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Rebecca Herbst: It definitely stems from my family. You know, being motivated and being an overachiever in a way. I think my family, theyíve never pushed me into doing anything -- my familyís never been like that, but theyíve always supported everything that Iíve wanted to do. And also the one thing that my parents instilled in me is that if you -- if you commit yourself to something, then youíve got to put a hundred percent into it.

And so if I decided that I wanted to ice skate, then I had to force myself to get up at five oíclock in the morning and go skating in the morning. I couldnít just want to sleep in in the morning. It was like, if youíre going to do it, you do it a hundred percent.

And so I think thatís where it came from. And my family, weíre very active people. Weíre constantly doing things. My Mom is like -- I call her Wonder Woman. Because she can do anything and everything at once. She can juggle ten different things at once.

Now, I have a hard time doing that, but my Mom, she lays bricks, she does rock work, sheís completely done my whole back yard with my Dad. Itís like they have taught my sister and me that whatever we put our minds to we can accomplish.

And my sisterís graduating from law school next May. Sheís got eight years of college already, and sheís graduating from law school.

FF: So your other sibling is a sister; no other siblings?

Rebecca Herbst: No, thereís not. Sheís two-and-a-half years older than me.

Rebecca with her sister, Jenny Herbst.
John Russo

FF: So what does your Dad do?

Rebecca Herbst: My Dad, heís in early retirement.

FF: And your Mom handles your career -- sheís your manager.

Rebecca Herbst: Yeah.

FF: She does that when sheís not building your rock garden?

Rebecca Herbst: (laughing) Oh yeah.

FF: And ten other things.

Rebecca Herbst: She does it all at once.

FF: I wish I could do that. Iím envious.

Rebecca Herbst: I wish I had the energy she has, to be able to do all this stuff. I donít know -- she just never quits.

FF: Itís great. You get so much more done if you have that level of energy.

Rebecca Herbst: I know. I know.

FF: Letís say around in your high school years, when you had made the choice that you were going to go into acting. You had already been acting in commercials, but now that it was going to be your definite career decision, have you found any sort of connections or similarities between being an athlete and acting? What do you bring to it from athleticism?

Rebecca Herbst: I think the skating taught me a great amount of discipline, of getting up in the morning and working on a jump, and doing it over and over and falling -- splattering all over the ice, and coming home with bruises every day. And yet you go back out, and you do it again until you land the jump, until you perfect it.

Itís very demanding. I think the main thing, though, is that it taught me an incredible amount of discipline. And how to remain focused, and just putting your all into something.

But I didnít really decide when I chose to act, I didnít say to myself, well, this is going to be my career. It was just, Mom, I would rather pursue this hobby at this moment than the skating.

Acting was always just a hobby to me, like most kids, theyíd go home and theyíd take piano lessons, or theyíd go to ballet, or theyíd go to cheerleading; I went on auditions. I never felt like I was abnormal for doing it, or that it was taking more out of my time than the other kids were taking out of theirs. It was just my hobby.

But then, I guess it was my senior year, and it was time for me to pick all my classes, and whether I was going to take honors classes, and college prep courses, I realized then that, you know what, Iím not going to go to a four year college right away, because Iím not ready to leave home. College is something that again you have to put a hundred percent into.

If youíre going to go to school, you need to be completely focused on school and nothing else. And I wasnít ready to do that. I knew that I still wanted to pursue my hobby. I wanted to go out and just give it a shot, and be able to put my hundred percent in to the acting.

So I decided, when I graduate thatís what I want to do. I knew that I was going to go to a junior college, because I wasnít just not going to go to school. But I was not ready to go to a four-year.

But then when I graduated, Iíve been working ever since. So I thank God for that, because school is not my cup of tea. A lot of people look down on that, but you know what Ė schoolís not for everybody.

FF: No, itís not. And as long as there are books around, you can always learn.

Rebecca Herbst: I can always learn. Iíve learned so much more from being on General Hospital than any school could ever teach me.

Getting ready for the 1999 Daytime Emmy Awards.
Left to right, boyfriend Johnny Lindesmith, sister Jenny,
Rebecca, and her mom, Debbie Herbst.
Courtesy Rebecca Herbst.

FF: I was just going to ask you about being in a soap opera. And tell me -- before I ask you the question -- tell me the things you feel that it has taught you that have been so important.

Rebecca Herbst: Being on a soap, at first it puts you in this mind frame of well, you have to get up and go to work every day for the next three years. Itís not just floating by and wanting to change your mind the next day. It gives you kind of an outlook on your future, which is a very comforting feeling.

But also again it goes back to the discipline. I canít just not get up one morning, and just want to sleep in. I have to be there, even when Iím sick. Unless youíre physically unable to get in your car and drive yourself to work, you have to be there.

You canít say no, because it costs them so much money when an actor doesnít come in for the day, because they have to rearrange their schedule and yada yada yada.

But also, the other thing is, that Iím constantly learning there, because we never do the same thing twice. We may be on the same set, and work with the same people, but the script is always different. So itís kind of like being in an acting school. Youíre constantly working on your craft; youíre constantly experimenting with new things, and I just think itís the most wonderful experience I could have ever asked for.

FF: Yes, and also it must be very interesting to be in character almost daily. You really must get to know the person youíre playing extremely well.

Rebecca Herbst: I know. I always joke with myself and with my family, going, you know, you realize that I am Sybil. I am Rebecca and I am Elizabeth. When I get up on the set, I am Elizabeth. As soon as Iím in front of that camera, Iím no longer Rebecca. Itís a very weird thing.

I feel like you have to be an incredibly stable person to live a very normal, sane life in the soap world, because some people do get confused between who they really are and their character.

FF: Iím sure, Iím sure.

Rebecca Herbst: You know? Especially when youíre playing love -- you know, romances with people. And itís like, okay, do you really like this person? As a person, are you falling in love with this person youíre playing with? Or are you just feeling it because your character feels it? You know? So itís kind of a tricky thing.

FF: I caught you in a couple of scenes this week on General Hospital, and I think in both of them you were talking to this really cute blond guy; I donít know his name.

Rebecca Herbst: Yeah, he plays Jason.

FF: Very nice looking, and I thought, oh, heís cute.

Rebecca Herbst: Yeah, very cute.

FF: So, yeah, I can imagine. Tell me about the role in Hefner Unauthorized (This USA original movie documents the life of Hugh Hefner, the creator of Playboy magazine --Gina).

Rebecca Herbst: I play Barbie Benton (one of Hefnerís long-time girlfriends)...

Randall Batinkoff as Hugh Hefner and Rebecca
as Barbi Benton.
Blake Little

FF: Right, I watched it the other night.

Rebecca Herbst: Oh you did? Oh, okay. Well, when I first sat down to read the script, I was at my sisterís house in Santa Monica, and was kind of looking at the ocean, and we were going to go someplace. And then I got so wrapped up in the script, Iím like, no, no, no I have to finish it, which is very rare.

Because I get so many scripts in and out of my house these days, that Iíll start reading through it, and as soon as it reaches the point in the script where it says the girlís running around naked through the woods or whatever, I close the script and go no, this isnít for me.

Next, Rebecca talks about playing a Playboy Playmate who became Hugh Hefner's lover....