Mom Muse | Teresa Strasser
This mom of two boys – Nathaniel, 4 and Andrew, 19 months – is hilarious, beautiful and so down-to-earth. An Emmy-winning writer turned TV personality, Teresa Strasser currently co-hosts “The List,” a nightly, syndicated entertainment and news show on ABC. Her past gigs have included hosting TLC’s “While You Were Out,” and co-hosting ABC’s “How to Get the Guy” and “The Adam Carolla Show.”
Oh, and did we mention in her free time, she wrote a bestselling pregnancy memoir, Exploiting My Baby? Published in 2011, the book received stellar reviews from the press and became a LA Times Bestseller. In addition, Exploiting My Baby was optioned by Sony Pictures Television and developed into a pilot for ABC written by Teresa with Jamie Tarses’ Fanfare Productions. The book is based on her website, www.exploitingmybaby.com, which was named a “Top 10 Funniest Website” by Babble. Understandably, since her blog is roll-on-the-floor hilarious! Both the book and the blog are must-reads for moms.
Cover of Exploiting My Baby. Buy it now!
Teresa and her sons.
Teresa, her husband Daniel and their boys.
In case you’re not already impressed, Teresa is a contributing writer for the LA Times and The Los Angeles Jewish Journal, and was recognized as “Columnist of the Year” by the Los Angeles Press Club. In addition, she helped launch TMZ TV and has served as a field correspondent for “Good Day New York,” as well as “Good Day Live” and “On Air with Ryan Seacrest” on FOX. Teresa has covered the red carpet for The Academy Awards, The Tony Awards and The Emmy Awards.
Okay, Teresa, you’ve set the bar high. We are blown away by this mom and her accomplishments.
And if you haven’t watched “The List,” check it out today! The program features pop culture topics, news and current issues, as well as celebrity news, events and what’s going on around town. We guarantee you’ll love the fun, upbeat nature of the show.
Originally hailing from California, Teresa and her family now live in Phoenix, Arizona. Read on for our one-on-one chat with this busy mom.
Teresa and Adam Carolla.
MSL: Describe your style in five words or less.
Subversive, preppy, retro and slapdash.
MSL: You began your career as a writer. What inspired you to make the switch from behind the scenes to being in front of the camera?
When I was working as a writer for Comedy Central’s “Win Ben Stein’s Money,” I couldn’t imagine someone like me getting a job in front of the camera. I just always felt way too ethnic, way too weird and way too outside to be on TV. I grew up with Charlie’s Angels, and I looked more like one of Charlie’s chubby cousins than one of his angels, so I preferred to stay in the writer’s room. However, when Jimmy Kimmel left the show and we replaced him, I watched dozens of comedians audition for the job. In the end, the best audition was from another female comedy writer, who ended up booking the job. After that, I thought, maybe it’s not so outrageous that I could be on TV. Within a year, I got my first big hosting job on TLC’s “While You Were Out” and was redecorating rumpus rooms across the USA.
MSL: What do you like best about co-hosting The List? The biggest challenge?
This show hired me when I was 7 months pregnant and our first episode premiered two weeks before my second baby was born. Essentially, the baby was crowning during our first episode. To say the show is family-friendly is an understatement – and that is a real gift for any working mom, in show business or in any other field. The biggest challenge? Doing this kind of show, and never discussing the Kardashians. So far, so good.
A very pregnant Teresa in the studio.
MSL: Do you style yourself for the show? Is there a lot of flexibility regarding what you wear or expectations for a certain look?
I used to style myself and it was an unmitigated disaster, so I had to call an old pal that styled me for years in Los Angeles at the TV Guide Network. Her name is Amanda Jones, and she is an absolute genius. She flew into town about six months after I had my second baby, and was able to find me clothes that worked on TV, were affordable, and naturally came in at the waist so I wouldn’t look so post-baby. On our show, it’s all about rich, saturated colors, jewel tones, covered arms, no jeans, no patterns and just enough accessories to look funky but not distracting. There really is an art to dressing for the camera, and Amanda is an expert so I do what she says, even taking photos of outfits she puts together for me and keeping an album on my phone so I can check it. She knows all the tricks, and when she dressed me for the Oscars this year, it was her finest hour – my shoes looked like Elsa’s castle. But they were loaners, so I had to give them back.
A glammed-up Teresa on the Oscars’ red carpet.
MSL: Whose style do you most admire and draw inspiration from?
This might sound strange, but I love Sarah Silverman’s style – she doesn’t look like anyone else, her skin is flawless, she does the sexy tomboy thing for real and I feel like some of her quirkiness and brilliance comes through in the way she dresses. I admire that. Looking back, there is only one Audrey Hepburn and she is perfection. Other women whose images I can’t get enough of? Raquel Welch, Cher, Brigitte Bardot, Jennifer Lopez, Elizabeth Taylor and Patti Smith.
MSL: What’s the one item in your closet you can’t live without, that makes you feel both chic and comfortable?
Can I cheat and say my wedding ring? It’s my favorite thing in the world, a canary yellow stone, but here’s why I love it – it’s chemically a real diamond, but it was made in a machine. Man-made diamonds are rare and a bit tough to find, but it’s worth it once you realize how much damage is done by diamond mining – both to people and to the environment. My non-blood diamond is such a beautiful stone for me, and my husband designed the ring so it’s extra poignant.
MSL: Fashion often comes with a price tag stigma. Do you have any advice for moms who have Jimmy Choo dreams, but a Target budget?
Listen, I have to buy more clothes than some people because I’m on TV every day, so I have embraced Last Chance, Ross and good old TJ Maxx. Lots of the stuff I find is honestly under $15; it can be done. You can absolutely look Choo and be cheap – it’s all about owning it, mixing fake and fancy, giving it some edge and sticking to the simple silhouettes that look the best on you. My other secret weapon? H&M online – the selection is amazing, the stuff is ridiculously inexpensive, returns are free and you can buy the kids clothes from there while you’re at it.
On the cover of Phoenix’s Uptown magazine.
MSL: Do you have any tips on how you streamline your morning routine?
This is all I’ve got – if you want to make a morning green drink or smoothie, pre-cut your vegetables. Also, everything has a place – if I didn’t have a hook for my keys, I would spend nine hours a week looking for my keys instead of the three I currently spend.
MSL: Developing a unique style comes at an early age for some children. Do you let your children choose what they’re going to wear? How do you talk about getting dressed with them?
I have boys, so it’s really all about characters on the shirts and comfort. If it features Iron Man or any other superhero, it’s cool. I try not to interfere, and, to be honest, my husband gets them dressed in the morning because I’m already at work. I put clothes out the night before, but when I pick up Nate from school, he has usually done some free-styling. There are times I look at other little boys in preschool and I worry that they are much more stylish than mine, the Converse, the Junk Food tees, the madras shorts, all of it – and that I’m somehow failing because my kid doesn’t always match and will only wear very specific sneakers that aren’t very hip. It’s amazing how our own insecurities about clothes and identity travel with us into parenthood.
MSL: What’s your best style advice for other working moms out there?
You’ve probably heard this before, but the uniform thing works for me. If it was good enough for Einstein and Steve Jobs, it’s good enough for working moms. Find a basic look that works for you, buy a few versions of it, and wear it most days. If I can’t find my keys and I just want to spend my few spare moments in the morning dancing to “Let it Go” or “Teenage Wasteland” with my boys, I refuse to waste time recreating the wheel every day. Jeans with good stretch (I buy J Brand on eBay), a trusty pair of earrings from Kendra Scott, tall clogs or checkered vans and t-shirts from Elizabeth & James or H&M. That’s pretty much how I’m going to look on weekdays. Who am I kidding? Weekends, too.