Food Network chef Giada De Laurentiis is beautiful, driven, and successful. However, she also has a depth of character that makes her the kind of woman feminists should celebrate. Below are eight reasons why this celebrity chef is the one for feminists:
1. She has overcome loss and adversity
De Laurentiis has experienced tremendous loss and nearly unbearable bullying. In an interview with Redbook, she said, “I have been blessed with a good, fun, and wonderful life, but I’ve also seen a whole lot of pain. I lost my brother when he was 30, and that was devastating for me. I don’t know if I will ever get over it. Plus, I had a very tough childhood. I came here from Italy in the ’70s and didn’t speak a word of English, so the kids at school tormented me. Truly, it was horrifying the names they called me, and the teachers never really did a thing to stop it.”
Before her divorce, nasty rumors about De Laurentiis having affairs with chef Bobby Flay and John Mayer were cause for embarrassment and heartache. She denied the affairs, saying, “The John Mayer incident was completely unexpected. I was shocked. And not so much for me, but for my husband and family. My family is used to that sort of thing. But my husband’s family is not. Todd was embarrassed that his family in Michigan would see it and think, What is going on over there in Hollywood?”
Giada, I can guarantee your brother would be proud if he could see you now. As for those kids (and adults) who have spread rumors and bullied you? I bet they are really regretting their decision right about now.
2. She is a kick-ass working mother…
Like many mothers with careers, De Laurentiis sometimes feels “mommy guilt” when she has to leave Jade behind during work trips, however, she knew as soon as she became pregnant with Jade at age 37 that she did not want to give up the life she had created for herself to stay at home.
She says of life as a working mother, “I’ve continued my life exactly as it was. Jade knows her mother works and travels, and she travels with me.” De Laurentiis admits that trying to work and be a mother has its challenges, but it is possible.
3. …But also believes staying home is equally valuable
Feminism is about supporting all women, not just those with ambitions to be rich, powerful, or successful in a career setting. De Laurentiis embodies this feminist ideal. Whether you are in a high-powered career or live each day as a stay-at-home mother and/or wife, Giada thinks you are living a valuable life.
Giada has spoken about why being a mother/wife and having a career are not mutually exclusive. She said in her interview with Redbook, “When I’m home, I work very hard to be Todd’s wife and Jade’s mother. I have no problem going back to those traditional roles.”
4. She loves her body and isn’t afraid to flaunt it
Much of the criticism De Laurentiis receives is that she wears clothing that is too tight and revealing. De Laurentiis ignores her haters (who are probably just jealous because look at her) and embraces her voluptuous figure rather than hiding it. Promoting positive body image is an important facet of feminism, and if De Laurentiis loves her body and is not afraid to show it, she should be applauded rather than criticized.
Part of the reason De Laurentiis believes it is important to dress in a way that makes her feel beautiful is to show her daughter, Jade, that the female body is something not something to be ashamed of. She has said of the way she dresses, “I felt like I had to show Jade that her mom is proud of who she is.”
5. She is super classy
When De Laurentiis’ marriage with her husband of 11 years, Todd Thompson, went south, she informed her fans by posting a letter to her website that was both mature and respectful. She had nothing but positive things to say about her to-be ex-husband, writing, “Although our decision to separate comes with a great deal of sadness, our focus on the future and overwhelming desire for our family’s happiness has given us the strength to move forward on separate, yet always connected paths.”
Since the divorce was finalized, De Laurentiis has made an effort to remain cordial with her ex-husband for their daughter’s sake. Recently, the couple posted a picture together celebrating Jade’s birthday.
6. She gives back
When a fan named Gary Scullin returned from his tour in Afghanistan, De Laurentiis prepared a Valentine’s Day dinner for his wife and him. She said, “It’s always so special for two people to sit down alone. I went into this field to cook for people and see the smiles on their faces when they eat the food I prepared. I try to help people create intimate settings that let them bond. It’s my way of giving them love. That’s the way my family gave me love. Watching the Scullins enjoy that meal together solidified why I do what I do.”
De Laurentiis is also dedicated to alleviating chronic hunger around the world and recently traveled to Peru to give of her time and resources to her cause.
7. She promotes health and wellness
After giving birth to her daughter, De Laurentiis lost a significant amount of weight. When questioned, she explained, “Before I had Jade, and during the pregnancy, I ate a lot of sugar. I mean, I’m talking six packets of sugar in a cup of coffee. When I was pregnant, my doctor told me to be careful about my sugar intake. After Jade, I knew I had to get it under control. So I started using agave nectar instead — it’s sweeter, so you need less — and I started to see my body shrink.”
De Laurentiis promotes the importance of eating healthy and taking care of yourself on her Food Network television show and in her (amazing) cookbook, Giada’s Feel Good Food: My Healthy Recipes and Secrets.
8. She celebrates her heritage
Feminism is about equality for all women of all backgrounds. A woman’s unique family background and culture is something to be celebrated. De Laurentiis has always completely embraced her Italian background, even when it has been difficult.
She jokes, “These days it’s cool to be ethnic and to be different, but when I was a kid, it was not cool — at all. My friends would come over and my mom would make crepes with eggs, stuffed with mozzarella cheese, tomatoes and spinach. And they’d be like, ‘What is this?'”