Jump Magazine 12/99 (interview)

From: Jump Magazine, Dec/Jan 1999
By: Robin Tolkan

CREAM OF THE CROP

BESIDES THE FACT THAT SHE HAS A COOL NEW ‘DO AND “PERIPHERAL VISION FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE,” WHAT ELSE DOES KERI RUSSELL HAVE TO BE HAPPY ABOUT? WELL, IF YOU SURVIVED THE MICKEY MOUSE CLUB, GOT PAID TO GO TO COLLEGE, KISS CUTE GUYS AND WEAR BIG, FLUFFY SWEATERS, YOU’D BE PRETTY ECSTATIC TOO.

Sometimes when Keri Russell goes alone on long walks around her Pacific Palisades, CA, neighborhood, she starts giggling out loud for no apparent reason.

jump_01Can you say shiny, happy person? “I’m such a massive geek,” she says. “I think I have huge, happy endorphins in my body.” And why shouldn’t she? Surrounded by critical praise (she won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Drama for Felicity), her longtime boyfriend Tony Lucca (“I kissed him for the first time when I was 15”) and a supportive family (she blames her parents, Stephanie and David, for her grounded sensibility), you can see why she has a permanent smile plastered on her face.

In fact, that’s about all this natural beauty wears on her face. “Makeup doesn’t feel pretty to me,” says the Southern California native, who spent her childhood moving between Texas, Arizona, and Colorado because of her dad’s ever-relocating job as a high-powered automotive exec. “Women look so much better as they are.”

Does she feel the same way when she’s on camera in front of millions of people each week playing the sometimes embarrassing but always reliable Felicity Porter? “I love the fact that my character doesn’t wear makeup. I also love that she wears big, baggy sweaters and Converse tennis shoes.”

Not only that, but Keri loves that Felicity’s take on everything from friendships to sex doesn’t always come across the way “a cool girl” would act. “I think there’s a lack of real girls on TV right now. I love Buffy because she’s confident and kicks butt! We need to see more of that. I want to be a positive influence too.”

But acting as an inspirational role model on television or the silver screen was never a goal for the 23-year-old while she was growing up. While attending junior high in Mesa, AZ, this sporty chick, who played softball and ran track, actually aspired to shake her groove thang and toured the country with the Mesa Stars Dance and Drill Team. When she was 15, she was discoverd by a fashion photographer and, well, you know how the rest of the story goes: She did a little modeling. Hated it. Showed up on Star Search. Snagged a role on Honey I Blew Up the Kid. Did the Mickey Mouse Club thing (like everyone else) for a few years. Landed some parts on short-lived TV shows, such as Malibu Shores and Roar. Appeared in a few independent films, like Eight Days a Week and The Curve with Matthew Lillard. And (phew!) before she knew it, she was playing the classmate, tutor, and object of affection opposite two gorgeous guys named Scott.

However, if Keri had to give up all the attention tomorrow, she wouldn’t bat a mascara-free-eye. “The whole point of life,” she says, “is to experiance a little bit of everything.” It would just mean moving on to other projects that this Aries enjoys, like her passion for photography. “That’s what I really want to do anyway: travel around the world and take interesting pictures.” But for now, however, it looks like this starlet will just have to grin and bear it.

FELICITY FACTS:

Birth date: March 23, 1976
She was named after: her grandfather Kermit
Height: 5 feet and 3 inches
Shoe size: 5
Siblings: older brother Todd and younger sister Julie
High School GPA: 4.0
Indulgences: massages, fresh flowers
Can’t-live-without clothing: flip-flops, worn-in jeans and tank tops
How she met her beau: They were both Mouseketeers at the same time.
Most trouble she ever got into: getting kicked out of her Brownie troop for being “rambunctious”.
Most embarrassing moment on the Felicity set: when Scott Speedman picked cilantro out of her teeth during an intimate scene.