American actress Tiffani Thiessen is one of those warm, bubbly and vivacious women. The kind that have a contagious smile and leave you feeling inspired...
Having started her acting and modeling career at the age of eight, she’s best known for staring in ’90s TV classics. First as Kelly Kapowski on NBC’s Saved by the Bell and then as Valerie Malone on Beverly Hills, 90210 (the TV series which pretty much ruled my teenage years. Luke Perry crush anyone?). Even Justin Bieber’s a fan of Thiessen. Back in 2011, he appeared wearing a T-shirt with a photo of Thiessen in her Saved by the Bell days at the 2011 MuchMusic Video Awards, conceding his admiration for her. Last year, Thiessen went from actress to host when she started a new Cooking Channel series, Dinner at Tiffani’s, which features her cooking with celebrity friends (hello Jason Priestley). The glamorous mother-of-two lives with her husband Brady Smith and their two children, Harper, 6, and Holt, 1, in a grand 1920s Los Angeles residence. The home originally belonged to Jack Warner, the founder of Warner Bros. Studios. “This home has a ton of history, which translates to a ton of charm in my opinion. We have been remodeling the house since we moved in over 11 years ago. Little by little. I love the California aesthetic when it comes to decorating. The feeling of being eclectic and easy going,” says Thiessen, who collaborated with designer Kim Lewis, on various spaces around the home. We couldn’t wait to visit Thiessen at home in LA to find out more about her thoughts on career, motherhood and cooking. Photography: Julie Adams | Hair and makeup: Elsa Morgan | Go to www.tiffanithiessen.com
What is the best advice you’ve been given about motherhood?
The best advice I was given was by my own mother. She told me to believe in my own intuition. I really try to listen to my own internal thoughts.
Who is your role model?
My mother of course. She is the one person who I feel has shaped me into the person I am today. She is a woman of action. She has shown me what true unconditional love is. She is caring, selfless and giving. She inspires me to be the best I can be as a woman, a friend, a wife and a mother. And if I am only a smidgen of the qualities she processes… I will still be way ahead.
We’ve read you’re very organised and always prepared…
Yes, ever since I was a young girl I was always prepared. I have always thought things out in advance and having a Type A personality makes it a bit easier. I am a big “checking off things on my list” girl. I believe in less stress makes for a happier life.
What has been the most challenging period of motherhood for you?
I think I would say the first year with a new baby is the hardest. Trying to function with no sleep is not an easy task.
Can you tell us about your childhood?
I am a 6th generation Californian. I grew up in Long Beach, CA and I had pretty much your normal typical childhood. I have so many fond memories growing up in Long Beach. From helping my Dad in the yard, to cooking in the kitchen with my Mom, Aunt and Grandmother… to riding bikes with my little brother on our quiet neighborhood street.
What are some of the most memorable moments of your incredible acting career?
I think the most memorable moment was working with Woody Allen. It was definitely one for the books. From the actual shooting of the movie in NYC to the international premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. I take that whole experience as one I will forever be grateful for.
What about Beverly Hills 90210 – was it a fun time in your life?
Yes it was a lot of fun and I made a great group of lifelong friends! Some I am close to still to this day.
What lead you to launch your own show Dinner at Tiffani’s?
I have been cooking since I was a young girl and being around my Mom, Grandmother and Aunt who love to cook certainly inspired me. I love having friends over for dinner. I love hosting. Basically I love to celebrate big and small. My friends use to always say “let’s go have Dinner at Tiffani’s” and well… the rest is history of course!
When did you start throwing dinner parties and what makes a great dinner party?
I think once I got married it became a regular thing. We have so many friends and family in Los Angeles that I was always one to want to gather and connect over a great meal. To plan a fun celebration was something I always looked forward to. The old adage, ‘great food, great wine, great company’ speaks volumes when it comes to my dinner parties.
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever been given?
Follow your heart.
Do you enjoy pregnancy?
Yes very much… I felt lucky because I had two great pregnancies. But as much as I loved being pregnant… nothing compares to the arrival!
What about birth – can you share any advice on a calm birth for other women?
I had two very different births. But one thing that I had in common with both was that I went into the hospital calm. I always believe that a calm mama allows for your baby to be calm.
What are your time management tips – how do you juggle it all?
Some days are easier than others. Some days I just wing it and some days are planned minute by minute. But in the end it all gets done… eventually!
What is your favourite day of the week and why?
Sunday. Sunday. Sunday. We are always so busy during the week and on Saturdays, that I look forward to hanging at home with the family on Sundays.
What is your approach to health and wellbeing?
We eat mostly organic in the Smith Casa. We have seven chickens and get fresh organic eggs daily. I also believe water is the one key ingredient to wellbeing. As for exercise… I try to hit the gym 4-5 days a week. From spinning to weight training to Pilates. I am a girl who gets bored so I love variety.
What are your daily beauty essentials and how long does it take you to get out the door in the morning?
I am a huge fan of Beauty Counter. It is an all-natural (no crap as I say) skin care and makeup line out of Santa Monica, CA. I am obsessed with their products. I can be out the door in the morning in 20 minutes. I have it down! I don’t usually wear makeup during the day so mornings are easy for me. At night I can usually get ready if I do happen to go out in about 45 minutes to an hour. That includes a shower BTW.
How do you treat yourself?
It might be something like an in-home massage followed by a glass of wine.
What is your definition of success?
It may sound cliché… but it’s the simplest answer… HAPPINESS!
What’s your approach to interiors?
Our home was built in 1923 as part of the Jack Warner Estate. This home has a ton of history, which translates to a ton of charm in my opinion. We have been remodeling the house since we have moved in over 11 years ago. Little by little. I love the California aesthetic when it comes to decorating. The feeling of being eclectic and easy going.
Are you tidy or messy?
I am tidy. Always have been. Messy is something I don’t even know how to be.
What do you love most about raising children in LA? And where’s your favorite place to go together as a family?
There are endless possibilities for kids in LA, so much to do and see and experience. And you can’t beat the weather. In an hour you can be at the beach, the desert or the mountains. One of our favorite places to go as a family is Malibu Farm. We love going early for breakfast and then hitting the beach for some fun in the sun afterwards.
What will we find in your handbag?
You mean my diaper bag? Ha!
What are your mama essentials?
We love our Orbit stroller and car seat system. I’m obsessed with Beauty Counter Baby and Little Twig baby products. We use the Stoke High chair. I adore Hape wooden toys, Such Great Heights play tent, Boiron Camilia natural teething relief and the list goes on.
What’s the biggest misconception about you?
People think that since I grew up by the beach I am a good swimmer… not the case.
How has the jump from one to two children been?
It’s a whole different dynamic. Something you cannot even plan for. I truly had no idea going from one child to two was going to be so tiring. Ha. But we are loving our family of four and couldn’t imagine it any other way.