By Luaine Lee McClatchy-Tribune News Service
Talk TV hostess Christina Ferrare claims it takes no talent to host a talk show. What it does take, she said, is the ability to listen.
Ferrare has been listening most of her life, first to the people who put her on the cover of Cosmopolitan magazine when she was 18, then to the producers of a variety of chat shows over a span of years. But mostly she listens to her tight-knit family, she said.
As hostess of the Hallmark Channel’s daytime “Home &Family,” with co-host Mark Steines, Ferrare can indulge her passion for homemaking, star-gazing and family values.
But it hasn’t always been so easy.
She was just 14 when a family friend suggested that Christina try modeling and arranged an introduction to the West Coast’s top modeling agent, Nina Blanchard.
“She signed me on the spot, but she said I needed to lose 10 pounds,” Ferrare said.
“That was in the ’60s, and you were making $30 an hour. That was a lot of money. “
When she was 16, Max Factor signed her to a 10-year contract, an unprecedented deal at the time.
“When I was 18 I went to New York to meet (modeling agent) Eileen Ford. I met (photographer) Francesco Scavullo. He asked me to do an eight-page layout for Vogue.”
When that edition of Vogue was published, she also graced the cover of Cosmopolitan. “Everything exploded from there.”
“I never did the drug thing even though it was all around me at the time. I wanted to have friends over and cook pasta. I’m still like that.
Still, that kind of attention thrust her among the glitterati, one of them being well known automotive innovator John DeLorean, whom she married when she was 23.
But when DeLorean’s company fell on hard times, he was accused by the FBI of drug trafficking in an effort to save it.
“The rug was literally pulled right out from under me. I had two small children, my husband of 11 years whom I loved and adored, with the possibility of facing life in prison forever. All of our money confiscated by the U.S. government. They froze our bank accounts, and I had no way to feed my children.
She and the children moved into her parents’ three-bedroom home during the ordeal. DeLorean eventually was acquitted, but the marriage didn’t survive.
Ferrare remarried and has been wed for almost 30 years to television executive Tony Thomopoulos. They have two daughters. She also has a son and a daughter with DeLorean.
If her upbeat personality permeates the “Home &Family” set and show, it’s not an accident. “This is happiest tine of my life,” she said.