Striking A Balance
The former ‘The Price Is Right’ presenter is transitioning into a new career, working alongside her husband on their family-owned Smith Entertainment Group. Gwendolyn Osborne-Smith reveals her interesting past and her exciting future prospects.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I feel that I am at a great place in life. I am experiencing a career transition from leaving ‘The Price Is Right’ after twelve years and I’m excited about all the possibilities for my new career trajectory.
Your mother is Jamaican and your father is British. That sounds like the best of both worlds. What are your fondest childhood memories?
Food! I love the fact that I get so much great food from different cultures. It was also great to travel to different countries at a young age. It helped me to discover cultures in such an intimate way and enabled me to adapt to various different cultural environments. I definitely have the Jamaican love for dance. I learned to whine (pronounced wind - like winding a clock) my waist at a young age (and have gotten pretty good at it over the years!). I enjoyed going to the South of England to the British seaside with my grandparents for fresh fish and chips. My childhood was quite a unique fusion.
You are a model. When did you model and talk us through the interesting and fascinating places you were able to visit?
I like to reminisce about traveling to the Caribbean islands while living in Miami. I still have a love for the islands and traveling to discover new ones. The world sees modeling as one aspect but it was interesting to work in various areas of print, commercial, and runway. One of my most memorable experiences was when I got inspired by the success of Halle Berry (who doesn’t love Boomerang?!) and decided to chop off my long hair. It was a huge risk and my agent wasn’t happy about my hair chop, but it paid off! I booked a huge print ad for Saturn almost immediately afterwards and I’m a car enthusiast as well so I enjoyed the job.
Any anecdotal / horror stories about modeling?
I once did a runway show for a huge designer and one of the other models stole my shoes just before I hit the stage. I was frantic and really annoyed but I carried on and realized that I could walk/werk pretty well in heels two sizes too small.
How did you end up on ‘The Price is Right’?
I was working as an actor on the Bold and the Beautiful for a beach scene. My wardrobe was a small bikini! The B&B stage is so close to TPIR that they share a bathroom. A TPIR grip saw me and went back to TPIR and told a producer, Kathy Greco about me and the rest is history…
Having spent twelve years on the show, it must be part of who you are. What was that experience like?
Modeling is similar to acting in that you often create a “character” for the job. I was able to infuse my love of dance and sketch comedy fun for show tapings. When I first started I was a single mum and working on TPIR was a great way to get my foot in the door in the entertainment world. Plus it provided flexible hours to also spend time with my eldest daughter in the early years.
Share with us the most exciting part(s) of the show and were there ever disappointing moments?
The beginning of every show is the most exciting part. It reminds me of being in a play and the moments before going on the big stage … the hair, make-up, audience, fanfare. Many times before a taping, I’d look on the backstage monitors to see the audience. Their excitement and costumes/custom t-shirts always energized me before hitting the stage. TPIR has the greatest audience and nothing compares to taping a show in front of a live audience or cheering fans.
It must have been emotionally challenging to say goodbye … did you have mixed feelings about letting go?
I didn’t have mixed feelings; I was prepared to move forward with my career to the next chapter. However, for the taping of my last show, I got very emotional hearing Drew Carey say on the microphone that it was my last show. Having to say goodbye to the audience, which was also filled with my support system of friends and family on that day was emotional. I definitely wasn’t prepared for that. Working on a show for twelve years created a family environment. During that time period I experienced many life milestones: I got married, had two more children, lots of birthdays, etc. …
Now for exciting times ahead – you and your husband have started your own business – Smith Entertainment Group. What is the focus of your company and what is your involvement?
The focus of SEG is to create new and exciting content, including sports and lifestyle to showcase the talents of others and of ours as well. We do scripted and unscripted shows. My involvement is to oversee that all of the projects are moving in the right direction with the right people. I also make sure that as SEG grows we maintain our original vision and adapt as needed. I’m involved in each aspect of production from creativity to closing deals.
There is a saying one should never work with your spouse, family or friends … is this true?
It can be challenging at times. We respect our creative differences and thought processes. At the end of the day we have the same goal: to create fun and innovative content.
Is it hard to shut the door and not take your work home?
Giving space, maintaining patience, and respecting each other’s process definitely helps to maintain balance.
How do you balance your career and spend quality time as a couple and with your children? Do you believe in date nights?
We fit what we can in whenever we can. Sometimes a date night can include going to a live taping of our daughter in a sitcom or going to a UNC college basketball game our son is playing in or watching our eldest perform onstage while on tour! It’s all very exciting!!
What do you as a family do for fun?
We love to take vacations and discover new fun places. We are active and like to ride bikes, snorkel, and spend time around water. We recently took a trip to Hawaii. The kids loved the music and excitement of seeing a luau. Education through travel is fun.
And as a couple?
I am a foodie so I love trying new places. It seems in LA there’s always a fun trendy restaurant opening or a great new chef so it’s fun to experiment with different foods. I am definitely the more daring one in the relationship and will coerce Kenny into something like zip-lining for fun.
You have the most incredible smile! You should be in toothpaste ads! Seriously, how do you maintain your gorgeous looks and stunning physique?
Well thanks! If you have any connections, I’d love to do toothpaste ads! Lol. Oral hygiene has always been part of my lifestyle. I keep my regular dentist appointments, floss regularly, and never miss a dental check up. *BIG SMILE* Having the pressure of my smile helping me get a paycheck has always helped too! As for overall physique, I always try to fit some sort of exercise in three times a week. Even if it means walking with one of my kids in the neighborhood. Pilates on a reformer machine is my favorite workout and I can feel and see immediate results.
Do you like to re-invent yourself looks-wise? I see you switch between brunette and blonde. A change is as good as a holiday they say?
I always love to switch it up! It’s easy to switch up hair and sometimes it’s fun to make a change or two. A small change can help empower and uplift me.
Is it true that blondes have more fun?
In certain circumstances, for sure. But overall I pretty much manage to have fun if my hair is blonde, brunette, or blue.
You are also a singer. What genre is your forte and who are / were your musical influences?
I love neo-soul. My influences range from Mariah Carey’s early days to U2 to Etta James.
How is the recording process of your album coming along?
It’s a process. I am trying to bind all of the chapters together to make one book. Each song represents a different experience or time in my life so I’m working to mesh them into a complete story.
Are your children musically gifted?
They are. My 5-year old daughter London never stops singing and dancing around the house. It reminds me a lot of myself as a child.
If you had a crystal ball, what do you see in your future? Jokes aside, what would you still like to tackle in your personal life and career in the next couple of years?
I would love to see myself working as an actress incorporating my singing on a show that I coproduce within five years.
I am totally in love with the fact that Meghan Markle will be part of the Royal Family. Growing up as a mixed race girl in England it’s not something I ever thought I would see. With her also being an actress I feel she is someone I can relate to. Their union feels inspiring to the future of our world which is uplifting and much needed right now. I’ll be waiting for my Royal Wedding invitation! | Photographs by Vince Trupsin