Giuliana Rancic: From Entertainment Reporter to Female Inspiration

ALTIt would be difficult to not label Giuliana Rancic a woman of inspiration. The E! host has spent the better part of the past year not only raising breast cancer awareness — after she herself was diagnosed with the disease — but also opening up about the infertility problems that have plagued so many women, including herself. So, even for the most cynical folk, the news released Monday that she is about to become a mom — via a surrogate — couldn’t be more exciting or better deserved.

It’s interesting that we even feel such a connection to Rancic, who first gained fame as just another entertainment reporter at E! News in 2005. Like most in the entertainment news industry, she didn’t invite the praise or acclaim dedicated to the Brian Williamses, the David Gregorys, or even the Nancy O’Dells of the world. And though Rancic is still not necessarily lauded for her work as a newswoman — despite becoming an E! News anchor and a critic on Fashion Police, which enjoys a respectable following — she’s managed to turn herself into one of the most captivating entertainment news stories of the year. 

But unlike celebrities like Kim Kardashian — who often inserts herself into the news cycle with a new boyfriend, new fiancé, new husband, and new divorce — Rancic’s news story was one worth telling. Sure, like many fame-seekers, Rancic booked a reality show, Giuliana and Bill, but she used the series to share her struggles with infertility. Rather than delving into the typically inane plot lines of reality TV — chicken vs. tuna arguments, non-suspenseful cliffhangers surrounding staged household arguments — the Rancics publicized an issue typically ignored by a medium that favors stories about celebrity baby bumps. How refreshing for similarly struggling women to realize they aren’t alone — that some celebrities really are just like us.

But Rancic’s story only continued. The newswoman spoke about her multiple rounds of failed in vitro fertilization, a miscarriage, and, eventually and inevitably, backlash surrounding her struggles. Members of the media — and some within the celebrity community (including The View‘s Whoopi Goldberg) — went after Rancic, claiming her weight was responsible for her infertility problems. But even detractors like Goldberg would have a difficult time criticizing Rancic months later, when the reporter appeared on Today in October 2011 to announce she was in the early stages of breast cancer. Watching the moment on TV, even I was in awe. Just the night before, I had sat down with the Rancics for an interview — not once did the E! News host show any signs of fear, concern, or anxiety. And that was the exact moment viewer opinion of Rancic also turned a corner — since her announcement, Rancic has (deservedly) been praised for her dedication to awareness of the disease, managing to turn herself into the best kind of celebrity in Tinsel Town: The inspirational star. (It didn’t hurt that Rancic brought a brave face to breast cancer by returning to work just two weeks after undergoing a double mastectomy.)

It’s doubtful Rancic will ever win a Pulitzer reporting about Kardashian’s newest boyfriend or Selena Gomez’s latest outfit. Still, she’s managed to win something most entertainment journalists will never get: Respect. And now that she’s actually finally becoming a mom? Well, talk about a lovely end to a fascinating human interest story.

Readers, are you surprised seeing Rancic’s evolution from entertainment reporter to female inspiration?


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