Giuliana Rancic's Journey to Hollywood and What Comes Next
It's not often we come across celebrities that seem relatable, but despite her present fame Giuliana Rancic feels like a true Everygirl. After moving to America from Italy during childhood, Giuliana credits learning the English language by watching local news each night, sparking her interest in becoming a television host.
After graduating from University of Maryland and then earning her master's degree at American University, the Hollywood Hills called her name and she listened. As a new Los Angeles resident with no connections to call, her first several years were spent like most of ours in a new city: performing any odd job to pay the bills. From mailrooms to hostess gigs to being a personal assistant, Giuliana did it all before she ever got her foot in the door at E! News.
But when she finally landed herself a position at the network, it wasn't all smooth sailing: "I was fired shortly after I was hired because some people at the network thought I was a little too rough around the edges. But ultimately, it was that irreverence that landed me the lead anchor position." Since then, Giuliana has made huge leaps in her career, has became a mom, and fought a brave battle against breast cancer.
These days she calls herself a Windy City resident and is more excited than ever about her newest endeavors. A household name in fashion and television, it was only a matter of time before Giuliana started her latest venture: a chic and budget-friendly clothing line known as G by Giuliana for HSN. We're so excited to have her on The Everygirl today to tell us more about the process of launching her own clothing line, how she finally got her foot in the door with E! News, and what life is like for her now.
Name: Giuliana Rancic
Current title/Company: Host: E!’s Fashion Police and Live From The Red Carpet
Designer: G by Giuliana for HSN
Founder: XO, G Wine
Education: Master's degree in Journalism from American University, bachelor's degree in Journalism from University of Maryland
Your family moved from their native home in Italy to Washington D.C. during your childhood. Tell us about your transition to life in America: What was the biggest struggle you faced?
The biggest struggle transitioning to life in America for me was definitely learning English. I couldn't understand what was going on in school and the teachers didn’t know how to help me. I had trouble making friends since I could only speak Italian and I actually ended up learning English by watching television. I used to sit and watch the local news every night and that is how I taught myself. It’s also the reason behind my dream of becoming a television host.
You graduated from University of Maryland with your bachelor's in journalism. What was your first career move after graduation?
After I graduated from University of Maryland, I went to graduate school at American University. I knew that was the best way to achieve my goal of being an on-air host.
At one point you worked on Capitol Hill for the Potomac News Bureau, vastly different from pop culture and celebrity news. How did that experience shape your ultimate career goals?
Working on Capitol Hill is exactly the reason why I ended up in entertainment news! One day I got the chance to interview Senator Ted Kennedy and rather than ask him questions about foreign policy or the economy like all the other reporters, I decided to ask him: “What do you like to do for fun? Have you seen any good movies lately?” I knew right then and there (and so did my professor at AU!) that I belonged in Hollywood, not Capitol Hill.
After obtaining a master's degree from American University in journalism, you decided to pick up and move to L.A. only a few days later. What were you hoping to achieve?
When I first moved to Los Angeles, I really didn’t know what to expect. I went out there without much money or a place to live and I just wanted to make it some way, some how. From the start, my goal was to become a TV host and entertainment reporter.
When I first moved to Los Angeles, I really didn’t know what to expect. I went out there without much money or a place to live and I just wanted to make it some way, some how.
How did you support yourself and afford to live in such an expensive city when you first moved?
My first night in LA, I stayed at an expensive and fancy hotel that I had seen in the magazines and maxed my credit card out. Luckily I was connected with a friend of a friend who let me stay with her. My first few years in LA I had so many different jobs: I was a hostess, personal assistant, salesperson in retail, I worked in a mailroom, and so on and so on.
So, how did you get your foot in the door with E! News? You've said that you submitted a demo reel to them at least 20 times!
That is exactly how I got my foot in the door at E!. I sent my reel to the talent executive at the network over and over again and finally one day I got a call from her inviting me to come in and audition for E! News. I remember I was driving around with my best friend Colet when I got that phone call and we were so excited. That call changed my life forever!
Tell us about your journey through the ranks once you were hired. And then how did you ultimately know it was time to move on?
My journey through the ranks wasn’t a smooth one at first. I was fired shortly after I was hired because some people at the network thought I was a little too rough around the edges. But ultimately, it was that irreverence that landed me the lead anchor position. E! decided that I was just what they needed to change the feel of the show and the rest is history.
I had an amazing fourteen years at E! News and I felt that I had accomplished everything I wanted (and more!) there. Change is good and it’s important to continue growing as a person and a professional. I’m really excited to put more time into my clothing line (G by Giuliana at HSN) my XO, G Wine, and my charity (Fab-U-Wish) as well as spend more time with my family and eventually finding that bigger, better, and more meaningful TV opportunity.
My journey through the ranks wasn’t a smooth one at first. I was fired shortly after I was hired because some people at the network thought I was a little too rough around the edges. But ultimately, it was that irreverence that landed me the lead anchor position.
You've interviewed some of the biggest Hollywood celebrities on the red carpet. How do you prepare yourself before a big event interview?
I don’t really get that nervous for big interviews. I always make sure to prep beforehand so that definitely helps. I try to just be myself and have fun on the red carpets.
You and your husband Bill had your own reality show on the Style network for a total of seven seasons! What was it like sharing your life on such a large platform?
When we first started it was supposed to be a special about our wedding in Italy, but shortly after filming we were approached about doing a series. We were apprehensive at first, but looking back now it was the absolute best thing we could have done.
We didn’t know it at the time, but going public with our struggle with infertility and my battle with breast cancer reached so many people who watched our show. We had an amazing platform to do some good and spread awareness about these real-life issues that millions of people deal with on a daily basis.
Were there any boundaries you set ahead of time that you wouldn't be comfortable filming?
We were pretty open about filming everything. We wanted to be as real and authentic as possible and after we realized that we had the platform to do a lot of good with certain things we could share, we were pretty much open about everything we were going through at the time. Only nudity and bathrooms were off limits!
In 2011 you opened up about your struggle with breast cancer; you underwent a double mastectomy. What did you lean on during that time to help you make these difficult decisions?
During that time, I relied heavily upon my faith, my family and friends, and my husband Bill. I was so fortunate to have Bill by my side every step of the way. He was able to help me make so many of the important decisions that I probably couldn’t have made on my own. He was definitely my strength throughout that entire time.
Is there anything you wish you had known at the time to help you cope? What advice would you give to others in the same position?
I lost myself, like a lot of women do in that whole process. But one thing that helped me was going back to work and getting all dolled up—having my hair and makeup done, putting on a great outfit, and receiving the full Hollywood treatment. It made me forget for a time that I was fighting breast cancer. I knew right away that I wanted to share that experience with other women battling breast cancer so I created Fab-U-Wish. Together with The Pink Agenda, we are granting fabulous themed wishes to breast cancer patients who apply or are nominated by a friend or family member.
You also opened up about your struggle with infertility. Can you share a bit of what you went through? How did you stay positive during that time?
I went through several rounds of IVF and it was just before my third round that my new fertility doctor told me I needed to get a mammogram before starting. He makes it mandatory for all of his patients to get one because if there is any chance that a patient has breast cancer, it can be very dangerous to proceed with fertility treatments. I complied of course, not thinking anything of it and ultimately, received my breast cancer diagnosis. Duke is our miracle child—not only because of the long and difficult road it took to have him, but because he saved my life.
In addition to working for E! News, you’re also a wife and mother to 3-year-old Duke. The work-life balance for working mothers has been quite newsworthy lately—what’s your take on the issue?
I don’t really see an issue with being a working mom. There are millions of working moms out there and I am happy that Bill and I have set a positive example for Duke about what it means to work hard. It is important to keep that work life/home life balance though. When I am home with my family, I don’t check my phone or emails. When I am at work, I don't get distracted by personal things. I work at work and play at home.
One of your latest endeavors is your new clothing line with HSN, G by Giuliana. The line boasts incredibly chic pieces at an affordable price point. Tell us about this collaboration and the design process!
I've worked on the front lines of fashion for the past fifteen years and I know what a woman needs in her closet to look and feel her best! I am always staying on top of the latest trends and trend forecasting for future seasons, as well as looking for the best fabrics and materials out there.
I recently launched a denim line that has been doing incredibly well. It's the quality of premium designer denim you'd find at department stores, but without the expensive price tags. My jeans retail for $59 yet they are the same quality as many jeans you see going for over $150! The line caters to all ages and sizes—in fact most all of my pieces come in sizes XXS to 3X because I believe all women should be able to buy good fashion and look great.
I recently moved my businesses to Chicago and am spending my days designing the 10-12 collections a year, everything from inception to reviewing samples to design meetings in both Chicago and New York. I want to design collections that I can be proud of and that I myself love to wear!
What is a typical day like for you?
On a typical day, I wake up around 7:00 a.m. and we have breakfast together as a family and get Duke ready for school. Then around 8:25 a.m. we all walk to Duke’s school together. I typically get most of my work (return phone calls, check emails, review G by Giuliana design samples, etc.) while Duke is at school. I really like taking this time to get caught up on everything because then I’m not thinking about it later when Duke is back home.
At noon it’s time to pick Duke up from school and we love walking back home together. Sometimes we stop for lunch and other days we go straight home. We play for a little bit and talk about school and then it’s time for his afternoon nap. During this time, I catch up on any other work that has come in and when Duke wakes up from his nap we go for a walk or play at the park for a bit before dinner. Duke eats dinner and goes to bed pretty early so after Duke goes to bed, Bill and I have a little date night where we talk and check in with each other about our day and how we are doing. Sometimes we even sneak away and enjoy a night out at one of our restaurants RPM Italian or RPM Steak.
Best moment of your career so far?
The best moment of my career is when I met my husband Bill in 2006. When the opportunity to interview the winner of season one of The Apprentice came across the E! News desk, I jumped at the chance! I watched the show and had a major crush on him, but heard he had a girlfriend at the time. I went to the interview totally expecting him to be off the market, but lo and behold he was actually newly single. He asked me on a date after our interview and we were engaged eight months later. The rest is history!
What advice would you give to your 23-year-old self?
I would tell my 23-year-old self that life is short and not to take it too seriously. Live it to the fullest and live it honestly and kindly. Oh, and dance on tables while you're young. There will come a time when you're too old for that.
Dance on tables while you're young. There will come a time when you're too old for that.
Giuliana Rancic Is The Everygirl...
Ideal way to spend a day off?
Going to brunch (Duke loves his pancakes!) and then to the Lincoln Park Zoo with Bill and Duke or bowling at Lucky Strike in River East. Those are some of our favorite things to do as a family on the weekends.
LA or Chicago?
Chicago! We love it here and have really settled into our new routine.
Favorite way to exercise?
I love to take long walks around the city with Bill and Duke and I still like to get on a treadmill and walk for thirty minutes when I can.
Must have for new moms?
XO, G Wine to unwind at night after a long day. It comes in four individually packed cups so you can enjoy just one glass without having to open an entire bottle!
If you could have lunch with any woman, who would it be and why?
Joan Rivers because she was a huge influence on me and I miss her so much.