As a news anchor and former Miss America, Gretchen Carlson has spent years dealing with a public perception far removed from an upbringing rooted in faith, family and fortitude. "I call it the bimbo trifecta — being Miss America, being blond and working for Fox News," quips Carlson, who hosts The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson each weekday afternoon from New York City. "I've faced an immense amount of skepticism in the past 25 years, and I wanted to chronicle that. I want women to be able to build their self-esteem from the inside." So the 48-year-old, who co-hosted WOIO/WUAB's nightly news with Denise Dufala from 1996 to '98, wrote a revealing memoir, Getting Real (Viking, $28.95), which debuts June 16. She talks with us about her time in Cleveland, a stalker scare and female empowerment.
A. I didn't want to rekindle his stalking efforts, but I was able to find out that he died in 2008. He showed up at my parents' house once and sent me a diamond engagement ring. Through the grace of God I was never hurt, but there are countless other women who have gone through similar situations. It's something that needs to be addressed.Q. You won the Miss America pageant in 1988, but one judge called you "chunky." How have you dealt with derogatory comments during your career?
A. One of the reasons I did this book was to provide a guide for empowerment for women. I've had a lot of help along the way, and I've also had a lot of detractors. Today, people hide behind social media and spew hate. I can handle it, but there are a lot of young kids who can't.