Maci Bookout has earned a reputation as the most stable of all the stars of MTV's reality series Teen Mom. Make no mistake: it hasn't been easy. The single mother of 3 1/2-year-old Bentley has had her hurdles, including the breakup of her relationship with her son's father, Ryan Edwards.
But when Maci took a few moments to talk to The Stir this week as the final season of the show that's made her famous began, it quickly became apparent why the Tennessee teenager is often cited as the mom with the best parenting skills on the show. This girl was raised "right." And whether she's talking about the troubles of prison-bound co-star Amber Portwood or making it clear there's nothing glamorous about teen pregnancy, Maci shows that she knows exactly where she came from.
So what did she have to say?
On what she's most proud of from the four seasons of Teen Mom:
I'm really just proud to have been able to actually change people's lives. When I started the show, that was something that I wanted to do. But when 16 and Pregnant first aired, we weren't sure how everyone was going to accept it, what they were going to take it as.
Looking back at the past three years and hearing every single day that you know I've changed someone's life or I've helped a mom get back in school or I inspired a 16-year-old girl to use birth control, stuff like that, to hear that every day, that's not something that everyone gets to hear.
On her regrets:
There's not really anything that I regret. It's obviously been a struggle having to split my time with Bentley with his dad. But there's not necessarily anything I'd regret about my parenting or Bentley.
When I came into the show, I was like, you know, this is going to be a real documentary. I kind of made a deal that I was going to put it all out there because if it's not all real and not all out there, it's not going to do what it should.
On being famous:
To me a celebrity is someone that people want to be like, they want to be that person, they want to live that person's life. I've honestly never had a fan tell me that they want to be me or they want to live my life or they want to go through what I've gone through.
I more or less see myself as everyone's peer. That's how they view me; they learn through my mistakes. They learn something from me rather than just watching me as entertainment.
On her co-stars, including Amber Portwood:
I've always agreed with having each cast member on our show because every person has someone they can relate to. And if you're not going to tell every aspect of every situation that can come about being a teen parent, then there's really no point in having the show. You have to be able to relate to everyone, not just one specific type of person.
With Amber, she's had a lot of struggles, and you know I feel like that's one thing a lot of people don't give the other girls enough credit for. I had my parents behind me, I had my friends behind me, I had Ryan's parents. I had a lot of support. All of the other girls have things that have happened in their lives or certain people who weren't there for them and they've still made it through.
With Amber, I just hope nothing but the best for her, and I just want her happy.
On accusations that the show glamorizes teen pregnancy:
I've always heard that constantly and the people that say that, honestly, I don't think that they've ever sat down and watched a full episode of Teen Mom. I understand the reason that they say that and it's because we're on the cover of tabloids and we have Twitter followers and we have fans.
The thing is, though, our life isn't glamorous. It's not like I'm driving an awesome car and living in a beautiful house and I don't have to worry about anything and I get my hair and makeup done every day. Right now I have zero makeup on and Bentley just went to eat at CiCi's Pizza!
I have a normal life, and as far as the tabloids are concerned, we never asked to be on the cover of magazines. And 99 percent of the time they're never saying anything true and they're never saying anything nice. And that's not really glamorous either.
On being a good mom to Bentley:
I honestly have to kind of pay that back to my parents. I really just parent the way that they did because I always had a really close relationship with them. I think that they did a great job, so I always try to think about what my parents would do in certain situations and then I follow their lead.
On her future after college:
I still definitely want to do something in journalism or hosting or something like that just because that's where my passion is. I really enjoy it. I've always kept the fame separate from my real life. It's not necessarily that I don't take it seriously but it's not something that ... I don't do this for the fame, and I would never choose my career to be famous.
What do you think Maci has to be most proud of?
Image via MTV