Breakfast with Tiffani

From Instinct November 2006

One of television's most enduring actresses, Tiffani Thiessen, is so damn cool we want to hang out with her all the time

INSTINCT: Tiffani, you've been on TV forever — From Saved by the Bell to 90210 to Fast Lane and now you're on Good Morning Miami. How is it working there?

TIFFANI THIESSEN: It's wonderful. The cast is adorable — I could eat them all because they're so damn cute. Max [Mutchnik] and DAvid [Kohan], who created Will & Grace and have this show, are like crazy geniuses. I've never done a sitcom where I've worked, mentally, so hard.

What do you mean by that?

These guys are so brilliant with their comedy that, even in front of the audience, they're constantly coming in and giving you new jokes and new bits. It's unbelievable. it definitely brushes up your skills.

For a lot of us, we've grown up with you; you're the girl next door, but on Good Morning Miami, you're a hard-ass. How is that playing against type?

On Saved by the Bell, I was this sweet, innocent, adorable character, and then I did 90210, where I played the total bitch. My number one quality that I look for in all the roles that I do, and especially now since I'm getting older, is that I want to play women that are very smart, and who may have a lot behind them beyond what they put forth on the outside. When they asked me to do the show, they said of course that she's very funny, and can be quite a bitch, but there's a reason why she is. When you get behind it, she's extremely smart, she's an executive, she knows what she's talking about, she's not an idiot.

I'm glad you brought up Saved by the Bell — you've probably done it to death, but I feel like we know you, and I wanted to let you know that every gay boy in this country is jealous of you for being sweethearts with Zach [Mark Paul Gosselaar].

Oh, of course! Believe me, I know. And that experience — I couldn't have asked for a better first 'big' experience in entertainment. So many things got brought to me because of that show. I definitely have a huge place in my heart for it.

But, ironically, you probably didn't go to high school or have a proper prom, right?

Nope, I didn't.

Well, if you were to go to a prom, would you be more likely to go with the cute, studly football team quarterback, or with your gay best friend?

My gay best friend. Absolutely.

You're not just saying that? Because we'd give you props if you went with the cute QB.

I grew up with two brothers, so I'm much more comfortable with men in general. I like the best of both worlds — that's what so great about these days, this whole "metrosexual" thing. Those are the kind of guys I usually go for. The gay straight man. I like a guy who's physical, but, you know, cares about what he looks like.

Ah. But let's clarify: Do you like a guy who "cares what he looks like," or do you like a guy who would even go shoe shopping with you?

Oh, both! Absolutely. It's the reason why I'm not married. I haven't found the perfect guy yet.

I see. You need to find one of guys that's sort of on the fence — but you know he's straight.

Yes! I think it's because I like someone who has the whole guy side to him, but is in touch with his feminine side and is sensitive. But seriously, I think I have dated quite a few gay men.

I'm sorry.

[Laughs] No, it's OK.

Hmm. So let's paint a scenario. We're going to Nordstrom to shoe shop. There are two pairs of shoes in front of you. One if a pair of cute little Nike trainers, and the other is a dressy Manolo Blahnik-esque—wait do they even sell Manolo Blahniks at Nordstrom?

No, they don't. But you're thinking some strappy heel.

Well, not too heely. Something strappy, but minimal — Like a mule, or a slingback?

Right!

Which is more you?

The sad thing is, both.

Both? Oh, well you're versatile!

I am. I'm a very free spirit; there are two sides to me, completely. If I could take you into my closet, you'd go, Yep. You're right. It's split right down the middle. I have just as many sweatshirts as I have sweaters. I have just many jeans as I have black pants.

Speaking of, since we're at Nordstrom, does our butt look good in the Diesel jeans? Or would you rather--

Honey, Diesel jeans on men? Whoo!

You think so? They're not a little tired?

No. Honey, I could never get tired of a nice ass. Never, never, never.

Amen, sista.

And those little indentations on your hips that you guys have?

On the front? Adonis wings? Isn't that what they're called?

Whatever. I don't know what the term is — I call them "arrows to the nice"!

Hot! So, we hear that you're getting into producing.

I am. I'm producing my first film. It's very exciting. A friend of mine wrote a short film, and I've been wanting to put it together and produce it for quite some time, and we finally have the tools to do it. We're going to shoot it this year, we have a director, full financing, and the production company is born! It's a coming of age story about a young boy. It's touching, sweet and beautiful.

A couple of either/or questions for you: Do it yourself or call the plumber?

Do it myself. Completely. I've fixed quite a few toilets myself.

Awesome. SUV or sports car?

SUV. No, wait, both! I've had both. See that's so hard.

Survivor or Friends?

Friends!

Sweet or salty?

Ooh. Oh, god, I'm so both! Probably more salty.

Paper or plastic?

Paper. Definitely.

Trend or traditional?

Probably more traditional. I'm much more classic.

Bar-be-cue or sushi?

Oh, see that's a full-on both.

Goodness, no wonder you have trouble finding the right guy! You need to choose!

Isn't it awful? That's why I think it's been so hard. But I'm loving the single life.

Last question: Who would you switch for? And don't say Angelina Jolie.

No — Cindy Crawford is more my kind of girl.

Ah. She keeps it real. She's athletic, beautiful, funny, sweet. She's such a smart business woman; she's a mother. She's just hot all around.

Any parting words?

I will say this: To a certain degree, it's kind of frustrating with you gay men out there. [Laughs] It's hard to find any good straight men anymore! I mean, I may just have to switch!

- Alexander Cho