By Kimberly Davis
The love affair started 25 years ago when, at 10, Alyssa Milano made the move from Staten island, N.Y. to Los Angeles for her debut as Samantha Micelli on TV's Who's the Boss? That's when a generation of guys fell flush-cheeked in love with her, and all the girls decided they wanted to be like her. As he cult sex appeal matured with roles in such provocative films as Poison Ivy II and Fear, Milano proved that she wasn't a kid anymore. In fact, neither was she just another pretty face. The same girl you've been lusting over since the 80's wants nothing more than to watch a ball game, spend time with her family and make the world a better place. Now, with successful line of team-logo fashions for woman, he own blog on MLB.com, an active role in UNICEF, two new films and a sex appeal that only grows stronger with age, Milano is one of the hottest, most successful starlets of our time. The most surprising part of it all? She's completely, utterly and impossibly down to earth...and, astonishingly available. JEZ got straight to the heart of the matter with the Italian-bred beauty on her 35th birthday, only to discover there's a lot more to Milano to make America fall for her all over again. How does JEZ love thee? Let us count the ways.
She sits pretty at the top of the A-List but nowhere near the "In Crowd".
JEZ: Happy birthday! How will you be celebrating?
AM: Thank you! I'm going out to dinner with my family; they live in LA.
JEZ: Is this a typical birthday for you?
AM: I would much rather go have a quiet dinner than do the VIP thing.
JEZ: What's your favorite thing about having celeb status?
AM: Being able to use my voice to empower people to affect change.
JEZ: Least favorite?
AM: Paparazzi! I'm usually not bothered by them because I stay away from the places they stake out. Sometimes it's inevitable tough; like, they're always camped out at Los Angeles International Airport and there's no way for me to avoid that. You're in line, and all of a sudden three guys with cameras start taking your picture, and you're standing there like a doofus with everybody looking. It's more embarrassing than anything else.
JEZ: They blow your cover!
AM: Yep! It's a nuisance. But there is a way to avoid if you're a celebrity. You don't have to go eat at The Ivy, you don't have to shop on Robertson [Boulevard]. I've been able to avoid it for the most part.
She's decidedly down to earth, and her 25-year career attests to this.
JEZ: You were only 10 when you landed the role of Samantha Micelli on Who's the Boss?! How did you handle growing up in front of America?
AM: I have an amazing family-my parents have been married for 39 years-and they instilled in me what is important in life, which is family and being a good person. I was never the “actress”; I was the daughter and sister who acted. That had a lot to do with my normalcy. My childhood was pretty basic.
JEZ: You've managed to recreate your image and constantly evolve. How?
AM: For me, one of the reasons why I'm still acting and successful is because I never project into the future. I don't have a set idea other than I like what I do and I would like t o continue doing it. The best thing you can do is grow as a human being and hope that your choices, and your career, reflect that growth.
She's just as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside.
JEZ: You were named a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF 6 years ago. How did you initially get involved.
AM: In 2000, I lived in South Africa for three months and I volunteered at a children's hospital and a township, and when I got back to the states, I had a really hard time assimilating. My parents suggested I contact UNICEF as an outlet for that [humanitarian] side of me.
JEZ: Recently, you also were named Founding Ambassador by the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Disease Control. What inspired your interest in this form of relief work?
AM: My mother is a very giving, nurturing person, and I think that I have a lot of that in me. And, being in South Africa when they were just starting to adjust to apartheid being abolished, it was virtually impossible to not get caught up in their social situation, so I would definitely attribute that as a catalyst. Plus, it brought me great pleasure and happiness.
JEZ: What do your duties entail for each?
AM: I do everything from field visits to empowerment. Using my voice to affect positive change in whatever capacity they need me. These are my two passion projects!
She's the sexiest woman in sports who doesn't actually play.
JEZ: Another one of your passions is sports! You're a huge sports fan and a total baseball fanatic, so you're basically every guy's dream girl.
JEZ: Some of baseball's brightest players recently were listed in the Mitchell Report as having been involved with performance-enhancing drugs. What are your thoughts on these revelations?
AM: It's good that there's now a discussion happening about it, because, up until now, it was completely white-washed; nobody talked about it. It was taboo. As hard as it is to hear, especially if you're a huge fan and don't want to hear it, it's important to move forward. It's not really about the players that are named; it's really about prevention of kids getting caught up in it. If the reported does anything, I hope that it's that.
JEZ: Do you think everyone is guilty as charged?
AM: I think they probably all are guilty in some capacity. Everyone's got his hand in the cookie jar!
JEZ: Are you as into other sports as you are baseball?
AM: I love all sports! I love college sports, I love hockey, I love football. Basketball I love if I'm at the game. It's very much like baseball in that they're not covered in equipment, so you get a real sense of the emotion that's going on.
JEZ: Plus, you can see how cute they are!
AM: You get to see the cuties, and you get to feel the emotions.
JEZ: We know you love your Dodgers, but what about our Atlanta teams?
AM: I love the Thrashers! I'll be in Atlanta for the NHL All-Star Weekend! It will be my first actual visit to the city: I'll be there with my family.
She's single-handedly turned sporting events into fashion shows.
JEZ: Last year, you teamed up with G-III Sports and the MLB to create your own signature line of TOUCH team-logo fashions for the female fan. How did this evolve?
AM: I just got tired of going into the team shop [at Dodger Stadium] and not finding anything cute or fashionable that fit my body and that wasn't pink (which I've always sort of been offended by; it's like a man's answer to fan apparel). I came up with the idea while I was sitting in my seat!
JEZ: Soon after, you created the line, and, in less than a year, it expanded to headwear and accessories.
AM: It's really incredible. I'm very, very proud because it was an idea I worked hard for, and to see it coming to fruition in such a way is a great feeling. It's everything I though it could and might be.
JEZ: How involved are you with the designs?
AM: I do everything from sketching to selecting different elements or ideas to incorporate into each item.
JEZ: It must be nice seeing other females at Dodger Stadium in your designs.
AM: It's great feeling to see fans in it,and it's great to see it at Dodger Stadium, but it's even better when I'm sitting at home watching a game and I see some chick in my stuff. It literally is my proudest accomplishment: just awesome!
JEZ: Originally TOUCH only was licensed with MLB for the first year, but now it's crossed over to the NBA, NFL, NHL and NCAA> Was this in the master plan?
AM: I had hopes to expand! After it was a success with the MLB, the other leagues couldn't say no.
JEZ: So what about fashion fashion? Are you as into shopping as you are rooting for the home team?
AM: I kind of get sick of clothes after a while. It was the worst when I was doing Charmed, because we would have the best stuff that was out, so when I went shopping, it was like, “Oh, Phoebe wore that.” I could never find anything to buy because I wore it all on the show!
JEZ: That's utopia for some of us, ya know?
AM: I know! I'm definitely not a label whore, but I do love Diane von Furstenberg for everyday cute stuff: the way she cuts is unbelievable-so flattering. And, I love Prada: it's clean, pretty, Italian and feminine.
JEZ: Just like you!
AM: Exactly (laughs).
She's a genuine talent.
JEZ: From Melrose Place to Charmed, you've played a variety of roles, from sinners to saints. How do you get in touch with each character?
AM: I don't really have a process. I go into projects as prepared as I can be. I'm kind of old school in a way that I feel it's important to have your lines memorized, because, if you're thinking about your dialogue while the camera's rolling, you're not actually doing your job. Plus, there's always something you can find that relates to yourself in every project. If you can find that one thing, the rest is cake.
JEZ: You recently were signed on for a recurring role on the award-winning TV show My Name is Earl. However, production has been postponed indefinitely. What are we going to do about this writer's strike?
AM: It's really ugly; it's not going well. I have three more episodes to shoot, and who knows when that's going to happen? It's ugly and I hope it ends soon.
Her only vices are chocolate and coffee. No, really.
JEZ: Many child stars are corrupted by the time they reach adulthood. Congratulations on taking the road less traveled!
JEZ: Do you have any bad habits?
AM: Chocolate. I really love chocolate: I think I'm addicted to chocolate. And I have one iced latte every morning, which I really have to stop doing. I'm 35 today, and everything that I should not still be doing, I'm doing, like drinking coffee.
She's one of the lucky few who can pull of a pixie cut and look ridiculously cute.
JEZ: You started a wave through Young Hollywood when you chopped your hair four years ago.
AM: I loved, loved my short hair! It was so easy. The messier it was, the better. It really was liberating! Of course, now may hair is almost down to my bum, so I have the anti-pixie cute going on right now. I probably will chop it off again at some point.
The secret to her sexy figure is in her genes.
JEZ: Youv'e always been in a great shape. What's your secret?
AM: Genetics! I think a lot of it is, I really do. The older you get, the more comfortable you are with your body. Being fit is important to me, but it's not important for body image; it's more about health. My body doesn' change that much when I work out; it pretty much stays the same.
JEZ: Lucky girl! Do you ever crave junk food?
AM: I love pretzels. And chocolate. Chocolate-covered pretzels? Forget about it!
JEZ: And you're a vegetarian! How long have you refrained from meat?
AM: I had a friend who was in New York during 9/11, and the following week he was in LA. He had to leave New York because of the smell, and, for some reason, I don't know why, but I immediately turned vegetarian. I haven't had a piece of meat since.
JEZ: Has it had any effects on your livelihood?
AM: I literally get sick less, and my sinuses are much better; it agrees with me.
She's single and totally loving it.
JEZ: You've been linked to such heartthrobs as Justin Timberlake and Eric Dane, as well as baseball stars Brad Penny and Barry Zito.
AM: Just my dad and my brother. No men! I've been so busy, I don't even remember the last time I went on a date.
JEZ: Is tis a good or bad thing?
AM: it's good for all women to spend a certain amount of time alone. It's funny how you find out what you want when you're alone.
JEZ: So no Valentine's Day plans?
AM: Nothing yet, but anything could happen.
We'll be seeing a lot more of her in 2008!
JEZ: Tell us about Pathology, your new film coming out this spring.
AM: Pathology is very, very, very scary, and when I say that, I really mean it! It's about a group of medical students that comes up with a deadly game to see which one of them can commit the perfect murder. I play Milo Ventimiglia's fiancee, sort of his moral compass. It's a psychological thriller in every essence of what that should mean.
JEZ: This sounds like quite a departure from your most recent roles.
AM: It's good, too! I feel so blessed because every project I've done within the last year, I genuinely like, and I'm normally the toughest critic every with not only my work, but the projects as wholes.
JEZ: You also star in the made-for-TV movie Wisegal, which will debut in Lifetime.
AM: I also produced it! It's based on a true story about a widow with two young boys who can't put food on the table, and in, order to do so, she takes a job working for the mob. It's an amazing story.
JEZ: It doesn't sound like a typical Lifetime movie...
AM: It's not! The story is really about a mother doing whatever it takes to support her family, so in that aspect it is. But it's about the mob, too. After six years working for them, it starts to have an effect on her children and she wants out, so it becomes about her quest to get out, which is not such an easy thing to do. It was one of those scripts that I thought was an interesting story, especially for Lifetime.