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"He had a history of having and losing businesses," Joy says."He always aspired to be a big kind of successful, to show everybody his success, whereas I am under the radar.
"When I wake up, I think, What can I do to help others? In real life, as in the movie, Joy's own mother, a clotheshorse who worked in fashion and loved to shop, was "not as grounded as they were," she says.
It was 1989, and as a single mom, she waitressed nights and weekends; worked in airline reservations while her mother watched the children; and sold homemade grapevine wreaths — all to scratch together enough money to keep food on the table. One day while cleaning the floor, she wondered to herself why there wasn't a self-wringing mop that would keep her from bending over and getting her hands dirty.
Cue the lightbulb over her head: The concept of the Miracle Mop was born."People I told were like, 'Who cares? "The aha moment for me was that people didn't even realize they'd care about it.
It made me look at life in a different way than someone who didn't have this awareness at a young age."While at Pace, Joy met a "dreamer," Tony Miranne, who helped her life feel lighter.
In what seemed like no time, the two were part of a family of five living in the suburbs.
"I became like the parent early on — the harmony keeper.
When [my parents] finally really did break up for the last time — after many times — my mother became dependent on me emotionally, and it changed a lot of decisions in my life.
Looking around her six-bedroom, six-bath crash pad for when she's on-air at HSN (her main home is a 40,000-square-foot French-country mansion on Long Island), you can tell Joy genuinely lives — and loves — the vision of domestic life she sells on TV.
On the stove is her Green Pan cookware, the eco-friendly, nontoxic, nonstick ceramic pots and pans she developed with celebrity chef Todd English.
They loved the idea, but "I didn't know how to do it," she says.
When Hartz launched its fluorescent flea collar a year later, Joy took it as a lesson learned.
"I was the caretaker in my family."She shouldered that role after her parents divorced when she was in high school.