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A former MTV VJ and Revlon model offers a stylish and uplifting guide to living, detailing her advice on elegance, etiquette, relationships, love, spirituality, sex and beauty and offering plenty of personal stories, observations and tips that she has learned from celebrities, experts and friends.
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Daisy Fuentes has been redefining health, fashion, beauty and fitness for almost 20 years. From MTV to network television, a slew of cable series and specials, she has the ability to move seamlessly between music, fashion, fitness and style, and to own these categories as a host, expert and guide.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Who Are You? Baby, Who Are You?
Knowing Who You Are
I’M FROM JERSEY. And when I was seventeen, I thought that I could not ask for more out of life than big hair, bright nails, Camaros, shopping malls, attitudes, and accents. And then one day, my world shifted slightly and forever.
My next-door neighbor worked for Piero Dimitri, a couture Italian designer. They needed someone to fill in last-minute at a photo shoot. Without realizing what I was getting myself into, I headed into the city with my neighbor. I thought it was a one-shot deal, but it became a regular gig, and then I became Piero’s “fit model.” (The fit model is used to fit the samples on as they are being made. Back in the eighties, fit models were taller and curvier, but later Kate Moss became everyone’s fit model, and I was no longer easily fitting into sample sizes. Fortunately for me the TV world came calling before that became a problem.
After I’d been working for Piero for a few months, he suggested that I take on more jobs and get an agent. This is when I started to really see the world outside of Jersey. I would take the PATH train into the city, and in ten minutes I was ten miles away and ten years ahead of anything comfortable or familiar.
All of the other girls came from other countries. They had their own apartments. They flat-ironed their hair. Their nails were short and barely polished. Their clothes were black and boring and could have used some kick-ass accessories. But mostly, their hair was in dire, dire need of some serious back-combing and hairspray.
And then there was me.
One day, Piero asked me to stand in front of a fulllength mirror in his studio. “Daisy, look. Look at yourself.” I had my big Jersey hair, my fluorescent painted nails, a wider-than-wide white belt over my dress, chunky accessories. I thought I looked pretty damn fabulous. “What is the first thing you notice?” Piero asked me.
“Well, my belt, I guess.”
“Exactly. And what’s the next thing?”
“My nails? My hair?”
I stared at him. Was he trying to make a point?
“Darling, why would you want people to notice your belt, your hair, your nails, before they notice your face?”
“Live as if you were to die
tomorrow. Learn as if you
were to live forever.”—Gandhi
This was the first of many valuable pieces of advice that I would respectfully ignore. When I was seventeen, I thought I knew it all. In fact, I thought I knew it all until I was about twenty-five. Until I was about thirty. OK, until about right now. The truth is, I’ll never know it all. I will always be on a journey of rediscovery. Once I realized this, my path to discovery truly began.
|Unforgettable Tip:Only a fool knows|
The purpose of this book is to help you become a more aware, enhanced, happier version of yourself. I have spent the last twenty years of my life learning about myself (mostly the hard way), and I still have the nerve to continue to evolve and change. When I was younger, I was so stubbornly trying to “be myself” that I never stopped to find out who I really was and who I really wanted to be. I hope that this book inspires you to take the time to discover who you are, no matter what age you may be. I only really began to discover who I was when I was in my thirties, but, my God, I wish I had started earlier. I could have been dan-ger-ous. This is the book that I’ve been looking for since I was twenty.
|Unforgettable Tip:Be yourself, but always|
be willing to be a better
version of yourself.
“After all these years, I am still
involved in the process of self-
discovery. It’s better to explore life
and make mistakes than to play it
safe. Mistakes are part of the dues
one pays for a full life.”—Sophia Loren
Let’s Begin at the Beginning
I had been working as a model for a few years when I was offered a job as weather girl for Univision. I knew nothing about the weather, but I knew how to speak Spanish, and I could read a teleprompter. I figured I would give it a shot. I did not really stop to think about what I was getting myself into. Meteorology. Satellite weather maps. Live television. Live television! Did I mention it was live TV? What was I thinking? I wasn’t, thank God. I just went for it. I think the station executives stayed interested in me because I just wasn’t fazed by any of it. No matter what challenge they threw at me, I would tackle it as though I’d been doing it for years. I was giving it my all, but I wasn’t obsessing over every little thing. I learned from my mistakes, I listened to advice, and, most important, I was having a good time. I was having fun, and I really loved that my parents were proud of me. During my school years, my grades were terribly average; I was enjoying the newfound glory of doing something I was good at and came naturally to me. That said, I knew I did not want to be doing weather for the rest of my life. Yet at this point, I still didn’t know what I wanted to do. I certainly didn’t think this TV thing would last.
I would come home and sit on my parents’ couch and watch MTV. I loved to watch the original veejays, and I would envision myself as one of them. I could really see myself on TV, interviewing the world’s biggest stars, traveling to the hottest hot spots, being invited to the best parties. “That is my dream job,” I told my mom.
“Well, send them a tape,” Mom said.
“That’s not how it works,” I informed her (remember, I knew it all back then). “You have to have a big agent, get an audition. All that stuff.” Remember, this was before reality shows—the only way to get the job was to audition and interview for it.
“Just send them a tape.”
I still thought she was wrong, but I put together a tape anyway. My friend at the station helped me to splice together some of my weather pieces, and we sent off the tape. At this time, MTV did not have a Spanish division, but footage of my Spanish weather forecast was all I had. I sent it, then tried to forget about it. Somewhere, in an MTV office, Steve Leeds (the on-air talent director) received a tape of some chick doing the weather in Spanish. He later told me that he didn’t understand a word of it, but he thought I was cute enough, so he stashed it under his desk. He forgot about it until eight months later, when another MTV exec told him they had been interviewing hundreds of girls, looking for someone to host the one-hour Latin MTV program they were launching. They couldn’t find anyone who fit the bill. He pulled out my tape, and out of nowhere, I got a call for an audition.
Oh, that audition. It was not my finest hour.
I was so nervous that I woke up early, giving myself about six hours just to get ready. And my eye was swollen shut from some sort of insect bite I’d gotten while I was asleep. That’s it, I told myself, I’m not going. It’s just not meant to be. But for three hours, I iced my eye and put on every cream in the medicine cabinet. I did a bunch of makeup tricks, made my hair big, and then flipped some of the hair over to cover most of the damage. After a few hours and lots of makeup, my eye didn’t look terrible. Oh, and I also took Benadryl (perhaps not the wisest decision).
I then got dressed in (are you ready for it?) a white leather miniskirt, a white leather-fringed jacket, and white leather boots. Also fringed. (See the picture. This was in at the time, I swear.) I got on the PATH train, and by the time I reached the city, there was a sleeting ice storm. I could not get a cab anywhere, so I had to walk to the studio. I arrived forty-five minutes late, and I was a mess. My hair was flattened down, I was covered in disgusting New York City sleet, and I was doped up on Benadryl.
When I walked into that studio, I was sure I was never getting the job, so I just went for it. I played to the camera, I tried not to be nervous, and I set myself at ease. My executive producer, Barbara Corcoran, later told me that this is what saved me: “You looked like a mess when you walked in, but once you got on camera, you lit up.” If it had not been for my weather gig (which, if I’m being honest, was not my dream job), I would not have had the experience in front of the camera or the comfort level to get through that audition. This is why I am a true believer in giving it my all, no matter what I am doing. There is a purpose for everything, even if it doesn’t quite make sense at the moment. In life, seemingly insignificant “gigs” are exactly what prepare you for “the dream job.”
|Unforgettable Tip:Whatever you do,|
no matter how trivial or
how fabulously important,
do it with integrity, dignity,
Still, when I walked out of that building (my hair fully flattened and stuck together now, the gray sleet stained into all that white leather), I was certain that I was going back to reading weather maps for a few more months. There was a lot yet to learn. And then, of cou...
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