How The Teen Mom: The Next Chapter Cast Stays Authentic On Camera - Exclusive Interview

Fans of the "Teen Mom" franchise have followed Maci Bookout McKinney and Cheyenne Floyd's journey for years. McKinney became part of "Teen Mom OG" all the way back in 2009, while Floyd started her reality TV journey in 2015 on the dating show "Are You The One?" before joining the "Teen Mom" cast in 2018. In that time, they and the rest of the cast have faced changes, heartbreak, and challenges all in front of cameras. Now, they're back for "Teen Mom: Next Chapter" Season 2, which follows original cast members as they transition into new phases of life, managing weddings, house hunting, breakups, co-parenting, and many more real-world concerns.

Prior to Season 2's release, McKinney and Floyd sat down with their partners, Taylor McKinney and Zach Davis, to speak to The List. During their exclusive interview, the couples opened up about how they've grown over the years and where they are now. They also shared how they stay authentic and bring real issues to the screen.

Maci and Taylor learning to co-parent with Ryan

What has it been like navigating your co-parenting relationship with Ryan?

Maci: It's new territory, so figuring that out. At the same time, I've been impressed by where it was and where it's gotten to, especially with everything that's gone on recently. We are still in a good place because it's been genuine. It hasn't been forced, and we didn't try to speed through the bumps in the road.

Taylor: It's still a work in progress, but it's definitely improved from where it was at one time.

Do you feel like you've learned anything along the way, so you handle it differently now than you have in the past?

Maci: Yeah, definitely. Open communication goes a long way. In the beginning, when we had the first conversation on the last reunion, Ryan and I, making those specific commitments to one another, and both of us sticking to them, has definitely helped. We've all learned that it is possible, and yeah, I feel good about it right now.

How they're representing mental health on TV

Cheyenne and Zach, this season, you were going through a lot supporting Cory through his daughter's surgery. What was that like for you two handling, explaining that situation to Ryder and how they were dealing with it?

Cheyenne: It was tough to figure out the right words to explain it to Ryder without trying to give her anxiety. Ryder's a really empathetic kid, and she'll take on what everyone else is feeling around her, so we had to be really careful to protect her but, at the same time, be honest with her about what was happening. That's a fine line, but it was hard to watch Cory and Taylor go through their journey with Maya, and it was hard as Ryder's parents to watch Ryder go through it.

This season, as you were talking about with anxiety and everything, it covers a lot of sensitive topics such as mental health and those kind of struggles. Why do you think those are important issues to be represented on a show like this?

Cheyenne: A lot of people struggle with mental health, and some struggle and don't talk about it; some struggle and go to therapy and talk about it a lot. With this show, everyone has their own battle with it and has dealt with it in their own way.

I've learned myself, watching the other girls and talking to them, how therapy has helped them a lot. I was super stubborn about it, but I finally joined therapy this year, one of the best decisions I've made. I'm trying to figure out why we didn't do it before. It's important that we talk about it and open that door for other people.

Maci: Yeah, I would agree with that. I know sometimes, some of the audience feels a type of way about Bentley sharing his experience with therapy. I've always been open to therapy and talking about it, but I know for Bentley, it's important, especially being a young male, for him to be able to show other kids, because so many kids will recognize him from the show. It's really cool to know that some kid might see him talking about how he goes to therapy and how much it helps, and how much he enjoys it. They might not be afraid to then bring that up to their parents.

It's helping break the stigma around mental health and therapy. Sometimes, it's a matter of checking in with people, genuinely asking them how they're doing. That goes a long way.

Living authentically on camera

You've all been on reality TV for several years at this point. Do you ever feel any pressure or anything like that being on camera, or is it very natural at this point?

Maci: Honestly, I feel like I've been doing it for so long that I forget that [the cameras are] there, which is a good thing because it helps [me] stay authentic. The camera crew, they're like our family, so it also feels safe. You actually see the face behind the camera, not just the camera.

Cheyenne: Yeah, I agree. You get the best footage when we do forget that the cameras are there. In the beginning, when I started, I wanted to sit up straight and always look nice and have my hair done, and now I'm like, "Y'all about to look at me like this. I barely washed my face today. This is what you're getting." I realize when I'm my real self, that's when it's the most authentic, and that's when it's the most relatable.

Are there any topics that you guys still try to keep off screen? Do you have boundaries, like "This is just personal for us?"

Taylor: Some, but I mean, it's pretty ... Yeah, you see the best parts and the worst parts.

Maci: Yeah.

Cheyenne: We're all pretty open. We have to be open. I can't even think about anything [we keep off screen].

Looking back and learning from past seasons

What is it like for you to have past seasons of your life documented through TV? Do you ever go back and watch past seasons, or do you leave that behind?

Maci: Leave it where it is. I can tell you that sometimes I'll see a picture or a video or something on Instagram, and I'm like, "Why did I wear that? What am I thinking with that hair color?" Stuff like that, style choices, they're a nightmare sometimes.

But also, over the years, it's a good self-reflective tool to use. It's like, "Hmm, man, I was really being an a**hole. I probably shouldn't do that," or "Man, I could tell I was going through it at this time. I remember this being really tough." I tried to use it to benefit me instead of taking me backward.

Yeah, that makes sense. And what about for you two?

Cheyenne: I don't want to watch it. I really like where we're at now.

Zach: It's already embedded in my head, so I don't need to go back. I remember stuff.

Cheyenne: He was like, "That was life."

Like, "I've been through it. I don't need to see it."

Zach: I know what I did, so that's it.

"Teen Mom: The Next Chapter" premieres with back-to-back episodes tonight at 8:00 p.m. ET on MTV.

This interview has been edited for clarity.