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Red carpet report: Q&A with E! News anchor Giuliana Rancic

Giuliana Rancic is a red carpet warrior.

For the past 12 years, she's interviewed almost every celebrity as they've headed to the Academy Awards ceremony. And her fans have noticed.

When Rancic joined E! News as a correspondent in 2002 and then became solo anchor and managing editor for the show in 2005, she took the program from the lowest rated on the E! Entertainment Television network to number one. Her 3 million Twitter followers attest to her strong presence on social media.

In addition to anchoring E! News, Rancic also co-stars as a member of the "Fashion Police" team. It puts her in the unique position to report the news and spot trends while stopping sartorial missteps. But she's not just into fashion. This awards season, Rancic is also partnering with Chase Freedom, which is offering 5 percent cash back on movie theater purchases through the end of March.

If that wasn't enough, Rancic has found time to produce a clothing line, co-author a book and star in a reality television show with her husband, Bill. Oh, and she also had a son, Duke, 18 months ago.

And there's more to come, says the University of Maryland alumna.

Ahead of the Oscars, Rancic talked about life on the red carpet, including her favorite and least favorite moments in the spotlight.

Describe your morning ritual on awards day?

I always wake up excited on awards days. My husband, Bill, and I have actually been waking up early and taking the baby on a long walk the mornings of the red carpets. They are such long days for me, so spending that bit of time with my family is really important. After our walk, we have a big, healthy breakfast. It is key to eat healthy, high-protein breakfasts every day, but especially before long workdays like these. I need all the energy I can get.

After breakfast, I head to whichever hotel I am to be getting ready at and spend about two hours in hair and makeup before getting dressed in my gown. That time goes by so fast and it is a mad dash to the carpet, but my glam squad always gets it done.

And the preparation for awards shows goes far beyond the fun glamming process and starts long before the morning of. I always make sure I've seen all of the nominated movies.

How do you choose your makeup and hair look for awards day?

My hair and makeup look always depends on the gown I am wearing. My hair is styled to complement the dress, so if I have a lot of heavy beading or lace on or around the neckline, I will likely do a more sleek, simple hairstyle. And same goes for makeup. If my dress is black, I have more options for makeup colors, but for example, if my dress is purple, my makeup artists will probably stick to a more neutral lip color and so forth. It all revolves around the gown.

I loved the Covergirl Always Naked nail polish you rocked last year. Is there any type of makeup you swear by?

I tend to go for more bronzy looks. My favorite bronzer is by Catalina Su. It a great bronzer. It's my must-have beauty product. It makes you look alive. I also use Strobe Cream by MAC Cosmetics. It works really well with the lights on the carpet. It gives you a dewy look.

Are you going to be rocking a new nail polish for the Oscars?

I'll definitely be doing something good — especially with the Mani Cam. We love it, and the celebs love it more. We get so many calls from publicists asking where the Mani Cam will be. They [celebrities] look forward to coming to the red carpet. I don't know yet [what nail polish I'll be wearing]. It depends on the dress. I had a fitting yesterday with 10 dresses. I have another 10 today. Once we narrow the choices down, I'll know.

What are your best and worst red carpet moments?

If I had to choose one best red carpet look, I would probably say the white Tony Ward Couture gown I wore to the 2012 Academy Awards. I just felt so glamorous and beautiful that day. And my worst is an easy choice. I actually wore cowboy boots with my gown at my very first Academy Awards red carpet about 12 years ago. I don't know what I was thinking. It was terrible.

Speaking of footwear, what do you usually wear — flats or heels — if you're wearing a long gown?

One hundred percent heels. You've got to suffer for the fashion, especially for the Academy Awards red carpet. As soon as that red light is off, I slip on some comfortable flats. While we're on the red carpet, I'm always in heels. The higher the shoe, the better the dress looks.

Who is your red carpet style icon?

There is no way to choose just one red carpet style icon. There are several that stick out from over the years, though. Sophia Loren, Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Lawrence are three red carpet beauties that stand out in my mind.

What's your favorite color trend this season?

It's not exactly a color, but I love the metallic trend. We saw Taylor Swift and Ciara wearing metallic gowns at the Grammys and Sandra Bullock and Jennifer Lawrence at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. I am really excited to see who will be donning the trend at the Academy Awards this weekend.

Who is your favorite current red carpet designer?

My favorite red carpet designer is Valentino. I just love his classic, sophisticated creations. I am also really excited about an Australian designer I recently discovered named Alex Perry. I wore one of his gowns to the Grammys, and I felt so great in it.

What is your favorite red carpet moment of all time?

Nicole Kidman stepping onto the red carpet in that gorgeous red Balenciaga gown with the shoulder bow at the 2007 Academy Awards was one of my favorite fashion moments of all time. It always stands out to me. It's iconic.

Lupita Nyong'o has scorched the red carpet this season. What do you expect from her on Oscar night?

She has set the bar so high for herself. I don't know what she will wear Oscar night, but I think she will sparkle. She's been winning every award and she's been knocking it out of the park. I expect a color from her. She's been wearing a lot of red and orange. I don't expect her to be showing up in a black dress.

Has your work with "Fashion Police" ever created awkward red carpet moments with celebs?

Yes, it has a handful of times. The most memorable was a couple years ago at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. I was hosting, and Tina Fey came up to the podium and said to me: "Didn't you say you hated my dress last week on 'Fashion Police'?" She said it with a smile. A million thoughts went in my head. I decided to just be honest. I told her it was nothing personal. And then said: "Tonight, you look great." We named her to the best-dressed list that night. Most of them, they get it. On "Fashion Police," yes, we talk about fashion, but Joan Rivers is a comedienne. The show is as much about comedy and humor as it is about fashion.

How do you deal with people who attack your wardrobe choices?

It doesn't bother me at all. If you are going to dish it, you have to be able to take it. I've worn so many outfits — some great and some horrible. To be a true fashionista you have to be on both lists — best-dressed and worst-dressed. You have to take risks. I realize that fashion is temporary. If it doesn't work, it's fine. You can take it off, and do it again. [When I'm put on the worst-dressed list] we get a good laugh.

You have a toddler, all these projects and appearances. How do you balance everything?

In the beginning, I spent so much time trying to balance it all. But I came to the realization that you can't do everything. There won't be balance each day. …There are some days when work needs you more. There are some days family needs you more. …I'm done by 5 p.m. on Oscar day. It's not so bad. I find the balance like every other mom.

What's next for you?

I have a new show on E! — "Beyond Candid with Giuliana Rancic." It premiered a couple weeks ago. On the show, I sit down with celebrities and interview them. It's about hearing the real story. I interviewed Demi Lovato for the premiere. I had Elisabeth Hasselbeck on the show last week. "Giuliana & Bill" will be on E! The show moved from the Style Network to E! for our seventh season. It premieres the first week of April. This season, we're deciding whether or not to have another baby. I'm in D.C. and Maryland a lot. My father opened a new store, Eduardo De Pandi, in Chevy Chase. It's a beautiful, beautiful store. He makes custom suits. I've been helping him there. My Dad just turned 75. He's a master tailor. He's been working in a tailor shop since he was 10. I get my work ethic from him.

 

About Giuliana Rancic

Born: Naples, Italy

Raised: Bethesda

Education: B.A. in journalism from the University of Maryland; master's in journalism from American University.

Resides: Los Angeles and Chicago with her husband, Bill Rancic, and their son, Duke.

Big break: In 2002, joined E! News as a correspondent; in 2005 became solo anchor and managing editor for the show.

Reality check: Six seasons of "Giuliana & Bill" on Style Network. For the seventh season, the show moves to E!

Other work: In 2011, launched FabFitFun, a daily newsletter focused on beauty, health and wellness. In 2006, co-authored a book with her husband, "Think Like A Guy: How to Get a Guy By Thinking Like One."

Clothing line: G by Giuliana Rancic.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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