Whether she’s corresponding for Access Hollywood, reporting for NBC’s Nightly News or producing and starring in films, Maria Menounos always manages to stay organized, fit and camera-ready. In her new book, The EveryGirl’s Guide to Life, Menounos shares the secrets she picked up from other celebrities and experts on her amazing journey from the Dunkin Donuts in Medford, Mass., to the red carpet in Hollywood.
Why did you decide to write a book?
I get stopped in the streets all the time and the malls by people who ask me, “How did you lose the weight and keep it off? How do you do it all and still get your hair colored?” I remember having lunch with a mentor of mine in the news business and that’s exactly what she said. I thought we were going to talk about my big story idea, and she leaned over the table and she goes, “OK, how do you do it all and still get your hair colored?” I was like, “Are you kidding me?”…I’ve been exposed to the best experts and the biggest stars for the last 11 years. I’m young, but I started really young. I have so much information. I love sharing.
Which stars have the best advice?
Heidi Klum is incredible. She always has great advice and is such a successful woman and just so sweet and humble at the same time. Kim Kardashian is great as well. She’s had a meteoric rise to success with her show, and she always has great tips as well. And then you have Kathy Lee and Hoda, who are like my sisters. I love them. They are so kind to me.
Is it true that you do own hair and makeup?
Every day. Generally, when you see me in magazines, I do my own hair and makeup. I definitely do my own makeup on Access Hollywood and most of the time I’ll do my hair, but sometimes if I’m lazy, I’ll pop over for 20 minutes in the hair chair. But the thing is that as I’ve gotten busier with the book and with everything else that I’m working on, I needed more time; I needed to be able to steal those two hours every morning back from my own schedule. So to simplify my life, I needed to take on those tasks that I knew I could do in 20 minutes flat and be done.
How do you do it all and still color your hair?
It’s hard, because I’ve had to carve out new kinds of deals. My deal at NBC has never been done before. No one has ever starred in a movie and then reported for network news. Ever. It’s very difficult, it requires so much work on my end, because I’m having to create a new path and navigate it in a classy way so that my work on either side isn’t jeopardized or hurt in any way.
In your book, you write that got your start working at Dunkin Donuts. Tell me about that.
I worked at Dunkin Donuts from when I was 13 until I was about 19. I worked at multiple locations at different times, and it was so much fun. I have a photographic memory, so I would accidentally memorize people’s license plate numbers as they would pull up because the counter faced the window and the cars would pull in. When I would see a license number pull up, I knew the order. So they’d be like, “Oh, coffee, cream, no sugar and a plain donut,” and I would have it ready for them.
My customers loved me so much that I used to make more money in tips a week than I did on my paycheck. I used to pretend to be Vanna White because I wanted to be Vanna White at one point. My mom goes, [in a Greek accent] “Maria, it’s very hard to do what Vanna does. You gotta practice.” So I’m like, “How do I practice?” Well, I work at Dunkin Donuts every day—here are my letters. I’m going to memorize where all the donuts are, and when someone says, “I want a dozen donuts,” that’s my test. Can I pull a dozen donuts without looking? But Vanna never left her job, so I could never take it.
I want to be the one to open the first Dunkin Donuts in Los Angeles. That’s my goal. I’ve gathered all of the Boston celebrities together and they’re all on board, and we’re going to have “Keep It Real Saturdays,” where we all have to take a shift on a Saturday and work.