Fran Drescher: Turning Passion Into Purpose

By Tiffany Paige of "Green with Tiffany", Contributing Editor

Photo Credit: Peter Marc Jacobson

You likely know of Fran Drescher from her iconic role in the hit TV series “The Nanny”. Like the “Sound Of Music”, but instead of Julie Andrews showing up at your door, it’s the flashy, fashion queen, Fran Fine, from Flushing, Queens.

Fran possesses that rare quality of emanating a radiant, larger-than-life presence, while being relatable to everyone in a way that immediately makes you feel like you know her from around your neighborhood. Indeed, there are many facets to Fran Dresher. She is an inspiration to women, an actress, writer, comedian, and activist.

Photo Credit: Joey Carman

Today you can watch the first two seasons of “The Nanny” on Roku, Cozi TV and Logo TV. “The Nanny, the Musical”, is in the works as well. A whole new generation gets to enjoy Fran!

“Yes, the musical is very exciting. We're maximizing our creative opportunity during this period of COVID; I think that ‘The Nanny’ fans are going to be really thrilled with what we do and how this story gets unfolded. The music is going to be written by Rachel Bloom, who is the creator, songwriter and producer of “Crazy Ex Girlfriends”. She's perfect for it, because she grew up watching ‘The Nanny’ and loved it. I’m blessed it continues to live on and on. It has endured the test of time. I continue to support and promote it. And it's really my pleasure, because I love it so much, it's my baby."

Photo Credit: Joey Carman

“People young and old keep telling me how much they love the show. How they grew up watching it, how much the fashion, (which was designed by Brent Cooper) has made a major impact in their lives. People also tell me there were chapters in their lives when people were sick, or blue, or feeling marginalized, and the show gave them hope and gave them an opportunity to laugh when there was otherwise not a lot to laugh about. And that makes me happy.”

February is National Cancer Prevention Month, and Fran being a cancer survivor – she is 20 years “cancer well” – shared her experience and what she’s learned through her NY Times best-selling book, “Cancer Schmancer”. Since then it has become more than a book; it has become a calling. The Cancer Schmancer Movement has grown into a non-profit organization as well as an annual Master Health Summit conference, turned into an online Edu-series. Fran has empowered herself with knowledge and experience and wants people to feel this same empowerment when it comes to their health and become a medical consumer rather than a patient. “What we do at Cancer Schmancer is very accessible for people to see options that may not be offered to them otherwise.”

Photo Credit: Joey Carman

“We're asking the questions. Why are people getting cancer? And how can they protect themselves from a compromised immune system, so that they don’t become vulnerable to inflammations and cancers? We live in a very toxic world and we have to start thinking about how we can be the change. How we can detox our home, and influence our children to start living more healthfully, because they are marketing targets by some of the most carcinogenic products.” Cancer Schmancer made a great program called “Be The Change”, starring Fran, Jaime Foxx, Jeff Bridges and lots of kids. Its focus is to teach kids to be the change, to get and stay healthy, while still being funny and light, targeting tweens and teens, but adults will enjoy it too. “Children today are being born pre-polluted with 200-300 chemicals found in the umbilical cord. So it's really important that we become mindful consumers, and actually dictate our purchasing power to more responsible manufacturing trends. I see that we are shifting the paradigm and people are becoming more aware that how they live, equals how they feel. And that's a very important correlation. Everything I’ve mentioned is on and it’s all free.”

Fran urges everybody to spend some time on the Cancer Schmancer site. “Even with this virus, the reason why some people are very sick, and other people are asymptomatic, or don't get it at all, has everything to do with their immune system, and how they live. It's up to you. You have to take control of the situation. That's what Cancer Schmancer is about. When we started out, our cornerstone was early detection – ‘catch it on arrival, 95% survival’ – because I was misdiagnosed and mistreated for a endometrial cancer (uterine cancer), that I had for two years, and eight doctors, all misdiagnosed. Then finally I got the diagnosis. I thought, oh my god, this is going to be very advanced, but I was lucky because uterine cancer, unlike ovarian cancer, is very slow growing. Why isn't everybody being diagnosed in stage one, when it's curable? And part of the reason is because we don't recognize the early warning whispers and think, ‘Hmm something's wrong’; we really need to check this out. Women in particular don't put themselves above their family. When you feel something that could be wrong, it's easy at that stage to completely dismiss or ignore it and get on with the business of being the caregiver of the family. That's a mistake. We try and reprogram women or whoever is the caregiver in the household to not think that way, because you're not doing anybody a service.”

Photo Credit: Rafael Ortega

Fran goes on to describe her journey of discovery and knowledge: “Very quickly, I started to ask myself, why are people getting cancer in the first place? It's not enough just to diagnose it early. I want to know why we're getting it and how. Whatever the causation is, which is rarely looked at in Western medicine, we should eliminate it, so that became an obsession to me. We live in a capitalist world where a lot of a business prays to the money god at the expense of all things of true value, including your loved ones. We're a nonprofit, we don't care about profit, we just need enough money to survive, so that we can keep bringing the messages to the public around the world, and hope people make donations.” Fran notes that everything needs to start at the home,