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Tiffani Rising

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Tiffani Rising 

(EXCLUSIVE Tiffani Thiessen interview/shoot for MIMP)

@TAThiessen

words Falene

pictures ME

"IT" girls just don’t seem to have the same longevity as the ones I grew up watching.  

There were two gals in particular that every “Gen X Guy” (including MIMP’s own ME!) went gaga over, the angst ridden Winona Ryder and the the deliciously saucy Tiffani Thiessen. No matter your gender, culture or creed, Tiffani was for most the epitome of universal hotness. They may have actually coined the phrase “girl crush” shortly after her long running stint on “Beverly Hills, 90210.” Not only did every hot blooded male desperately lust after her, every girl religiously kept tabs on her sassy style (midriff baring sweaters, anyone?) and perfectly cropped 90s bob. Before “The Rachel,” young women the world over wanted Tiffani’s do. Not to mention the fabulously plucked eyebrows and plump (au natural) pout. Ah blessed nostalgia, those were days before 20 year olds felt the necessity to parade around with collagen-induced lips (sigh). Of course these were just a couple of the assets that had editors clamoring to have Tifanni on the covers of Cosmo, YM, Teen, People, EW, TV Guide and FHM (twice!). 

First appearing as goody-two-shoes Kelly Kapowski in "Saved By The Bell," she went on to become 90s sex-symbol/icon (everyones favorite bad girl) Valerie Malone. Whether setting trends or gracing glossies, Tiffani in many ways came of age in front of an audience of millions. For over a decade she’s been a TV staple, starring in shows considered by most as ratings gold. Then somewhere along the way (without me even noticing), she grew up, got married, and become a mom. And there’s a very good reason I may have not realized all this happening right in front of me. She hasn’t changed drastically in the last 10 years, she really does look just as good now. Working constantly, always picking roles that compliment her life stage perfectly, playing the characters (even the campier teen ones) that we all connect to. The cute girl next door (SBTB), vixen (BH, 90210), the hottie (What About Brian), the hottie (Fastlane), the hottie (you get the picture), then the chops-flexing co-star (Hollywood Ending); and most recently the clever (smoking hot) wife of FBI agent Peter Burke (in White Collar). If you ever wondered what it takes to remain the quintessential “IT” girl, maintain a stellar career, have Bieber sport your portrait on his T-shirt and cause Woody Allen to close his eyes to simply listen to your soft mellow voiceit’s time you found out. 

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Q&A

Being a TV staple, what’s that like?

Sometimes it’s crazy to think about how "Saved By The Bell" and "90210" ran for so long and internationally too. I feel very fortunate and blessed, to have worked on shows that lived for a while. Especially after experiencing that popularity at such a young age. Then to continue to say I’m a working actress now, I still really enjoy it.

How do you keep picking ‘em?

It’s not just me (giggling).

(Not to be a perv, but her voice is like butter! It’s like a husky, sexy, sex-kitten!)

Yes it is just you (laughing) and NOBODY else!

Well when I was younger I didn’t really pick them, I was just getting lucky really. Now I feel like I can make more of a decision regarding what I want to audition for, or which projects I’m attached to. When I first read the script for this show (White Collar), I just fell in love with it from day one. The premise, the story and the character, call it women’s intuition. Now here we are, ready to start Season 5. 

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Is she a bit closer to home for you? 

Oh yes! Elizabeth Burke is the closest to me, than any other role I’ve played in my entire career. I like that she’s not just sassy, but strong and driven too. At the same time she has qualities that I like, so I enjoy playing her. 

Favorite 90s Jam?

I absolutely loved Boys 2 Men, but I’d have to say George Michael’s “I Want Your Sex.” I played that over and over again, I’m not kidding you.

Remember “I Wanna Sex You Up?”

I do, Color Me Bad ha ha. 

(A tick tock you don’t stop).

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Guilty pleasures?

Wine and chocolate. Or if a "Designing Women" marathon is on, I won’t switch it off. God I love that show. 

If you could play any character, who would you be?

I got very close to that once, one thing that I always wanted to do was be a Bond Girl. I tested but didn’t get it. It was also probably the hardest rejection, because I’m such a fan of the movies. It was between me and 2 other actresses at the time. Unfortunately the actress who got the job, went on to be voted as one of the worst Bond Girls as well. 

I know who it is, the seasonal doctor!

You figured that one out,  just from that?

(Hint, Pierce Bronson, scientist. Or you could just click here lol)

Do you like Daniel Craig as Bond?

Love him as Bond, he’s right up there with Sean Connery. He’s just amazing, one of the best Bonds ever. 

If you could be a man for a day, get their specific set of skills too, who would you be?

Mmm I’m trying to think, probably a rock star. 

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Mick Jagger?

He’s not super manly though. If I’m gonna be a man, I wanna be a MAN. Tall and strong, I’m thinking maybe a basketball player. Or a person who can effect change in politics, maybe Obama.

Maybe you just want to be a black man, I know I do on occasion. 

Maybe (laughs).

Do you think you have a type?

I don’t think so, but maybe I do without realizing, there are traits I love. My husband is a complete goofball, but that’s what makes him so sexy. He kind of exudes manliness. But at the same time, he’s very creative and a total dork sometimes. I love that (giggles). I enjoy that mixture, because I’m a bit that way too. Sure I like dressing up, but I like hanging out at home being silly in my boxers and a tank top. He made me laugh the first time I met him too. 

What did he do?

The invisible hula hoop dance. The single most hysterical thing I’ve ever seen in my life. Seduced by an invisible hula hooping.

I need to see that! Do you like comedians?

Oh yes, physical comedy is very alluring to me. My real secret celeb crush was Chris Farley. I LOVED him. 

You were the consummate sex symbol, was that a lot of pressure?

I think any time you are on a hit show as a young actor or actress, you feel that way. Then as a woman, there’s some additional pressures you feel to look a certain way and be a certain size. I was not the girl that was a size 2 and didn’t work for it. I was never the waify model type. 

Yeah but you were on FHM’s cover twice (America, France) right?

Was I? I remember the first one they ran, that cover got banned! At that time, the airports didn’t want it on the magazine stands. It was considered too racy. Even though I had no top on, I wasn’t showing anything. Now of course that would seem very tame. 

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Speaking of being topless, Howard Stern once described you as having the "most perfect breasts" in the world. Thoughts?

Yeah, he said that before I had kids (laughing loudly). He first said that around the time that first FHM cover came out, it came up again when I did his show again last year. I’m not gonna say I’m not flattered, he’s Howard Stern, Howard knows boobs. The fact that he talked about me positively, I’ll take it! He was really nice and complimentary, in his own special way he was very respectful. 

He’s an interesting cat. Both endearing, clever and a lil creepy, simultaneously (laughing).

(Why do felines keep coming up in my mind during this interview).

Enjoy doing the MIMP shoot?

I really did. Seriously, I haven’t done a shoot like this in a while, but I was completely at ease. It was intimate and sexy, but he(ME) made me feel so relaxed. 

We were both really excited about this shoot & interview. 

Awe thank you. It was great, he’s an amazing photographer and I got to be completely myself. I just threw on what I wanted, so it felt very true and organic.  

Is Brian Austen Green a Warlock?

What? (laughing)

My theory is that he and Nick Cannon are witches! I mean both very cute boys next door, but how do they always date (then marry) such ridiculously hot women? I must know his secret.

He’s not a witch, I promise. Just a gentleman.

That’s sexy?

Absolutely, to me anyway. If a guy is gentlemanly, that gets my attention. I don’t like men to be too pretty-pretty, like a model. I like men to be men. I mean look at some rock stars, but they always get all the girls. 

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They have the “bad boy” cache though. Brian Austen Green always looked so wholesome.

Really? Hhhmmm wholesome you say (a blast of laughter slips in). Yes he’s one of the good guys, I have nothing but lovely things to say about Brian and fond memories. Respectful, funny and a great dancer, with a stunning wife.

He could dance, I do remember that… mmmm.

Heck yeah! (laughing)

Your co-stars, such ugly boys, eh?

Right, it was so hard for me.  

Not to be completely unfair, but if you had to pick the best kisser, which one?

Oh boy, that’s a tough one because with one co-star I was a kid, then the others I was a young woman. I would have to say… and it’s kinda weird because we are still great friends and I love his wife too… 

…Zack Morris! (cackling)

(Gosh I love playing this game, I’m not even using real names anymore. I’m channeling my teens! From her raucous giggles, perhaps Tiffani is enjoying this game too).

No, Jason Priestly and he was probably the guy I did the least on-screen kisses with. Talk about pretty boys.

He was prettier then some girls I knew.

And he has an absolutely gorgeous wife, who is also a very talented make up artist. She does my make up quite often. We all actually get together for dinners, maybe that’s why he popped in my head, or did this just get weird (laughing).

Now for some inexplicable reason (and out of my complete respect for Tiffani) I had to “try” really hard to not imagine these 4 beautiful people, swimming underwater, re-enacting the closing pool scenes from “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”. It was a difficult task on my part, but I managed it quite well I think. 

Strangest audition of your entire life?

Woody Allen, it was strange but very cool. He flew the auditioning actresses to NY, I had no idea what I was auditioning for, which I’ve been told is the norm. With him you don’t get a script, sometimes you might get an idea of the role you might be up for. So 30 mins before I walked into the room to audition with him (and we had never met), they gave me sides to read. I also didn’t know what “Hollywood Ending” was about at that time, so the whole time I auditioned, his eyes were closed!

Which makes sense now you’ve done the film.

Well yeah, his character goes blind, but that wasn’t explained before. So I’m thinking, how is he going to make a decision about me, he just closed his eyes (laughs). Very, very, very nice man, quiet. It worked out well though. 

Who’s poster was on your wall as a teenager?

Michael Jackson and Ricky Schroeder.

OMG! Silver Spoons!

Yep. 

Ever had a celeb girl crush?

I dunno if it was a crush, more that I just idolized her. Olivia Newton John. I think there’s also a part of me that wishes I was a rock star.  

KD Lang, she was my sexual confuser. She was also Keanu Reeves doppelgänger, so… SOLD!

That’s hilarious, but now you mention in it. They kind of did look alike. 

Whose music do you listen to?

Ben Harper, Mumford & Sons, Dave Matthews, Amos Lee . I’m more of a band than a DJ kind of girl.  

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What makes you feel saucy of an evening?

A bottle of wine works. Every time. 

Finish this sentence, “In the next life I will be a… “

… a ROCK STAR!!

In my book Tiffani, you already are luv!

Tiffani returns as Elizabeth Burke on Season 5 of USA’s “White Collar,”  airing Tues, JAN 22, 10/9c.

We will be posting a few selects from Tiffani’s shoot on the site, but you can see the entire edit on the MIMP APP here…  Yeah, she’s still got it!

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