In 2015, rapper/actor Ludacris (real name: Chris Bridges) has become the go-to celebrity to host major awards shows. On May 17, he and supermodel Chrissy Teigen co-hosted the Billboard Music Awards. And on Aug. 16, he takes on co-hosting duties (with actors Gina Rodriguez and Josh Peck) for the Teen Choice Awards, which Fox will televise in the U.S. at 8 p.m. ET/PT. The 2015 Teen Choice Awards will take place at the University of Southern California’s Galen Center in Los Angeles.
Ludacris has had plenty of other reasons to celebrate in 2015. In June, he and his wife, Eudoxie Mbouguiengue, welcomed a daughter, Cadence Gaëlle, to their family. (He has two other daughters from two previous relationships.) And his action movie “Furious 7” (part of the “Fast & Furious” franchise) is one of the biggest hits of the year. Ludacris recently took time out of his busy schedule to do this conference-call interview with journalists.
You’re also working on “Empire.” How has it been diving in with the cast?
Oh, I am only on one episode. It was good. I’ve done it already, and I’m basically appearing and I’m working as a correctional officer that’s in, of course, the Federal Bureau of Prisons. I believe that celebrity inmates should be treated no differently than regular criminals, so we’re talking about Lucious Lyon, but basically, I am just on one episode, so I’m a feature on one episode. To answer your question, it was great.
The two days that I shot, it was great. I already have a relationship with Terrence Howard. I worked with him on two other films, so I felt like I was amongst family and friends, people that I worked with before.
There’s a lot of excitement surrounding the engagement of “Empire” co-stars Trai Byers and Grace Gealey. Have there been any celebrations on set?
The day that I was there shooting, I had nothing to do and did not hear anything about that. As a matter of fact, I believe I was shooting before that announcement was made, so I can’t answer your question about other people when it comes to their engagements, my apologies.
So many times the “Furious” franchise cast members are described as a family. How does it feel to be co-hosting the award show and you guys are nominated for “Furious 7” for Choice Movie chemistry?
It feels great, man, because I think that we always drilled that point no matter what interviews we’re doing. I think people are finally really taking notice. I’m hosting the Teen Choice Awards when I actually have a teenager. My oldest is 14 years old, and she’ll actually be coming with me. Her birthday is, literally, the same week as the awards.
But to answer your question, it feels great to be nominated, and I think this franchise continues to get bigger and better every time. I think it’s past due, man, so I’m hoping we win that award. There’d be nothing better than me co-hosting and actually winning an award and having my daughter there as part of her birthday celebration all in the same week and same day.
How do you even go about preparing to host an awards show like this? It’s so youthful, and the audience is always so crazy. What kind of preparations do you go through in advance?
Man, we’ve had a call-in, terms of some of the things that we’ll try to do, but we haven’t got in the real detail. I think the best way to answer your question is that they ask for specific people based off of our personalities and just our vibrance and energy. I think, at the end of the day, when we come together no matter what the format is, we’re just being ourselves, and we’re going to transfer that energy across to all of these different teenagers and across the world so that we’re able to match the amount of excitement that’s going on with the awards show.
Technicalities taken out of it, man, it’s all about what’s destined in terms of great people, great energy that have good timing, not only as actors and comedic timing, but just in general and just having a good time and knowing how to go off script and maybe ad-lib and just make it feel like you’re a part of what’s going on, not only with the awards and the whole ceremony, but, of course, being one with the crowd.
Are you excited to be on the stage with Gina and Josh? Do you have any advice for them or have you worked with them in the past?
I haven’t worked with them in past, but I’ve been able to see some of their past work, and I am already fans of them, so I’m just excited to work with them. If anything, they might be able to give me some advice. I feel like I think I always have something to learn to continue to complete me as progressing host, actor, rapper, everything that I do. That’s part of the reason that I choose to do things like this, because I feel like I always have something to learn, and it’s good to be around great people from different sides and walks of life that are involved in different aspects of entertainment.
You are obviously a host, a rapper, an actor, everything. What other bucket-list items do you have for yourself since you have your hands in everything, pretty much?
I’m pretty much just a male gigolo, because then I’d be able to get my hands in even more things. I’m just joking. I’m a married, man, so what else is on my bucket list? Probably to win an Emmy one day. An Emmy and an Oscar; that would be complete because I have a Grammy. That may take some time, but I mean, I think whether it’s years or decades from now, I’m going to get one or both of those.
Are there any hosts that you kind have been looking up to or kind of taking tips from or have any of your friends given you any advice for hosting?
No, they haven’t, but what’s on the top of my head is I felt like Neil Patrick Harris did a great job hosting the Oscars this past year. I think that he is fresh on my mind in terms of somebody who is great with the timing of everything and very comfortable in his own skin. I would love to take after those shoes.
He obviously had a big performance element in his hosting gig. Are you going to do any performances?
I don’t think I’ll be doing any performances, but I was more just talking about him as a host, but I guess you’re right, I forgot that he sung and all that stuff. I’m not quite there yet, but like I said earlier, I continue to progress, so we’ll see about that one day, who knows.
You’ve been in the entertainment business awhile. A lot of teens will be watching the show. Do you have any advice for young entertainers who may be starting out in the business?
Oh, for teenagers, I would just say make sure you have a strong foundation of people around you, because we all know as teenagers is when we really just start to not want to listen to everybody and kind of rebel and do our own thing. But as long as you keep a strong foundation of people around you and people that you love and trust and are going to be not necessarily yes men, if you know what I mean.
I think that’s the most important part of it. They will tell you when they feel like you’re going in the wrong direction or doing something wrong. Make sure you have the right people around you. That would be my greatest advice that I could give.
For more info: Teen Choice Awards website