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Interview with Lacey Chabert
Star of Party of Five

interviewed by Julie Richer, Cyberteens founder

We recently had the opportunity to interview Lacey Chabert, the actress who plays Claudia on Party of Five. She is the spokesperson for a teen photo contest called "The Yearbook Click."

Q: Lacey, I understand you're the spokesperson for "The Yearbook Click" photo contest that Kodak and Jostens are sponsoring. Tell me about that. (Note: The contest ended on December 28, 1999)

A: For the contest, I'm doing publicity and promoting photography in schools. About 125 junior highs and middle schools will be competing for $40,000 in high-tech photo equipment by submitting their yearbooks. The yearbooks must contain at least 8 pages of photos shot with Kodak Max Flash one-time-use cameras. Kodak is also doing a contest with Twist magazine in which any teen can enter photos to win cameras, film and other prizes.

Q: How long have you been interested in photography?

A: Well, I've always been interested in taking pictures. I've enjoyed taking classes in photography, and I'm building a darkroom in my home. I agreed to be the spokesperson because I think it's great to be promoting photography in high school.

Q: What type of pictures do you like to take?

A: My favorites are black and white pictures, because they are timeless classics. I like to take pictures of lots of things: people--such as my nephews, my dogs, and just interesting objects that I see. For instance, I might take a picture of flowers by the side of the road, an old sign or a fence.

Q: Are your photos published on the Web?

A: No, I don't have a scanner, so I haven't tried to put them online yet.

Q: Do you have any advice for teens who want to enter the contest about what makes a good photo?

A: When taking pictures of a person, you should know something about the person and try to let that show in the photo. Also, I recommend learning about the technical side so that you can manipulate the outcome. It's more fun if you can control things like lighting and make special effects in the darkroom.

Q: Do you have any advice to young people who'd like to go into acting? How did you get your start?

A: I never took an acting class, so I don't know if taking classes would be helpful or not. I know it's important to get a good agent. I got started in New York, where I did a few small things and then auditioned for Les Miserables and got the part. From that experience I learned that I really enjoy the art of storytelling.

Q: Besides acting and taking pictures, what else do you like to do?

A: Besides taking pictures, I like shopping, and I like to drive.

Q: Since you're an avid shopper, do you have any tips on what the next trends among teens will be?

A: I don't know--I can't keep up. I'm not trendy.

Q: Tell me a little about your life. You're 17, right?

A: Yes, I'm 17. I'm a junior right now.

Q: Do you go to a regular high school, or do you have a tutor on the set?

A: I have to have a tutor because I'm working five days a week.

Q: I realize that Party of Five is set in San Francisco, but you don't shoot it there, do you?

A: No, we do most of the shooting in L.A. However, I just got back from San Francisco, because we were shooting some scenes up there a couple of days ago.

Q: Too bad we didn't get a chance to get together while you were here. San Francisco is where I live and where we put together Cyberteens. Do you live at home with your parents?

A: Yes, I live in L.A. with my parents, my younger brother and 3 dogs: 2 miniature pinschers and an English bulldog named Claudia.

Q: Was Claudia named after your character?

A: Yes, we just got her, so she's the newest member of the family.I also have two older sisters who are married. They don't live with us, but I see them all the time.

Q: So you're close to your family?

A: Very close. I like to get together with my sisters and my nephews, and I try not to travel on weekends so that I can spend time with friends & family.

Q: You must have a lot of boyfriends too.

A: (Laughing) Just one.

Q: Is he famous too or just a regular guy?

A: He's a regular guy. Sometimes the issue of my being a celebrity comes up, but he's able to deal with it.

Q: How long have you been seeing him?

A: About six months.

Q: One of the things that I find interesting about your character is that in the beginning Claudia was really young, and now she's a teenager, so she's really grown up on the show.

A: Yes, Claudia is going through a self-discovery process now. She's not sure she wants to stay in high school, and in future episodes she'll be deciding whether to take the GED and go to college early. In the next episode she'll be the victim of date-rape. So then she'll have to deal with the pain of violation and all that that entails.

Q: Now that Jennifer Love Hewitt has left the series to do her own show, have you given any thought to doing the same?

A: Yes, there have been talks about doing another show.

Q: A show based on the Claudia character or a totally different show?

A: No, not based on Claudia, but starring me. I'm not sure yet whether that will happen. I've got two movies that I've agreed to start shooting soon. Since I'm a junior, I need to decide whether to apply for college or delay it for a couple of years while I pursue some more acting projects. Right now I'm trying to sort things out, so I can make the right choices.

Q: Can you tell me any more about the movies you'll be doing?

A: I'm not allowed to discuss that yet, except to say that I've agreed to do them. We'll start shooting one of them this summer.

Q: If you decide to go to college sooner, rather than later, do you have any idea where you'll go?

A: It will be in California, probably UCLA or nearby, so I can continue to work at least some of the time.

Q: If you could give other teens one piece of career advice, what would it be?

A: I would say: Do what you're passionate about.

Q: Thanks--that's great advice at any age.

"Party of Five" airs on Fox on Tuesdays at 9:00.

Photo Contest Info