When a young “Chopped Junior” and “MasterChef Junior” contestant lost use of one of her most important cooking appliances–her oven–following the events of Hurricane Sandy, little did she know a friend and inspirational TV host would come to her aid. But that was just the case for Junior Chef AJ Espinoza when “Live It Up!” Host Donna Drake gifted the young professional a brand new oven with the help of Sub Zero Group E earlier this year. That heartwarming segment, along with Drake’s continued efforts to champion empowerment and positivity throughout the show have earned it TWO National Telly Awards for the 39th Season!
It’s hard to keep a dry-eye when watching inspiring programming that helps the less fortunate, and the award-winning segment in which the young Chef tears up explaining her hardships following the devastation of the 2012 disaster does just that. But coming to her rescue, host and friend Donna Drake explains that through her friendship with the Interior Design Society she was able to gift the young Chef with a most prized possession which she’d lost for her 14th birthday.
(Seated): Executive Producer Lou Vaccarelli – COO of Drake Media Network, Inc., Creator/Host Donna Drake – President of Drake Media Network, Inc. (Standing Left to Right): Tony Liuzzi, Tim Rerucha, Connie Vacaira, Roseanna Amador, Ken Bogardt, Caleb Larsen, Joe DeFelice, and Joe Danielle
Donna Drake is an international award-winning creative artist, writer, producer and actress. She created “Live it Up!” to share positive messages of hope that inspire and empower those who need it most.
A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Donna showcased her beauty, talent and scholastic achievement at an early age, winning the title of North County Junior Miss in 1983 – a pivotal moment in her young life. She followed her passion for art and music to the East Coast and spent most of her early career at Technisonic Studios, selecting music and sound effects for radio and television commercials. She went on to produce and host various television, film and multimedia projects, including her popular public-access show “Indies Insider” – featuring intimate discussions with film directors and actors – and the art-world podcast “After Party.” An active voice-over talent and actress with a lengthy stage and screen résumé, she became director of creative services for WLNY-TV on Long Island in 1997, creating exclusive promotions for “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “Wheel of Fortune,” “Jeopardy!” and other popular programs. She later served as director of client communications at the strategic marketing firm Progressive Marketing Group, where she developed client branding messages and hosted numerous successful podcasts.
As president of the Drake Media Network, Donna has provided PR and advertising services for top-tier clients throughout New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, including The Melting Pot Restaurants, America’s premier chain of fondue restaurants. In 2006, she authored her first inspirational book, “Got Cancer? Just Roll Over and LIVE,” a memoir dedicated to her second husband, Tom LaScala, and she’s currently working on more motivational volumes. A tireless fundraiser, Donna spearheaded the Huntington Arts Council’s Laff-Off Comedy Competition from 2002 to 2006 and the council’s Got Talent? competition in 2009. She also created a Day of Beauty for breast cancer awareness and has helped raise money for countless nonprofit organizations, including the Long Island Cares food bank.
She is an active member of many charity and support organizations, including Kids in Action, Futures of America, the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. She is a former executive board member of the Huntington Arts Council and a former board member of the Long Island Film/TV Foundation. Donna was named a Friend of the Foundation of the Long Island Film/TV Foundation in 2002 and one of Long Island’s 100 Most Influential People in 2005.
In addition to receiving a National Silver Telly for the People’s Choice Award, “Live It Up” Director Tony Liuzzi also received a National Bronze Technical Telly earlier this year.
For More Information on “Live It Up! With Donna Drake”, VISIT: www.LiveItUpTVShow.com
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