Compared to rationalizing Kendall's abominable behavior, explaining why a 17-year old actress is playing a 23-year-old character should be a breeze. "I may not physically look 23, but then again, not all 23-year olds look their age," points out Gellar. "I think people should just forget about that. Age is a personal vision. Besides, I know that at 17, Sarah is more mature than Kendall at 23." The actress isn't just blowing smoke - she's been working in show business since she was 4, when an agent spotted her dining with her mom. On her very first audition, Gellar booked a TV movie called An Invasion of Privacy. "I was supposed to read with Valerie Harper, but she had already gone home so I said, 'No problem.' First I did my lines, and then, in Valerie's voice, I did hers. I was hired on the spot, "she smiles.
As Gellar's confidence grew, the parts rolled in, and suddenly she found herself juggling school and a burgeoning acting career. Work she could handle; school was another story. "I didn't have anything in common with the kids," says Gellar of her experience at the exclusive Columbia and Preparatory School in New York. "Many students were used to having everything handed to them on a silver platter. Everything I got I worked hard for and got on my own."
Gellar's classmates resented her ambition and let her know it. "I never liked to talk about my acting because if I did, I was branded a snob, and if I didn't, I was still a snob. I would cry because I didn't understand why people didn't like me," she says softly. Gellar's mom, Rosellen, encouraged her to transfer to the Professional Children's School.
"It's an amazing place, because all the kids are very talented. I love it," gushes Gellar, who met buddy Lindsey Price (ex-AN LI) there. "We have been friends for two years. On my first day on AMC, she was there to hold my hand." Co-stars Susan Lucci and Michael Nader also made the newcomer feel welcome. "My first time on the set I was very nervous," admits Gellar. "I kept thinking, 'what if I'm really bad and they fire me?' But Susan and Michael made me feel comfortable."
The New York native also gets plenty of support from the homefront. "My mom has always been behind me and we are very close," shares Gellar. "My parents divorced when I was very young and I don't see my real dad. We never got along and he's out of the picture," she says matter-of-factly. "My mom's fiance is the one who sat in the front row at school recitals with the camera."
A loving relationship with her soon-to-be-stepdad may keep Gellar from feeling cheated out of a devoted dad, but did her early plunge into acting cheat her out of her childhood? "Your childhood is what you make it," Gellar asserts. "I do all the normal things that most teenage girls do - like go to the movies, hang out with friends and date."
Gellar makes a point of emphasizing that she's not the victim of a stage mother. "My mom is not living vicariously through me," she insists. "It has always been my choice to act. If at any time I wanted to give it up, she would be behind me 100 percent."
Not that she'd want to give anything up now - Gellar's career is off and running, and she has an
Emmy nomination (for younger leading actress) to prove it. "As long as I have material that I can sink
my teeth into, I will continue to love what I'm doing," she says earnestly. "If that means staying on
AMC for the next 23 years, that's fine with me."
Buffy the Vampire Slayer,
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Buffy the Vampire Slayer,