What Kamie Crawford Values Most in RelationshipsThe ‘Catfish’ host sits down for a mental health check-in.
Catfish has been raging on for more than a decade, and thank goodness because that means more Kamie Crawford gracing our screens with loving and hilarious reality checks. On top of hosting the longtime reality series, Crawford also hosts dating shows Ex on the Beach and Are You the One on top of her own podcast, Relationshit with Kamie Crawford. So, yeah, she’s basically a relationship expert at this point. Here, Crawford shares the most important qualities in platonic and romantic relationships, the best lessons she’s learned from therapy, and the joy of bed rotting.
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WM: How are you doing lately?
Kamie Crawford: I’m actually doing really well right now. I just had a birthday, so I turned 31 on October 25th. And this year, to be honest, has been one of the most challenging—probably one of the worst—for me in my personal life. I don't know, I've just felt a lot of pressure and a lot of outside energies and factors that were playing a role in my daily happiness.
Birthdays are kind of like my New Year's. I don't wait till New Year's to have my resolutions and have this epiphany of how I want to be [or] my rebrand strategy. I do that on my birthday. So I woke up on my 31st birthday, and I was like, I'm in control. I'm taking back control of my life and of my daily vibe, energy, all of that. It's all in my hands. Since then, I feel like I have been really standing firm in that power, so I feel much better.
WM: On top of taking back control, what are some other ways you’re taking care of your mental health?
KC: I found therapy [about] four years ago. It was the most incredible find of my entire life—better than any vintage you could find in a Parisian vintage store. It was the best thing for me, especially at that time in my life. I think it was pandemic times, and I had always been a huge advocate for therapy never having ever gone, but I could see why it would be so helpful for people. I had to eventually look at myself and be like, OK, why am I advocating for something that I have never tried? It was another time in my life when I wanted to regain some control and learn some things about myself and admit that I didn't know everything, which my rising Virgo definitely was not in agreement with, but I was like, I'll give it a try.
Around the time when I discovered therapy and my love for that, I also discovered my love for fitness and found a trainer who is basically my therapist as well. While I hate sweating, and I hate working out, I have realized that the feeling that I get afterward is not something that can really be replaced. It's something that I have to do for myself in order to feel at my best. I have to do it. It's not even a question anymore. If I go a few days without it, I miss it. And there is something scientific about that. Whether I like it or not, it works.
WM: What therapy lessons have been really integral to your mental health in the last few years?
KC: I'm someone who speaks like, “I should have already done this,” or “I should have woken up this morning and gone to the gym,” or “I should have read all those emails and done this, that, and the third,” or “I should have broken up with this person sooner.”
Something she said to me recently was like, “Don't you think the word should is kind of judgmental? Don't you feel like you're judging yourself by saying that you should have done something that you didn't do at the time? You did it eventually or you wanted to do it, and isn't that good enough? To say that you should do something or you shouldn't do something is a little judgy.”
I really thought about it, and I was like, “Damn, Kelly, that makes so much sense.” I think a lot of times we get so caught up … and it really does actually set you back at the end of the day because it is judgmental. It is judgy, and it makes you feel really badly about yourself and the decisions that you've made instead of being like, “Yeah, I could have done that, but I did this, and that is still OK.”
WM: You're, of course, most known for your hosting work on a bunch of dating shows. What qualities are important to you in relationships, whether they’re platonic or romantic?
KC: It's a cliché one, but trust is everything to me. Being a Scorpio, we don't trust anyone by nature, so it's very difficult to let people in. Even with the way of the world right now, it's hard to bring new people into your life and open up to them and hope that they don't abuse that and abuse your trust and abuse the things that you tell them. Trust is the ultimate number one thing that I have to have with people that are in my life.
I've had the same friends pretty much all my life. I'm not really on the “no new friends” vibe. If I meet somebody and we really click, then cool. But it rarely does happen because I am a guarded person. I think as I've grown in my career, I’ve become even more skeptical of people and their intentions. You just never know. Then in romantic relationships, of course, if I can't trust you, we might as well not even do this.
WM: It can be really hard to maintain friendships, especially several deep friendships. What are some ways you've learned to foster those connections with your people?
KC: I feel really blessed and lucky to be the friend that everybody comes to with everything, but I've always been this way. I'm the oldest of six girls. I have five sisters, and they all come to me with everything, always. I've always been that person, so I try to maintain that. Of course, I have my people that I can go to as well, but I maintain that there's not a time when anyone in my life could be going through something and they don't think that they can reach out to me. We're actively talking about it. I'm following up. I want to know what happened. Did he text you back? Did you quit your job? I want to know all those things about people who are in my life.
But I think as we get older and as life only gets busier, it does become more difficult. There have been times when I've been like, Oh, I feel like such a bad friend. I haven't checked in on my friend today. But I think having the right people around you who understand and also value what you have going on too makes it a lot easier to be able to still pick right back up where you left off without feeling like you've done some horrible friendship atrocity that cannot be repaired. I can't have friends like that either. That's another quality that I look for in friends: Friends who are low maintenance. I can't be friends with somebody who needs me every second of the day, but when you need me, call me, beep me. You can reach me.
WM: What’s something you'd like more people to know about mental health?
KC: I think especially in my community being Black—my family's from the West Indies from Jamaica, so a Caribbean household—a lot of Black households don't put a lot of value on mental health, even though it's just as prevalent as it is in any other community. … The idea that you're going to tell your parents, who have probably been through so much, “Oh, I need therapy,” or “I need somebody to talk to” is difficult. And you're often met with, “What do you mean you're depressed? You can go depress these dishes,” or “If you needed your homework as much as you need therapy, then you would be further along.”
I wish my community, and all communities, knew the benefit of being able to have someone to talk to and how many resources there are. … But I know how difficult it can be to share that this is something you're doing.
WM: What aspect of your mental health would you describe as a work in progress?
KC: I'm thinking of what my therapist would say. She wouldn't say it, but I know she probably writes it down and circles it every session. I forecast a lot. I think of every possible scenario that could happen. If I say this to this person, then they're going to do this and they're going to take it as that, and then they're going to tell this person, and then I'm not going to be able... And it's jumping to conclusions. It's one of my favorite pastimes, but that's not always the reality.
So I'm working on living just in the moment and not thinking about everything that could happen. Just thinking about how I feel currently, presently, and acting on that and not acting on like, Oh, well this person's going to think this and dah, dah, dah. No, that's irrelevant. What is the fact of the matter right now is that I need to speak up for myself or I need to address this, or whatever it might be. That's something that I'm working on. It causes me to spiral out and then I'm exhausted and then I need a nap and then it's been three days and I haven't done the thing, so it's not worth it.
WM: What is one of your favorite pieces of mental health advice?
KC: I love naps, but I often have a lot of guilt about resting. … [My therapist] put me onto The Nap Ministry and was like, “Literally pick up your phone right now, follow this account, and understand that sometimes your body needs rest.” Sometimes the best thing that you can do for yourself and your mental health is to rest. I love that on social media and TikTok right now, everyone's talking about rotting away in your bed. Sometimes you need a rot day. I take them all the time. Sometimes you need to just lay in the bed and do absolutely nothing and rid yourself of the guilt of that.
One of the best pieces of mental health advice I can give is to take that rot day and chill out. Just stop for a minute. I know it sounds easier said than done because I know a ton of people have kids and responsibilities and stuff like that, but when you can, take a moment. And when you can ask for help, I think it's really important to do so because they're not giving out awards for running yourself into the dirt. You have to take time for you.
This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.
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