Radio Host Moves to Ballantyne

By Michelle Boudin | Photos courtesy of LauRen Merola

Posted on May 26, 2020

Charlotte radio host LauRen Merola, 35, has been a football and basketball cheerleader and a top Miss USA contestant. Yet, her favorite title might be Mom. She and her husband, Dallas, have a 3-year-old son, Cashton, and LauRen is due any day now with her second son.

LauRen and Dallas first moved to Charlotte eight years ago and lived uptown awhile. Last year, though, they fell in love with Ballantyne and bought a house here in a day.

We caught up with LauRen to talk about everything from her career path to having an au pair, and even got the scoop on her unique name. We have lightly edited her responses for brevity and clarity.

“Our au pair, Elena (left, with LauRen, Cashton and Dallas), has become family, and our little family of four is about to become a family of five," says LauRen. "We are expecting our second son in early June of this year and couldn’t be more excited."
“In 2015, after moving to Charlotte, I landed my dream job with Kiss 95.1’s morning radio show," says LauRen." "We created The Maney, Roy & LauRen Morning Show out of three strangers who happen to become unlikely friends. Since then, we have been sharing 'Real, Life, Laughs' with our Queen City!”

You were cheering for the Hornets when you first came to Charlotte, how did you go from cheerleader to being on the radio?

I had done a couple of appearances representing the Hornets on Kiss 95.1 and stayed friendly with the hosts. When I heard Drex and Cass were leaving, I called Maney and told him I wanted the job. Of course, there was an audition process. Roy and I just happened to be auditioning the same day, and the show was amazing with the three of us together. Something clicked, it was like the three of us had known each other forever.

What made you move to Ballantyne – what do you love about the area?

When we first moved to Charlotte, we had a studio in uptown for a little but decided we wanted to live in the suburbs to raise a family, so we went to the Olde Providence area for a few years. We decided to move to Ballantyne last year after falling in love with it. I guess you could say we accidentally bought our house. We looked at it the first day it was on the market and just put in an offer — before we even had our old home listed with an agent. A couple of hours later, they called us and said, “Congratulations, they accepted your offer.” We went from a small development where we were the youngest couple to a larger development with lots of kids and family activities.

What’s it been like being pregnant during a pandemic?

It’s crazy! My husband can’t go to doctors’ appointments with me; we can’t see our family or friends, and baby showers (and sprinkles) are going digital if you have one. It’s crazy to think that you can’t share your excitement with the people you love in such a special moment. (Well, you can, but it’s over Zoom.)

How would you describe your blog?

I had been blogging privately for years as a therapeutic outlet, but I decided to make it public during the “blog boom” of 2017. Now, I share my love for fashion, family experiences, home renovations and décor, recipes I love and fun around Charlotte and beauty routines.

You clearly love to bake. What’s your overall approach?

I love to cook and bake for fun occasions. I am not an everyday cook, though. My husband takes care of the majority of the cooking in our house. He is a grill master and loves doing it. I typically handle special occasions, and he does the day-to-day.


"Competing at Miss USA in 2008 launched my media career," says LauRen. "Not only was I lucky enough to finish in the Top 5 as Miss Pennsylvania USA but I also landed my first job in sports entertainment because of it."
“Cheering for the Miami Dolphins from 2003 to 2006 was hard work but a dream come true," says LauRen. "I am fortunate enough to have performed on three USO tours (in Bosnia, Kosovo and Vienna) for our troops overseas during that time."

What do you love about being a boy mom?

I am so girly (now), but I was a tomboy growing up, so it takes me back to my roots. I think being a boy mom has also taught me not to helicopter parent. Boys will be boys, and they are going to play rough, get hurt and cause a ruckus. You just have to go with it sometimes. I will say that as much as Cashton plays hard, he also loves big. He enjoys snuggles, hugs and kisses as much as I do.

What it’s like having an au pair?

It’s AMAZING! Elena has become family, and the stress I used to feel when scheduling childcare for Cash is a thing of the past. Plus, Elena has brought so much culture and joy into our home. It is a dream to find someone who loves your child (good and bad) as much as you do! I have a busy career, and so does my husband, so it has been a blessing to find a “big sister” figure for Cash. Dallas is the east coast VP for a woman’s health company, and (pre-COVID-19) he was on the road two-to-three days a week, so having the flexibility of a live-in au pair works great for us.

How did you meet Dallas?

How much time do you have?! Dallas and I were destined to be together. We both grew up in Pittsburgh (10 minutes from each other), and we both worked for the Miami Dolphins for three years but never ran into each other on the sidelines. We finally met in the Bahamas on a Miami Dolphins trip on my 21st birthday. I’d say that is fate! We have been together for 15 years and married for 10.

What is your favorite thing that’s happened on the radio so far?

I think my favorite moment on the radio here in Charlotte was taking my pregnancy test with my first son live on the radio. We had a cake in the studio that said, “congratulations or not,” and our listeners got to take the emotional ride with me. I remember being so nervous because we had tried for so long with Cashton. I still have people stop me now four years later and tell me they cried happy tears with me that day.

What’s next for you, baby and beyond?

Who knows! Honestly, I love being a mom and sharing my life with Charlotte. I love my radio career and my creative outlet with the blog, so I think I’ll be focusing on those three things for the foreseeable future, and if Charlotte ever gets a “real housewives” franchise count me in!

Lastly, we have to ask about your name!

No big story here. Having an Italian background Sophia Loren was always a family favorite, and my mom wanted it to be a little different, so LauRen it was.

Follow LauRen on Instagram: @allofthefwords

"In 2010, Dallas and I had planned on eloping to Italy but decided to hold a small ceremony and reception at Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia for our close friends and family instead," says LauRen. "The theme was Una Notte D’Amore (A night of love, in Italian). We still got our Italian-themed wedding and were able to share the day with the ones we loved. It felt like we were on Lake Como in Italy. "