Fran Drescher Says The Nanny Is Having a Moment

The hallmarks of a successful and powerful woman look different to everyone. But in the words of Fran Drescher's beloved character Fran Fine from the smash hit '90s sitcom The Nanny, "When you look good, you feel good."

These are words I've carried with me and lived by ever since I grew up watching the female-led sitcom starring Drescher: a strong, independent, and funny-as-hell Jewish woman who paved the way for others like her.

But that sentiment never read like vanity to me. In fact, something about reflecting your insides with your outer appearance felt powerful; it allows you to take control of your own narrative. Which is exactly what Drescher did and taught me to do.

And the actress tells me over Zoom that that was exactly the point. "Fran was real authentic. I was playing a girl from Flushing, Queens, wearing a lot of makeup and big hair," she says. "[It] was very much the character coming from that part of the world."

Of course Drescher can personally relate — growing up in Queens, New York, and all. So when creating the show and the character with her husband at the time Peter Marc Jacobson, her intention was to make Miss Fine as true as possible to her native neighborhood and the people in it, including her upbringing in the Jewish faith. This is why she "dug her spiked heels in" when a major advertiser said they'd only sponsor the show if they made Fran Italian instead of Jewish.

"Fran Fine must be Jewish," she recalls thinking. "The character has to be very close to who you are in order for it to be rich in specificity, which was my and Peter's brand of comedy. The network [CBS] followed our opinion on that, even though we really didn't have a lot of clout. Somehow instinctively, they knew that we knew what we were doing."

And their decision to stick to their guns and keep Fran Jewish set the course in inclusivity and representation in television because according to Drescher, before The Nanny, the last Jewish actress to play an openly Jewish character in a lead role in prime time was Gertrude Berg as Molly Goldberg in the 1949 show, The Goldbergs.

Over the years, Drescher has continued to practice what she's preached, even in beauty, by only endorsing products and brands she genuinely believes in. And as a survivor of uterine cancer and founder and president of her non-profit Cancer Schmancer, she keeps that list pretty small, given the amount of potential toxins found in everyday self-care and household items. So when cosmetics brand Laura Geller approached Drescher to be a brand ambassador, her decision came down to the quality of the products.

That's why she requested samples before agreeing to partner with the brand, she tells me. And ever since then, she's been an avid fan and believer of the products.

Drescher swears so much by the line that she and her organization Cancer Schmancer teamed up with the makeup brand to curate "Fran's Faves," a bundle of her four cannot-live-without products from the line (Spackle Skin Perfecting Primer, Baked Balance-n-Brighten Color Correcting Foundation, Baked Blush-n-Brighten Marbleized Blush, and the Mighty Pen Liquid Eyeliner in Fountain Brown). Twenty percent of the proceeds of this ongoing sale benefit her foundation.

"The most important thing that I like to encourage women to do is to honor their bodies," she says, adding that an overwhelmingly high amount of disease is caused by toxins in our environment, products, and food. "What you put on your skin, all of your personal care items, and your oral hygiene, what you clean with, what you garden with, this is all very important. Cancer Schmancer is a kind of a radical nonprofit because we're pivoting the focus onto you, transforming patients into medical consumers, and changing the way you think about the choices that you're making in your life."

In fact, the organization has a program called Detox Your Home, that helps consumers eliminate potentially harmful products from their houses and lives in order to reduce the risk of cancer in their family.

"These companies need to change their ways of manufacturing and get out of the toxic chemical business. And the only way to do that is for the consumer to use their hard earned dollars to make what they buy their vote and what they don't buy their protests," she says, adding this is why she backs Laura Geller's products because all of the products in Fran's curated bundle are fragrance and cruelty-free.

Click here for the Fran's Favorites Bundle from Laura Geller

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