Cover Girl Revealed
Dancing With the Stars co-host Samantha Harris has graced our cover four times, including this issue, during her rise to stardom. Here's how fitness defines her:
Imagine a childhood spent backstage at concerts meeting Rick Springfield, Cyndi Lauper, U2 and Paula Abdul during the '80s and you'll get an idea of how Samantha Harris grew up. Her father Richard Shapiro organized rock concerts in Minneapolis and, with her mother Bonnie Harris Shapiro, started one of the largest renaissance fairs in the country.
Fast-forward to now: The blue-eyed brunette banters with Olympic athletes, reality-TV stars and musicians - whoever decides to take on the challenge of ballroom dancing in front of 30 million television viewers on ABC's Dancing With the Stars.
"Being able to experience the theater and music scene from a personal and intimate point of view as a child influenced so much of who I am and what I wanted to do with my life," Harris says while sitting in the courtyard of the Los Angeles offices of E! Entertainment Television, where she has been a news correspondent for three years.
"My parents were always in the business - as they said - of entertaining the masses, whether it was via rock concerts or renaissance fairs. It was always what I desired to do, as well. I've always wanted to be in front of the camera - I feel comfortable there. It has been a dream of a career that has just blossomed since then."
"I'm actually hoping to go to the gym," says Harris, clad in workout pants and a tank top. The now four-time Muscle & Fitness Hers cover model speaks energetically as she discusses her part on the widely successful reality show that has spurred its own fitness movement.
Gyms around the country have embraced dance classes or infused dance into existing fitness classes - something Harris knows a thing or two about. In fact, she counts on similar such classes as her main source of training. At one point during the interview, she breaks out into moves from one of her favorites: Cardio Ball at Equinox Fitness Club.
"I get so excited when I receive a new schedule," she admits. "I say, Oooh! What new class can I try? Really, it's so embarrassing. I highlight all the classes I want to attend, but my work schedule changes every day." Harris has even created a cheat sheet that lists the three gyms she belongs to, so she can quickly figure out which classes are available and where. (See "Samantha's Fitness Finds" on page 41.)
The classes help keep Harris' body in prime condition; judging from the last six years, during which she gave birth to her daughter Josselyn (October 2007), her strategy seems to be working.
In July 2002, Harris appeared on her first M&F hers cover. At that time, she renewed her commitment to fitness and it hasn't wavered since. "That was a turning point in my life," she says. "I had just gotten out of one relationship and into a new one with the man who eventually became my husband [(Michael Hess)].
The following is an excerpt from the November/December issue of M&F Hers, on newsstands now!
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