Melissa Joan Hart, "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" herself, recently guest hosted an episode of Channel One News.
ChannelOne.com caught up with her to get this exclusive interview.
(questions by Bradley Cooper)
Q: Which actors are your role models?
A: Shirley Temple has always been a role model. I have a shrine to her in my house. Then it became Audrey Hepburn, and now I'm pretty inspired by Jean Harlow. I'm just starting to learn about her career. There are also more modern ones like Sandra Bullock, who I just think is so fantastic on screen. She just has so much character and energy and it really translates on screen. That's kind of my modern day goal.
There's also Goldie Hawn whose career I'd like to kind of not "mimic," but have that kind of career in comedy which no one has really seemed to have done except for her. She's the only person who has been able to have a real career just in comedy. Meg Ryan started to do it and then it was "Well, she can't do serious stuff." But Goldie Hawn was able to keep a career through her whole life being funny and having fun and playing around but making it very real.
Q: You've been playing a teen character on television for a while now. Does it bother you being put into the "teen actress" category? Has it ever kept you from getting a role you wanted?
A: No, because there's not many roles for mid-twenties. Especially now with the big teen boom, there's a lot more going on for teenagers, for high school movies. I also look a lot younger, so it's just fitting that I play that age because no one's really going to buy me as twenty-five.
Q: You've worked at least a couple of times with Britney Spears. Would you say the fame of a pop star is different from that of a television star?
A: It depends on how you do it. Because she's on tour, she needs a bodyguard, she needs an entourage. She's always doing press and she's always spotted. My goal is to be as anonymous as possible. To be able to go to the Pottery Barn today and buy some drapes, without having to bring my bodyguard and my assistant and everybody else. That's also for her protection because she's so much in the spotlight.
What's good about being on TV is that everyone sees you on TV once a week and that's enough. I don't think people get as obsessed about TV because they feel more like it's family. I mean I get blown away by certain pop stars. Smashing Pumpkins, forget it, I'm on the floor. Red Hot Chili Peppers. There's something about music and groups and the whole rock star thing is so powerful.
I think that she's got it tougher because those careers come and go faster, I think. She's got so many people who would spot her right away if she was walking around. But I've been lucky enough that in this town [Los Angeles] it's like "Oh, there's Melissa, don't look." It's different.
Q: What do you think you would be doing if you weren't acting?
A: I'd probably be a ballerina. That's what I would have wanted to be. I danced for ten years until I started "Clarissa Explains It All," and I've never gotten back into it.
I've tried so hard, I have so many ballet shoes sitting at home and I just can't get in them.
Q: What's one piece of advice you wish someone had given you while you were in high school?
A: Wear whatever you want. My friends told me "Don't ever wear that shirt again, that is so ugly."
I kind of wish someone would have said [to wear whatever I wanted]. Actually, Calista Flockhart is probably the only person who really did that for me. She was like "Here's a pair of Kenneth Cole shoes, they're really cool". And I said "My older friend gave me these, they're really cool." And everyone at school made fun of me.
Q: What specific advice do you have for teens who are interested in pursuing an acting career?
A: Finish high school. While you're in high school, do things like drama classes, ballet, singing, anything that is in the arts. Try to get in school plays and stuff like that. When you're done with high school and you decide that's what you want to do then go after it.
It's too much to balance a career and school at the same time.