Before she landed the role of scientist Sara Sidle on C.S.I., actress Jorja Fox’s life was literally going to the dogs.
What was your first job?
I worked at a kennel in New York City called the Montrose Pet Hotel. That was when I was 16, so I have no idea if it’s still there or not.
What did you have to do?
I would feed the dogs, and I’d take them from their little hotels to these indoor dog runs. In New York City, the insurance for kennels to walk dogs outside was so expensive that they would walk the dogs inside. It was a great job — I loved it.
What was the best thing about that job?
I loved my clients. (laughs)
Was there anything really bad about it?
Not really. For the most part it was just me, and I could listen to music, and I could wear whatever I wanted?it was just a great, great job.
So how many dogs do you have now?
I have a dog named Ali — she’s a boxer — and two cats named Rumplestiltskin and Sid Poitier. I didn’t name them, though; they came with those names. In fact, Sid was originally named Sid Vicious, but when he started to act too much like his namesake, I changed his name to Sid Poitier.
Did you learn anything at that job that’s stuck with you?
I learned a lot. I learned some discipline, because I had to be there very early in the morning; I learned how to work on my own; and I learned a lot about compassion.
Your character on C.S.I. sees a lot of dead people. Have you ever had a job where you saw dead people?
When I was 15, I volunteered at an emergency room in Florida, and there were a couple times when people passed away.
Ever had a job that made you dead tired?
Yeah, C.S.I. I love it so much, but I’m burnt. I think this summer I’m just going to sleep late.
What was your first paid acting gig?
I did this independent movie called The Kill-Off in 1989, but then it was another full year before I got another job.
The cliché about actors is that they’ve all worked as waiters. Did you?
I did everything in clubs and bars, though I only worked as a waiter one night when someone was sick. But it was such a disaster that they never had me do it again.
Before you hit it big, what was your favorite cheap meal?
Pizza. In New York, especially, I had this idea in my head that I was a pizza connoisseur, so I tried to try every pizza place in the city.
Do you still eat a lot of pizza?
Yeah, when I’m in New York.
If you hadn’t become an actress, what would you be doing today?
I would’ve loved to have gotten involved in politics. Not necessarily as a politician, but maybe as someone working behind the scenes.
So what advice would you have for someone looking for their first job?
Look for something that really interests you, be yourself, and trust that the day will come when people will listen to you.
C.S.I. airs Thursday nights at 9:00 p.m. on CBS.