TODAY's Talk

Kathie Lee: The moment I almost quit showbiz

Aug. 27, 2013 at 10:36 AM ET

If things had gone just a little bit differently, we might never have had the pleasure of Kathie Lee Gifford's company on morning TV. Our TODAY songbird told us there once was a time when she almost gave up on the whole showbiz thing.

"When I first got out to Hollywood, I’d given myself a year to find work," she reminisced to TODAY.com. "I’d gone on a million casting calls, and I was always the brunette — the chubby brunette — in a room full of perfect, Barbie doll blondes. I felt like I was supposed to be there, and I felt like I had a career ahead of me, but it just wasn’t happening. It was the last week and I was ready to pack up and go home."

Kathie Lee
Peter Kramer/NBC

KLG says she "prayed very hard about it," and that week she went on five commercial auditions, though she didn't know what to expect since up until then she'd always lost out to the same woman.

"I was always getting called back, I knew I was making progress but I was never 'the girl,'" KLG remembers.

But that week, things changed.

"I got five commercials!" KLG said. She did so well, in fact, that she could only make it to the three of the five, since they were all shooting at the same time. She took the turn of fate as a life lesson: Hard work pays off.

"You gotta hang in there, you gotta do the work, you just gotta keep being positive, and you’ve got to learn to deal," she said.

She's used her experience to give some comfort to her daughter Cassidy Gifford, 20, who's currently pursuing a career in the biz.

Kathie Lee and Cassidy Gifford
Getty Images

"I say, hang in there and one day you will be ‘the girl,’" KLG said.

Since then, we've all watched as KLG has had an amazing career, but she was quick to point out that the hard moments don't just go away because you find success.

"I was very discouraged this past year when my show opened and closed on Broadway so soon," she said, of her musical "Scandalous."

"That took a lot of faith because I’d spent 13 years of my life writing it. But we’re about to do it in Los Angeles in a couple of months, so you have to go with the ebb and flow of life," she told us, looking very Zen about everything.

"What God is really looking at is not your highlights and your low moments, but how you deal with those moments, and how you stay consistent with the storms of life and the joys of life," she says. "That’s really the journey."

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