Tiffani-Amber Thiessen on Peer Pressure

February 1996 of Choices magazine

"I wasn't going to let one stupid mistake get in the way of my dream."

Tiffani-Amber Thiessen might seem like an odd pick for the cover of our issue on how to say no. Her Beverly Hills 90210 character, the scheming siren Valerie Malone, has probably never said no in her life. In her two seasons on the hit show, Valerie has made a career of lying, cheating, boyfriend stealing, and general home wrecking.

But as Tiffani-Amber told Choices in a recent phone interview, "Valerie is just a character. The writers who create her can make her do anything they want. But it's not like that in real life. We're doing a show where there are no consequences."

In her real life, Tiffani-Amber says that she's thankful that she always had the strength and foresight to maneuver herself out of risky or uncomfortable situations. "I always had my dream of acting," she says. "And I wasn't going to let any stupid mistakes get in the way of it."

Tiffani-Amber says that she wanted to be an actress even before she could read. "I was always pestering my mom to act," she says. "I wouldn't leave her alone. Finally at 7, she granted my wish." Tiffani-Amber started off as a model and graduated to guest spots on various TV series, including Blossom and Married With Children and finally a starring role in the Saturday morning high school sitcom Saved by the Bell.

Tiffani-Amber spent most of her high school years on the set of Saved by the Bell (yet, she managed to graduate first in her class). "There weren't all the normal pressures of going to high school every day," she says. "Still, people might ask you to drink or smoke. There is pressure all around you.

But with her goal of a successful career firmly in her mind, she didn't let peer pressure derail her. "I'd rather feel good about myself than have someone think I was cool," she says. "I'd rather respect myself."