Vanessa Lachey - Moms Who Inspire
Credit: Sarah Balch for

All week, we're spotlighting celebrities who have experienced a profound shift from motherhood, and are now using that transformation to be the change they want to see in the world. Next up: Vanessa Lachey.

Since she first captured the world’s attention as a smart and talented beauty contestant during Miss Teen USA in 1998 (for which she took home the crown), Vanessa Lachey has been a permanent fixture on the entertainment scene, snagging the coveted spot of co-host for MTV’s Total Request Live, and eventually moving on to serve as a correspondent for Entertainment Tonight.

But these days, since marrying hubby Nick Lachey in 2011 and welcoming two children (Camden, 2, and Brooklyn, born this January), the ravishing beauty is getting used to life in her most important role yet: mom.

We sat down with the star at the InStyle offices to chat about motherhood and the other deep-rooted passion that has inspired her since becoming a mom: her partnership with the March of Dimes #imbornto campaign.

Talk about the March of Dimes campaign and why you feel so passionate about it.
Honestly, it’s crazy to me that 1 in 9 babies in the U.S. is born way too early. And March of Dimes raises funds to help research that and help families that go through this understand why. I’ve been lucky and blessed to have two full-term babies. As a mother now, I can honestly tell you that the No. 1 concern when you are pregnant is praying that you make it full-term and that you have a healthy, strong baby. That’s all you want.

Have you had any personal connection with the cause?
I’m very lucky and feel very blessed, but I know that it doesn’t happen for everybody. I actually have two very close girlfriends who it happened to and one lost the baby, and it’s -- you just want to say "Why me? I did everything by the book. I ate right. I slept right. I went to every doctor’s appointment." We don’t know why, fully, so I’d love to help fund MOD to find reasons why, and to have great research centers that help babies who are born prematurely so that they have a healthy shot at life. Babies are our future!

Does it feel different now having two--and figuring out how to raise your little girl?
Yes! Not that I want her to be a tomboy, but I want her to be strong. I think of how I want [Camden] to be a good man, and a good husband, and a good father. But with [Brooklyn]—this gets really deep--I want her to be a good woman. Just stop and really think about what that entails. I want her to be a strong and independent, powerful woman, but I also want to instill in her the ability to let your man take care of you. Because that’s something that I’m kind of going through right now. Nick jokes that I am Supermom. I’ll literally have Cam on one side, Brooklyn on the other and he says, "Let me get the car" as I'm trying to do it all myself!

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Credit: Instagram/vanessalachey

Do you think you'll be more protective of your little girl than you were with Camden?
Nick is an amazing dad, which is why I married him. He’s a good man and I know that example will be a great one set for Camden, but I feel like yes, while she’ll take our example of us as a couple, and him as a dad, more so me as a woman and what she gets out of that. Nick knows he has a big responsibility in how he influences her. I'm like, "Nick, you cannot give her daddy issues!" [Laughs] So for him, he’s nervous about that, but we know how strong that daddy-daughter bond is as well. Even the fact that we worry about that and think about it, I think we’re already on the right track of doing what’s right. Because we’re talking about it and she’s three months old. So we've gotta calm down.

What makes Nick such a great father and husband?
He puts our family first, no matter what he does. It’s always about us and the betterment for us as a unit. I think that that makes him an amazing husband and dad. He’ll do anything. His priorities are family first, as are mine, so when that’s at the top of your tier everything else kind of falls into place. Not that everything else doesn’t matter, it’s definitely the color that fills it, this is the being and this is what we are living for. Then all of that is just color, icing on the cake, I guess. This is the cake. Oh great, now I want cake....