E! host Giuliana Rancic is equally as known for her entertainment news coverage as she is for leading a life as glamorous as those of the celebs she interviews. Her path to success was not as straightforward as one would imagine, though, and the impeccably-dressed and well-spoken TV personality has experienced her fair share of adversity.
Having covered major red carpet events and interviewed the biggest stars in Hollywood, Rancic has honed her craft and solidified her role in the entertainment industry, but her journey was years in the making. Rancic has come a long way since she first immigrated to the United States at the age of seven, and she has since built an illustrious career. From having to learn English and adapt to a new country at a young age, to her battle with cancer, Rancic’s ability to preserve through it all has made her stronger for it.
Read on to learn more about Giuliana Rancic’s transformation throughout the years.
Giuliana Rancic was an Italian immigrant with big dream
According to an interview with The Washington Post, Giuliana Rancic immigrated to Bethesda, Md. from Italy when she was in elementary school. Rancic remarked that she didn’t know any English, and was the shy kid who “sat in the back of the classroom” and “doodle[d],” uninterested in education at first “due to [the] language barrier.”
“The biggest struggle transitioning to life in America for me was definitely learning English,” Rancic told Everygirl. “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.”
Rancic attended Walt Whitman High School followed by the University of Maryland to receive her bachelor’s degree in journalism. She did not stop there, though. Forgoing her parents’ expectations of “marry[ing] her then-boyfriend and work[ing] at his family’s business,” career-driven Rancic pursued a master’s in journalism at American University, The Washington Post reports. Apparently, Rancic attended her master’s classes in secret for a whole month under the guise that she was working at a restaurant, before finally confessing her ambitions to her parents. So, how did her parents react? “We are an Italian family,” Rancic’s father, Eduardo DePandi (pictured above), told the outlet, adding, “We are very close, always. Me and my wife, we didn’t know what to do. But we said, okay, we’ve got to let her try.”
Not only did Rancic try, but she succeeded far beyond what her family could have ever imagined.
The accidental way Giuliana Rancic discovered her passion
While attending American University in Washington, D.C. for her master’s in journalism, Giuliana Rancic worked for the Potomac News Bureau, a pretty far from stretch pop culture and entertainment.
“Working on Capitol Hill is exactly the reason why I ended up in entertainment news!” Rancic told Everygirl. “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.”
At the urging and recommendations of her professors, Rancic was on a plane to Los Angeles not even a week after she graduated from AU, Everygirl reports. Once in LA, she said she worked random odd jobs just to pay the bills before landing at E!. “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,” Rancic said. “From the start, my goal was to become a TV host and entertainment reporter.”
Giuliana Rancic landed her dream job at E! News — after getting fired
Getting her foot in the door of her dream company was not an easy feat, though. In fact, Rancic said she was initially fired from E! before being rehired a few months later. While testing for a permanent reporting position with the network, Rancic interviewed actor Wilmer Valderrama at a red-carpet premiere and included some racy details in her story. E! then fired her for the risk, but immediately rehired her after seeing “how much feedback, positive and negative,” that the story was getting, per The Washington Post.
“It was my worst gig for E! and my best gig for E!, you know what I mean?” she said. “Because it got me fired, and then it got me hired.” Ultimately, her fun-loving and playful demeanor is what landed the gig as well as what fans couldn’t get enough of.
“That’s what they tune into E! for,” Rancic said. “If they wanted serious conversation, they’d go to CNN.”
Controversy almost derailed Giuliana Rancic's career
Giuliana Rancic’s risqué reporting style has not always paid off. In 2015, one comment almost cost Rancic her career. On an episode of E!’s Fashion Police, Rancic discussed the dreadlocks actress Zendaya rocked at the Oscars, and said she felt like the actress “smells like patchouli oil or weed.” Many found this remark to be racially offensive, including Zendaya, who called out the host on social media. Other black celebrities like Ava DuVernay, Kerry Washington, and Whoopi Goldberg sided with Zendaya, per The Hollywood Reporter.
Rancic owned up to her mistake and issued a sincere apology that aired on E! News. “This really has been a learning experience for me — I’ve learned a lot today — and this incident has taught me to be a lot more aware of cliches and stereotypes, how much damage they can do. And that I am responsible, as we all are, to not perpetuate them further,” Rancic said.
Rancic taking ownership of her words and recognizing her ignorance took guts, and showed she was not going to let the incident hinder her career. It also showed her commitment to using her platform to promote good and her ability to admit to when she had failed that mission.
Giuliana Rancic battled breast cancer and won
In her personal life, Giuliana Rancic has also faced some hardships. In October 2011, she was diagnosed with breast cancer at just 36 years old. She underwent a massive double mastectomy in December of that year, TODAY reports. Rancic was in the midst of trying to start a family with her husband Bill Rancic through fertility treatment when the cancer was discovered.
In an episode of her and her husband’s Style Network reality show, Guiliana & Bill, Rancic wept while discussing first being told she had cancer. “It’s not easy talking about it because it’s like the worst second of your life. It’s just awful,” she said, as per People. “Everything you expect that conversation is going to be like – it’s a hundred times worse, maybe a million times worse, because those are the words you never want to hear.”
Like the many obstacles Rancic has faced, she fought the disease with strength and grace. In 2016, she posted on Instagram that she was 5 years cancer free. She and her husband welcomed a son, Duke Rancic, via surrogate just 10 months after her diagnosis.
Giuliana Rancic put her roots down in Chicago
After leaving her glitzy life in LA behind, Giuliana Rancic found comfort in the midwest and carved out a new life there. With husband Bill, an entrepreneur and former winner of The Apprentice, being from Chicago, it’s no surprise the couple decided to call the Windy City home. “Bill and I both grew up in the suburbs,” Rancic told People. “We love that sense of community. And I have loved Chicago ever since we started dating nine years ago.”
This transition marked the end of her days of hosting E! News, though she still stays involved with the network from time to time. “I love E! News but what’s best for my family, as well as my current schedule, just won’t allow for the commitment a daily show takes,” Rancic said as per Fox News. Rancic was set to return to the network for a one-off gig hosting the red carpet at the 2020 Emmy Awards, but as she explained in remote video (screenshot above), a positive COVID-19 diagnosis sidelined her yet again.
While her television days may now be limited, Rancic proves she is a force to be reckoned with both on and off-camera. In 2012, Rancic opened RPM Italian with her husband in Chicago, the restaurant served an ode to her heritage, La Cucina Italiana reports. The celebrity power couple has gone on to expand the RPM restaurant brand and opened even more restaurants under the group, according to the RPM website. And that just scratches the surface of her post-E! ventures. Per her website bio, Rancic has also made her mark in the world of fashion, publishing, wine-making, and philanthropy — is there anything she can’t do?
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