Having been a fan of the show for years, The View’s Sara Haines never could have imagined that one day she would be sitting at the table in front of millions of viewers across the country discussing some of the hottest daily topics in politics and entertainment. Originally a government major in college,
Haines said that she fell into the world of journalism accidentally—and what a happy accident it was.
“My motivation was accidental; it wasn’t really journalism,” Haines said. “I came to New York because I enjoy doing comedy. I was studying the business of television as a NBC Page and ended up at The Today Show. I had a front row seat to some of the best journalism going on and I pride myself more as a storyteller because I learned under Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford for some time. Then I came in the side door, I’d like to say, to journalism so I’ve had the honor of sitting next to some of the best in the business. I’ve learned by their experiences, but I have so much respect for the craft because I wasn’t trained the same way by hitting the ground in local markets and building my way up. I hesitate to use that term [journalist] to describe myself.”
Fans of the long-running daytime talk show were elated to hear last month that Haines would be returning to the panel as a permanent co-host after originally leaving to co-host ABC’s newest show GMA Day with Michael Strahan.
“I’d like to say that I never wanted to leave The View in the first place,” the Iowa native explained. “I got an opportunity that so few people get and I don’t even know if I could have dreamt big enough because TV lineups are rarely changing and to get an opportunity to do a show with the great Michael Strahan was kind of a pipedream of sorts, so when that came up there was no answer, but ‘hell yes.’ When GMA Day didn’t work out due to so many factors including the pandemic, to be lucky enough to sit back at this table for a second time was amazing.”
Since The View, which is currently in its 24th season, reaches millions of people every day and with social media running rampant with vitriol these days, Haines said she has learned to develop a thick skin while working in the business, especially when giving her opinion is part of her job description. So do those angry trolls who may reach out to her via social media pay her any mind?
“I’d be lying if I said no it never bothers me because as a people-pleasing middle child, I think I’ve always been a peacekeeper of sorts in whatever company I’m in and learning to develop a thicker skin has been something that I’ve learned on the job,” Haines said, who is also a mother of three. “The only thing that can top those very angry trolls is my integrity, my character, the way I was raised and the way I hope to raise my own children, so that will give you a ferocity and bravery. But I still control what I look at and what I don’t because I feel delicate at times to be swayed by strangers and I don’t want to give away my power like that. So I often don’t check Twitter regularly unless I’m in a pretty brave mood.”
Although co-hosts Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Sunny Hostin, Meghan McCain and Haines are currently separated and working remotely due to the pandemic, Haines said it is the behind the scenes antics that she holds near and dear to her heart.
“I remember one time trolling Joy because we had this little booth where money was given away and we all rotated standing inside of it,” Haines recalled. “Joy was a little nervous about going in and I didn’t realize how delicate the topic was, so I called her room pretending to be someone from the crew and told her that I wanted to give her forewarning that it got a little warm in there and the door got stuck sometimes, and that during rehearsals someone did get stuck in there, but not to worry and that they fixed the door. She panicked and refused to go in there all of a sudden. That is the ornery sibling in me having way too much fun at work. I spent the whole morning prepping to prank her instead of prepping for the show. But when I found out that she freaked out my boss was really upset and I thought, ‘Sara that is so unprofessional.’ She eventually laughed about it, but I have more fun having access to these people.”
Haines also recalled a funny incident with Goldberg and some of the other members of the crew that involved a chair stool.
“I listen to whatever Whoopi plays on Alexa,” Haines said. “One time we were debating whether Ariana Grande could really do her album cover where she was sitting on this little stool, so we started to do it. Whoopi heard us laughing and she comes into the makeup room and then proceeds to do it with us. We were all saying there was no way she [Grande] could have done this and we’re falling off this stool. Honestly, my heart is full at the moments no one ever sees of all kind of antics that go on behind the scenes. So yes, I very much feel that I’m at a disservice by being separated by these people right now.”
So what does Haines think it is about The View that makes it so popular amongst viewers?
“I’ve been a fan of The View since it began, so I think Barbara Walter’s foundation of the show of bringing women of different walks of life and ages to come and share their views and to discuss, debate and disagree is such a rich opportunity,” she said. “I was always glued to the television watching the changing faces and the changing topics. I think I became more indebted as the topics became even more important and relevant as they added politics about five or six years ago. This is the way women talk. As a woman in my regular life as well, when I have a glass of wine with friends, I’m joking around about things I saw on social media and talking about my kids, but I’m also talking about things that matter and are important. So to have a show that shows the many faces of what we all are as layered human beings it is just rich with relatability. I think that’s why I watched it as a fan and why I’m honored to sit at the table.”
And with an extremely contentious election season, a global pandemic that has so far killed 210,000-plus Americans, ongoing talks about racial inequality, protests and riots, Haines said she hopes for a calmer 2021.
“I really hope that things calm down,” she said. “In some ways, depending on the outcome, I don’t know how they can. I think the scariest part is not just the specific issues, it’s the temperature in which everyone is operating at. The world is ending on either side of the spectrum and we’re all self-righteously handing a torch that we’re willing to betray reasonable minds and conversation at the chance of saving everyone, and I think that’s a dangerous place to be. I think the temperature has to come down however that is, so we can resume the responsibility of fixing problems with cooler minds.”
And with the global pandemic still ongoing, Haines said that she is focusing more on self-care and her family, and recently started her own Instagram show called Straight Up With Sara.
“I’m endlessly curious about attaining a reasonable life with my kids and teaching them lessons about their duties to Mother Earth, but also skin health,” she said. “I want to age gracefully and I’m not blind. I have a mirror and I see my body changing. I love fitness and I love books. I’m a veracious fiction reader. So I selfishly started my own show [on Instagram] like everyone else, I don’t tend to have more than 10 viewers at one time, but I just want to selfishly talk about things that I’m interested about and hope that people join me who are interested too. So it’s not a massive project, but it’s a selfish personal project.”
You can watch The View weekdays at 11 a.m. ET on ABC.