The View cohost and legal expert Sunny Hostin's career on TV might've had a different name attached to it if she hadn't listened to Nancy Grace, the media personality recalled on Tuesday's episode of Finding Your Roots.
As the 55-year-old appeared on the show to dig into her family history, she told host Henry Louis Gates, Jr. that Grace — with whom she appeared on Court TV — couldn't pronounce her first name on the air, prompting her to suggest that Hostin change her Spanish name, Asunción, to better her career prospects.
“She struggled, every take,” Hostin said. “It was just so crazy. She couldn’t get it. Then she said, at the break, ‘Can I say something to you?’ I was like, ‘Sure.’ She was like, ‘Do you have another name? A nickname?’ And she just kept at it. She was basically telling me, You’re very good at this, but that name is not gonna fly. You need to just go by a nickname. I said, 'Some friends in school who couldn’t pronounce my name call me Sunny. But, no one in my family calls me Sunny, I don’t use it professionally.' The next segment, I was Sunny Hostin."
Hostin says she noticed that her "career took off" after the name change, and that fact says "something about our world" and how they view people from different ethnic backgrounds, in her estimation.
EW has reached out to a representative for Grace for comment.
Hostin's Finding Your Roots episode also revealed other information about the on-air journalist's family history, including that her indigenous Puerto Rican heritage on her mother's side is far less than she initially thought, with that bloodline only accounting for seven percent of her overall genealogy. The series found that Hostin's mother's family were predominantly Spanish, and were slaveholders.
"Wow, I’m a little bit in shock. I just always thought of myself as Puerto Rican, half Puerto Rican, I didn’t think my family was originally from Spain and slaveholders,” Hostin told Gates, Jr., before finding a positive in the fact that her spouse, Manny, is also Spanish. “I think it’s actually pretty interesting that my husband and I have shared roots, so I do appreciate that, and I think it’s great for our children to know this information. I guess it’s a fact of life that this is how some people made their living, on the backs of others."
Finding Your Roots airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on PBS.