It's hard to imagine that sizzling supermodel Daisy Fuentes could have considered anything other than a cover-girl career. The bronze-skinned Cuban-born MTV veejay-turned-actress, TV host and now clothing designer boasts one of the most coveted looks in print and on screen.
But back in 1985, the yet-to-be-discovered Latin beauty was studying journalism and communication at Bergen Community College in Paramus, N.J. She never finished. Instead, she got a job working in television working part-time as a weather girl. Once she got her foot in the door, she quickly climbed the ranks to evening news reporter.
Born in Havana to Cuban father and Spanish mother, Fuentes fled Cuba with her parents in 1969 at the age of 3. The family left behind everything they owned. They began a new life in Madrid, Spain and lived there for five years, until 8-year-old Daisy and her parents moved to New Jersey.
Fuentes became a household name in the under-25 set and a role model for many young Latinas when she joined the ranks of worldwide Revlon spokesmodels, becoming the corporate giant's first Latina face. Her lucrative multi-year contract elevated her into an elite group of women that include Cindy Crawford, Halle Berry, and Claudia Schiffer. She has since made appearances on numerous television shows including HBO's "Dream On", and "The Larry Sanders Show." She even became the host of her own talk show on CNBS, "Daisy" and went on to co-host ABC's "America's Funniest Home Videos" for two seasons.
These days, Fuentes is busy helping to create her namesake clothing line for Kohl's department store, with more than 542 stores in 36 states. "I've always been interested in fashion," says Fuentes. She's even able to look back with wry amusement at some of her early fashion statements. With her new clothing line, says Fuentes, "I want to make pieces that look like a million bucks but are really inexpensive." Daisy also shares with Kohl's the goal of supporting children's charities through The Kohl's Cares for Kids program that promotes children's health and education in the communities it serves.
Bankrate: Are you into wearing designer clothing along with your own line?
Daisy Fuentes: I like Christian Dior, and Ralph Lauren, who has a great classic style. I love to blend something really classic from Ralph Lauren with something I picked up at a flea market for $2. I like to have a nice, expensive piece of clothing that I know I'll have forever with a really inexpensive find that people can't believe was under $15.
Bankrate: So you like to conserve money sometimes and shop bargain basement?
Daisy Fuentes: Anyone can go into a chic boutique on Madison Avenue and drop thousands of dollars but that doesn't ensure a well-put-together outfit. I do like shopping at thrift stores and putting together different pieces -- maybe a designer piece and one from a thrift store bin or even my own Kohl's design.
Bankrate: How much influence do you have on the design and quality of your clothing line?