Briana Malaska / Lantern photographer
Television personality, cancer survivor and now expecting mother all are fit to describe E! News co-anchor and E! Fashion Police co-star, Giuliana Rancic.
Rancic had the opportunity to reflect on and tell stories about such titles to about 400 Ohio State students during an Ohio Union Activities Board event Sunday evening.
“Basically we’re going to talk about how I went from being this little girl who moved to America from Naples, Italy, with pretty much no chance in heck to achieve a huge dream like I achieved,” Rancic said when she took the stage in the Ohio Union’s West Ballroom.
Rancic said moving to Bethesda, Md., from overseas introduced many challenges during her path to becoming an entertainment news reporter.
She said she learned to speak English from watching the local news, which in turn sparked her interest in the industry.
“Something about the news just struck a chord with me. I absolutely loved hearing this information, and I loved that I could take this information and bring it to people,” Rancic said.
Rancic kept the crowd laughing through her personal anecdotes, which gave some insight to her childhood.
“I found ways to turn the negative into a positive,” Rancic said.
Rancic received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree from American University in Washington, D.C., where she began reporting hard news and politics.
“I think that’s what I always thought being an anchorwoman or being a reporter meant,” Rancic told The Lantern. “Then every question I asked was always a little off-the-cuff or fun about fashion, but you can’t ask people about what they’re wearing at the Supreme Court.”
One of her professors at American University pointed out she might not be suited to report hard news.
“That was so heartbreaking to me but he goes, ‘Maybe you’re cut out for Hollywood,’ and my eyes lit up,” Rancic said.
Rancic started working for E! News in 2002, but her career didn’t take off until a few years later.
In 2005, E! News was weeks from cancellation by the network when Rancic accepted a position as a solo anchor.
“I think they were just taking a chance on me because they were canceling it anyways, and I was such a hard worker and so devoted that they felt like giving me this opportunity,” Rancic told The Lantern.
E! News, which was the lowest-rated show on the network at the time Rancic became anchor, reached No. 1 on the ratings list within a year of Rancic’s start.
“It was a huge accomplishment. That really validated more than ever that if I set my mind to something, I can do it,” Rancic said.
An even more important role Rancic said she took with E! News, besides anchoring, was working as the managing editor for the show.
“I was deciding the content and I said, ‘I want to start with Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, not Harrison Ford and Julia Roberts,’ because everyone else was doing that,” Rancic told The Lantern.
Turning the focus of the show to “young Hollywood” helped save E! News, she said.
Rancic met her husband of almost five years, Bill Rancic, during an interview on the show. The couple has a reality show on Style Network called, “Giuliana and Bill.”
“(Style Network) said, ‘Why don’t we try a positive reality show, which showed a good marriage?'” Giuliana Rancic said. “We said, ‘Fine we’ll do that,’ and thought it was going to last a season, and now we’re five seasons in.”
The couple is also set to co-host a reality show, “Ready for Love,” and published a book together in Sept. 2010 titled, “I Do, Now What?”
Giuliana Rancic, who has faced a battle with breast cancer in the past months, said she has found ways to cope and give a positive spin on her condition.
The OUAB event was set up to be in collaboration with Scarlet, Gray, & Pink: A Walk for Stefanie Spielman, an annual walk to promote breast-cancer awareness.
Giuliana Rancic said going public with her diagnosis impacted the lives of many women.
“In turn, not only has it helped all these women, but it has helped me because I find meaning and purpose in what I’m going through,” she said.
Giuliana Rancic was diagnosed with breast cancer in September and successfully underwent a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery the following December.
“If you can find the positive and you can find the good in your situation and help people, it will make your situation easier to deal with,” Giuliana Rancic told The Lantern.
Since her diagnosis, Giuliana Rancic has continued to work with organizations that help with breast cancer research. In October, Giuliana and Bill Rancic are scheduled go on tour to give speeches in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
“The more good I can do and help people through my experiences and trials and tribulations, the better I am as a person and better I become,” Giuliana Rancic said.
Morgan Lineberry, a second-year in psychology, said she was happy to hear Giuliana Rancic would be coming to OSU and that a celebrity put herself toward a good cause.
“I’m just excited to see her and maybe learn about what I can do for the whole breast-cancer awareness campaign,” Lineberry said before the show.
Trent Daubenmire, a first-year in chemical engineering, also said this was a good opportunity to spread awareness.
“She experienced breast cancer herself and she’s famous, so she’ll bring a lot of attention to the cause. More attention is good because it can bring in money to help fund research,” Daubenmire said.
In addition to her fight with cancer, Giuliana Rancic and her husband have been trying to start a family for years but have faced fertility issues. They recently announced they’d be able to have a child via a gestational surrogate, and the child is due in late summer.
“We’ve had a rough couple of years and to finally get some good news is the best thing in the world,” Giuliana Rancic told The Lantern.
Destiny Jackson, co-director of marketing for OUAB, said besides learning the importance of breast-cancer awareness from the event, she hopes students were inspired.
“She talked a lot about focusing on the positives in your life when things are going wrong, so we hope that during this midterm exam time they got more encouragement to succeed,” Jackson said.
Giuliana Rancic said she and her husband remain humble by staying true to the things that matter most in life, such as love, family and friends.
“We’re just regular kids from the ‘burbs who really worked hard as hell and made our dreams come true. But we’re not delusional, we know it could all disappear tomorrow,” Giuliana Rancic told The Lantern.
OUAB declined to disclose information about the cost of the event.