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Who is Donna Farizan, the Today show guest host joining Hoda?

Bruno Cooke August 4, 2022
47th Annual People's Choice Awards - Arrivals
Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images,


Donna Farizan sometimes guest-hosts TODAY with Hoda & Jenna – earlier this year she presented the show alongside Hoda Kotb, in Jenna Bush Hager’s absence. But who is she, and what has she been up to since she last appeared on the show?

Who TODAY show guest host and contributor Donna Farizan?

Donna Farizan joined Hoda Kotb this morning, and not for the first time.

She temporarily replaced Jenna Bush Hager earlier this year. 

In fact, Farizan has been a part of the show for some time, previously earning the nickname “Donnadorable”. For exactly why, watch this Donna Off-Air video in which Farizan chats to Adam Rippon about leather, Ru Paul’s Drag Race, and toast.

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Today published an article in April of 2018 about “shade” Joel McHale had apparently thrown on Donna Farizan. The “feud” that had bubbled along between the two had, by that time, “run its course”. 

The article concluded, incidentally, that it was “yet to be seen whether or not Donnadorable will appear as a guest on McHale’s Netflix show”.

She’s now reappeared as a guest on Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager’s TODAY show.

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Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Donna Farizan celebrates her birthday early with Hoda and Jenna

Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager wished Donna Farizan an early birthday this morning. Her mother joined in, too, wheeling out a large rectangular cake and four glasses of what looked like champagne.

Donna said she was “speechless” at the gesture, and introduced her mom to TODAY show co-hosts Hoda and Jenna. Watch the video below.

Since 2017, writes Cheat Sheet, Donna has been a “staple” on NBC’s morning program. That was in the time of Kathie Lee Gifford. 

It was Gifford who handed Donna her “Donnadorable” nickname. Market Watch quotes Gifford as saying, “I’m the one that named ‘Donna-Dorable’ for one simple reason: because she is.”

“She’s a natural. [She] exudes positivity, and she’s genuinely interested in everybody and everything.”

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Today wasn’t the first time Donna stepped up to sit in front of the camera – she’s been a “social contributor” for some time – and it likely won’t be the last. 

How old is she?

Born in early August 1991, Donna Farizan is turning 31 this year. That means she was only in her mid-20s when she started working on NBC’s Today show.

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Spiritfarer | Farewell Edition Trailer

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Donna wrote about what it was like to hit the milestone for a piece on the Today website at the time.

She’s active on Instagram, with almost 24K followers on the platform. Find her here. She also tweets regularly, although she has much fewer followers on Twitter.

[Thursday, August 4 2022: This article has been updated]

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Bruno is a novelist, amateur screenwriter and journalist with interests in digital media, storytelling, film and politics. He’s lived in France, China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, but returned to the UK for a degree (and because of the pandemic) in 2020. His articles have appeared in Groundviews, Forge Press and The Friday Poem, and most are readable on Medium or