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|Hey girls! Do you have
a dream or ambition, an idea of who you want to become? Well, this
interview with actress Rebecca Herbst may help guide you to realizing
it. All of 22, Rebecca has achieved a great deal. Her fans know her as a
lovely, talented, charming and down-to-earth young woman. They also know
that she is a high achiever, and that her star is just beginning to rise.
Looking at photographs of Rebecca, at her fresh, wholesome lusciousness, I find she reminds me of the ideal of the American beauty who lives next door. She has the type of blooming loveliness that would warrant an organization like the American Horticultural Society to name a rose after her Ė yes, she is an American beauty rose.
Talking to her, her voice sparkles and bubbles. It is clear and soothing. She is sweet, patient, and obliging, with great strength underneath.
Rebecca is best known for her role as Elizabeth Webber on General Hospital. Rebeccaís portrayal as the mischievous, misguided, and misunderstood Elizabeth won her the 1999 Soap Opera Digest Award for Outstanding Younger Lead Actress, and earned her a 1999 Emmy nomination for Best Younger Lead Actress.
Since the age of 6, Rebecca has appeared in more than 60 national television commercials, and has guest starred on many television series, including Highway to Heaven, L.A. Law, Beverly Hills 90210, Step by Step, Boy Meets World, and Sister Sister. Rebecca recently guest starred in the recurring role of Kristen on Brotherly Love, and played opposite Jaclyn Smith in the television movie Kaleidoscope. In the USA original movie Hefner: Unauthorized, Rebecca plays Barbi Benton, a Playboy Playmate and close companion of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner.
Rebecca was also a competitive ice skater for twelve years. At the age of sixteen she made the choice between pursuing skating or acting. Acting won.
Along with her acting and athletic gifts, Rebecca has a love for fashion designing. She designs many of her own outfits, especially for Hollywood events, under her own label, Liberty Designs by Rebecca Herbst.
We spoke to Rebecca from Los Angeles, one afternoon recently.
FF: Iíve seen some of your sketches of the dresses you designed for various award shows youíve gone to, and I think theyíre lovely.
Rebecca Herbst: Oh, thank you.
FF: How long have you had the Liberty design line? When did you start?
Rebecca Herbst: Itís kind of come about just this year. Iíve always been interested in designing and fashion, and I was an ice skater for twelve years. And my mother used to make all my competition dresses. So as a wee little girl I would take all the leftover material, and cut holes in them and stick them on my dolls. So I started just playing around with material when I was very little.
And then when I graduated high school, I asked for a sewing machine, because I realized that being only five two and more on the petite side, that everything I buy has to be altered. Everything has to be hemmed, or taken in. Itís very hard for me to find clothing.
And so I figured my mom doesnít have the time to sit there and fix all my clothes, so I decided itíd be a good thing for me to learn. So I got a sewing machine for my graduation, and Iíve just been playing around with it ever since.
FF: So would you say youíre self taught?
Rebecca Herbst: My mom is definitely the one who taught me. Sheís there with me through all of it. I can put a simple dress together on my own, but the dresses that I make for the awards, she plays a major role in making them.
FF: Theyíre really lovely. For the Soap Opera Digest Awards, the coat ...
Rebecca Herbst: Yes ...
FF: Is that a Chinese silk print? Because Iím looking at black and white here.
Rebecca Herbst: Yes it is. It has the Oriental feeling to it.
FF: And then, thereís a shorter dress underneath?
Rebecca Herbst: Yeah. The shorter dress has the same feeling. It has little flowers -- you probably canít tell in your picture, but it does have little black flowers on the dress. So it kind of matches the coat, but in a very subtle way.
FF: And of course I love the corset one too, your Emmy dress, because Iím in a big corset period.
Rebecca Herbst: We were short for time, and my mom and I had never attempted making a corset before. So we actually had the corset made for me. I drew a picture. I designed exactly how I wanted it, took the material in, and had somebody make it. Because corsets are very difficult, and also the material is silk.
Itís from overseas, and we bought all the material that was in the store; if I were to mess up, I wouldnít have time to order more material. So it was kind of like, Iíd better get this done professionally. But we did make the skirt.
FF: And, with corsets, you have the boning to take into consideration.
Rebecca Herbst: Itís tricky.
FF: And I also like the Emmy dress with the petticoats, or the three flounces at the bottom. Thatís really nice.
Rebecca Herbst: A funny story about that is that mom and I were literally finishing sewing it like three hours before I was supposed to leave to get on the plane, and of course mom and I, we tend to wait until the last minute for certain things. And so weíre like in the living room at three oíclock in the morning, and on the floor you know, sewing this dress.
And then I had a shawl that went with it, and we didnít get the shawl done, and so on the plane I was sewing the shawl. But it turned out.
FF: Well, I think a lot of things are done that way.
Rebecca Herbst: Yeah, I know.
FF: Itís very pretty also.
Rebecca Herbst: Oh thank you.
FF: When your mother was designing your ice skating costumes, did you have a certain amount of input of how you wanted them to look as well?
Rebecca Herbst: Oh yeah. We always did it together. We always went and picked out the material together, and she had more of a key role in that than I did, because I started skating when I was tiny, tiny. I was three when I was first on the ice, because my mother was a drill team skater. So she was the one that got me into the skating.
She used to bring me to the ice rink when I was a baby, and put me in the play pen, and Iíd watch her skate. And then at three years old, I wanted to be on the ice. I think I had my first competition when I was five or six.
FF: Thatís amazing. Because most kids can barely walk across the kitchen at that age.
Rebecca Herbst: Well, I started walking when I was ten months. I started walking early.
FF: So you were also naturally inclined and coordinated to be able to do it. Well thatís really cute. I canít even imagine a three year old on skates.
Rebecca Herbst: I know, I know. I wasnít skating around by myself or anything; I used to sit on my momís ice skating boot because I was that tiny. I used to be able to sit on her ice skating boot and wrap my arms and legs around her leg, and she would push me around on the ice, like skate me around.
FF: And did you do the whole competition circuit?
Rebecca Herbst: Uh huh.
FF: And did that require you to travel quite a bit?
Rebecca Herbst: Not a lot. I would have competitions in Arizona and in Lake Arrowhead a lot. And Pasadena. I wouldnít travel far, but yeah.
FF: And at what age during your early years of ice skating did you decide that you were really going to go for it, as far as ice skating competition is concerned, as opposed to just something you might do on the weekends? I mean when did you really go into it full force?
Rebecca Herbst: I think I was probably between six and eight years old when I started skating every day after school. And then when I got into more like fifth and sixth grade, and then you know up until ninth grade, I was skating two-and-a-half hours before school every morning, and then after school, if I didnít have acting auditions, Iíd go back to the rink.
It was always nice because I went to private schools, so they were very understanding of my passion for skating. So I was always able to substitute ice skating for my physical education course. So I wouldnít have to be at school until nine-thirty instead of going to phys ed first thing in the morning with all the other kids.
So I did that. But then when I got into high school, my school started at seven-thirty in the morning, and there was just no way that I could go skating and then go to school. And trying to juggle an ice skating career, and high school, and do these auditions, is too much.
It was too much. I was going to burn out, and after twelve years of ice skating I just decided that there is no other place for me to go with the skating except to go for the Olympics, to start training for the Olympics. And Iíve always known thatís something that I did not want to do. I was never into competing. Competing makes me extremely nervous, and I donít have a competitive nature. So I decided that Iíd rather stick with the auditioning.
FF: Having read about girls like Michelle Kwan, the whole family has to completely sacrifice.
Rebecca Herbst: The whole family. And also, I got to the level in my ice skating where if I was going to pursue it full time, and have this dream of going to the Olympics, then I was going to have to quit school, regular mainstream school, and start to be home-schooled, and be on the ice eight hours a day. And thatís just not something that I wanted to do.
FF: So the decision, then, was not a difficult one for you to make.
Rebecca Herbst: No.
FF: And you were already doing commercials and all that stuff anyway.
Rebecca Herbst: Yeah, I started doing that when I was six, six-and-a-half.
FF: And itís interesting to me, because you say youíre not competitive, but youíre obviously a very highly motivated person. Youíre still very young, and youíve achieved so much for your age. Youíve been nominated for an Emmy and youíve been an ice skater. Youíve done all these things, and youíre twenty-two, and youíre a designer.
Do you feel that this is something that was instilled in you in your family, or is it just a natural component of your character?
|Just ahead, Rebecca talks about what it's like to be on General Hospital....|