By People Staff
May 10, 1999 12:00 PM

Caution! Do not let this woman handle products‘ When the moderator of ABC’s pan-generational daytime gabfest The View was in high school in Providence, she used so much Bonnie Bell bronzer that she turned up in her yearbook picture with a brown nose. She broke her foot—twice—while wearing platform shoes, and she once emerged from a home-peroxide job with her auburn locks a color the 45-year-old TV news veteran terms “cheeseball-blonde.” Luckily, Vieira, who lives in jeans at home with her three children in Westchester County, N.Y., is now regularly dressed, coiffed and styled by the experts at The View. And luckily, too, the daughter of country doctor Edwin and homemaker Mary Elsie Vieira is blessed with phenomenal genes. “She’s a natural beauty, like Katharine Hepburn,” says View boss Barbara Walters. “She’s totally unself-conscious.”

Writer-journalist Richard Cohen, Vieira’s husband, says he is still “taken with the whole package” after 13 years, and attests to his wife’s lack of interest in the glamor game: “She doesn’t primp. And she says the best thing about her job is that they dress her.” Although that lack of vanity can be awkward (at the PEOPLE beauty shoot, “I didn’t have polish on my nails or toes, and I had hair under my arms,” the 5’3″ Vieira later revealed. “My staff was embarrassed for me”), it also allows her to avoid most of her industry’s obsession with looking younger. “There’s nothing worse than someone my age trying to look 28,” she says. “I don’t want to be 28 again.” Still, she does concede that “everything is falling,” and that she may even have to resort to cosmetic surgery. “The pressure gets greater every day when you are in this medium,” she says. “Sometimes I feel it’s going to happen whether I want it to or not. It gives me the creeps.”