Typically when someone hears I am a celebrity interviewer, the first question is "OK, who is the WORST celebrity you ever met? I mean really the WORST?" I respond, "Well, actually my favorite is George. George Clooney for oh so many reasons. The first being that he didn’t make me feel like I was the worst interviewer ever for not saying a word the first time we met. In an interview." So, you would expect then, that the first person featured in the Smitten column on the new Happygirl website would be George. It was going to be George. It had to be, really. Then, I started thinking about someone who shows such grace under tragedy, someone who is a Happygirl even in the worst circumstances— Giuliana Rancic. Giuliana is a television personality, wife, presenter of fab fit fun and soon — a mother.
Giuliana and I first worked together when we were reporters at movie junkets sitting in the hallway of the Four Seasons Los Angeles about to interview people like George Clooney and Brad Pitt. When we would sit next to each other waiting for our turn to be called in she was always friendly and she had the greatest shoes. Giuliana knows how to chat up anyone and make her feel comfortable. I hadn't seen Giuliana in person since 2009, then last summer I caught up with her at the BlogHer Conference in San Diego. She was there at the Trop50 booth and I was able to catch a few minutes with her. We had a quiet spot and we talked about the event and I thanked her for being open about her fertility struggles. We had both recently suffered miscarriages. Baby losses are something that make people uncomfortable to talk about, to even hear about. It is such a solitary grief but Giuliana, both on her TV series (now in its fifth season) "Giuliana & Bill" and "E! News" was open about her struggles to start her family. It was new to see someone so open about this topic. We talked about what makes her happy and she laughingly said "Shoes!" and pointed down at her heavenly purple platform stilettos. It was August 5, 2011 and one month later Giuliana would be diagnosed with breast cancer.
Two topics that make people uncomfortable to discuss are breast cancer and infertility . These are topics that are often discussed in hushed tones and rarely even among friends. Yet, Giuliana took both of these topics and put a real face to it, and not just a face but a happy face with a warrior fierceness— a Happy Warrior if you will. Giuliana didn't shy away from showing her worst moments. Most people would want their best face forward on television yet along with the glamour of the red carpets and the fame that comes along with being successful in Hollywood, Giuliana and her husband, Bill Rancic, were not afraid to show the scary, sad, horrifying moments that most of us endure in privacy. It would have been easy for Giuliana and Bill to shut off the cameras and go through infertility quietly but they didn't and I thank them for that. Almost every one of my friends have children, some newborns and they know of my struggle but still they say things like "Just relax and it will happen!" It's hard to explain that infertility can take over your life. I thank Giuliana for showing what infertility is like, the physical and emotional rollercoaster that comes along with this experience.
For Giuliana, to have infertility followed by a breast cancer diagnosis is almost unfathomable. Yet, watching Giuliana on "The Today Show" or "Giuliana & Bill" talking about her diagnosis and upcoming procedures, she was always positive and open about their fight to be healthy and to be parents. Watching Giuliana and Bill write their Pro/Con lists and make the decision for a double mastectomy was heartwrenching to watch but strangely enough it was uplifting as well. The scenes with Giuliana in the hospital for her mastectomy were hard to watch but seeing Giuliana joke with her medical team and attempt to cheer Bill and her parents up really showed what Giuliana is made of. Yes, she had moments of "Why me?" but they were followed by such fierce strength. These two are strong fighters. If you told Giuliana and Bill that in order to have a family they would have to move the Empire State Building to Chicago, I have no doubt that this couple could figure out a way to do it—and it would be the best and safest way to do it.
Seeing Giuliana and Bill recently reveal the news that they are expecting via a surrogate was such an exciting moment. It feels as though we have gone through their struggles with them and to know that Giuliana is healthy and that they are achieving their goal of starting a family is such a wondrous joy. Giuliana has shown such determination and triumph over tragedies that would bring down even the strongest soul. She kept her happy even in the most troubled, dark moments. It is because of this that we are smitten with Giuliana Rancic and of course, her husband, Bill Rancic too.
Visit Giuliana's website "Fab Fit Fun" for more on a life well lived.
Learn more about breast health and talk with your doctor about a baseline mammogram.
If you are young and diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer, check out Brightpink.com, an uplifting, smart, encouraging website.