If you grew up in the 80s and/or 90s, chances are pretty good you had a crush on Nicole Eggert. Remembered fondly for playing the gorgeous Jamie on "Charles in Charge," Eggert was the hottest girl next door on television. She solidified her position as a sex symbol a bit later when she spent a few years rescuing lucky beachgoers in "Baywatch" - and yes, they were lucky even if they were drowning. After spending a few years outside of the limelight, Nicole is back doing family fare with a turn in THE DOG WHO SAVED EASTER, in which she lends her lovely voice to a pup named Gabrielle.
If my fourteen-year-old self had known that one day he'd be speaking to Nicole Eggert, he would have flipped. But indeed, I was lucky enough to spend a few minutes catching up with the actress, going over her involvement in the genial Easter film, her "Charles in Charge" years, her advice to young showbiz hopefuls, and her experiences doing reality television.
How did you get involved with this project?
Because [producer] Jeff Schenck and I are friends and we've done a number of films together. He called me and asked if I was interested. Good times.
How would you describe the dog you play, Gabrielle?
Gabrielle is a rescue, a dog who gets adopted - which is always a good story - and her and Zeus [voiced by Mario Lopez] meet at the doggy day care and fall in love with each other.
Aww, that's sweet.
I know, that is sweet.
Are you a dog person?
I am, I've always been a dog person. Until I had kids, now I'm more of a kid person, but still love dogs.
Had you done voice over work before?
Yes, in fact when I was younger I was the voice of Margaret in "Dennis the Menace" for a while, and then I did some films where the actress didn't do a good job and they had me come in an ADR all of her work. I always did a lot of voice over work as a kid, it's fun.
You've been a part of so many films and shows over the years, is it possible to pick a favorite?
Ohhh. I think I would have to say working on "Charles in Charge" was the best gig ever. We would work in the morning and be done by lunchtime.
That sounds like a nice schedule.
Really good schedule, right? You had no idea when you were 15 how good that was. So I think if I could re-do anything, that would be the one.
Are all of your memories from back then fond ones?
Yeah, for sure. When you're a kid you think, "Oh I have work, I have school, I have so much to juggle," it seems like a lot, but then you grow up. And we all know being a grownup is overrated, now you're like, "I wish I could go back."
Obviously the celebrity culture was a bit different back then, but you were still growing up in the spotlight and had millions of fans - how did you deal with all that and keep your head straight?
Honestly, I was at work and school everyday, so I don't think it really dawned on us that that was happening. You were settled in, and there wasn't all of this social media then, you weren't in touch with how big of a fan base you were reaching. It was so different.
When it did eventually dawn on you, what was it like realizing how popular the show was, and how popular you were?
Not really. Probably now as an adult looking back, I realize it more now. Maybe it's just who I am and who my parents were and how they raised me, but that's not what I was all about, you know? That was my job, and I just didn't think about it like that. I was really just a regular girl growing up. Jamie [her "Charles in Charge" character] was really who I was and what I was going through. We weren't exactly the same characters, but the characters were based on what they were seeing us go through in real life. It sounds so corny, but it was real.
It sounds like you had a pretty good experience going up in the business, but obviously that's not always the case.
That's true, and it's unfortunate. I was blessed to be working with so many good people and to have such solid parents. I was lucky to come through it really grounded.
What advice would you give to someone who is looking to pursue a path in the entertainment industry?
Don't do it. (Laughs) I mean, my kids are really cute and people are always telling me to get them into the business, and I would never. Of course, whatever you want to do, you should go for it. If it's acting, then go for it. But you have to be really resilient, it's not easy. It's a tough business, when you think that 1% of actors actually are successful at it, that's crazy.
If there were another career path you could have taken, what would it have been?
I think I would have been a lawyer. Not for my love of them and having a lot of them in my life, but seeing it as a career choice, yeah, probably be a lawyer.
You really put yourself out there with your appearances on "Celebrity Fit Club" and "Splash." Were those positive experiences for you?
I don't know about "Celebrity Fit Club," it was a little bit manipulated, but "Splash" was for real. That really changed my life. It pushed me me way outside of my comfort zone. I look back and don't even know why I did that. (Laughs) Why did I do that? I pushed myself and I was scared to death. Right now I wouldn't do that again; if you put me on a high dive I'd probably be too scared to jump off. But these experiences that you get, that are offered to you in this industry… it's like, who else is going to get to do that?
What kind of TV shows do you watch?
I mostly watch what my kids want to watch, so we watch a lot of Disney around here. But I'm a "Real Housewives" junkie. I love "Real Housewives," I'll admit it.
Would you ever be in one of those?
No. (Laughs) I'm too private for that, but I like to watch everybody else's mess.
Who in your career was the most fun or inspirational person you ever worked with?
This is really dating me, but I worked with [director] George Cukor on RICH AND FAMOUS. He taught me a lot of good life lessons, like there are no small parts, just small actors. He was really very inspirational to me, he woke me up.
Who is your all-time celebrity crush?
What's your favorite pastime, what do you do for fun?
My fun is being a mom. It's all about the kids for me, it brings me to a happy place. I'm all about it.
Have the kids seen THE DOG WHO SAVED EASTER?
Yeah, we went to the premiere. My 2-year-old was a bit fidgety, she almost made it through the whole movie. It was freaking her out that she was hearing my voice, she was looking around the movie theater. It was kind of funny. "Mommy?"
What else do you have coming up that you're looking forward to?
I just did a show called "Heartbreakers" with Judd Nelson for Discovery. It was really cool, it's all about women in the 90s who were bilked by their husbands. It's all these real life stories.
Had you worked with Judd before?
Never met him, I was really excited. I grew up with "The Breakfast Club," so I was so psyched. And it turned out he was a really big fan of "Splash," so we were very excited to meet each other.
Well thank you so much for the chat, I really appreciate it.
Thank you, I appreciate it too!