Catching up with Giuliana and Bill Rancic ahead of Dubai Shopping Festival

The power couple are in town to ring in the new year and talk about family, fashion and overcoming life's difficulties.
Television personalities Bill and Giuliana Rancic at The Beach in Dubai on December 28, 2014. Sarah Dea / The National
Television personalities Bill and Giuliana Rancic at The Beach in Dubai on December 28, 2014. Sarah Dea / The National

It all began when an E! News anchor was assigned to interview the winner of the first season of Donald Trump’s American reality show, The Apprentice, in 2004.

A TV special of the resulting 2007 wedding of the interviewer and interviewee, Giuliana and Bill Rancic, led to eight seasons of Giuliana & Bill, an uncharacteristically positive reality TV show on E! that is screened all around the world, including on OSN in the UAE.

The show also launched an entertainment and business power couple, who last night kicked off the 20th anniversary of the Dubai Shopping Festival by hosting #DXBNYE at Meydan.

While Giuliana has expanded her career to include gigs hosting Fashion Police, Live From the Red Carpet and her own interview specials – as well as launching a fashion line – Bill has branched out on his own, as a motivational speaker and ­entrepreneur.

There are also two successful restaurants in their hometown of Chicago, lots of charity work and, most importantly, a much-loved, long-awaited two-year-old son named Duke.

The plucky couple, who became a symbol of hope for others through their televised struggles with infertility, miscarriage and Giuliana’s 2011 breast-cancer diagnosis and resulting double mastectomy, sat down at Dubai’s sunny The Beach opposite JBR – where Giuliana will launch a capsule collection from her fashion line on Thursday, January 1 – to talk about what it takes to ride out incredible highs and debilitating lows.

On becoming a fashion designer and opening the 20th anniversary of the Dubai Shopping Festival

Giuliana says she jumped at the chance of a first trip to Dubai – and to launch a capsule collection from her G by Giuliana Rancic line.

The chic, black knee-length dress with sheer sleeves she was wearing was part of the range and retails for US$100 (Dh367).

“That is a big deal for me,” she says. “With everything I do, I try to keep it very affordable and accessible to all women.”

Although her pieces, which include a hot-pink, grey and turquoise snakeskin-print wrap dress, jackets and bright vests, are only available locally for the next two weeks at the pop-up shop, Rancic says she would love to expand her business from the United States to the UAE. “We’ll see if it’s successful,” she says.

“It will be,” pipes up Bill.

On resilience in the face of ­challenges

Knowing life has its ups and downs and facing those together, with whoever is strongest doing the heaviest lifting, is key, says 43-year-old Bill.

“We have a very simple rule: You take care of me, I take care of you and everything works itself out,” he says.

Focusing on the positive helped Giuliana through her darkest days – and still does.

“You know, when I start my day I wake up and I don’t count everything that’s wrong, I count everything that’s right,” she says.

On employing full-time babysitters and nannies

Like many working parents, the couple rely on a full-time babysitter to care for Duke when they can’t be there (he’s with family on this trip).

A relationship some find tricky doesn’t have to be, however. Find someone you trust – and make sure to treat them well, advises Giuliana.

“Honestly, I can’t believe how many people don’t treat their nannies and babysitters with the respect that they deserve,” she says.

“I think that if someone is watching your child, you know, get them good gifts and take care of them and make them part of your family.”

On Giuliana becoming more famous than many of the people she interviews

When Giuliana posted a picture of the couple’s first-class Emirates cabin for their flight to Dubai on Sunday to her more than one million Instagram followers, it became a story in the Daily Mail.

It’s a long way from a young Italian immigrant girl who learnt English from and dreamed of following in the footsteps of the female anchorwomen she watched on television news ­programmes.

“I thought wow, they are so glamorous and they speak such beautiful English and I was so enamoured of that and that’s all I wanted – just to do the TV news.”

On using their reality show for good, not evil

When they were given the chance to make the TV show Giuliana & Bill – despite his success on The Apprentice, Bill was the reluctant party – the couple set out to make it different from all the others.

“We said if we’re going to do this, it’s going to be a wholesome show, a show you can watch with your kids,” he says.

After deciding to be honest about their fertility struggles, and then watching their stars rise, the pair pledged to use their fame to help others.

“We have an incredible platform,” says Giuliana. “It’s one thing to get on TV and talk about fashion and the latest movie, but to also give information that could change a life or save a life, there’s nothing like it.”

Published: December 31, 2014 04:00 AM


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