Maria Menounos (Greek: Μαρία
Μενούνος; born June 8, 1978) is an American actress, journalist, and
television presenter known at home for her appearances as a correspondent
for The Today Show and Access Hollywood, and abroad for co-hosting the
Eurovision Song Contest 2006 in Athens, Greece.
Menounos, a Greek American, was born in Medford, Massachusetts, and is
fluent in the Greek language. At age 17, she was an employee of Dunkin'
Donuts with aspirations to be something more. Menounos attended the Holy
Trinity Greek Orthodox Church. 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 in the top 10. Menounos did however place in the top 15, receiving
an honorary mention, during the preliminary competition; Menounos placed
13th in preliminaries. The pageant was won by Christie Lee Woods. Maria
competed for the title of Miss Massachusetts USA 2000; she was the 1st
Later Menounos attended Boston's Emerson College where she participated in
the now award winning organization, Emerson Independent Video. During her
senior year, she was hired as a reporter for Channel One News. Her work
for Channel One's 10-minute segments included traveling to El Salvador to
report on the earthquake of 2001 and interviewing then President George W.
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 eventually join rival program Access
Hollywood later that Fall as a special correspondent. She went on to
co-host a few episodes of the Today show in the late summer and fall of
2006 as well as in April 2007.
In 2003, Menounos appeared on the November 30 episode of Punk'd where she
was one of many celebrities caught in the awkward and embarrassing "Red
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 CBS' Without a Trace and as Jules
in the second season of The CW's One Tree Hill (during its run on The WB).
Menounos also appeared on the Scrubs episode "My Extra Mile", which aired
in May 2006 where she is attracted to John Dorian because she likes his
In 2006, Menounos appeared in the music video for "A Public Affair" by
Jessica Simpson. In April 27, 2007, Maria starred in Kickin' It Old Skool.
In 2007, Menounos continued in her run as international spokesperson doing
print and television commercials for Pantene hair products as well as
print ads for New York & Company.
From December 17 to December 20, 2007, Menounos hosted the reality game
show miniseries Clash of the Choirs.
In 2008, she became the host of "Hollywood Green" on the "Planet Green"
network. "Maria Menounos brings glamour to green living as the hostess of
Hollywood Green. Both as the special correspondent for daily entertainment
newsmagazine "Access Hollywood," and on Hollywood Green, Maria provides TV
viewers with comprehensive coverage of entertainment and news
In 2008, she had a role in the movie Tropic Thunder.
In 2008, she became the first journalist to interview the entire Obama
family as a whole. She is represented by Creative Artists Agency.
In May 2008, played in the AVP Cuervo Gold Crown Huntington Beach Open,
but was eliminated in the qualifying round. On July 13, 2008, Menounos
starred in the celebrity softball game at Yankee Stadium in New York.
In November 2008, when Richard Belzer fell ill, she filled in as host for
the North Shore Animal League’s Dogcatemy Celebrity Gala, which takes
place at NYC’s Capitale.
In 2009, she hosted reunion specials of MTV's The Real World: Brooklyn,
the Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Duel 2, The Real World: Cancun
and the Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Ruins.
Menounos appeared on the Knight Rider 2008 series episode "Fly By Knight",
which aired on February 11, 2009 where she played a DEA agent who is in
charge of investigating a plane crash.
On October 12 Menounos joined Nancy O'Dell when O'Dell guest hosted WWE
Raw. She was involved in a six diva tag team match with Kelly Kelly and
Gail Kim against Beth Phoenix, Rosa Mendes, and Alicia Fox. Menounos's
team came out with the victory when Kelly Kelly pinned Rosa.
At the age of 17, Menounos produced In the Land of Merry Misfits, an
independent film fairy tale. The 35 mm 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, which was narrated by John Waters and starred an eclectic
group in the Waters vein — including former WWE champion Bob Backlund,
actress Josie Davis from the TV show "Charles in Charge" and B-movie icon
Randal Malone. The film premiered at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival.
Menounos also directed Longtime Listener starring Wilmer Valderrama. The
film was an official selection of the Tribeca Film Festival 2006.
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.