Retta: Everything We Know About HGTV Host

HGTV’s ‘Ugliest House in America’ host and famous comedian and actress, Retta, is a highly accomplished TV personality. She has been roped in for this unique and hilarious home remodeling show which follows the host to different places across the country to shortlist and choose the ugliest home which would win a renovation worth $150,000, overseen by designer Alison Victoria from ‘Windy City Rehab.’ The selected homes visited are submitted by the owners, who believe their houses require some serious renovation.

Because of their cringe-worthy designs and outdated layout styles, Retta has a hilarious take on the houses she visits in the show. She carries the show brilliantly with her witty and warm presence making the homeowners at ease to show their quirky houses. Thus, after a successful first season, the show got renewed for a second season. As Retta’s hosting abilities is loved by so many people, her fans must also be interested in learning more about the TV personality. If you’re eager to know everything about Retta, here’s what we found out!

Retta’s Age, Ethnicity, Family and Background

Born Marietta Sangai Sirleaf, Retta is of Liberian descent as her parents, Deborah and George Sirleaf, had moved to Newark, New Jersey, from Liberia in 1969. The now 52-year-old spent her childhood in a tiny apartment with her parents, her younger brothers, George Jr. and Michen, as well as occasionally her immigrant relatives. In 1988, Retta completed her high school at Matawan Regional High School in New Jersey.

When Retta attended Duke University in North Carolina and graduated in 1992, her parents worked extremely hard, even working two jobs, to pay for her tuition. Retta frequently expresses her appreciation for her parents’ support of her education and future. Along with receiving a sociology degree, Retta also finished her pre-med coursework. She first performed her comedic routines in front of her New Apostolic Church group, of which she was an active member.

Retta also mentioned how New Apostolic Church members from across the globe voted and helped her win her first TV comedy contest. That is where she also spoke highly of her beliefs and spiritual upbringing. Interestingly, the actress and comedian is not just of Liberian ancestry but is also the niece of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first female president of Liberia and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Retta’s Profession

After college, Retta started her stand-up career by performing at open mics at Charlie Goodnights Comedy Club in Raleigh, North Carolina, while still working as a chemist for the pharmaceutical corporation GlaxoSmithKline. She later relocated to Los Angeles to pursue stand-up comedy full-time and started performing as an opener for comics like Bobby Collins and Shirley Hemphill. Her big break came in 2009 with ‘Parks and Recreation,’ after making a few television cameos on shows including ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ and Bravo’s ‘Welcome to the Parker.’

After debuting as Donna Meagle in a recurring capacity on NBC’s comedy series ‘Parks and Recreation,’ Retta became a regular in season three. This acting opportunity became a turning point for her as she soon became a fan favorite. The 2013 Critics’ Choice Television Awards were moreover presented by Retta. Following ‘Parks and Recreation, her next recurring role was of Barbara on Marti Noxon’s ‘Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce’ in 2015, which later became a permanent role.

Retta’s strongest work to date has been as the main character of Ruby Hill in the television series ‘Good Girls,’ alongside co-leads Christina Hendricks and Mae Whitman. She released a book titled ‘So Close to Being the Sh*t, Y’all Don’t Even Know’ in 2018 that had a number of valuable essays. Retta has also lent her beautiful voice for animated shows like ‘Pinky Malinky,’ ‘Where’s Waldo?’ ‘Big Mouth,’ and ‘DuckTales.’ The actress is currently on a talent holding deal from 2022 with NBCUniversal.

As the super-fun host of HGTV’s ‘Ugliest House in America,’ Retta uses her comedic background to lighten the vibe of the show. Her love for renovating ideas and “before and after” transformations is what drove her toward the show. Talking about her approach, Retta told Heavy, “It lightens it. You face the ugliest house in America, you don’t want somebody who’s going to be solemn. I bring levity to talking about how bad your house is. And honestly, you submitted your home, so you know. So, we’re all on the same page, it’s okay to make fun of it.”

Is Retta Dating Anyone?

Retta is a private person outside of her roles as an actor and comedian, and not much is documented regarding her dating life. She had acknowledged dating a man from Georgia on the radio program ‘Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!’ The actress revealed how he was the one who named her Retta since that is how he heard the name Marietta in his own place. Besides that, Retta has never revealed anything about a possible romantic interest in the public sphere — excluding her pretend romance with Joe Manganiello in the early 2010s.

As of writing, it seems that the actress is primarily focused on her career, which is reflected even on her social media platforms. She also takes an active part in several philanthropic activities, such as her participation in the ‘Red Nose Day’ programming that helps raise money for hungry, homeless, and sick children around the world. Therefore, it may be inferred that Retta is currently single and solely committed to her amazing professional journey.

Read More: Where is Ugliest House in America Filmed?