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Daisy Fuentes: Coming Up Daisies

As a mid-40s television host, model and actress, Los Angeles-based Fuentes would have every reason to hide her age in an industry where youth is valued as much as beauty. But her calm acceptance and openness about her age is only one of the traits that make this lovely Latina an inspiration for other women.

“It’s time for us women to embrace our age; let’s stop shying away from it,” Fuentes says. “Birthday parties are so much fun. Celebrate another year of your life!”

Born in Havana, Cuba, Fuentes moved to Madrid, Spain, when she was only 3 years old. The family eventually moved to New Jersey when Fuentes was 9. “We did a lot of traveling, and I did a lot of learning,” she says.

Motivated at a young age to pursue her dream of television reporting, Fuentes studied communications and journalism at a New Jersey community college. At the tender age of 19, Fuentes became a “weather girl” and news reporter for the evening news on Univision’s New York affiliate station, launching her Spanish-language media career. She switched to rival Spanish language network Telemundo a couple of years later, and it was there that she was “discovered” by MTV and became the host of MTV Internacional.

The first VJ to appear on both the Spanish language MTV Latino and the original MTV, Fuentes went on to host many more programs, including America’s Funniest Home Videos on ABC, and guest starred on Larry Sanders, Cybill and MAD TV. Now a pop culture icon, Fuentes hosts programs like Miss Universe and the Miss USA Pageant, and is currently in production for StyleWorld for the W.E. network. She also does infomercials for Winsor Pilates, an exercise video system that she uses to stay in shape.

All You Need Is Love

As busy as she is, her career is not at the forefront of her mind. “My personal life is now more important to me than my career,” she says. “I’m not searching so much any more. I realize what I’m comfortable with, and I’m surrounded by good people.” And one very special man: musician Matt Goss, her fiancé.

Goss, whose album, Face the Wind, is a blend of club hits, mid-tempos and ballads, is a London-born singer with one very big fan: Fuentes. “His voice is so strong,” she says. “It’s a cross between Stevie Wonder and George Michael. It’s a funky, strong pop sound.”

Fuentes met Goss at a party at friend Tia Carrere’s house, and they have been together ever since. Goss surprised Fuentes by proposing at their L.A. home in front of their two dogs: Alfie, an English bulldog, and Rita, a Wheaton terrier. “He made the place romantic with flowers and candles, then asked me to stop and relax with him with a glass of champagne,” Fuentes says. “Then he said he couldn’t wait another minute to ask me to be his wife.”

The lovebirds are planning to get married “as soon as we find the time,” Fuentes says. While the wedding will likely be a family affair on the beach or in the mountains, Fuentes notes that the ceremony itself is not the main event. “I am more concerned with the marriage than the wedding,” she says. “Marriage means family, security, companionship. I can’t think of anything better than having someone to grow old with. In the end, the only thing that matters is love and how much you have to give and receive.”

Fitting in Fitness

Fuentes, a nature buff, dreams of someday living on a ranch surrounded by children and animals. Even her fitness routine includes the outdoors. “I do Pilates three times a week at Mari Winsor studio,” she says. “But I like to mix it up. I go hiking in the Hollywood Hills with the dogs. I like workouts that are disguised as fun: tennis, walking on the beach. It helps to reenergize.”

Fuentes’ normal weight is around 145 pounds, but she says when she’s preparing to be on camera, she drops to 135 or 140. “The camera really does add weight,” she says. What motivates her to slim down is fashion. “I get a kick out of dressing in certain clothes.”

Like many women, her eating plan doesn’t always go smoothly. “I know what I’m supposed to do, but that’s where I have a problem,” she says. “I am a junk food junkie, and my weakness is pizza and cheeseburgers!”

When she’s getting in shape for a photo shoot, she focuses on seafood and eats a low-carb, low-fat diet. “We all know – sticking to it is hard!” she says. “I will give in to a craving because if you don’t, then you’ll go on a binge. Everything in moderation is good: The minute you feel satisfied – stop! There is no gimmick, no fast way to lose weight. Believe me – I would have found it by now!”

Fuentes loves to cook and often uses food preparation as a stress reliever. Growing up, she watched her mother and grandmother create delicious Latin dishes that she now adapts to suit her healthier lifestyle. “I make them with half the fat and adjust them to how I like it.”

Fame With a Purpose

Now that Daisy Fuentes is a recognizable name, she uses her celebrity influence in positive ways. A daughter of a breast cancer survivor, Fuentes is active with the UCLA/Revlon Women’s Breast Cancer Research campaign. In fact, she says one of her career highlights was going to the White House to address President and Mrs. Clinton on the topic of breast cancer research.

She also gives her time to St. Jude Children’s Hospital, the March of Dimes and The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Foundation. “I balance shallow things with serious things,” Fuentes says. “I’ve been given a voice and I’m going to use it.”

Fashion Flash

Fuentes is a clotheshorse with a fondness for top designers like Ralph Lauren, Dolce and Gabbana, Christian Dior and Monique Lhuillier (who is in the running to design Fuentes’ wedding gown). But she’s equally comfortable in urban wear from companies like Abercrombie and Fitch, and Urban Outfitters.

“I mix it up with a street feel so it’s not head-to-toe designer,” Fuentes says. “I won’t spend too much money on trends – I don’t want to look back on pictures and be mortified. I like things to look timeless.”

Best Beauty Tips

Fuentes’ best beauty tip? Sun block!

“Always use SPF30 on your face and neck,” she says. “Keep your skin hydrated and protected.”

Fuentes knows of what she speaks: As a sun worshipper in her 20s, she suffered skin damage in the form of sun spots. Her dermatologist used a laser to even out her skin tone in her 30s.

“Cleanse and moisturize every morning and night,” she says. “And don’t forget your chest!”

Get the Razzle Dazzle!

Fuentes shares some lessons learned over years in the spotlight:

“I was told early on by a designer, ‘Look in the mirror. If any one thing stands out, get rid of it.’ You don’t want anything to draw attention from your face,” she says. “Also, sometimes less is just less. Diamonds, for example! I know these two pieces of advice contradict each other, but sometimes you have to knock yourself out!”