Tiffani Thiessen's advice for child actors

Tiffani Theissen, Actress on television's White Collar, talks about the pros and cons of being a child actor and pressure on girls from an early age.
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Tiffani Thiessen's advice for child actors

I get this question, "how do I handle a child who wants to get into acting?" quite often. It's a question that I think, you know, people ask me just because I'm an actor and I've been doing it for 32 years now. It's a hard question for me as well, because, I feel like, I sound like my mother when I say this, but times change and the world is changing and the business gets harder and harder, and I want to protect my daughter very much. So, I'm very on the fence about whether I would push my own daughter into it. It would have to be something that she would be passionate about, but I would do, if I had to and it was something she wanted to do-and this is advice for anybody else that, you know, school comes first. My parents always instilled in me that school came first. So, anytime I had an audition or a job opportunity it always usually came after school. There would be a few times where they would pick me up early, but I continued to be a straight A student. School was extremely important to me and extremely important to my parents and I would continue to say that. If your child is showing interest in that, make sure school still comes first. That is something they will always need and fall back on. Acting can come in and out. I think, I definitely had times that were hard. I think being a girl-and not that boys can't take rejection-but I think girls at this age, they're so extremely fragile when they're young and pre-teens, teenagers, hormonal-all those things that happen with us girls at that time-rejection, I feel, is a little harder for us. And being that the entertainment business is so much about that, that it can be, I don't want to say damaging but, it can be hard. It can be just extremely hard. Being not taken to the prom with a certain date that you wanted is hard enough. Having, you know, five other men in a room telling you that you didn't get the job at, you know, nine years of age-extremely hard. So, I don't know. It's, for me, on a personal level I don't know if I want to expose my daughter to that at such a young age. I think we're already pushing our children so fast into the future and, just the other day I picked up my daughter from pre-school, pre-school, and they're already starting cliques. Hearing about "she's my best friend, she's my best friend" and that stuff worries me, it worries me. You want to be so protective of your children and I feel our industry and with social media being such a huge part of that now, and kids getting on there-and it's great too, I'm not saying it's not-I'm on there and I think it's wonderful at the same time, but it can be very damaging and very...it's such a sensitive thing, kids are so sensitive. You know, we're all sensitive, even in our 40's but we're a sensitive society and I think we have to be very careful and I really try to be as protective as possible without letting my child, of course, experience things that I want her to experience. But, at the same time I don't ever want her...It's hard, it's such a, you know, she's three and a half and I don't want her to feel like someone doesn't like her because she's not wearing a something, certain, that doesn't, you know, appeal to somebody else in a group. Things like that that are so petty to us in our 40's, 50's, 60's, you know, whatever.

Tiffani Theissen, Actress on television's White Collar, talks about the pros and cons of being a child actor and pressure on girls from an early age.


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Tiffani Thiessen

Actress & Mother

Tiffani Thiessen stars as Elizabeth Burke in the USA Network original series WHITE COLLAR, which will begin production on its 6th season this spring.

Thiessen is an American television and film actress.  A versatile performer, she has proven her talent from comedy to drama in a variety of film and television roles. From Woody Allen's comedy “Hollywood Ending,” to “Beverly Hills 90210,” Thiessen's charisma has kept her career moving constantly forward and has gained her the adoration of millions internationally.

Thiessen has been seen in “What About Brian” and in a nine-episode guest starring role on NBC's “Good Morning Miami.”  In 2003, she starred the Fox series “Fast Lane” with Peter Facinelli and Bill Bellamy, directed by McG. She also guest-starred on the NBC hit comedy “Just Shoot Me” in a three-episode arc, portraying a columnist who becomes romantically involved with David Spade's character, and appeared in a recurring role on the ABC comedy “Two Guys and a Girl.”

She began modeling at the age of eight and soon went on to star in the television series “Saved By the Bell” for five seasons. At the same time, she made her feature film debut in “Son In Law” opposite Pauly Shore. In 1993, she showed her range when Aaron Spelling cast her in “Beverly Hills 90210,” where she portrayed the multi-layered Valerie Malone for five seasons.

Her other feature film roles include the comedy “Ladies Man;” the independent film “Speedway Junky” with Jesse Bradford, Jonathan Taylor Thomas and Daryl Hannah; “Love Stinks” with Tyra Banks and French Stewart; and the horror/comedy spoof “Shriek! If you Know What I did Last Friday 13th” opposite Tom Arnold.

In 2005, Thiessen started up her own Production company called Tit 4 Tat Productions while directing her first short film entitled “Just Pray” the same year. “Just Pray” went on to win awards at top film festivals around the country.

Tiffani currently splits her time between New York and Los Angeles, with her husband and daughter.

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