Elisabeth Hasselbeck: On Design and “The View”
Exclusive interview with The View’s ultra-conservative team member
-Jennifer Goodkind, A Fashionable Life
You may remember Elisabeth Hasselbeck as a contestant on Survivor: The Australian Outback (where she finished fourth), or you may simply know her as the bubbly and youngest co-host of The View.
And let’s face it, whether you like her politics or not, Hasselbeck is an admirable force to be reckoned with. The mother of two (pregnant with her third), who is married to her college sweetheart and hunky NFL quarterback Tim Hasselbeck, has a full-time gig on America’s hottest daytime talk show and has just returned to her fashion-design roots with her own line for QVC Dialogue. She really is doing it all.
Elisabeth has become The View‘s solo and maligned mouthpiece for conservative Republican opinions–opinions that are not even remotely shared by The View‘s other co-hosts. She is usually the single dissenter in all heated political discussions amidst a couch of liberals and is often the target of attacks from the other ladies on the couch. (Nonetheless, the women of The View recently won the honorable title of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential women.)
I sat down with Elisabeth to talk about what it’s like to be in the middle of the “couch crossfire,” what designing her own line for QVC has taught her, and what her idea of happiness is.
BettyConfidential: Your design career started at Puma shoes, where you were a member of the design team. You come well equipped to design the line Dialogue for QVC. Did you go into this venture feeling confident because of your past design experience?
Elisabeth Hasselbeck: I am in love with this project. It is a special time. I love design. It’s in my blood. My dad is an architect, and this truly is a great opportunity. My senior year in college was spent doing an independent study project for industrial design at Reebok where I had a fantastic mentor who taught me everything. After I graduated, I went to Puma, where I worked with a fantastic team of creative talent (who happened to be all guys). They were willing to take me under their wings and show me what worked for them and what didn’t. They were so accepting of letting me bring my sense of fun into the shoes. I went on from there and designed my own wedding gown.
Then on The View I was so fortunate to be able to design a couture wedding gown for one of our viewers, which had so much meaning to me as I got to know her. I started to take over my daughter’s crayons to sketch outfits, which helped with the realization that I needed to do something on a bigger scale with my design, and my desire to express myself through design. Being able to partner with QVC and give their Dialogue line my own perspective has been phenomenal.
BC: Tell us about Dialogue!
EH: My love of fashion, design and of course, a good bargain has all come together with Dialogue. You don’t have to restructure the mortgage on your home to buy a jacket! You can put together a wardrobe that works for you right now in this economic climate. The QVC woman is a smart shopper; she knows what she wants. The prices are great without sacrificing quality. I love that the line is called Dialogue. That worked for me, that’s what I do every day on The View.
BC: You have said that you don’t want to be defined by the word conservative, and yet on The View you have been the conservative voice. How can you get around the fact that you are known as the conservative Republican who ultimately always holds the minority opinion on the couch?
EH: I believe that we live in a country where we should all have our own perspective even if it’s not shared by everyone. The United States was founded on freedom of speech, freedom to practice all religions. We should all be able to respect one another whether we agree or agree to disagree. That’s what is so special about The View. Not only do we love one another, but we celebrate the fact that even though we don’t always agree on everything, we respect each other. I have never let anyone else define me. I always say, “It’s just my opinion, you don’t have to share it.”
BC: I think even people who don’t share your political views still have compassion when you’re in the position of one against four. Do you feel intimidated?
EH: I am definitely not intimidated, but I will credit the women of The View for not letting me feel that way. I have known from day one that we were all about respect and honesty. This is a loving environment where I could say, “Hey, what did you mean when you said that?” We deal with things right on the spot. Everybody knows that we get to that moment of clarity right there and we truly do love each other more for sharing our true perspectives on the issues at hand. I was brought up in a home where it was OK not to agree with everybody. I find it energizing more than intimidating. Sure, it gets emotional, but we often tackle issues that evoke passionate feelings and opinions.
BC: To ask the question ‘what does the future hold’ would be a little silly with your third baby due in August. Are you looking forward to the summer heat while in your third trimester? How will you handle your demanding schedule and family?
EH: I have been working so hard on all the finishing touches for Dialogue since I will be premiering the newest collection on May 26. I always put my family first and look forward to putting my feet up at the end of the day. I have had great pregnancies. It’s the after that I worry about. I don’t recover as quickly as I’d like to, but we’ll see how it goes in the heat and with two kids running around!
BC: If I were to ask you what your idea of heaven was and you were not allowed to include your children because that is too obvious, what would you say? By the way, you are allowed to include Tim in your slice of heaven!
EH: I have a hard time thinking of the perfect day or week without the kids. I truly feel guilty answering that without including them. Being with the kids guilt-free of all the obligations and deadlines. To be with my family all together all the time would be great. Nothing else that I can think of could equal that.
BC: What is your idea of complete hell?
EH: Unpacking a suitcase, waiting for a flight at the airport with kids, being out of diapers.
BC: What are three words that best describe you and how you see yourself?
EH: Critical of self. Nothing that anyone could say affects me like the judgment of myself. Maybe that’s why I am good at what I do. I have a high standard; I think I am just incredibly critical and demanding of myself. I set the bar very high and if I don’t reach it, I am hard on myself. I want to be as good a Mommy as I can be, and I am also creatively disorganized.
Jennifer Goodkind is the co-host, with Jayne Chase, of A Fashionable Life (fashionableliferadio.com). They are fashion reporters for ABC News NOW, where they cover the red carpet, Fashion Week and the business of fashion.