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Miss USA Pageant Interviewby Pattye Grippo    

Miss USA Pageant

This is an interview with Andy Cohen and Giuliana Rancic on May 23, 2012 about hosting the Miss USA Pageant.

Question:
How do you differentiate hosting a pageant like this versus say Andy what you do on Watch What Happens Life or what you do Giuliana on E! News or one of the red carpet specials you do? Is there a major difference in your mind of how you approach handling the contestants here?

Giuliana Rancic:
Not really. I treat them like they're Julia Roberts and you know Merrill Street coming at me. I treat them just like I would any celebrity on a red carpet. You know this is their moment. This is going to be one of the biggest moments of their lives to be live on NBC with millions of people watching them.

You know basically the event that they've worked their whole life to get to. So it's such an exciting time for them and I want them to feel like we are so excited for them. And we are, you know we realize how incredible of a moment this is so yes I tend to treat them just like any A-list actress that I'm interviewing on the red carpet.

Andy Cohen:
I treat them like any real housewife or anyone that I'm welcoming into the clubhouse and also Giuliana and I have I think that is part of our approach is that when we did this together last year we had so much fun with a capital F. We both love pageants. I think it was surreal for both of us that we were actually in the middle of a pageant and hosting it. And I think that kind of you know you could tell watching the show that we were having a blast. And it was you know it's good fun.

Question:
How involved is Donald Trump when it comes to running the pageant? Does he give you guys any tips or he just says you guys are expert, go do your thing?

Andy Cohen:
I didn't get any feedback from him but I trust he's very involved in you know I mean it's his organization, the Miss Universe organization.

Giuliana Rancic:
I actually was a judge years ago for Miss USA and I got a chance to spend some time with Donald there and also you know last year a little bit of time. But he's very involved. I mean he loves this pageant and he's a true pro. You know Donald wanted everything to go off without a hitch.

But at the same time he makes sure he hires the right people to do the job because it's not an easy job to get. You have to get Donald's approval and blessing and that is not easy. So you know we're very flattered that he trusts us and he's always right there front row center. I don't know if you remember but they did call us after and they said that Donald was so happy with what we did last year and just loved our energy.

Andy Cohen:
Yes.

Giuliana Rancic:
And that was flattering you know because he's a true pro and a perfectionist.

Question:
How was it working together again? Was it any different this time maybe than last year?

Andy Cohen:
We haven't done it yet but I think we're like dating and we're really into each other. We're like a couple that's really into each other basically. But ultimately we're not going to go all the way at the end of the night.

Giuliana Rancic:
It depends on what I'm drinking. It depends on what I'm drinking that night.

Andy Cohen:
I like that.

Giuliana Rancic:
I'm obsessed with Andy. I always was a huge Andy Cohen before the pageant last year. When I heard that he was the male host I was like running through the E! News room so excited I couldn't even contain myself. And then he was everything I had expected and so much more. Like we were backstage having the best time. Like that's where the camera should have been during the show.

There should be like a backstage host cam because we were having so much fun with each other, with the girls, we're trying to like keep everyone loose and having fun. So we just adore working together and I was recently on Andy's show as a guest in New York for the first time about a month or so ago and oh my God Andy's the best. Everyone loves Andy Cohen. So I'm part of his fan club.

Andy Cohen:
Oh my God, maybe we will go all the way.

Question:
Andy, you said you wanted a boyfriend recently. I was wondering what were you kind of looking for in a guy?

Andy Cohen:
I'm looking for a guy kind of I think that me and the judges in the Miss USA pageant are looking for similar things. You know gender being the exception. I want someone strong and independent and someone with their own thing going on and funny and driven and smart.

Giuliana Rancic:
Basically another version of Andy, let's be honest.

Question:
Giuliana I know you're busy with the baby right now but you're already planning on baby number two. Do you know how long maybe you're going to wait for it and if you will also get a surrogate?

Giuliana Rancic:
No I think that Bill was saying that in the future. I think a lot of people who are pregnant with their first are excited about expanding their family. And I've always said that I want to have four or five kids. I'd love a big brewed. I think that Bill was just kind of saying that but no there are no plans in the near future.

Question:
Do we know who the judges are yet for this year's pageant? And would you ever want to be a judge? Can you have that sort of pressure of having someone's dream in the palm of your hands?

Andy Cohen:
I don't think the judges have yet been announced. Giuliana already was a judge.

Giuliana Rancic:
Yes I was a judge about five years ago and it was great. I actually was in the Miss Maryland USA pageant a couple of times. I did not ever make it to the national level, so sad. So for me I knew how it feels to be on that stage and how nerve wrecking it is so I took it very seriously.

Question:
What do you feel about the sort of semi-controversy a few years ago with Carrie Prejean? If you were a judge on that panel how would you have approached that whole situation? Or what do you feel about the question and the answer and the fallout?

Andy Cohen:
I thought the question was great. The answer was not something that I agreed with personally and I probably would have scored her low at the time. But you know again I've never been a judge and so I don't have the specific criteria in my head of everything that the judges are looking for.

But you know I think that it's a well-rounded person who speaks well and intelligently and inclusively of everyone and would be a great represent you know a great representative of the organization. So yes I thought the question was within bound. I thought that there were some great questions last year and it's my favorite part of the pageant.

Giuliana Rancic:
I agree that's my favorite part too.

Question:
Would either of you ever want to be a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice, Donald Trump's other show?

Andy Cohen:
I got too many balls in the air to even speculate at this moment. Bring me an offer and we'll talk about it.

Giuliana Rancic:
I actually met with them last season but it was just not going to happen, it was a scheduling thing. But I mean I love the show. I've always been a fan of The Apprentice. My husband was the first Apprentice so it's funny though because when I went to meet my husband told me he's like you realize if you do this show second place isn't good enough? You have to come in first place because I already won. So it was a lot of pressure. I don't know if I would do it but it's such a great show and you know it's a lot of fun to watch.

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

Andy Cohen:
I'm most looking forward to the whole thing, it's exciting. I love it that it's live. I love it that it moves so quickly. It starts at 9 o'clock on Sunday night, June 3 and it's just right off the bat they start eliminating people and narrowing down the field. You start to get to know the people. The format is so great and it just works so well that I'm just excited about going along for the ride and about spending the weekend in Vegas with Giuliana. We love to kind of handicap the contestants.

I will say both of us had our eyes on Alyssa who's the current Miss USA Poison IVY and she's fantastic and we love her and it was fun watching her go through the process and ultimately winning.

Giuliana Rancic:
Yes she was gorgeous and I think that like Andy said I love the live element of the show. Anything happens, that's why I like doing live red carpet shows because it is fun to know that you can tune-in and anything can happen. And I've been watching pageants my whole life, Miss Universe, Miss USA. And you know the craziest things happen. The funniest things are said that you want to see it live. And for us to be able to be there front row center seeing it all happen is great. You know and so I'm excited.

I mean even last year Andy remember when we first walked up the very first thing we - before we even opened our mouths we came up these stairs and I had the biggest like the highest slit in my dress and I didn't realize until I watched it back that it was like pretty much you know like a bit of a wardrobe malfunction. It went up a little too high and you could catch like if you paused it or rewound it you could you know basically see things I didn't want you to see.

Andy Cohen:
That was one of two wardrobe malfunctions if I remember correctly. You were wearing stilts as well.

Giuliana Rancic:
Andy was so mad at me because in rehearsals I wore like regular shoes and then I showed up in like you know right before the pageant I throw on like six inch heels and Andy wanted to kill me because I was towering over him. I won't wear four inch heels.

Andy Cohen:
Well I look forward to any wardrobe malfunction. I hope you have a dress with a long slit.

Giuliana Rancic:
Yes or like low cut, we'll do something sexy.

Question:
How much of the show is rehearsed?

Andy Cohen:
All that's rehearsed is really the mechanics of this is the moment where you eliminate you know X people and you go from eight to five or you know from the entire group down to 16. So it's really just blocking, that's all that's rehearsed and everything else is live and spontaneous.

Andy Cohen:
By the way I just want to say before we get to that we can announce there are a few judges that we can announce now. The former bachelorette Ali Fedotowsky, she's the host of NBC's First Look and also Joe Jonas is going to be judge and Rob Kardashian and Giuliana's co-host on E!' Fashion Police George Cast, say the last name Giuliana.

Giuliana Rancic:
Kotsiopoulos, he's a judge?

Andy Cohen:
Kotsiopoulos yes he's going to be a judge.

Giuliana Rancic:
Oh my God that's so fun. That's going to be such a good weekend.

Question:
Andy we know you like to play games on Watch What Happens Live so we thought we would play a game with you guys this morning real quick. If you were a pageant contestant how would you answer these real life pageant questions? Describe yourself in three adjectives and explain why.

Giuliana Rancic:
Fun because I love smiling and laughing and having a good time. Fashionable because I love fashion and I love clothes. And driven because I'm always setting goals and have my eye on the future.

Andy Cohen:
I would say fun because I like to have a good time. Passionate because passion guides everything I do from my kind of zest for what I do during the day to my off hour activities. And tired because I never get any sleep.

Question:
Andy, you a big pageant watcher when you were growing up?

Andy Cohen:
I love a pageant.

Question:
Do you really every year watch Miss USA and Miss America?

Andy Cohen:
Oh yes, absolutely yes. Love it. It's fun it's like the gay Olympics.

Question:
You mentioned earlier that you are becoming in your own way an icon. You've got a book out, you've got your own show, you produce these shows. You're a star both in front of the camera and behind the camera. Was that the plan all along?

Andy Cohen:
No.

Question:
Are you going to be on Miss America?

Andy Cohen:
No my plan was I just always wanted to work in TV and the rest was just kind of whatever happened to me. And it really is kind of a dream come true thing that's going on with me because I gave up any idea of being in front of the camera years ago. I just gave it up because I didn't want to move from small market to small market trying to get in front of the camera.

So the idea that now organically six years ago a blog showed into a web show turned into some reunion shows turned into a talk show once a week at midnight to stripped at 11 to a book it's really cool. And it's really exciting and I pinch myself and I consider myself lucky and I always say about working in TV, you don't work in TV you get to work in TV. So the idea then now I get to work in TV both in front of and behind the camera is really a gift and so that is my answer to your question.

Question:
Giuliana do you see that at NBC, how excited he is to be working television?

Giuliana Rancic:
Oh absolutely. You know absolutely but Andy I mean he's just so good at what he does and you know what he does is not easy to do. And he just engages with people so well. People will just love him; they want to go on his show not because of the show but because of Andy. They love being with Andy and they love like that they can talk about you know the Real Housewives and fun things with him.

But he just you know it's funny a lot of people who haven't even seen the Real Housewives or you know watched any of those shows still go on the show, big stars because they love Andy. So I don't find it surprising at all. I love that Andy was behind the scenes and he was this big, bad powerful executive and then you know he was so damn good that he ended up in front of the camera too. I just love it. I think it's just such a great story.

Question:Andy Cohen:
Well you know I love a side pony and if I was a judge I would be giving extra points for side ponies and one of the many great things about when I went out on this book tour has been the army of side ponies I've encountered, it's been great. So yes I always give a little extra shout out to a side pony.

Question:
Giuliana, are you and Joan and the gang going to review the gown on your show after it's over?

Giuliana Rancic:
That's such a great idea. There are no plans to yet but I'm going to steal your idea and pitch it because I think that's a really good idea. But you know what's nice is Kelly Osbourne is actually going to be there. She's going to be doing fashion commentary so she'll be there as well. And George is a judge so all we're missing is Joan Rivers. We've got to get Joan on stage somehow.

Question:
Giuliana you're such an inspiration about what you've gone through this past year and Miss USA is committed to increasing breast cancer awareness. What does it mean now being a part of it a second round? Does it mean more being involved?

Giuliana Rancic:
Yes I mean it's fantastic. There was so much awareness for breast cancer as well as ovarian cancer. So it makes you know it makes me even happier to be a part of it. So yes I mean I'm always kind of you know I'm always chatting with the girls seeing what sort of charities they're involved with and what their platforms are.

And you know of course I always hold a special place in my heart for any of the girls who are you know out there campaigning for breast cancer awareness and that sort of thing. So yes but I'll be curious to see what different passions the girls have this year.

Question:
Besides your day job what would you say are three passions you have in life?

Giuliana Rancic:
One of them is hiking with my husband. I know that sounds so lame but it's true. I love being with my husband we're best friends. It's kind of amazing. In six years we've barely had a fight. I mean we're just best friends. We're very compatible. There's nothing I love more than just being alone in nature like just you know with a gorgeous view of like Malibu in Los Angeles with my husband and just talking about life. So I love doing that.

I love going to Italy and one of my passions is going to Italy and just taking in the culture. I was born in Naples, Italy so we go back a lot, my husband and I. We just love to sit in a Piazza and take in the culture and you know and eat until we are blue in the face.

I love to be honest I love the behind the scenes of what happens at E! You know I love like right now I'm dealing with today's content for our show tonight as Managing Editor and I love that. That's one of my biggest passions is producing and you know putting a show together every night. It's not easy to put together a one hour show but we have an amazing team and I love being part of the first steps of producing the show and seeing it play out that night. It's a great feeling.

Andy Cohen:
I have a house in Sag Harbor on Long Island and one of my passions is just going there and just kind escaping and going really underground and chilling out and having some Andy time alone. And shutting the heck up which I never do. So that's one thing.

I love boxing. It's really great; it's a really good stress release for me. And I love long walks on the beach.

Question:
I remember from a previous Giuliana and Bill episode that you two guys you love to dance a lot backstage and Giuliana was not a big fan of Andy's dancing. So I wanted to know if Andy has gotten better and if you guys were competing to show off a signature dance move for the talent portion, what would the dance be called and who would win?

Andy Cohen:
Giuliana would win. I would do the hustle or I would just get into really good disco shape and just bring it out.

Giuliana Rancic:
The hustle?

Andy Cohen:
Yes totally.

Giuliana Rancic:
Andy you're aging yourself.

Andy Cohen:
I'm old; I'm 44 next week so yes.

Giuliana Rancic:
Wait, when's your birthday? Not when you're in Vegas right?

Andy Cohen:
It's when we're there. Yes, it's when we're there. It's Saturday, we're going to be in rehearsal all freaking day on my birthday.

Giuliana Rancic:
Andy we've got to do something fun Saturday night. I'm not going to let you just go to bed at like 9 o'clock. We'll go to dinner or do something. I would do the Running Man paired with the Roger Rabbit. And maybe a little Cabbage Patch. So we're talking like 80's amazing break dancing moves.

Question:
Andy, if you had a Real Housewives Miss USA pageant, who would you say would win?

Andy Cohen:
I think Gretchen Rossi from Orange County because I just think she is always pageant ready. She has like full pageants hair, she embraces a strong color, she is very clear and concise, she has good posture. I just I feel that it's Gretchen.

Question:
There are a ton of media events surrounds this year's pageant, have you been to any of them? And if you have which ones are your favorite?

Giuliana Rancic:
We've been watching them on E! News you know we've been airing them and we go shoot them all but a lot of them have been in Vegas and out of town. And Andy's in New York, I'm in LA so we haven't been able to go to any of them yet but we're headed to Vegas soon so we'll be able to do some fun stuff with the girls when we get there.

Question:
Who is your favorite housewife?

Andy Cohen:
I plead the fifth.

Question:
If you had to pick one lady to win Miss USA right now who would your favorite or top two be?

Andy Cohen:
I haven't met them yet so I'm just going to say Miss Missouri because it's my home state. I grew up in St. Louis. But I actually haven't really met them yet so it's a total shot in the dark.

Question:
Being that the Miss Universe organization is so committed to increasing breast cancer awareness Giuliana how did you re-cooperate your own fitness and wellness regimen as part of your recovery from breast cancer?

Giuliana Rancic:
You know I've got to say it's funny a 20 some old girl tweeted that she just had a mastectomy and she's you know it's been so hard to get back into working out and how should she do it? And I said just start walking baby steps because it's so true I mean at the beginning it is so hard and I would just you know walk around the house and I would walk around my block and then I would walk around my whole neighborhood. And walking was everything to me.

And then it's funny because I was just thinking about it this morning. I was on the treadmill and I was going you know 7.5 miles per hour it's like doing sprints like 7.5 to 8 and I was thinking wow I can't believe it was only four months ago that I got my double mastectomy now here I am running at top speed. And it's just a great feeling - it's a nice feeling to know that even when you are so low and you're just so sad and you feel like you are never going to become yourself again it just you know little time, in my case four months, you know you can make a comeback. But you have to start very slow and that was hard for me to do but it was everything. So just the little walks I took helped me.

Question:
What are some of the qualities that you guys think a Miss USA winner should possess and why?

Andy Cohen:
I think poise, intelligence, independence, strength, you know ability to present herself well and speak well, passion.

Giuliana Rancic:
I agree with all of those. You know I love passion but I also love compassion. I mean I think that you know these girls you know they really work hard all year long and they go you know they make a lot of people's days. They brighten up a lot of people's days. They go to homeless shelters, they go to hospitals and they have to be compassionate. You know they have to have a warm heart. So I you know I definitely I always look for that in these girls.

Question:
What are your unrealized goals? What is still on your wish lists of things you'd like to accomplish?

Giuliana Rancic:
You know one thing I would love to do is do a show with a husband like a talk show with my husband. Like I meant a daytime show but more about relationships not really a talk show or celebrity show interviewing celebrities. More just dealing with relationships. So many people you know ask us about our marriage and our relationship and how we seem to have such a great relationship and we really do.

So I'd love to have couples come on who have issues and work them through their issues. My husband and I would love to do that. I think that's definitely something in the future, not the near future but it's nice to dream about and it's something that we can see ourselves doing you know somewhere in the future but we have a long road ahead of us so no rush.

Andy Cohen:
My goal is to get married. Fall in love and get married. I can do it in New York State now.

Giuliana Rancic:
Andy I feel like we might meet someone in Vegas who's going to fill those shoes. I don't know why. I have a really good feeling about it. I don't know why.

Andy Cohen:
I don't know, Vegas seems like a part time lover place.

Giuliana Rancic:
No, no but like someone who not necessarily like someone who lives there or someone we don't know like someone who's kind of part of all this. I don't know I'm feeling good about Vegas. I'm getting good vibes.

Andy Cohen:
Okay great.

Question:
What was your favorite part or what you miss the most about competing?

Giuliana Rancic:
I miss it all. I'll tell you my least favorite part, that damn swimsuit competition. I mean it's funny because it's like probably it's one of my favorite parts of us hosting and watching the swimsuit competition because I mean it's so fun to see the girls have so much confidence and it's pretty incredible. But when I did it I was mortified. I actually, it was so sad everyone wore bikinis and I wore a one piece.

Question:
What advice do you guys have for the competitors who feel nervous?

Andy Cohen:
That is a really hard one because I can only imagine. You know what's so amazing to me you know none of them were nervous last year. They didn't seem nervous. They're all so confident and they've been through this you know they've been through many other pageants, this is the night of their dreams, this is the biggest thing. But they all seemed like they were excited and having fun. The advice I would give them is just you know breathe and focus and try to have a little fun and experience the moment.

Giuliana Rancic:
Yes you know its funny when I kept asking them I'm like oh my God are you guys so nervous? And they're like no not at all. It was kind of amazing because this is their moment and they're like marines. For them to get to this point they have to win a lot of competitions and they are focused like a marine. I mean they are so disciplined and they are ready. Like they are not going to let nerves you know interfere with their big night and their chance to win.

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