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Charisma CarpenterCharisma Carpenter - Dog Lover - K9magazine.com Interview
Sunday 30 April 2006, by Webmaster
20 Questions With Charisma Carpenter
Charisma Carpenter is well known all over the world for playing Cordelia in the hit tv series Buffy The Vampire Slayer. She has legions of devoted fans, many of whom discovered her talents through the popular show. Nowadays Charisma is in high demand and can be seen taking on more diverse roles. See her next in the critically acclaimed UPN show ‘Veronica Mars’ and the Lifetime Movie ‘Flirting With Danger.’ She spoke to K9 Magazine about her remarkable life with dogs as well as letting us in on some industry secrets. .
Hello Charisma, thank you for taking our 20 questions.
1) Tell us about your pets. Names, breeds and ages, I know you’re a huge animal lover.
Well I have four dogs, I have two Golden Retrievers, Sydney who’s 13 years old and Hurley who’s 9 months, and I have another two dogs - I was at the South Central Shelter encouraging people to adopt and walked out with two dogs myself, one I’m fostering and the other, Lucy, she’s around a year old.
2) When did your interest in pets/animals begin and how long have you been a pet owner?
All my life, we’ve always had dogs- I did have a cat called Big Red once, she scratched my eye, we also had dogs called Buffy, Liquorice a black Poodle - she ran away, we also had two Maltese Terriers - one we rescued and the other we had as a puppy. My Grandma and my dad were always huge lovers of pets.
3) What films and projects are you currently working on?
Right now, I’ve been working on a show called “Veronica Mars” and “Flirting With Danger”, it was released on February 13th which is a very interesting choice, because its not a love film. It’s also pilot season just now - which is terrifying, trying to get a full time job.
4) You famously played “Cordelia Chase” in Buffy The Vampire Slayer & Angel, what was your most memorable moment behind the scenes on set?
It’s hard to sum up seven years in one go! In retrospect, it was all a moment, it was so perfect. The scripts were so well written, it was a cult show which started on a small network and then really took off! When we were in it I didn’t realise how special it was. To sum it up in one moment would be too difficult and wouldn’t be right to all of the friends I made.
5) When you were growing up you entered quite a lot of beauty pageants and you went on to model for magazine spreads. What are the two essential beauty items you would always recommend as “must-haves” to anyone?
Well if you’re talking about pageants, then hairspray (that’s a joke by the way), Vaseline for the teeth and hairspray - the bigger the hair the better! Well, I’ve spent ten years with a professional make-up artist, I’d have to say a good foundation is key, always strive to find one.
I don’t like to wear foundation through the day, I find it claustrophobic. Through the day if I’m just running errands, I’ll just wear a lip gloss. If like today, I’m going to an audition, I’ll put all of my own make-up on, it’s always dicey, checking the neck so there’s no colour difference - I don’t want to look like a ‘pancake monkey’.
I’d have to go with a good lip gloss for second, a subtle lip gloss, which gives colour and lots of shine. I still wear the same make-up like I did in high school!
6) In which one way do you believe dogs to be a superior life form to humans?
I’m sure if they could talk they’d give us an earful! I have a fridge magnet which says “Try to be the person your dog thinks you are”. They’re the perfect example of unconditional love. I do feel as though I fail her (Sydney), she’s been with me through it all, including some tough times, from when we were in a matchbox apartment which I used to share with a friend, we had two beds next to each other, Sydney used to like looking out the window and I’d say to her, one day we’ll have a house with a backyard. Now I say one day we’ll have a house with a backyard and a pool. I hope I get it, she’s 13 years old and I always try to do right by her, she never disappoints me.
Sydney is perfect, she’s very in-tune with me, if I’m watching a saga on TV and I get emotional, she’ll look at me just like she’s checking in, she’s always been there, like my right arm. There’s going to be a day in the near future when she won’t be there.
We had a dog called Hobey, we had him at the same time as we had Hurley, he was a rescue and he was the same age as Sydney when he passed away, we got him when he was 6 years old so we had him for seven years. My husband and Hobey had such a connection, my husband even has a tattoo of Hobie’s paw on his leg. He was very sick for a year, it was the same time as my son was born when he started to decline, and we got him all sorts of treatments.
At the time I was working with my friend Holly Marie Combs (who plays Piper in the hit show Charmed), on a project for ABC, she was going through the same and she gave me a book called “Goodbye Friend”, it helps you determine what time is good, the humane time - it’s a wonderful book, a great comfort.
7) It was said some time ago on a well known British sit com that the perfect woman would have Kylie Minogue’s bum, Claudia Schiffer’s legs and Cindy Crawford’s face. Using this logic, can you please create your own perfect fantasy dog?
I actually had a dream last night about a medium sized dog, a Wheaten Terrier, this is a difficult question to answer, I would have to say Sydney is what I would think one is. I can speak to her without even speaking, I don’t know if she picks up on keywords but who knows.... She’s very physical, very sensitive and a great watch dog. I didn’t know that Golden Retrievers had a mean streak, but she once jumped out of a window at someone, a school teenager was cutting through an alley outside and she must have picked up on something in my voice and she leapt and ran, the window was open so she jumped out and I thought she was going to bite him. She’s the perfect combination, very sensitive, she’s it!
I have to say, I’m kind of offended, I’ve heard the British ask before if I’ve had bum implants and the answer is no, and then you have Kylie’s bum in the question. My bum is real, I laughed so much when I heard that - what’s that saying? My sides were splitting - I have seen someone have it done though on Nip/Tuck - what are some people thinking!
8) You’re from Las Vegas, if you were a tour guide for Las Vegas - what would you say to encourage people to visit, what’s the one hook you think people wouldn’t be able to resist?
Growing up it was a very different time to what it is now, I would say it’s a family place - not like back in the day. It’s a playground for both adults and children. Through the day you have the water parks, Circus Circus, the IMax centre. For the women, it’s great shopping and for the men, they can lay pool side and drink cocktails, gamble and watch the bikini-clad women.
9) For this question, we ask our celebs to match up the following people’s personality to a breed of dog, for example, Winston Churchill = Bulldog or J.Lo = Afghan Hound, Frank Bruno = Boxer.
Ozzy Osbourne - St Bernard, just slippery and slow. But a genius! Howard Stern - Erm, a Poodle. A standard, black Poodle. Anthony Head - Let me think, very dignified, but kind of wacky. He has a wild side, he’s a little punch and roll, he’s difficult to pin down. I’m thinking of a Boxer, not because of the face but because they’re distinctive, regal looking but the face doesn’t track. Alicia Silverstone - She represents all dogs of the world, she’s all heart. She once brought one of her dogs who was called Samson on set (while filming “Miss Match”), I asked her why she’d brought him because she has a few dogs, and she said she’d brought him because he was older and she wasn’t sure how much time she had left with him and wanted to spend as much time as possible with him. She’s very conscientious. Holly Marie Combes - I think she doesn’t fit as a canine, she has amazing, thick, beautiful straight hair. It’s amazing hair, I think she’d be more like a stallion horse if she was an animal. She’s intelligent, very aware, very, like conserved, responsible and dependable. But loyal like a dog, physically like a horse.
10) Which do you prefer and why?
Big dogs or little dogs - Oh I’ve had both and it really doesn’t matter to me, but I’ve never had a medium sized dog, I’m now looking to have a medium sized dog. Both have their good points, but I’m now leaning towards a medium to large because I have a young son, Donovan, who’s 3 years old.
Pedigree dogs or x breeds - That’s just a non question. Sydney’s my everything, she’s so clever. My mix-breed, Lucy, is so naughty she’s seriously intelligent. I have a dog trainer come every week, so I can walk them properly on the leash. They know how to walk on a leash, its so I can walk them to heel and also stop them jumping. Lucy’s a very bad influence on Hurley, all they do is wrestle together but they’re happy.
Days off or days at work - I couldn’t imagine not doing both. If I didn’t, I don’t feel I could bring much to my son and family, I love being a mother but I love working - being paid to act, it’s the greatest gig in the world, I bet musicians feel the same too. It’s the discipline of acting, I don’t enjoy the audition time really - its hard, I really try to fight it and resist it and I do it anyway. I do love working.
The quickest route or the scenic route - Oh I’d probably say because of my personality it is the quickest route, I like to get to the meat of the matter.
Lead and collar or dog running free - Oh of course running free, but in California your dog has to wear a leash at all times, maybe one day I’ll buy acres and acres of land in somewhere like Texas for the dogs to just run around.
11) Here’s where we go for our scoop, tell us something no one, or very few people know about you.
That’s a good one, I’m a positive person, I’m very disciplined, I’m very clear with things and I’m vocal and when I want something I’m relentless, whether it’s to loose weight or to memorise, I will do it.
I also love words! I don’t know if there’s a word for that, I love to increase my vocabulary, like I love it if I’m somewhere and someone says something I don’t know the meaning of the word, I run home to my dictionary and check on it. I’ve never told anyone that!
12) What has been your favourite project you have worked on to date and who have you enjoyed working with most. Do you have any actors you’ve worked with you speak with on a weekly basis?
I don’t speak to anyone like that, I have a really full life and I don’t speak to my industry friends weekly, when you’re married and you have a child, that’s a very active part of life and I’m trying to start a foundation and something I’ve found is when you’re working on a project you’re really close and when that project is over -it’s onto the next project. My favourite project was probably a pilot we did called Like Cats & Dogs, it was me and my brother and it was a half hour show and it was ideal and was with animals too. UPS never aired it but it was a lot of fun.
13) Describe the last time you...
Had to shout at your pet - I shout at my dogs every day, like “Lucy don’t jump on that” or “dig holes” or “chew on the bushes” - I’m always shouting. Like now I can see outside and I can see the bushes moving and Sydney is just watching, I sometimes have to make her go outside for some fresh air, she’d be quite happy to lay next to me all day.
Had to go to the vet - The last time was when my dog Sydney had an ear infection and it was not getting any better. The time before that was when we were in a park in an area I call a slice of heaven in California and we were shooting “Veronica Mars”. Sydney was with me and someone was throwing the ball for her, and she’s the kind of dog you know who’ll just keep going and run herself into some kind of fit. Anyway she was running and there was some kind of a hole and she took a very nasty tumble and came out holding her leg high. I took her to a vet up there to give her something for the pain, she saw the vet and nothing was broken, she had some swollen tissue. I took her to our vet back home, I’ve had the same vet for 13 years, I love him.
Were nervous - Well probably every time I go to an audition so that was two days ago.
Laughed out loud because of your pet - Right now we’re doing a photo shoot for your magazine and we’re trying to get Sydney to co-operate and all she wants to do is lie on her back, ha, ha!
Trained your pet to do something new -Sydney’s an old bird! I trained Lucy not to hold onto my leg while I’m trying to walk in the door! Oh, and also to sit.
14) Robert Benchley famously said "A dog teaches a boy fidelity, perseverance and to turn around three times before lying down." What have you learned from your dog?
Ha, ha, patience. My dog Sydney’s so patient, and to love unconditionally. I do love her unconditionally. To wash my hair only every couple of days and to also eat like a lady.
Lucy, well she teaches me to be fun, spontaneous, out of control. Hurley is so cute, like an old man in a young body.
15) Apart from writing poetry, what do you do in your spare time to relax?
Hmm, I go through bad magazines. I’m trying to pick up more literature, I like In Touch and People, they’re my favourites. I also love books - right now I’m reading “Drinking A Love Story” by Caroline Knapp. I’m trying to get into more books, this one is the fourth one I’ve read in a row.
I also go to my bed, my bed is my favourite place in the whole world. I’ll turn my reading light on and read a book. I haven’t seen a good movie in a long time, but oh my god I love a good movie - all in the comfort of my own home.
16) What is your dog’s current favourite...?
Toy - For Lucy, it’s Hurley’s collar - it’s a real point of interest, she knaws it off and plays with it in front of Hurley just to tease him.
Bad habit - She jumps on things, for example, she’ll stand on the BBQ and look over the fence. She should have been a circus dog with all of her tricks, she’s really agile! She loves to jump on things and its like “oh my god, she’s on the table!“
Activity / Game - Tug of war!
17) Finish the following sentence: My dog is....
Sydney is the light of my eye.
18) What is your current favourite...?
TV show - CSI, the original one
CD - Right now, either (L.A heavy metallers) System Of A Down or (British cartoon combo) Gorillaz
Restaurant - Hmm, Nobu in Malibu
19) Each year we run a competition to find the UK’s Coolest Canine. Last year’s winner was a Cocker Spaniel named Tangle who has been trained to detect bladder cancer in humans, if you were to nominate your dog, how would you sell him/her to us, what would you tell us that makes him/her unique?
Well, she’s very intuitive, she’s very sensitive. She would feel out people’s emotions, like if someone was depressed she would pick it up.
20) This is always a tough question and often requires a fair degree of thinking time but.... If your dog(s) had the ability to speak and answer one question and one question only, what would you ask them and what do you think that they would say?
I would just ask her, what could I do to make her have the best day ever and I think she would probably want to play fetch for a few hours, then swim in the ocean and chase the seagulls.
Eat any people food I have and well, not have any other dogs. It would just be her. And well, just hold her and cuddle all day and night and then she’d sleep at the foot of the bed.
Many Thanks Charisma - Charisma was talking to Kim Bruce