Maria Menounos (born on 8 June 1978 in Medford, Massachusetts)
is an Greek-American actress/journalist/television presenter.
In 1995, Menounos began to compete in beauty pageants. The following
year, she won the title of Miss Massachusetts Teen USA and competed
at Miss Teen USA where she failed to place. That pageant was won
by Christie Lee Woods, who later competed on The Amazing Race 5.
Film and Television Career
Later Menounos attended Boston's Emerson College. During her senior
year, she was hired as a reporter for Channel One News, known as
the top news source for American students. Her work for Channel
One's 10-minute segments included traveling to El Salvador to report
on the earthquake of 2001 and interviewing President George W. Bush.
Entertainment Tonight hired Menounos as a correspondent in 2002,
where she reported on movies, music and fashion. ET executives offered
her a hosting gig for ET on MTV & VH1; she left the program
in 2005 to focus on her acting career, though she would be joining
rival program Access Hollywood later that Fall as a special correspondent.
In 2003 Menounos appeared on the November 30 episode of Punk'd
where she was one of the poor celebrity saps caught in the awkward
and embarrassing "Red Carpet Interviews".
In the summer of 2005, she appeared in the comic book film Fantastic
Four, where she played a nurse who is romanced by the "Human
Torch," played by Chris Evans. Her likeness and voice was featured
in the 2005 Electronic Arts video game, From Russia with Love as
Eva Adara, Red Grant's henchwoman, which stars Sean Connery as James
Bond. She is also the spokesperson for Pantene hair products.
Menounos presented the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest (along with
Greek singer Sakis Rouvas) that took place in Athens.
Menounos is a correspondent for the "Today Show" as well
as "Access Hollywood" in an overall deal with NBC Universal
to act in films and television shows. She also has recurring roles
on Without a Trace and as Jules in the second season of the CW's
(previously as The WB) One Tree Hill.
At the age of 17, Menounos produced "In the Land of Merry Misfits",
independent film's first fairy tale. The 35mm feature film was produced
by Menounos while attending Emerson College with director Keven
Undergaro, then head writer for MTV's Singled Out. The negative
of the film was stolen and the film was never completed but her
work on the film, and the film's director, helped her land her reporting
job at Channel One News and at MTV (ET on MTV). Menounos, however,
never forgot the film or the film's director. In 2005 Menounos personally
funded the recovery and restoration of the film. The movie is expected
to be completed some time in 2006.
Menounos also directed "Longtime Listener" starring Wilmer
Valderrama. The film is an official selection of the Tribeca Film
Menounos appeared in FHM magazine and in People magazine in 2004
as one of the "50 Most Beautiful People". In another poll
conducted by askmen.com, Menounos was voted one of the top five
girls a guy would most want to marry, along with Angelina Jolie,
Charlize Theron and Jessica Alba. She has also beaten Jessica Alba
and Charlize Theron for "Cyber Vixen of the Year" on Spike
TV's video game awards.
Menounos founded the charity "Take Action Hollywood!"
after her trip to South Africa. Reporting on the devastating effects
of the AIDS crisis she was inspired to create TAH!, a charity that
utilizes the power of the entertainment industry and the medium
of film to affect for positive social change. Maria also created
the Cosmo Girl Cup, a national, annual competition and award given
to the group of teens who do the most in their communities to affect
for positive social change.
Maria speaks Greek very well but with an American accent.
Maria was given detention in her senior year of high school for
skipping school to go to a Red Sox game.
Maria is a diehard fan of all Boston sports teams including the
New England Patriots, the Boston Bruins, the Boston Celtics and
the Red Sox. Though she admits she is more of a fan of contact sports
and thus her favorite teams are the Patriots and the Bruins.
Maria is extremely ticklish, as proven on the Howard Stern show.
It is rumored that she has or had a romance with Hollywood star
At the 2004 Oscars she wore a diamond-studded dress worth more than
Being from the USA, she had never heard of the Eurovision Song Contest
until being asked to be an award presenter in 2006.
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