After childhood poverty and a failed marriage, Despierta America cohost Francisca Lachapel has earned fame, love and the ability to thank her mother in the most generous way.
Dominican TV host and former beauty queen Francisca Lachapel’s life feels like a modern fairy tale — these days. The author of the motivational book Una Reina Como Tú (“A Queen Like You”) made us all sigh with the Instagram posts of her engagement in the desert in Dubai. Although she kept her relationship with Italian entrepreneur and former soccer player Francesco Zampogna out of the public eye for months, fiercely protecting their privacy, she finally revealed the identity of her dreamy mystery man after he gave her a shiny engagement ring by (surprise!) getting down on one knee in December while vacationing in the Middle East.
Like any fairy tale, though, there were many obstacles to this “happily ever after” ending. In the book, the 29-year-old, who is also an actress and radio host, talks about a childhood plagued by scarcity and bitter moments in her native Dominican Republic. Her father passed away from a heart attack when she was 5 years old, and Francisca’s mother raised her as a single parent. One chapter details how her father’s absence affected her life: “I don’t even remember his face,” she once said, “I just have a photo of the two of us where he is carrying me as a little girl. That’s all.”
Lachapel also describes a tumultuous home life when her mother later got remarried. “It was a very painful period in our lives. She would leave him and go back to him. They were like cats and dogs. That experience really marked me,” she told People en Español. After coming to the United States in 2010 looking for a better life, she worked selling pots and pans and as a waitress in a sports bar in the Bronx.