Tiffani-Amber talks back

Teen Magazine, June 1996 v40 n6 p66(1)

Actress Tiffani-Amber Thiessen considers it fun to play a bad girl in the television show 'Beverly Hills 90210.' She spends most her time working while her free time is spent shopping with co-star Jennie Garth.

There are certain things you expect from big TV stars. Like being late all the time, snobbish behavior, you know, attitude. These are qualities that Beverly Hills, 90210 star Tiffani-Amber Thiessen definitely does not possess.

Fifteen minutes before she's scheduled to call me, the phone rings. "Hi!" says the incredibly friendly voice. "This is Tiffani-Amber Thiessen!" Before I know what's hit me, our cover girl starts reciting her life story — at about a mile a minute.

"I always wanted to be a model. My uncle was a photographer and he began taking pictures of me when I was eight. One thing just led to another." Soon Tiffani-Amber was doing commercials. "My first was for Peaches and Cream Barbie," recalls the Long Beach, California, girl with a laugh. "I had to hold the Ken doll and say something like 'You're gorgeous, Barbie!'" OK, so it's not exactly Shakespeare, but everyone's gotta start somewhere.

When she was 13, she won the Miss Junior America contest and when she was 14, she won 'TEEN magazine's Great Model Search. "'TEEN was my favorite magazine," she exclaims. Her modeling career slowed down when she got picked out of 500 girls to be on a new Saturday morning TV sitcom, Saved by the Bell.

For five years, she starred on the popular show playing Kelly, a pretty cheerleader-type. When asked if she and her character shared any qualities, Tiffani-Amber admits that after a few years, "Kelly was definitely a part of me. She had to be for it to be real, you know?" Although she and Mario Lopez are still friends and she runs into Elizabeth Berkley at auditions, she hasn't seen much of her other former castmates.

Not that she's had time. For the last two years, Tiffani-Amber's been beaming into your homes via Beverly Hills, 90210, playing Valerie Malone, the meanest, nastiest, lowdown, dirtiest (do you get the picture, here?) girl on prime-time. "It was so much fun going from playing a good girl to a bad girl," says Tiffani-Amber with a wicked little giggle. "But there are things Valerie does that I would never do. Horrible things like lying, cheating... I've been with every guy on the show except for Donna's new boyfriend."

Unfortunately, Tiffani-Amber's own love life has been less eventful lately. Before she landed her gig on 90210, she and costar Brian Austin Green, were a hot item. Recently, however, they split up.

But Tiffani-Amber isn't crying in her double lattes at the local Starbucks, girls. She is way busy, like 24-7. Besides her work schedule which keeps her on set at least five days a week, she has a personal trainer who keeps her on track with an exercise regime that Madonna would be jealous of: running three and a half miles four times a week, working out with weights, bicycling - you name it, she does it. And when she isn't flexing her muscles, she flexes her credit cards with 90210 costar Jennie Garth. And at the end of the day, she hangs out at home with two golden retrievers, Bonnie and Clyde, and two cats, Sadie and Savannah.

RELATED ARTICLE: HOW YOU CAN MAKE IT BIG TOO

Do look into options that are available to you in your community such as modeling for local stores and auditioning for school and community theater productions. DO have some photos taken of yourself. Tiffani-Amber's uncle took some shots of her that she took to an agency. If you're looking for a local agent, check out the International Directory of Model & Talent Agencies and Schools, published by Peter Glenn Publications. DO be patient. When her front tooth came out when she was a little girl, Tiffani-Amber waited for two and a half years for her front teeth to grow in before going back to any agencies. DO lots of research before signing with a talent agency. DO investigate the major cities near you to see what career opportunities are available and get some experience. Don't pull up and move to Hollywood until you've accomplished your goals locally. DO submit pictures and resumes to agencies in the major markets (primarily New York and Los Angeles). DO be prepared to go out on lots of auditions. Even if you don't get a part, you will gain experience.