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Miss USA Pageant Interviewby Pattye Grippo    

Miss USA Pageant

This is an interview with Andy Cohen and Giuliana Rancic on June 14, 2011 about hosting the Miss USA Pageant. The pageant airs on Sunday, June 19, live from the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas beginning at 9 pm Eastern Time on NBC.

Question:
You are on different shows, with Andy on Watch What Happens: Live and Giuliana on E! News. How are you going to tackle this show differently or just is it going to be the same?

Andy Cohen:
I think we'll just bring our own personalities and sensibilities to it and see if combust along the way.

Giuliana Rancic:
Andy and I go way back. What we do really well is live television and interacting with people in a very natural, fun, live way. I think that's what we're going to bring to this pageant. We're not going to be stiff. We're not going to be boring. You've just got to watch what happens live.

Question:
How much interaction will you have with Kelly Osbourne?

Andy Cohen:
That's a good question. We haven't gotten down there. We're going we're going to spend a few days running through it. Giuliana works with Kelly. I don't know her. But I hope we have a fair amount.

Giuliana Rancic:
I think it's going to just depend on what they want to go to her for and when they want to go to her for her colorful commentary. But I'm sure she's going to be in the show a good amount. So it's going to be a good dynamic. Kelly is wonderful. I do work with her every weekend. I'm sure Andy and Kelly will get along beautifully.

Question:
Ahead of getting this gig, did you meet Donald Trump? And if so what was he like?

Andy Cohen:
I hosted a Q&A with him in Vegas a few years ago. And the thing that I found amusing and that I liked about him was that I found that you really can ask him anything and he'll answer it. So I found that quite entertaining.

Giuliana Rancic:
My husband was the first apprentice. Donald hired him. And so if it wasn't for Donald I would... who was the runner-up, Kwame Jackson? I would be Mrs. Kwame Jackson. So I so I owe Donald basically my marriage and my future children. I owe him everything. I have met Donald several times throughout the years. And what I love most about him is he is such a fan of pop culture. Like he knows everything going on in entertainment news and so does Melania. And I just think it is hilarious. So I'm a big fan. And I'm very excited that he asked me to do this with Andy.

Question:
Why do you think pageants continue to be such a huge pop culture icon?

Andy Cohen:
First and foremost, I think they are fun. It's fun to watch. The whole process of watching a field of 51 women being narrowed down in different rounds and different competitions, it's just fun. The women are beautiful. It's sparkly, it's glittery, it's entertaining, and you know, someone ends the night winning this big prize package. And so it's just a format that works and works and is tried and true. So I think it's actually pretty simple.

Giuliana Rancic:
I think it also has to do with the Cinderella factor. I know that when I was a little girl, and I moved to America when I was about 7 or 8 years old, and I used to watch Miss USA every year. And I just thought wow, you know. These girls are so glamorous and so beautiful. And at the end of the night they got a tiara. And then they went on the whole year and they got to do cool things around the country.

And it was just like this beautiful like wanting to be like Cinderella and like this fairy tale. And kind of the same reason we all tuned into watch Kate Middleton get married; I mean I think there is something just really wonderful about a young girl realizing her dreams. And absolutely what Andy said, too, the fact that on top of it they are just so gorgeous these girls. And it's just a really like sexy, beautiful, cool show to watch.

Question:
Giuliana, what are you wearing to host the pageant?

Giuliana Rancic:
When I heard I was doing this, the first thing I said was oh my gosh. Thank you so much. I am so excited. And then the second thing I said was can I do wardrobe changes a la Beyonce, Cher. And they were like who do you think you are? And then they said yes. And so I'm doing three wardrobe changes which is very exciting. And it means we have to move very quickly. But to be honest, my first fitting is Thursday. I have an amazing stylist that is coming in for the show. She does Eva Longoria and lots of great people in Hollywood. So she - who knows what tricks she has up her sleeve. But I know we've called in from very big designers. So I am excited to see what we have.

Question:
What was the inspiration for your looks for the show?

Giuliana Rancic:
I think what I've seen people do in the past on that show that, women who have hosted it they tend to look kind of similar to the girls in just like a more mature fashion. And I definitely don't want to do that. I think I want to do a little more let the girls shine. Let them do their own thing. And I want to just focus more on the fashion of it; maybe do something daring. I might play with a menswear look. I think that would be fun. That would be a cool contrast for such like a feminine event. So I don't know, so high fashion and just very different and maybe with some irony in it.

Question:
Which of your E co-stars, such as the Kardashians and Kendra, has what it takes to be a pageant girl?

Giuliana Rancic:
Hands down I'd say Kardashian. And I'd pick Chris Jenner. Let me tell you something. If Chris Jenner, the mother, competed in Miss USA she would win hands down. That woman is not only gorgeous and knows how to work it, but she has such confidence. And she is so smart. That's the thing about Chris Jenner. She is the savviest woman I have ever met. So I'd say Chris Jenner.

Question:
Andy, which of the housewives has what it takes to be a pageant girl?

Andy Cohen:
That's got to be Gretchen Rossi from the Orange County Housewives. She was on a tear at the OC Reunion because her costar Alexis has said that she doesn't think that a woman should be President. She is more comfortable with a man President. I asked Gretchen what she thought. And she was giving her answer which was she thinks women can do anything or whatever. And I looked at her and I said, oh my God, you are so pageant right now. She looks like Miss Texas. She looks like the ultimate Miss Texas to me or Miss California. She has got the hair. She's got the body. She's got the attitude. I just think she could take it to the end.

Question:
Do you usually watch the pageant every year?

Giuliana Rancic:
I have since I was a kid, yeah.

Andy Cohen:
I try to yeah.

Question:
What are you looking forward to as hosts this year?

Andy Cohen:
I am looking forward to it all, I love sparkly things. I love beautiful women. I love watching Giuliana. So right there that's kind of three just things that I'm going to have a front row seat to. I love a competition so I'm just going to be invested in the competition and seeing these women and getting to know them a little bit and seeing one of them make it to the top and get her have her dream come true. It's just exciting, fun.

Giuliana Rancic:
I'm just excited to be there too just to do a big, live show like this. And millions and millions of people watch this show. And there is a lot of excitement behind it. And like Andy being with Andy is going to be fun. Some of these people take the like these pageants are fun. And if you notice girls with personality tend to win these. Like you've got to have like a cool, fun persona. And I think that's kind of our approach into hosting it.

We're not going to like be really like stiff and boring. We're going to just have fun and kind of go with where the show goes. And if we want to make a comment about something that happened that everyone is thinking about but no one is saying, we're going to make it. And so I think that's why they brought Andy and I in, because we can have sharp tongues sometimes and just - we roll with it, you know. And I think I'm looking forward to kind of the fact that it is not safe. You know what I mean? It's live and anything can happen.

Question:
Aside from the actual night of the pageant, how much interaction will you both get with the contestants?

Andy Cohen:
I think we'll see that when we get down there. I think we're going to be rehearsing for a few days in advance. And I know that we'll be around the women. And we're not judges so that's kind of a great thing. I think that might allow us to get to know them a little bit. And maybe Giuliana and I will set up a little side bet.

Giuliana Rancic:
We'll spend time with them. We're doing like long rehearsals. We just got schedules. And the funny thing too is a lot of these girls, at least in the past pageants, a lot of them want to be broadcasters and hosts. So I'm sure we'll be dishing out advice and kind of helping some of these girls out. And like Andy said. It's good that we are not judges, because we can have much more interaction with them.

Question:
How did you get involved with the Miss USA Pageant?

Andy Cohen:
They asked. They just came and said do you have any interest in this? And I just thought it sounded so fun and like such a kind of an ironic pop culture twist on the kind of ringleader aspect of my job with women at Bravo. So I just thought gosh that's just fun. And when they said Giuliana was involved I said sign me up.

Giuliana Rancic:
Oh thank you Andy. That's exactly right. They just kind of called us and I was thrilled. It was always something I wanted to do. We all have like strange goals or different things we want that like other people sometimes think are quirky or funny. And I don't know why. Like people you talk to what did you always want to do? I'm like well ultimately I'd like to maybe host a daytime talk show, oh, and host Miss USA. Like I've always thought it would be so cool to host Miss USA probably because I grew up watching it every year and obsessing over it. So I was thrilled when they asked.

Question:
Earlier you mentioned you were going down for rehearsals. When you talk about rehearsals, are you just rehearsing the staging or how much of the show is rehearsed ahead of time?

Andy Cohen:
I think it's really about blocking and staging and where everybody needs to be. There is a lot of moving parts. It is a two hour live show, 51 women, you know. There is a lot of personality and moving pieces on that stage. So I think that's really what it is. And in terms of what happens it's all live. And the other cool thing is that for the first time ever the fans are going to be able to vote their favorite contestant into the semifinals online during the show. So I mean it is happening now through just before the show starts. And so that is cool. That's a cool new twist I think.

Giuliana Rancic:
That is really cool. I like that. And also I'm sure our parts will be initially scripted out. But Andy and I we'll go through and change up whatever we need to put everything in our words and make it feel very natural and fun. Like we want people tuning in to feel like anything could happen at any time. And Andy of course as you know from Andy's from Watch What Happens: Live and the work Andy does, I mean, anything can happen.

And also with all the red carpets I do with the Oscars, the Globes, you never know what celebrity might give you the greatest interview or might give you the worst interview and say something totally inappropriate. I mean you don't ever know what's going to happen at these shows. So we want to be sure that we totally capture all the crazy moments. And we'll be right there doing it.

Question:
If each of you were able to have your own pageant, what would you call it?

Andy Cohen:
I would like to do maybe the Ultimate Housewife Pageant. I think that would be fun, just throw all the housewives up on a stage and whittle it down. I would actually quite enjoy that.

Giuliana Rancic:
Why don't you guys do that Andy?

Andy Cohen:
I know. I think we just spitballed ourselves into a great idea. It might be a little shark jumpy but I like it. I'm going to think about it.

Giuliana Rancic:
Maybe I will do Miss E! Like who at E! we'll put all the E! people into one pageant and just kind of see where it goes, men and women.

Andy Cohen:
Yep, throw Joan in there.

Giuliana Rancic:
Joel McHale.

Andy Cohen:
Joel McHale, Chelsea.

Giuliana Rancic:
Every Kardashian: Chelsea, Ryan, they would be amazing.

Andy Cohen:
Yeah I'd watch that.

Question:
How are you going to bring that fun aspect to the pageant?

Andy Cohen:
I'm just going to bring my late night vibe to prime time. And I just am going to go with it. I don't know. I mean it's all about the attitude. And I'm just excited. I will be sober for the broadcast so that will be a new twist. And I'm actually going to be broadcasting my show, Watch What Happens: Live, from Vegas directly following the pageant on Bravo. So I'm going to go from one show right to the other. So hopefully it will be a seamless 2-1/2 hours that will just be nothing but fun.

Question:
Can you tell me who the judges are going to be?

Andy Cohen:
I don't know if they have announced that yet.

Giuliana Rancic:
I don't think they have announced it.

Question:
Have you had any favorite moments so far from working on the pageant?

Andy Cohen:
I think that this would be my favorite moment, because it's kind of the first moment that we've worked on it. We're really going to get to work starting Friday when we get down there. I know that everybody in Vegas and obviously with the Miss USA organization has been working really hard on this. We kind of step in Friday and then are at Miss USA boot camp for three days.

Question:
Do you know who your guests will be for the show following the pageant?

Andy Cohen:
Haven't been announced yet.

Question:
Andy, it seems like you're doing so much on air work these days. How do you balance it out with your executive job?

Andy Cohen:
It's not easy. But with the on air stuff is really I'm lucky because I love live TV. And my show is live. And so I really just spend a few hours after work, after my day job is over, doing my live duties. So really I am from morning until night I'm focused on Bravo programming. And then I kind of after hours is when I have a little fun in the Bravo Clubhouse. The reunion shows really only wind up being seven or eight days out of the year. So, so far it's okay. It can get a little hairy and a little stressful. But it's all fun. And I happen to have two great jobs that I love very much. So I am very lucky.

Question:
Can you tell me about the platforms that the winner's take? Obviously Rima had a pretty interesting one last year. And it looks like whoever wins this year is going to be working more with breast cancer awareness. Talk a little bit about that aspect of this whole process.

Andy Cohen:
I think it's a great opportunity. With Rima that was certainly a different Miss USA. She's the first Arab American and first Muslim to be crowned Miss USA which was really exciting. And I think that as the pageant gets more modern I think it's an opportunity for the women to have platforms to say things that maybe aren't as traditional as they have been in the past.

I'm looking forward to seeing meeting the women and hearing what they have to say and what they stand for and what they are about and what they would use their year as Miss USA to represent and stand for. I haven't met them yet to know. But I certainly think it's a great opportunity to say something and represent something and put something out there that is different and challenging. And hopefully the judges will agree with me and they will kind of embrace something modern and new.

Question:
Giuliana, you work with Kelly Osbourne on Fashion Police. Being that you already are kind of familiar with her strengths, what do you think Kelly will be able to bring to the pageant as a commentator throughout the live telecast?

Giuliana Rancic:
I'll tell you something about Kelly Osbourne. I just had a two hour conversation with her the other day about work stuff and everything. I kept like cracking up on the phone. She didn't know but I was just like pointing the phone away from my face because she is a straight shooter. She does not hold back, and I think that's how she is on Fashion Police.

Kelly doesn't feel the need to be loud or yell things. But what she says is like when you look at her you can see she does this little tilt and likes squints her eyes like when she is looking at something. And she'll just tell you what comes out of her mouth is so raw and real. I think that's going to be really cool about Kelly. And she won't hold back. Like Kelly is very uncensored especially on live television. So I think it's going to be very interesting, you know. I can't guarantee what she'll say that night, because she is unpredictable. But she will definitely bring a very raw and strong opinion to the pageant that we have never seen before.

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