Interview: Tiffani Thiessen from ‘White Collar’

We had the pleasure of sitting down with actress Tiffani Thiessen who plays Elizabeth Burke in USA’s “White Collar.” She told us about her character’s relationships with the men in the show, some of her favorite moments on set, and what it’s going to be like on set with her new baby.

On White Collar, Neal, you have to say, is such a charming, handsome man, but Elizabeth is a married woman. Do you think it’s possible for men and women to be friends without there being a sexual connection?

T. Thiessen: I do believe so, being that I’m married myself. I think it’s quite easy, actually. I think if your marriage is strong and you have a good trust basis between the two, which is a lot of what we try to portray the relationship between Elizabeth and Peter to be, then I absolutely think you can. They’ve been married for ten years and they have such a good rapport with each other and it’s a marriage on TV that I really quite enjoy to watch, because you don’t see a lot of TV couples like that.

I think it definitely shows a lot that she can be friends with someone like Neal. He’s definitely a very charming, beautiful man, which is always fun to look at. But I always have this funny, cute saying that I always tell reporters that I say you definitely want to date Neal, but you want to bring Peter home to your family. You want to marry someone like Peter. Do you know what I mean?

This show has garnered such online support, I mean, there are so many tweets and—

T. Thiessen: It’s amazing. Nowadays this whole digital media, it’s crazy.

I was going to ask you; you’re a part of Twitter already.

T. Thiessen: I am. I’ve been a little slow on it lately. I haven’t had too much time but I’m going to try and start getting up on it again.

I was wondering, why is it so important for you to interact with fans via Twitter?

T. Thiessen: I think it’s a definite new media that has really sparked a whole new kind of connection between actors or musicians or anybody in the entertainment business or even politicians. I follow Ann Curry, I love it. I love hearing her voice. I love hearing her news, her opinions. I think the public really enjoys that.

To me I think it’s a much more honest way to really connect with your fan base without it being the horrible magazines out there that might not get the truth right. At least this gives a little bit of an honest glimpse into someone’s life without it being too overdone and too personal. You get to control it, which is what I like about it.

Obviously you are currently in the filming process, but heading into the season what were some of the things that you were looking forward to, that you were excited about for Elizabeth?

T. Thiessen: It’s a very different season for me than it was last year. I just gave birth five weeks ago, almost five weeks ago, so I actually have been away. What we did was because I couldn’t travel or fly because I was really, really pregnant when the season started, we actually ended up shooting, which I’m sure you might have seen on the premiere episode this season, my one scene, a lot of those episodes in the first six episodes I shot here in Los Angeles on a studio with a green screen behind me. The two scenes I did with Tim and then the rest of them I did where I was pretending to be in San Francisco, that’s where you’ll start to see my character on an event, because I couldn’t be right in New York City to shoot with the rest of the cast.

I’m a bit away, I’m not in the first six episodes that much, but it was really interesting to see how they can maneuver me in the sense of making me look like I’m not as pregnant and shooting me from the waist up and not really showing. I actually haven’t seen the cast and I actually leave next week to go back to New York and finish off the season with them, so I’m excited.

What would you like to see happen with your character as the season progresses? I know we talked a little bit last time about maybe some extra back story, but what are some of the things that are high on your list for her this season?

T. Thiessen: I think definitely being that I haven’t been able to get into that back story this first part of the season because I’ve been away, I definitely would love to explore that a lot more. I would love to explore a little bit more of the history between Peter and Elizabeth and how they met. And possibly maybe a little bit more, I think what they’re wanting to do, which I’m excited about, is really starting to see me interact more with Matt’s character as well as Willie’s character. You saw that toward the end of last season, where I was working a lot with Willie, which I think the audience really likes. So I think they’re going to continue probably doing that this season when I get back to work.

Can you talk about how you started on the project? Did you audition?

T. Thiessen: Oh, yes, I auditioned like everybody else. It’s kind of a funny story. It’s kind of a long process, which I’m sure a lot of actors say is the case. But I went in and I read the script and absolutely fell in love with it and just really was adamant about wanting to do everything I could possible to try and get the job. So I went in and auditioned for it and I was put on what they call a short list, but they wanted to cast the husband first, which they hadn’t found Tim yet.

I think about a month or two goes by and they finally cast Tim, and so I was waiting to get that phone call again to come back in, and what they do is like a chemistry read. I never got the call, and so I called my agent and I was like “Whatever happened to White Collar, that show? I was supposedly on the short list.” And they said, “Oh, they actually wanted to go a different route. They thought you were too young.” Then I started hearing some of the girls that were actually going in and auditioning with Tim and they were actually younger than I was. So I was like, wait a minute, that doesn’t sound right.

So I actually thought I lost the job, but then supposedly they never found the girl, they were definitely trying to go younger and it didn’t work, and so they called me back again. I did a chemistry read with Tim and we totally hit it off, and I knew it was my job, I knew I was going to get it, I had a feeling in my gut, and I did. It was, again, like a long process but definitely worth it because in my mind from the moment I read the script I really wanted this job.

Would you ever be interested in writing or directing for the show?

T. Thiessen: I would. I’m not a writer at all, and I’ll be totally honest with you it’s nothing that I want to pursue because I’m just not a great writer. But directing is something that I actually started quite a few years ago actually. I did a short film that actually got into the Tribeca Film Festival and quite a lot of the prestigious film festivals, and so being that it’s been a little busy working, and now with a child it’s been kind of hard to pursue that. But I would love to, and White Collar would definitely be on my list that I would love to do. There are more and more women directors out there, which I love working with, and I think we always can use more women directors out there and in every position as well. So I think it would be really nice.

My favorite scene from last season is when you met Mozzie for the first time. What has been your favorite scene or episode and why?

T. Thiessen: Wow, that’s hard because I have quite a few that I really like. But I will say towards the end of the season the episodes, like the last three episodes where I did get to work with Willie and I got to work with Matt a lot more and just all the conflict that was happening and the suspense that was happening with the Fowler character, that was actually probably the most fun. There was so much going on because I was pregnant at that time and I don’t think anybody knew at that time, or maybe my cast just found out and the producers and stuff. But it was a lot of fun because I was working with Willie finally, which I had never gotten to work with in the beginning of the season, and I’ve known Willie for a while. So it was really fun to finally actually get to work on screen with him. I definitely would say those are probably my favorite episodes for sure. I’m in complete agreement with you.

What do you think about the relationship between Peter and Mozzie? Are you going to be interacting with them as the season progresses?

T. Thiessen: I’m hoping. Yes, I love that. I think Willie really is a great addition to the show. He really brings a whole other side to the show, and I love working with him. I know the guys love working with him, Matt and Tim love working with him. So I would love to continue working with him, and I think that’s what they’re plan is. I haven’t been able to be in the first part of the season just because I was pregnant and I was just gave birth almost five weeks ago, so I’m actually leaving next week to go back to New York to finish off the season with them. I’m really excited to see everybody and get back into work again. It will be interesting to juggle the whole motherhood and work, but I’m ready for it for sure.

What do you like most about White Collar and your character, Elizabeth?

T. Thiessen: I think probably the biggest thing that I was drawn to her character, even from the beginning when I read the script and even more so now that we’ve gotten to know her a lot more on the show is that she plays a woman that I strive to be every day. She really is a woman who takes her marriage, it’s very important to her and her relationship with her husband and her home life, but as well really balances her career. And I strive to do that every single day of my life, and now that I add the title “Mother” to it it’s even more so.

She’s very diplomatic, which I really like. She’s very reasonable. She seems to be a person that has a sense of knowing where to go down the middle when she’s helping the relationship between Peter and Neal, and I like that about her a lot. She’s almost like a little therapist or something. She always takes the middle road of really trying to get the boys to see both sides and I like that about her a lot. She’s very diplomatic. I like that she’s passionate. She’s extremely passionate about everything that she does, and her marriage, her career and her relationships and all that. I don’t know, I really admire her a lot.

Do you enjoy filming White Collar in New York?

T. Thiessen: I do. I absolutely do. I’ve always had such a love for New York City ever since I was young and going there when I was younger, and to be able to say that I actually live there half the year, I absolutely love it. It was my husband that I really had to get him to fall in love with it as much as I do. He’s from Texas and it’s very, very different than California and Texas, but he’s actually really starting to fall in love with it as well. And we’re excited that we get to raise our little girl half the year in New York City and half the year in Los Angeles. They’re two great cities and I’m excited for her to be able to really get the culture from both.

Earlier you just said that you nearly weren’t cast for White Collar because you seemed young. Do you ever feel like it’s hard to break away from your youthful teen image?

T. Thiessen: I think you hit the nail on the head. I think that’s exactly what people think of me at first. Because it was funny, when I auditioned for it and then to hear that they were actually bringing in girls that were younger than I was, I think people tend to forget how old I am, and maybe it’s my good genes, knock on wood, I hope that’s part of it too. I don’t know.

I’m 36 years old. I’m not in my 20s anymore, let alone my teens. But I think you’re right. I think when you have a successful show, and thankfully so far I’ve had two and going on my third, that people sometimes have a hard time taking you out of that once it’s over. But I worked really hard to get it and luckily I won the job. I won them over.

You also said that you enjoyed watching you and Neal on TV and you said that you were a good couple to watch. Do you watch the show yourself?

T. Thiessen: I do watch the show. It’s funny, it’s actually a show that I would normally watch even if I wasn’t on it. It’s the kind of TV that I absolutely love. It’s the type of films that I go and see. I’m a total James Bond fan. I love the buddy cop films. I love when you have shows and film that have the combination between comedy and drama and suspense, and to me when you have something that has all of that it really makes for good entertainment.

It seems sometimes like Elizabeth trusts or believes in Neal even more than Peter does. Why do you think that is?

T. Thiessen: I think it’s the case of when someone’s out of the tight loop when a situation’s happening they can actually see it a little clearer. I think that’s the case with Elizabeth. I think, like I had mentioned before, I think she’s a very diplomatic, very honest woman who can see both sides.

Last year I think you saw a lot of scenes where she was definitely trying to get her husband to see Neal’s side, and I think you’ll start to hopefully see a little more where I’m going to be doing the same thing for Neal, where I’m going to get him to really see my husband’s side on a lot of things. I think she’s that kind of woman. I do think there’s a side of her that’s almost like a little therapist, that she’s the voice of reason, where she sees everything a little clearer because she’s not quite in the loop that tight.

Were there any conversation when you found out you were pregnant about keeping the pregnancy in the script and giving Peter and Elizabeth a baby?

T. Thiessen: Yes, we did talk about it loosely. But it was really a decision that we all agreed upon, and I was actually happy with it too, that I think they’re a couple that, they’ve been married for ten years and I think they’re just one of those couples that don’t have kids, that they are very much involved in their careers and each other and they like the way things are, and I don’t think they need to add kids to make their marriage any more successful than it already is.

The other thing about it is that it’s a show that, I guess it’s so much about the characters, but we never really envisioned Peter and Elizabeth to have children. I don’t envision seeing scenes with Peter and a child and all that, even though it’s so funny that in real life he has kids and now I have a child. But it’s their characters. They’re so young at heart and I don’t know, I find them to be a cool, sexy couple. They remind me of my aunt and uncle who never had kids and they travel freely and they get to do what they want, and that’s how I see them.

The fans of White Collar are passionate, die-hard fans, even after just one season. They’re really on it, and the blogs and Internet, people are really excited about the first episode of the new season. What do you attribute that to? Why do you think people are just so in love with the show and why it took off so quickly?

T. Thiessen: You know, it’s kind of what I had said with another question earlier, is that it’s TV that I love to watch. It’s got a little bit of everything. It’s very character driven, which USA strives as a station to be, which you get invested in all different types of characters, you have a little bit of everything. I love that you have the suspense and the fun of the show, but you have the home life and the relationship between Peter and Elizabeth, and you have this great, fun character like Willie. You have everything, which I think really makes for good entertainment. I think that has a lot to do with it. Of course it’s not hard to look at Matt an hour every week on a show.

I think there are a lot of reasons. I really think the biggest reason of all is the writing. Our writers are so on top of it and they really make such great scripts that we just so enjoy portraying for them live. It’s amazing, we have so much fun, and also the chemistry between all of us. I’ve been a fan of Tim’s work for so long and that’s why it was really exciting to finally get to work with him. I’ve known Willie and I’ve been a fan of his as well. And Matt, to really see this up and coming guy come out and break the whole entertainment business, he’s unbelievable. He’s got that kind of charisma that we all love to see on screen. So it’s a good combination of all of it. It’s hard to pinpoint it for one thing, but I think it’s a combination of all of it.

I know you weren’t able to work with Tim Matheson so much on the first episode of this season but having a veteran actor like that is probably a huge catch for the show. Is he slated to direct any more episodes this season? Can we see him come back, obviously not as a character, but as a director?

T. Thiessen: I don’t know if he’s slated for any more actually, because like I said I’m actually still in Los Angeles and I go back to New York next week to actually meet up with everybody again, since I just had the baby. But I did get to work with Tim for a moment, and funny enough he actually played my father in a movie years and years and years ago. So I actually know Tim very well.

Oh really?

T. Thiessen: Yes, it’s so funny, many, many moons ago. He’s a doll and he’s such a great actor as well. He did such a great job on the first episode directing and acting in it. We would be absolutely fortunate and lucky to have him back. So I hope they bring him back, I really do.

What are the challenges for finding roles for women in their 30s? And are there more opportunities for women now than there were ten years ago as far as programming?

T. Thiessen: Absolutely. I think there’s definitely much more in 30s and 40s both. I think you’re starting to find people really seeing that – here’s the thing. It’s hard for me to say and know the experience how it was ten, twenty years ago because I was only in my teens and my 20s, but I know from watching TV myself and watching film myself I see a lot more 30s and 40s on screen, which just makes me very, very happy. It’s what we should be watching.

We’ve got different niches. We’ve got the Disney kids and that whole teenage niche, and we’ve got the young adults, and then we have the age of 30s and 40s, which is where I am right now, and I think it’s important to portray those ages and those roles. And like I had mentioned before, one of the things that I really admire about the writers is that they’ve really made the relationship between Peter and Elizabeth a strong marriage, and I don’t think you see that on TV very often. I really admire them for keeping it that way.

With In Plain Sight and Covert Affairs, is USA Network a good place for actresses to be?

T. Thiessen: Absolutely. This is the first time I’ve ever gotten to work for a cable network, and they’ve been one of the most passionate networks for their shows that I’ve ever worked with, and I’ve been doing this for 26, 27 years. I hate saying that sometimes. But yes, they’re so extremely passionate and very connected to their actors and their writers and their shows. You can see it on screen. You can see it with the way they really publicize their shows and how they’ve gotten very involved with the media aspect of it. It really makes it nice for us knowing that we’re going and doing our job and knowing that they’re really behind us.

The first season did very well with the viewers and the ratings and everything. Do you feel that that helped take the pressure off or does it actually add more pressure on all of you to keep that momentum going?

T. Thiessen: I think there are two sides to it. I think there’s a part of you that definitely will take a little bit of the pressure off, but then it’s like, okay, the pressure goes right back on for second season. You have to think about it all over again to make sure that you keep it up and try and do even a little better. You always strive to do a little bit better, and I think that’s definitely the case. But it was definitely a really nice feeling to know that last season we did well and people really responded to it and are excited to see a second season.

Then as a follow up, you’ve been working in the public eye, let’s call it, since you were very young. Have you ever wished you’d led a more private life? And what, if anything, would you have done differently if you could go back and re-do it?

T. Thiessen: It’s funny, I thank God I came around when there was no TMZ and no US Weekly and things like that. So I don’t feel like it was too, too bad for me. I also feel like I’m not in a place where people bother me too, too much. We get the occasional paparazzi outside our house and following us, but nothing crazy, which I’m very fortunate with. Of course that could all change, but I feel like I’ve gotten off pretty easy, so knock on wood it stays that way.

It sounds like it’s not been too bad.

T. Thiessen: It hasn’t been too bad.

It struck me as you were talking about Peter and Elizabeth having children, that actually Matt’s character is kind of like his child.

T. Thiessen: I think we definitely both feel like he’s partially our child, yes. And at times I think we feel Willie is as well.

Peter makes a great dad.

T. Thiessen: Yes, he actually does, even in real life. He’s got two of the greatest kids.

I’m sure. Actually, it also struck me as you were talking about them wanting younger or thinking you were younger, because it doesn’t surprise me because you look so young.

T. Thiessen: I appreciate that. Thank you.

Is it all just genetics or what do you do to make yourself look so young?

T. Thiessen: I think a lot of it has to do with the genetics. If you saw my mother and even my grandmother, they have great genes and they look so much younger than what they really are. So I definitely attribute a lot of that to that, but I try to take care of myself. Water I think is the best medicine for anybody and I drink a ton of water and I think that has so much to do with it. I think people walk around dehydrated all day long a lot of the times, and we don’t really stress about how much water intake is such an important thing in our bodies. And just physical activity, I work out and try to really take care of myself. I try not to over stress myself too much. It’s all of those things. I think all of those really contribute to trying to look your best, you know?

What would be your ultimate dream role to have in the future? Or maybe there’s somebody specific you’d like to work with that you haven’t yet.

T. Thiessen: It’s so hard. Back in my late teens, early 20s I always wanted to be a James Bond girl. That’s totally different now. My life has changed so much, my priorities have changed. I don’t know if I really have a dream role. I think it’s more about really – and I have to say White Collar is definitely something that I can say really kind of fills that – is that I want to go to work every day with people that I like. I want to go to work every day where there’s a role that I really enjoy and I believe in.

I don’t think it’s really specific to one particular actor that I want to work with or a particular role any more like it used to be. Like back in the day, like I said, I wanted to be a James Bond girl and I got really close to it too, but I didn’t. But now it’s just really about enjoying who I work with, the kind of atmosphere that I’m working in, and the character. That’s why I think nowadays I tend to really try to be somewhat picky any more to what I do, not just going out to get a job. And sometimes you have to do that, you have to work just to work. But I’m very fortunate to say that I’m actually working at a job that I absolutely love and enjoy and everybody there I enjoy so much and I feel very blessed.

It’s always great to love what you do.

T. Thiessen: You’re absolutely right, and not a lot of people can say that so I feel very fortunate.

Can you talk a bit about working on Fastlane with Peter Facinelli?

T. Thiessen: Yes, Fastlane was another really fun, great show. It was hard work, actually. We had a lot of stunts and a lot of long hours, very different from White Collar for me. I know the boys, Matt and Tim can’t say that, but for me I don’t work every day on that show. Fastlane was definitely a harder show, but it was totally adrenaline, really fun, it was great, very stylish. Stylish in the sense like White Collar, but much more in the sense of just the drive of the stunts and things like that. It was a great show. I was actually very sad that it went off. I still to this day get a lot of people not understanding why FOX took it off the air.

What do you think Elizabeth really thinks of Mozzie and Neal?

T. Thiessen: Oh, wow. I think she thinks a lot of things. I think there’s a part of Elizabeth that really feels a sense of, I don’t want to say the word sorry, but she’s really trying to understand Neal’s—I think she does understand it, but I think there’s a sense of her that feels that there’s a part of him that really wants a little bit of what Peter and Elizabeth have. I think he has such a hard time trying to gather that, or even process that, that I think there’s a part of her that feels bad for him because in her mind everybody deserves that, everybody deserves to have a great relationship in their life.

And then Willie I think is just pure entertainment. I think she finds him quite enjoyable to hang out with. I think they love the banter between the two. I think they love to test each other. I think it’s another form of the relationship between Neal and Peter and I think you can see that a little bit with Elizabeth and Mozzie, which is kind of fun.

How do you think Elizabeth feels about Peter working with Neal and Mozzie? They’re not your normal FBI fare.

T. Thiessen: Yes, I know. I think probably in the ten or so years that they’ve been together that she’s probably seen so many types of things that her husband has had to go through that I think she takes everything with a grain of salt. I think that’s actually really the smartest thing she can do.

I was wondering what you thought about Elizabeth’s career, her chosen profession? Were you involved in deciding what she was going to do as a career?

T. Thiessen: I was completely. It was my idea, absolutely. I brought that idea to the writers and our executive producer, Jeff Eastin. In the original pilot she was actually put as an accountant and they didn’t like it, USA didn’t care for it, so they took that out and didn’t mention what she did for a living in the pilot. If you go back you don’t even know what she does. So once it got picked up we really tried to explore what exactly would be the best fit for her and for the show, and they went into different arenas like being an actual probably a psychotherapist or all different types of things. I came up with the event coordinator only because – many reasons. One was I always wanted to do that and personally if I never acted again that was what I wanted to do for a living.

But secondly, I thought it fit really well with the city in the sense and also just the stylish aspect of our show and also to kind of use her at times, to bring her in, which they have used her before, with events and things like that. Because they’re constantly having to – Neal goes in and does a whole fake thing half the time. He’s going in there playing and portraying someone else with these big parties and these beautiful events and things like that, and so she’s very aware of that kind of social high life kind of thing in New York City, so I thought it would fit really well and so far it fits great.

It really has. It was an unusual choice and one that I really like because of course I am a closet event planner. It seems like it was also kind of an interesting way for her to connect with Neal. Like you said, it’s such a stylish show, in large part because of what he chooses to wear.

T. Thiessen: Right, exactly. What he wears and what he does and what he knows about in the sense of food and wine and all that kind of stuff, and she can definitely play into that because she knows it as well.

You started to say how you came up with your character’s job. Do you often stick to the script or do you sometimes improvise? Are they real strict with that?

T. Thiessen: They’re not actually real strict with it. Here’s the thing, the funny thing is that the scripts are so good that we really don’t need to actually change anything. But I will say our writers are very open to our ideas and even on the day when we’re shooting and if we’re playing around a little bit, they’re all always very cool about that. It’s very collaborative. They really allow us to go both ways, and we feel the same way with them, which makes, again, another aspect of the show why it really works so well.

Do you have any other new projects besides White Collar coming up? And also, I’ve got to ask, can you tell us if the rumor of a Saved by the Bell reunion is ever going to happen?

T. Thiessen: I don’t think so on the second question. I don’t think so. I think it was really great to do that reunion last year with People magazine and we got to see everyone – I definitely still talk to Mark Paul and Elizabeth and Mario – but to have us all together for People magazine last year was really fun and I think that was a reunion that we felt was enough. We’re all doing our own projects and doing other things, so I don’t think we’re going to see a reunion in what the public is thinking.

Then those other projects, mother is definitely the newest project that I’ve put on to my belt right now with my new almost five week old. But I also am just starting designing a baby furniture line company, a bedding company with a partner friend of mine, it’s called Petite Nest. So it’s going to be coming out hopefully the end of this year or the first of next year.

Could you tell us about something funny that happened on set? Maybe somebody played a prank … some kind of funny, memorable moment.

T. Thiessen: There’s so many it’s hard to pick one. Every day there’s something funny. The guys, one of the things that they do constantly all of the time is they break into song. They’re always singing and playing around. So that’s a daily thing with them. Then any time you have scenes with Willie you’re always laughing. The ad libs that he comes up with and the zingers, as you would say, it’s quite enjoyable and very entertaining. It’s hard to say specifically anything, especially these days with my baby brain, as I call it, because I can’t remember anything anymore. But it’s definitely a very fun set. It’s hilarious. We do tons of things.

Here’s one thing I do remember. We have this thing where one of the guys, I think one of our camera operators is in love with Swedish Fish, the candy, and we would constantly try and do a take where we would hide a Swedish Fish somewhere in one of the episodes, in one of the scenes. Of course it would always get caught and taken away, so I don’t think any of them made it actually to film. But we were constantly trying to do that, whether we put it on our shirt or have it on our plate or have it in the background somewhere or whatever. It was really funny. That was one little thing that we used to do last year. It was just some entertainment that we would have in between.

Was there ever anything that maybe got cut from the show that you wish they’d kept in? Or maybe something that you wish they’d cut out?

T. Thiessen: I don’t think there was anything that I wished they’d cut out. I think most actors always feel that if there are scenes that are cut, they always tend to be a little sad about that because you usually shoot more than you need time-wise on a show, so usually it’s always cut down more and not added, even though there have been one or two episodes I think where we did have to add stuff to the show because it was definitely too short. But most of the time the shows were longer and so they had to be cut.

I do remember that there was one scene, it wasn’t so much that it was cut, it was changed. It was a scene between Peter and I where, and I’m trying to remember the episode again and with the baby brain I’m not going to remember the title of the episode, but it was a scene where it was, it correlated with the episode with Diahann Carroll’s granddaughter and it was a scene where after the park, at the very end of the episode where Peter finishes his …, he’s supposed to run up and meet me in a cafe and we’re supposed to play this banter where we don’t know each other.

We ended up having to change it and put it in our home, and to me it worked beautifully and no one would notice the difference between the original way it was written and how it was supposed to be at a cafe, and it was so beautiful. I think we both were a little sad that we couldn’t pull it off. But again I prefaced that no one would know the difference and the scene turned out just as great in our minds because we knew where it was supposed to take place and how it ended up was very different. Stuff like that happens all the time, though.

Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to get into acting?

T. Thiessen : Really think long and hard if it’s something you want to do. Look, any career if you’re that passionate about it and you really want to do it, then you should go for it, absolutely. I will say it’s one of the hardest businesses, from what I’ve been told, even though it’s the only business I’ve been doing my whole life. But knowing other people trying to break into it, I hear it’s one of the hardest businesses to break into.

It makes sense, especially these days with our economy changing so much, there’s not as much TV being made and there’s a lot more reality these days, and not as many films being made. I find a lot of my friends who have been acting their whole lives having a hard time finding jobs these days. It’s a tough time right now for everybody, which is why I feel very fortunate to have a great job right now.

But again, going back into the passionate aspect of it, if it’s something that you’re extremely passionate about, I think you should always follow your heart and always follow your dreams. My parents taught me that at a young age and I think it’s so true.

Do you ever join in the chorus on set?

T. Thiessen: I don’t think they’d want me to. The funny thing is, and Willie doesn’t really either that much, but he does every now and then, but Matt and Tim actually have a lot of theater background, so they actually have good voices. It’s very different to play around like that when you have a good voice and then someone like me who doesn’t have a good voice at all. I’m there to listen and laugh.

What’s a typical day on the set like for you? Give us an idea of what it’s like.

T. Thiessen: Last year was just I would come in to work, makeup and hair. My average is I would work two to three days a week at the most, because I’m a supporting character, like … character. But this year is going to be very different. This year is going to be juggling a new baby on set, having to go back and forth from working from the actual set to the dressing room to make sure the little one’s okay and nursing and all of those kinds of things. So it’s going to be a very different season this year for me.

If you could press shuffle on your iPod or iPhone right now which song would you be most embarrassed if it came on?

T. Thiessen: Oh, gosh. Most embarrassed.

You’d lie about how it got there.

T. Thiessen: If I had such a good memory, these days it’s so bad. I’m trying to think. I would say any of my old 70s and 80s, I can’t think of one specific one, isn’t that terrible?

I have Russian Pop.

T. Thiessen: Nice. That’s actually a really great one. I was totally in love with the Go Go’s. I was such an ’80s girl, so even New Kids on the Block, that would probably be a little embarrassing maybe.