I can't decide if the best thing about watching "Sabrina" is when she talks to the black cat, points her finger to do magic, or goes into that hall closet and ends up on Mars or the moon or wherever. Can you? I got to meet Melissa Joan Hart in Hollywood and ask her how it feels to be TV's most neato teenager. Not only did the ex-Clarissa explain it all, but she also let me watch her film a scene, walk through the set of Sabrina's house and get a picture with her! It's not trick photography-she's just as pretty in real life and twice as nice. Swear.

By: Stefani Cudney, 10

Girls' Life: Is it weird talking to a cat?

Melissa Joan Hart: No, it's easy. The guy who does the voice sits just a few feet away and we can hear him, and someone is under the cat moving his face and tail and ears.

How do you do the magic on the show?

We have a special effects team that comes on the set and does the pyrotechnics-like the smoke or things spinning on the counter, stuff like that. We also have video effects. Like if I want to change clothes with a snap, I have to freeze and hold a position. Then they cut and lock-off the camera, and I go change and come back and stand in that exact same position.

How long do you have to stand in those frozen positions?

We have to stand like statues a lot, and sometimes it is uncomfortable. It's so hard to not move, you know? I'll think I'm not moving, but then when I'm doing it, I'll realize that if I just move my knee the tiniest inch, it changes enough to be noticeable on camera. Yesterday, I had to stand still for about five minutes, and if I moved just the littlest bit, they would yell at me.

Which role do you like better - Clarissa from "Clarissa Explains It All" or Sabrina from "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch"?

I can't decide. They're both great but totally different. But I like being Sabrina only because I don't have to go to high school anymore. It's so much easier to remember my lines.

In real life, do you dress like Clarissa or Sabrina?

Clarissa was funky. She went for the cool, groovy stuff, but I like Sabrina's style. I'm more like her.

What's the wildest thing in your closet?

I've got this bubble dress. It's actually from Sabrina's wardrobe. It's all different shades of blue with these raised, embroidered bubbles.

What kind of shoes do you wear with a blue bubble dress?

That's the thing. I wore it last year for the show, and everyone said I looked good in it so I had to take it home, but I've never worn it again because I need a bright blue, shiny pair of-somethings. Who knows?

Clarissa's room had license plates and hubcaps, and Sabrina's room is princessy with stars and moons. What's your own room like?

I have one in New York and one in Los Angeles. In New York, my room has big, old Renaissance-type furniture with a sleigh bed. Everything's blue and white flowers, and there are lots of pictures of Shirley Temple. In Los Angeles, my room has a green, velvet bedspread, and all the furniture is pine. It's very Pottery Barn.

How many brothers and sisters do you have?

Six! I'm the oldest. I did three TV movies this summer. One is "The Right Connections", and it has MC Hammer and four of my siblings. It's about four kids that meet a rapper who helps them win a hip-hop contest to help their mom pay taxes.

Do your brothers and sisters want to act?

Um... I don't know. They've all done it before, and this was the first time my 3-year-old sister did it. They're good, but I don't think they like it so I don't think they'll pursue it.

Even though big sister is a star?

My 11- and my 16-year-old sisters are really talented, but they're just like, "Yeah, whatever," when it comes to acting. One of my sisters was here the other day, and she wasn't blown away or anything. She's normal, a cheerleader, lots of friends.

When your show stops taping for the summer, do you hang out with friends?

Not really. I work on other projects. This last summer, I worked with my siblings on that movie, and then I went to Vancouver, and after that I went to Italy, and then I worked on another movie for about a month, and now I just got back to the Sabrina set last week.

Jeez, you work a lot! What do you like to do that's fun?

I like to go horseback riding, take dance classes or hang out with my boyfriend. We've been together for two and a half years.

What's your favorite magazine, favorite CD and favorite TV show?

I really like Entertainment Weekly because I like to see where Sabrina is at, like what the ratings were for last week. And music, there are so many groups I like! Right now I'm into Sublime and the Pharcyde-they're rappers. On television, I like ER and Seinfeld.

What was your favorite TV show when you were 12 years old?

Alf! No, I'm kidding! Um, I always liked Little House on the Prairie.

How old were you when your mom let you first shave your legs or start wearing makeup?

Shaving is a pain! Don't do it! As for makeup, my mom made this rule that in seventh grade I could wear lipstick, in eighth grade I could wear blush and in ninth grade I could wear any eye makeup. But she always told me not to wear mascara because it would burn my eyelashes and I wouldn't have any left. I still don't wear mascara.

What would surprise a Girls' Life reader about Melissa Joan Hart?

I'm stinky! No, just kidding! I know what it is-I'm short! Most people think I'm taller from seeing me on television, but I'm only 5-foot-2!

If you want to write Melissa, send letters to Melissa Joan Hart, c/o Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Paramount Studios, 5555 Melrose Avenue, Trailer 35, Los Angeles, CA 90038. ">

Last modified:  Tue, 04. May 1999   21:40:16 MET DST   by René Scholz
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