Wednesday, May 7, 1997

Celebrity Workout: Watching what she eats, exercise are key ingredients to newsmagazine hostess' fitness

By Candace A. Wedlan / Los Angeles Times

    HOLLYWOOD -- Giselle Fernandez was the perfect choice for Access Hollywood. After all, before assuming the co-host chair for NBC's entertainment newsmag, Fernandez reported live on a couple of wars -- Bosnia and the Persian Gulf, earning an Emmy (one of five) for her coverage. She also nailed an interview with Cuba's Fidel Castro.

    Then, instead of kicking back before the show's premiere in September, Fernandez explored 120 miles of Utah -- on foot.

    It sounds like you can handle Hollywood all right.

    Trust me. It's a war zone of another kind.

    You made quite a career change, from hard news in New York to entertainment.

    I look at things differently -- I'm 35, not 25 anymore. So I have to make decisions differently. And people say, "You really shouldn't say your age."

    They really do that?

    Oh, are you kidding me? And mostly women. But why not? I feel healthier and fitter. I'm more confident, more connected to who I am and who I want to be, more than I ever was in my 20s, so why should I feel inhibited about revealing my age?

    Or how much you eat, for that matter.

    I'm a phenomenal eater. Put it this way: If I go out on a date, I'm not the kind of person that orders a salad and takes two bites of her grilled salmon. You know, I want to be as fit and good-looking on the air as anybody. But I really believe that we've got to get off this diet thing. You eat to be healthy, and that means maximizing your energy and keeping your fats down.

    How do you do that?

    I'm mostly vegetarian, but I'm not a radical in any area of my life, so I'll eat turkey at Thanksgiving. ... One of the reasons I exercise is so I can eat as much as I want. I'm a great cook and someday I want to open the Flat Belly Deli.

    Did you just make that up?

    No, I have to tell you -- I have ways to make french fries that are not fried. I have ways to make potatoes that are delicious without being fattening.

    I'm Latin and I'm Jewish. I love exotic, spicy foods, which tend to incorporate fat, but I have learned how to cook low fat and still get what I like to eat.

    You've taken up running and golf, I hear?

    Last year, I actually completed 14 miles -- the longest I've ever run. For me it was an incredible feat, a real personal achievement because I was a chubby kid, not very athletic.

    And what about golf?

    I'll have to tell you, if you're in the business world and want to participate in deal-making on a certain level, I think it's wise to partake in golf, particularly as a woman. So I have taken a couple of lessons. While I do appreciate the skill, I'd rather play tennis or go hike in the mountains.


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Copyright 1997, The Los Angeles Times