The world according to ...
Camryn Manheim

She's big, she's beautiful and she's a fantastic acting talent. Meet The Practice's Camryn Manheim.

My name: "I was named Debra, which I hate, so I decided to re-name myself. When I was in Israel at the Wailing Wall, I heard a voice saying, 'Camryn ... Camryn ... Camryn' - perhaps a benevolent spirit - so that's how I became Camryn."

My diets: "When I was 25 and desperate to be skinny, I took an appetite suppressant. I lost a lot of weight, but got hooked on the drug."

My teenage years: "I was a thin child and I found high school scary, so I gained weight to protect myself. That way people easily dismissed me, and I could be invisible."

My image: "I'm a strong, confident yet vulnerable, brash but sensitive, sexy, voluptuous, big-mouthed, big-breasted beauty."

My parents: "My father was a professor and my mother was a teacher. One of their greatest gifts was the belief that all people are equal."

My fears: "Growing up fat in America is devastating. Magazines and TV images told me that my body was undesirable. People are programmed to hate fat people."

My skills: "I'm fluent in sign language and have worked at gay-rights rallies and for politcal candidates. It gives me joy and confidence."

My exercise: "I'm an avid racquetball and beach volleyball player. I come from a family of athletic Amazons. I'm incredibly healthy."

My body: "I'm big and tall and that's OK. This is my body. I live in it. I play in it. I have the type of body that was meant to work in the fields and have babies!"

My career: "On TV, all the casting directors could see for me were 'fat parts'. There's a misconception that we're not sensual, sexual beings. Fat girls are always victimised."

Modelling: "I have modelled for designers Tomatsu, Anne Klein and Mode magazine and it's great. They feed you. They dress you. And they tell you you look fabulous."

My car: "I have a convertible, which satisfies my need to feel the wind in my hair. It's my way of being a rebel and bucking the system."

Motherhood: "I'd love to be a biological parent, but right now I'm not in a relationship. I haven't given up on marriage and kids, but I'm starting to look at other alternatives."

My icons: "I admire Hillary Clinton. I admire my mother. I admire the women who paved the way for me, like Kathy Bates, Roseanne and Oprah."

My style: "I love dressing up for all the big awards events. E! Entertainment gave me The Gold Hanger Awards for style at the Emmys."

Being a role model: "I now realise that when I go out in public, it's important that I try to look my best, to show that big woment can look graceful and elegant and beautiful."

Men and me: "I adore men and I'm still looking for a boyfriend. But, hey, - there always has to be something that's right out of your reach. It makes you strive for excellence."

By Susan Granger / Celebritext
Taken from TV Week Magazine, July 22-28 2000, pp 34 & 35.

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