ET's newest correspondent is opening up about her career, hobbies and connection to Oprah.
Rachel Smith is the newest member of the ET family!
The former Miss USA is the latest addition to Entertainment Tonight, joining the show as a correspondent. Smith has previously conducted interviews with stars including Kim Kardashian West, Dua Lipa and Hannah Brown for ET. Additionally, Smith hosted the ABC syndicated series On the Red Carpet and served as a correspondent for Good Morning America and Nightline.
The Panama-born journalist grew up in Tennessee, before graduating magna cum laude from Belmont University with a bachelor of science in journalism.
Here are seven more things to know about Smith.
1. Former ET host Nancy O'Dell played an important role in her life.
When Smith competed for the Miss USA title in 2007, O'Dell was the person to announce that she'd won the competition.
"Fun fact: Nancy O’Dell was one of the hosts the year I won Miss USA! When Nancy and her co-host announced the winner... I had a delayed reaction and a severe ugly cry. I mean UGLY!" Smith recalls. "The delayed reaction was a matter of me figuring out whether or not they had called my state as the winner or first runner-up because I was busy having an 'OMG, I’m down to the final two' moment -- didn’t want to grab the crown if I was first runner-up! But when the first runner-up congratulated me and that crown was placed on my head, I snapped back to reality -- I had WON the whole darn thing!"
"Thinking back on that moment, I know the delayed reaction allowed me that second to confirm I had indeed won, but it was also this enormous, celebratory exhale of, 'Wow! I thought I could do it, I worked hard for it, and I did it' kind of moment," she adds. "Now, 12 or so years later, I still remember every second of that moment."
2. She loves her time in the South.
"I was born at Gorgas Army Hospital in Panama City, Panama, while my parents were stationed there in the U.S. Army. Their next stop was Ft. Campbell, Kentucky, which is on the Kentucky/Tennessee border," she says. "When my father retired from the Army, my parents decided to make the area our permanent home, and I’m so thankful they did."
"I loved growing up in Tennessee, especially being so close to Nashville," she continues. "There is no shortage of Southern hospitality, incredible live music, an abundance of people to call aunties and uncles, and delicious grub. My favorite Southern dishes are biscuits and gravy and green bean casserole. I could legit eat either or both for breakfast, lunch and dinner!"
3. She interned for Oprah Winfrey's company in college.
"The one thing I learned from Oprah and her team at Harpo [Productions] that has really stuck with me is the value of work ethic. My parents preached it and were shining examples of it, but sometimes you need to see or hear it from people other than your parents for it to really stick," she says. "Oprah and the folks at Harpo showed me the importance of working smart and working hard. Their work ethic showed me what I could achieve if I were willing to put in the time and effort. They really set the work-mode mentality bar high for me."
4. She plans to get her contractor's license someday.
"I am quite handy around the house and really enjoy observing and learning about the building and remodeling process of homes," she says. "I am bound and determined to get my contractor’s license someday!"
"The key to minimizing mistakes is taking exact measurements," she adds of DIYing. "Tackling a tile project, hanging floating shelves, installing plumbing fixtures? Frustrating and even costly mistakes can be avoided by taking the time to make exact measurements at the beginning of the project."
5. Traveling, fitness and landscaping are among her hobbies.
"I really enjoy group fitness classes, especially with my wildly competitive friends back in Nashville," she says. "I also enjoy outdoor water activities like floating down the river in kayaks or paddleboarding. I’m always down for antiquing my way through a new or familiar town. And as crazy as it sounds, tending to yard work around my house is therapeutic and rewarding."
As for her biggest landscaping tip, Smith advises, "Do your research before planting!"
"It is essential to know how much sunlight the area you’re landscaping gets and how much you’re really willing to water the areas," she says. "You will save yourself a lot of money, time and heartache over dead plants if you do this before you dive into your project."
6. She has two potential picks for the actress that'd play her in a biopic.
"Zoe Saldana or Thandie Newton, please!" Smith says. "These two ladies are insanely talented, and I’ve even been told I resemble them a bit. The ultimate compliment!"
7. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air himself is her dream interviewee.
While Smith doesn't get starstruck, she admits to having "mad respect" for certain celebs -- and one in particular.
"Will Smith is the jam! For whatever reason, our paths have never crossed. Hopefully, I will check this interview off the ole bucket list soon!" she says. "... The day I stop being in awe of someone’s talent or giddy and excited about people and settings my job allows me to encounter at times is the day I need to hang up this hat."
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