Journalist, Actor, Producer, 40
1. What appealed to you about doing the Sirius XM show and podcast Conversations with Maria Menounos?
I love having a voice and getting to talk about things that I think are important and that other people need to know. My goal every day is for people to be able to tune in and have a little bit of fun -- and also get some takeaway for their life.
2. You and your husband, Keven Undergaro, also have your own network called AfterBuzz TV. The website refers to it as the “ESPN of TV Talk.” What’s it about?
We produce after-shows for almost every TV show out there. That’s why the “ESPN of TV talk” label is so accurate. You watch ESPN for after-game discussion. We do the same thing, but for TV. We’ve definitely built a massive destination for TV fans to go to and have that water cooler discussion.
3. In 2017, you were diagnosed with a brain tumor. What were the first signs that something wasn’t right?
I would be on set, and my vision would go a little blurry, I would get lightheaded and my speech would start to slur, and I would joke about my brain tumor that I didn’t even know I had. Sometimes it would take me two or three attempts to say what I wanted to say.
4. After surgery to remove the tumor, what did your doctor say about your prognosis?
He said they got most of it out, like 99%. I have a 6% to 7% chance of ever having to deal with this again.
5. You’ve said your brain tumor was a blessing. What do you mean?
I needed to change my life. I was running too hard, and I was placing so much pressure on myself as a woman to be perfect at everything and to everyone. I was unhappy and didn’t even realize it. I was exhausted, and I was overworked. I needed to attack life differently and enjoy it more and really focus on my health and my happiness. I’ve been doing that, and I’ve stuck with it.
6. Having lived through a serious health condition, what qualities do you value most in a health care provider?
To me, it’s patience, time, compassion, and focus. It’s very hard for doctors nowadays to have quality time with their patients.
7. What is your health philosophy?
There’s a reason we’re all getting as sick as we are. We’re not supposed to work this hard and this much and not take care of ourselves. I’m not saying that we’re not supposed to work hard, but we have to take care of ourselves at the same time.
8. What kind of health regimen do you follow?
I follow the 80/20 rule: I eat 80% clean; and I let myself have a little bit of fun -- 20%. And I believe in meditation.
9. What’s the best health advice anyone has ever given you?
My friend Vicky Vlachonis, who wrote a book called The Body Doesn’t Lie, told me to keep a pain journal. A lot of us don’t remember what we did yesterday. So I keep a pain journal in my phone of anything that’s going on, whatever symptoms I’m having. And this way when I sit with my doctor, I’m not relying on memory.
10. Which of your five senses do you value most? Why?
After surgery, because of the nerves that the tumor was pressing on, my vision went double and triple and my eyes were rocking back and forth like crazy. My doctors gave me an eye patch for the worse eye, and they said, “We don’t know how long you’re going to have to wear this. It might be a day. It might be a month. It might be 2 months.” So my vision would probably be No. 1 after having had that experience because I love seeing nature.
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