Tomi Lahren has seen her visibility increase markedly in the past year. Her conservative beliefs and early support of President Trump first made headlines, but it was her debate with "Daily Show" host Trevor Noah last November that put her in the middle of the great Trump debate.
But love her or love to hate her, the 24-year-old host of TheBlaze's politics show "Tomi" is sticking to her guns ... and her beliefs.
Fox News: You went from hosting a show on a startup news channel in San Diego to being snatched up by TheBlaze. How has fame changed your life?
Tomi Lahren: I’ve been blessed with an incredible platform but that platform comes with drawbacks. It wasn’t until my trip to D.C. for President Trump's inauguration that I realized how quickly my daily life is changing.... I am usually alone when I travel for work and my favorite way to get the lay of the land is to walk the city. I can’t do that anymore. It’s too dangerous. I realized that in the most jarring way possible while in D.C. As soon as one person recognized me a swarm of protesters huddled around me. I have never been in physical danger like that before. The online social media hate is one thing, credible threats is another.
That being said, I am also blessed with a great base of support. When young ladies approach me and thank me for providing a conservative role model, it’s all worth it. When the family members of law enforcement officers approach me and thank me for being a voice for their community, it is all worth it.
Fox News: What has been the most difficult part of being constantly scrutinized?
Lahren: I’ve learned to laugh most of the negativity off. In order for me to be hurt by you, I have to respect you. I don’t respect these hateful Internet trolls who have nothing better to do than attack my looks or the way I speak.
Fox News: People either love you or love to hate you. How do you deal with the negativity?
Lahren: The hard left labels anyone who challenges it "divisive." The leftists live in a world where everyone is free to look different but must think the same. I don’t play their game. I threaten them and their narrative. That’s why they slap the "divisive" label and attempt to dismiss me. It’s not going to work -- not on me.
I address controversial subjects but I am not inflammatory or abrasive for the sake of ratings or views. I’m honest. I’m direct. I don’t care what they call me. Political correctness is intellectual dishonesty and I won’t be a part of it. It that makes some folks uncomfortable, so be it.
Fox News: A lot of your attention is generated on social media. Do you think the media has not given the power and influence of social media and digital media enough credit?
Lahren: The mainstream media is five years behind. The power of social media is nothing to scoff at, yet they do. President Trump was able to speak directly to Americans by going around the mainstream media. He used Facebook and Twitter to beat down the leftist mainstream, and won. I do the same thing. My average Facebook video gets 5 million views. Those numbers cannot be replicated by traditional media.
Fox News: You went head to head with Trevor Noah and will soon do the same with Bill Maher – people who mostly share opposing views. Are you nervous before those appearances?
Lahren: I am more excited than nervous. There is nothing I love more than speaking with those I disagree with. I learn nothing from remaining in my bubble. My resolve, arguments and truth only become stronger when I thrust myself into dark waters. I thrive on the pressure. I also believe it will be the heated but civil conversations between opposing sides that will truly heal this country. How can we understand the other side if we don’t talk to it?
Fox News: Where do you want to be in five years?
Lahren: I always say, when I make plans, God laughs. I have no idea where I will be in five years but I hope I remain a strong voice of truth. There are so many Americans between the two coasts who feel they have no voice. The mainstream media, D.C., and the rest of the country have ignored them. I want to be a voice for those people. I see myself taking over the digital sphere. I’ve found power and resonance rooted in digital commentary and I want to continue the momentum. I don’t have a "dream job" but I do want three things: fun, freedom and flexibility. That’s what it’s all about.