How I Get It Done: Kelly Ripa

Illustration: Lauren Tamaki

Kelly Ripa is a very familiar face on TV. The former All My Children soap opera star has spent the last 28 years on daytime television. Since 2001 she’s co-hosted the popular syndicated morning show, where she’s quipped about her life and interviewed celebrities with co-hosts Regis Philbin, Michael Strahan, and now Ryan Seacrest. (She’s an executive producer on the show, too). Ripa, 48, lives in Manhattan with her husband of 22 years, actor Mark Consuelos, and together they have three kids. This is how she gets it done.

On her preshow routine:
I wake up around 5:30 or 6 o’clock in the morning and start thinking of stories for our Host Chat segment that day — the silly, mundane, ridiculous stories like “You should have three cups of coffee a day to make you live longer!” Then I shower and wake up my kids. I do my moisturizing routine, and I like to apply my own foundation so I put it on and I do my eyelashes and my eyebrows. I leave around 7 a.m. for work. I have to be there at 8. If it’s bad traffic or bad weather, I’ll just walk across the park because it’s quicker than getting in a car.

On her caffeine fix:
I make a “Bullet Coffee” at home in the morning — it’s coffee, two shots of espresso and a tablespoon of ghee and then a packet of collagen powder. Ryan’s girlfriend got me hooked on it and I just sort of believe that if I drink it every day, my hair will be as thick as hers. Then I blend it all together and have this frosty thick beverage. I have a Starbucks latte when I get to Live. Then I will have a half a coffee after the show wraps. I have a great energy level. I don’t nap, and I fear that if I did nap it would probably make me stay awake all night.

On her behind-the-scenes input:
After the show, I go to the post-production meeting and then I go to the production offices. I’ve always attended the production meetings, even before I was an executive producer. I think it’s important to figure out what’s working and what’s not working.

I don’t get bogged down in stuff that most people get bogged down in. I go by what feels right and what feels entertaining to me and our audience. Corporate people might try to micro-analyze every flip of the hair, every drop of the trivia wheel, whether the caller on the phone was hesitating. I do the show and assume it’s never as good as we think it is and assume it’s never as bad as I think it is.

On the joys of having older children:
I can say, 100 percent, my schedule is easier now. There was a 15-year period where I went to work and then I’d head right to my kids’ school or a sporting event or made sure I was at the concert. Now that I’ve got one kid that’s almost done with college, one that’s going into college, and one that is halfway through his sophomore year of high school, I have a lot more time to free me up to do other projects. Maybe start acting again, who knows.

On texting and FaceTiming with her husband (who films Riverdale in Vancouver):
We definitely text a lot because usually one of us is on set and I’m three hours ahead of him, time-wise. On Riverdale, they shoot at night a lot. He’s usually working at 2, 3, 4 in the morning. Sometimes it’s great for me because I’m up and on my way to work and sometimes it’s in the middle of the night. When we have the time, we FaceTime, and it’s great to see him. He looks much better on FaceTime than I do and have photographic evidence of this. I like to screengrab us and show him how handsome he looks versus what a troll I look like in the corner.

On her exercise mantra:
I was talking to a cardiologist and he said to make sure your heart beats out of your chest every day. The more you exercise, the healthier it is. And I can be honest: My body looks like Peter Pan no matter what I do. I’ve never been a va-va-voom woman. I like to take AKT — which is cardio-based dance classes — about four to five days a week between 3 and 5 p.m. And I like to do SoulCycle on the weekends. In the summer, I like to run in Central Park because I think it’s so gorgeous.

On watching Hoarders with her kids:
I stopped being able to help my kids with their homework at around fifth grade. I make dinner or we order in, depending on the night of the week. Joaquin is the last to eat so I’m reheating his dinner. Lately we’ve had this bizarre routine of watching Hoarders. It used to be on A&E but the kids found it on Netflix. They’ll climb into bed with me and we watch a couple episodes. Then I like to read interesting novels. Right now, I’m reading Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott. It’s about a bunch of doctors trying to get coveted assignments for their Ph.Ds.

On her secret skill:
I discovered four years ago that I’m really good at proofreading college essays. I think kids now are so used to texting and having autocorrect attached to their computers and phones that they don’t pay attention to the punctuation they missed or little tiny details that a good old-fashioned red pen and a mom brain can find for them.

On how she preps for her show:
If a guest has a movie, then I’ll sit and watch that. Right now, my in-laws are staying with me and I have a lot of Oscar screeners! If there’s an author coming on the show, I believe in reading the books before they get there. But for the most part, our show is at its best when it’s spontaneous.

On how she relaxes on the weekends:
It depends. Is Mark home? If he is, I tend to stay in bed longer. I make a nice big breakfast. We have stuff we don’t normally eat — pancakes, bagels, that kind of stuff. If Mark isn’t home, I tend to go to exercise class in the morning before the kids get up and then spend the day trying to declutter. Or I’m reading and hanging out with my friends. I still have a few that haven’t yet moved to California. I know this is all very exciting and you must be so jealous!

This interview has been edited and condensed.

How I Get It Done: Kelly Ripa