Sarah Michelle Gellar,
star of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, goes for the heart and speaks out on
success, romance and those rumors about a new angel in her life.
On the WB monster smash
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Sarah Michelle Gellar stars as Buffy Summers,
a desperate-to-be-normal teen born to terminate the undead. She is known
as the Chosen One. But off-screen, itís the 22-year-old Gellar who does
the choosing. Arguably the most popular young actress of recent years,
sheís a TV superstar, big-screen scream queen, Maybelline pitch girl, Internet
icon and teenage role model. Yet she is able to maintain a mystique most
other young stars have either lost or never had. Gellar, who began acting
at 4 and won an Emmy at 18 for her role as the conniving Kendall on All
My Children, is notoriously tight-lipped where matters of sex and romance
are concerned. She is even less forthcoming about her father, Arthur, who
divorced her mother, Rosellen, a former teacher, in the mid í80s. We visited
Gellar in her trailer on the Buffy set, where she decided to lay down her
slayerís stake and open up her own heart for a change.
TV Guide: Your
approval rating among young viewers of both sexes is awesome. Whatís your
take on this? Assess your appeal.
Sarah Michelle Gellar:
Assess my own appeal? Thatís an annoying question.
TVG: Whoever said
this interview would be easy? Letís start with your female fans.
SMG: They respond
to Buffy because for years we didnít have a character young girls could
look up to. Mallory on Family Ties was an idiot. Carol on Growing Pains
wasnít happy being smart; she wanted to be popular. Those were not role
models. And then you have the actresses, like Nicole Eggert, who are so
physically perfect you can never be like them. Buffy is not the smartest
or the most beautiful. Sheís kind of awkward, but she is OK with who she
is. The most important lesson we need to learn in our formative years is
that itís OK to be an individual. Itís OK to be you.
TVG: And the guys?
SMG: They see Buffy
as a take-charge, kick-ass girl who has never lost her femininity. The
ones who are threatened by that donít watch our show.
TVG: What about
your lust factor? In a recent poll, you were voted No. 1 on a list of the
100 sexiest women on the planet. Yet your sexiness isnít overt.
SMG: My sexual
fantasy may not be yours, so the trick is to be sexy to the point where
it gets peopleís imaginations working ó and then you let them take it from
there. Thatís why the movie stars of the í40s and í50s were so sexy. They
positively reeked of sex by only hinting at it. Itís one of the reasons
I love [the new daytime soap] Passions. Nobody even kisses on that show,
but I am obsessed with it!
TVG: What did you
think when Keri Russell told Jane magazine how she lost her virginity?
SMG: [Rolling her
eyes] Hereís my thing: I made a rule way back when I was on All My Children
that there would be a part of me I put out to the public and a part I keep
to myself. This has caused me problems. It has caused me to lose interviews.
But I need a life to go home to that only my close friends know about.
I am sooo proud of my house, but you will never see it in InStyle. I donít
think people should know what my bedroom looks like. We give away too much
TVG: Címon! You
donít enjoy showbiz dish? Youíre not curious about other stars?
SMG: I like to
see their houses. I want to know about their jobs and their hobbies, but
Iím not interested in when or how they lost their virginity. I do not want
to see Cameron Diazís
butt crack on the
cover of Vanity Fair.
TVG: Is there jealousy
or competition between you and the other young women of your ilk ó like
Russell, Neve Campbell, Jennifer Love Hewitt?
SMG: No. Isnít
TVG: Frankly, yeah.
Not even a healthy competition?
SMG: No, but then
maybe Iím in my own universe. Love [Hewitt] and I are so different that
if they want her, they wouldnít want me. Weíre all so different. Maybe
weíre not competitive because we all have our own shows. Now, if one of
us didnít have a show... [suddenly jumps up and grabs a photo taped to
the wall] Did you know we shot my Maybelline commercial at the park in
Beverly Hills with the George Michael bathroom? Hereís a picture of me
taken by the famed photographer Herb Ritts [who directed the commercial]
in the very stall George was arrested in.
TVG: Whatís with
your annual Emmy snub?
SMG: Iím OK not
being nominated. Honestly. I have an Emmy. When I needed acceptance back
in my soap days, I could not sleep the night before the nominations. Iíd
sit there waiting for my phone to ring. Now my validation comes from the
public. What aggravates me is that our show is always overlooked. [The
voters] see us as a kidsí show. They donít think WB is a real network.
Itís hard to fight that stuff.
TVG: Letís discuss
the most recent rumors about you in the Star.
SMG: Yes, my big
affair with [Angel star] David Boreanaz!
SMG: Itís a complete
fallacy. In fact, everyone on the Buffy set was laughing about the very
idea of David and me as a couple.
TVG: The rumor
doesnít bother you?
SMG: I brushed
that one off. They probably didnít call me for quotes because [the article]
was so horribly inaccurate. It claimed David and I were together at a Christmas
party, when he was home in Philadelphia and I was in Australia, and how
we were seen eating at health-food restaurants. Well, if I ever saw David
put any food in his mouth that wasnít fried in a fast-food joint, Iíd drop
dead. But, hey, you know what? People are talking. I made the cover of
Star and it wasnít because of anything bad or true.
TVG: Letís discuss
your other rumored affairs. Youíve been seen at parties and premieres with
[Sliders star] Jerry OíConnell. Is or was that a romance?
SMG: No. We went
to high school together.
TVG: And Freddie
SMG: That was never
a romance, either. The odds are you will not see me at one of those events
with someone I am romantically interested in, which is why Iíll go with
Jerry or Freddie.
TVG: But you have
had romances? Ones we know nothing about?
SMG: [A bit indignantly]
Well, of course.
TVG: How tough
has it been to keep them private?
SMG: Very. Itís
a lot of work, and unfortunately it puts a strain on relationships, but
thatís the way I choose to do it. Going through a breakup is the most painful,
personal experience in the world. The last thing I want to do is read about
it, or have other people making judgments. I donít know how stars who have
these big public relationships and breakups get through it.
TVG: Are you comfortable
not being in a relationship?
SMG: To a degree.
No one ever wants to be alone, but my job sometimes necessitates that.
I donít think I could commit to a really serious relationship for the simple
reason that I wouldnít be there. I havenít gotten off work before midnight
in months. And normally I get out at three or four in the morning.
TVG: Are you scared
of commitment? Do you run from it?
SMG: No, Iím not
running from it. Itís no fun not having someone to snuggle up with on a
rainy day. Iíd love to have the perfect boyfriend right now, but as a society
we have to learn that itís OK not to be in a relationship. Also, I tend
to date out of the business, which makes it that much harder. I try not
to date actors, because I know how insecure and crazy we are. I canít imagine
going out with another one of me.
TVG: Tabloids have
claimed you are anorexic.
SMG: Everyone is
anorexic! Itís like McCarthyism all over again. Iíve always been a skinny
little thing. Yes, I did at one point have a little baby fat and I did
lose that. But Iím a 5-foot-2, tiny-boned person. My mother is a tiny-boned
person. Besides, I work like a dog on this show. Maybe some actresses do
have anorexia, but I certainly donít.
TVG: Where do you
stand on cosmetic surgery?
SMG: I have a big
problem with putting things into your body, like with breast or lip surgery.
But Iím OK with nose jobs if you get up every day and look in the mirror
and your nose makes you unhappy. If you think thatís the answer, by all
means do it. I just hope it is the answer.
TVG: Has anyone
ó agents, managers, producers ó ever suggested you get a nose job?
SMG: No. My nose
is my nose. But Iím not saying that when Iím 60 I might not want to get
my eyes fixed. Some magazine said I had a boob job. [Cackles and points
to her breasts] Lemme tell ya, if I paid for these, Iíd like íem to look
a lot better than this.
TVG: OK, hereís
the dreaded topic. Will you please say something substantial about your
SMG: [Long silence]
There is nothing substantial to say. [Her face hardens, her eyes begin
to tear ever so slightly.] He is not a person who exists in my life. Just
because you donate sperm does not make you a father. I donít have a father.
I would never give him the credit to acknowledge him as my father. My mother
is the most amazing woman Iíve ever met. I wanted for nothing. I never
felt a lack of affection. And I am, I think, a perfectly content and very
well-adjusted person ó probably more so than most people I know who have
two parents. One of the greatest gifts my job affords me is that my mother,
who gave up her entire life for me, doesnít have to work anymore. Now I
can give back. She can take it easy. She can do whatever she wants. [Flashes
a wide smile] I bought her a house.
a clean image to your audience seems very important to you. Do you feel
a responsibility to do that? Is it ever a drag?
SMG: I think a
certain obligation comes with the job. I didnít go to clubs before I was
21. You will never find a picture of me smoking. Well, thatís because I
donít smoke, [though] I did for a little bit. I hated it. It wasnít for
me. But you never saw a picture of me with a glass of champagne in my hand
before I was 21. And I am militant about drugs. You want to do íem? Youíre
out of my life. End of story. I have to go to bed at night knowing Iím
a good person, that Iíve made decisions that are good for me and make me
happy. If, in the process, I can set a good example for others, great.
I donít live my life for other people, but I do prove something Iím very
proud of: You donít have to be a rebel to be cool.