Giuliana Rancic Reflects on Zendaya's 'Incredible' Career and How Fashion Reporting Has Evolved (Exclusive)

"We're at a place now where we just want to see the fashion," the former E! host tells PEOPLE

<p>Nick Tininenko/Getty Images for Children

Nick Tininenko/Getty Images for Children's Oncology Support Fund; Aliah Anderson/WireImage

Giuliana Rancic, Zendaya

It's been one win after another for Zendaya recently, and Giuliana Rancic counts herself among the star's legion of fans.

"She's incredible," says Rancic, 49, who is now designing clothing and home goods for her G by Giuliana lines at HSN after 20 years of covering entertainment and red carpets for E!, . "I think it's always fun to watch people from the beginning and then you see how they grow both in their work and also in every aspect of their career."

While promoting her new film Challengers, Zendaya recently reflected on her first Oscars red carpet experience.


“I had stayed up quite late the night before having my hair done,” she told Vogue of her faux loc hairstyle. “I didn’t have any kind of credentials or anything. I kind of snuck onto the red carpet.”

Related: Part of Giuliana Rancic's Zendaya Joke Was Edited Out, Says Source

It was due to that same red carpet appearance that the star and Rancic made headlines. Hosting E! Fashion police at the time, Rancic drew backlash for a comment she made that night about the young star looking like "she smells like patchouli oil or weed."

The TV host later apologized on-air, telling viewers that "something I said last night did cross the line." (Zendaya responded to Rancic's mea culpa in a Twitter statement, writing that she hoped "others negatively affected by her words can also find it in their hearts to accept her apology as well.")

Kathy Griffin, Kelly Osbourne, Brad Goreski and Giuliana Rancic
Kathy Griffin, Kelly Osbourne, Brad Goreski and Giuliana Rancic

These days Rancic, who retired from the network in 2021, couldn't be more excited for how things have turned out for the movie star. "She's so talented, she has an amazing fanbase," Rancic says. "I think it's great."

Related: Zendaya Reflects on Giuliana Rancic's Offensive Remarks About Her Dreadlocks at the 2015 Oscars

And she acknowledges that the appetite for style opinions and commentary has changed drastically over the years.

"I think that we're at a place now where we just want to see the fashion," she says. "I remember when that started changing and fashion wasn't going to be the focus on the red carpet as much."

Giuliana Rancic
Giuliana Rancic

That said,  "I will tell you, many a times, even those last few years I was doing red carpet, the celebrity would say to me, make sure you ask about my dress," recalls Rancic.

According to Rancic, it was always best to have a quick style conversation with stars off camera prior to the interview: "No one wants to be thrown off-guard. There's nothing worse than that awkward moment on TV."

She continues, "I always felt like I was fortunate enough to do so many red carpets that I had those relationships that we could just have those conversations even in the few seconds before we went live."

<p>Courtesy HSN</p> Giuliana Rancic for G by Giuliana Home HSN line

Courtesy HSN

Giuliana Rancic for G by Giuliana Home HSN line

Over the last few years Rancic has made a new path for herself, spending her time churning out collections of her G by Giuliana lines for HSN, including her first home line which launched last week.

As for what her favorite looks were from this past awards season? "Everyone's been looking great," she says diplomatically. "Seriously, who doesn't kill it right now?"

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