It's possible to be fully grounded and enormously talented at the same time, but it's a rare combination, especially in the entertainment industry. But Kelly Ripa has worked hard at being humble, even as she's become a television mainstay and a multiple Emmy winner.
"I've always felt it's important to know you can get fired at any time," Ripa said to the L.A. Times just as she was taking over the co-hosting chair on the newly renamed morning series, "Live! With Regis and Kelly" in 2001.
In those days, she was a star and fan favorite on the hit soap opera "All My Children." "I've been here 11 years, but you never want to get a big head and think you have it made."
The preternaturally upbeat Ripa, 45, started her career at the daytime drama, ironically, as the sullen, black-clad teenager Hayley Vaughan. Before that, she had little acting experience, save for some musical theater in high school and regular appearances on a Philadelphia-based TV dance show.
In her decade-plus on "All My Children," she notched two daytime Emmy nominations for that Goth-inspired role and married her co-star Mark Consuelos. (The couple has three children now and a production company, Milojo, named after them).
During her soap stint, Ripa also caught the attention of producers on the syndicated mainstay "Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee." She became one of many guest co-hosts with Regis Philbin, eventually chosen over TV and comic veterans to replace Gifford permanently.
Her down-to-earth personality drove ratings and attracted brand sponsorships, with Ripa becoming the face of Electrolux appliances, Ryka athletic footwear and other products.
Not finished with acting, she landed a lead part in "Hope & Faith," an ABC sitcom in which she played a down-on-her luck soap diva wreaking havoc on her sister's stable life. The prime-time series ran for three seasons and helped make Ripa a household name beyond daytime TV.
She thanked ABC brass during a recent interview for "taking a 19-year-old girl with virtually no acting experience and putting her on the No. 1 ABC soap opera at that time. Then they took the same girl, right, and with absolutely no broadcast experience at all, and gave her the seat next to the incredible Regis Philbin, right? Then, after that, they took the same girl, who had no — no — experience in sitcom whatsoever and gave her a sitcom opposite Faith Ford and Ted McGinley."
Ripa has excelled as a talk maven, winning two Emmys with Philbin and a third, in 2015, with current co-host and former pro football player Michael Strahan. Oprah Winfrey, during a surprise 2013 appearance on the chatfest, dubbed Ripa and Strahan "the reigning king and queen" of talk.
— T.L. Stanely for the Los Angeles Times