Jorja Peaches — December 01, 2001

Fox heads the network war and forces CBS ratings to exploit all grounds. No stranger to television — this brunette meets more than just the average eye.

Thursday TV is the talk of two networks: one that hopes it’s still on the way up, and one that’s trying to halt its slide down. For nearly two decades, NBC dominated Thursday nights with its “Must See TV” lineup — until last year, when CBS’ combination of “CSI” and “Survivor” put the night in play. With both brains and beauty, Fox manages to convey sexiness and sweetness; validating her acting talent she has co-founded Honeypot Productions. Speaking to Jorja Fox, television’s most valuable acress since Angie Dickinson, I realized how she has come to symbolize that tough-but-sweet independent woman with her roles. Fox plays “CSI’s” Sara Sidle, who hails from San Francisco and was brought in by Gil Grissom to investigate the shooting and subsequent death of Holly Gribbs. Since then, Sidle has remained on the team as the new kid on the block, and quickly established a strong reputation for the series.

Fox admits she has been lucky to be casted in award winning series, such as “CSI” and “ER.” “It’s very hard to digest the stardom I have recieved — it still hasn’t sunk in,” she says. “It’s a miracle I get paid to do what I love most.”

Ever since she was five years old, she wanted to be an actress of a rockstar. “Even though I knew how to play the guitar, as a child I couldn’t get myself on talent shows — when I got into New Your city I kept getting offers to act for money and I never did because of my music,” Fox says.

Growing up in Florida’s small town, Melbourne, Fox moved to her birth town of NYC upon completion of high school. “Sometimes your dream is in you and you could manifest your dream without having to leave home, but there are a couple things, such as acting that ultimately find yourself leaving home.

“Nothing really scared me when I would think of the big city. Also, I was lucky enough to know how to stay safe. Those two things kept me together, and moving to New York was probably the best thing I ever did,” adds Fox.

She makes no secret of her chubby-childhood years. Her French-Canadian mother, who grew up around the Great Depression, taught her and her brother the importance of food and the terror of being without it. “The best possible thing my Mom could say was that her kids had meat on them,” Fox says, laughing. “I was a heavy kid, probably from eight to about 16 and it definitely taight me how to be humble.

“I was lucky because I sprouted. Where I grew up, everyone was lean and blonde. Right around 15, I made a conscience decisions. I wanted to be that lean-fighting-machine.” A youthful innocent crush led her to take the weight off in pursuit of the class heartthrob’s attention. Despite her white-Irish skin, she tried to tan, lost some weight, picked up the guitar for the first time and after the school break she was asked out on a date. “Immediately I knew he was so far ahead of me — I was 15 in my brain and he was 23. The guy whom I was head over heels for asked me out a couple of times, and after that we became very good friends.

“I love bodies — of all shapes, sizes and ages. It might be hokey, but it’s like a fingerprint — no two bodies are the same. Occasionaly in LA, much more so than NY — that might be making a sterotype, but — people can get trapped or petty in what they perceive as perfect in the way they have to look,” Fox says. nothing is more interesting or sexy to her than all the different ways human beings can impress. When this fair-skinned-chubby schoolgirl left Melbourne, New York immediately accepted her pale skin and dark hair — instead, she quickly fit in.

Consider continuity: Fox stays true to her career by giving her roles her soul. From a very young age her grandmother told her stories, and Fox’s continual interest in storytelling has ranked her a potent actress, although she believes otherwise. “I am really kind of simple, but this moment, being four months into the taping of the second season, I am more this Sara person than I am myself. She’s a lot smarter than I am, much cooler, more adventurous — obviously I am not. I kind of make believe I am commendable. One thing’s for sure — we both put our feet in our mouths a lot, we both have a lot of heart and we both want to do the right thing by getting to the bottom of the truth,” Fox says.

But when Fox is asked about the countless episodes she had with George Clooney on “ER,” she begins to laugh and I feel her cheeks blush. “It was really hard to concentrate,” she says with a big sigh. “And, on top of that — besides him being in the room — he is always playing practical jokes on people. You are never completely sure what he’s going to do. He really is the guy that people describe him as: fun, energetic and down-to-earth. A lot of the practical jokes he would pull on me involed lubricants and plastic gloves.”

Fox has also managed to carve out some impressive film credits including this year’s Sundance Film Festival where she portrays the wife of lead Guy Pearce. Directed by Christopher Nolan, “Memento” unfolds its story in reverse order. “This was the most complicated and crazy movie I had ever been asked to perform in. And if I were to be sterotyped — which I would be grateful if that would happen — I would like to be know as the gun-totting, intense one,” she says.

With “Memento” being her third foray into Sundance, her role in the offbeat comedy “How to Make he Cruelest Month,” and town gossip queen in “The Kill-Off” cannot be forgotten. Although it’s a tough question for Fox to answer, she ranks “How to Make he Cruelest Month” as her personal favorite — only because she is very good friends with Clea Duvall, who played her sister. In the latter, she remembers that was the first movie she ever did utside New York.

But Fox’s light doesn’t fade with acting or with her ‘famous guitar’ — instead, she has expanded by co-founding a production house. With a pleasantly puzzling name such as Honeypot Productions, Fox is interrogated many times for the true meaning behind the name. “I go way back with the reast of my team — there are six of us in total and we all live in LA. One day we sat down [and] threw out a couple of names for the company — we pretty much stayed with [fellow founder] Suzanne [Mara’s] idea. It was so sweet — for us, it was like sugar working together,” says Fox. Keeping their spirits high, these workaholics work for themselves in this theater venture. Honeypot put up three plays to date, two of which have been scribed by Fox. The fourth play, “Loving Stanley,” which she also penned, offers a comedic romp about the women’s bowling circut and will soon be released.

Fox bemoans pomposity of any sort. As versatile as she is, come this new year, Fox believes she should worry less and chant for world peace.




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