnie Magro-Ortiz, fitness model David Mcintosh, reality star Tiffany Pollard, pro dancer Karina Smirnoff and Rich Kids from Beverly Hills star Dorothy Wang.
She only discovered who her cast mates were upon arrival at the house
"I didn’t know until I got there I learnt as it unfolded. It was a very knew and interesting environment. I don't know about shows where people meet strangers for the first time and live with them – it's different."
For Malika that was her biggest challenge, living with other people.
She has always lived alone and has not attended college where she lived in a dorm.
For her this was a crash course in sharing a living space with strangers, which was uncomfortable in the beginning.
"I have never experienced anything like that. To add to the living conditions being abnormal now you're actually going to sit with a group of people and pour out your heart and talk about some of your not so pleasant attributes and be open and vulnerable in front of these people you don’t know."
She continues: "That was my initial discomfort but it also became my comfort because I realised that I wasn’t alone in that - all of us were going through the exact same thing with each other."
AN INSTANT ROMANCE
By now it’s no secret that Malika hit it off with Ronnie. The pair went on to date for a short while but have ended their relationship.
She says candidly that she did not expect to make a connection with anyone else in the show in fact at the beginning of the process her intentions were not to meet anyone.
"I had actually said I am not going to meet anyone but I will use this experience to get different tools and dating tips and see why I have my own personal roadblocks."
She continues: "Honestly I think that Ronnie just became an immediate comfort for me in that environment although it might not look like it was uncomfortable for me. He became a security blanket for me throughout the process."
DATING IN THE PUBLIC EYE
For Malika one of the most challenging things about dating in the public eye is that when it comes to an end people don't let go so easily.
"People often hold on to the decisions you make about your love life – if it's a good choice or a bad choice people have a lot to say. Sometimes it’s good because we do need that kind of self-reflection."
She continues: "The great thing I have learnt is to take that constructive criticism and just leave the rest out."
The most important thing she learned about herself through the process was to be more accountable for the decisions she has made in her love life.
"I know now that I really have to slow down. There is no rush and I think I have been rushing my whole life. If it's good and it’s right, it's okay to take your time. It took me to rush in this environment to realise that this is the one thing I have to change."
For Malika her ideal partner is someone who is very clear about who they are and know what they want out of love.
"I will not waste my time with someone who is not interested or invested - who wants to spend time with me. Someone who wants to grow and serious about commitment. I am not old but I am a little too old to begin with someone who just wants to play around."
A LESSON FOR EVERYONE
While this might be about a reality show about celebrities and their love lives she believes that there is a lesson to take away from it.
"There's a lesson in everything if you're willing to learn it. You always have to look for your part."
She continues: "I think there is an honesty that is extremely transparent throughout the course of the season. The willingness to accept your own role in your love life is very important. And we did do it – not only in front of a group of strangers, in group therapy and on camera. I think that you can always take something away in any relationship if you are willing to take responsibility for your role."
Catch Famously Single season 2 on Friday, 14 July at 20:00 on E! (DStv 124).