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Interview with Cybill Shepherd of "The Client List" on
ABC Family 5/29/12
This call was a lot of fun. Cybill is a hoot! She is so
funny and plain-talking. I have watched her shows for many years, so it
was great to talk to her in real life.
Although it says "moderator" below, these are actually
questions asked by all different reporters. I put my own name in where
my questions are...
Lifetime’s Q&A Session with Cybill Shepherd– The Client
Tuesday, May 29, 2012, 6 pm ET
Moderator: We’re huge fans of the show, and I would love to hear what
kind of feedback that you’ve been getting from fans and from friends. Is
it a lot of men coming up saying that they find it a guilty pleasure
too? Are you getting a lot of good gossip from your friends saying,
“What’s going to happen next week?”
Cybill: I think everybody, men and women, are very interested in this
show. Certainly, my friends are very pleased. I’m thrilled to be a part
of it. I’d originated the role in the movie, The Client List, with
Jennifer, and I probably would’ve done the phone book with her because
she’s such a wonderful person and a wonderful actress.
Moderator: Is there anyone in particular, maybe a friend or someone that
you worked with before, that you’d love to see appear on the show?
Cybill: Yes, my daughter, Clementine.
Moderator: Where do you see your character going now that the show has
definitely been picked up for a second season?
Cybill: Well, there will be a lot of surprises. At the end of the last
season, my character, Lynette, does not really know what her daughter,
Riley, is doing. That has not been revealed, so that would be a big
reveal coming up. It’s a fascinating premise. It’s all about women, even
though men are going to be very attracted to the show as well because
Jennifer is so sexy and wonderful.
But it’s just a fantastic concept, and it’s really about how difficult
it is right now for women, especially if you’re a mother, to try to
support yourself. These are very hard times. There’s not a lot of jobs
out there, a lot of men losing jobs, a lot of women losing jobs. It’s a
story about how women struggle to survive.
Moderator: What’s the atmosphere like on the set? Is it a fun set to work
Cybill: Oh, absolutely. It’s a great crew, and everybody is so talented,
and the writing staff is wonderful, and the producers, you know, are
wonderful. And I love the directors we’re working with. It’s a great
group. It really is. It’s a happy set.
Moderator: What do you feel it is about a show like The Client List that
is attracting viewers, and then people are relating to it so well?
Cybill: Well, of course it’s going to be—women are going to relate to it
because sometimes in life we may have to do something that we don’t
really think is so great. I think for my character as a mother—and I’m a
mother in real life to three children—is that we have to support our
children in what they do. It doesn’t mean that we agree. Now, we don’t
know yet if my character, Lynette, knows really about what Jennifer’s
character, Riley, is really doing for a living, but that will be a very
interesting reveal, which I look forward to next season.
Moderator: Do you have a standout on-set moment or something that’s
particularly memorable that’s happened behind the scenes maybe?
Cybill: Well, the funny thing is that we work long hours. A lot of times
if you look from the outside at glamorous show business or acting or TV
or movies you forget that actually everybody that’s working on that set
is often working very long hours, and we do get to that point in the day
or night after we’re working many hours where we just start to get silly
and start laughing. And, you know, it’s kind of infectious on the set.
It’s got a great feeling for it. Keep your sense of humor; don’t take
yourself too seriously. So I would say that’s an ideal situation.
Moderator: What is your favorite things are about Lynette?
Cybill: Lynette has survived a lot. She has a great line in the first
season saying—when Riley, Jennifer’s character, says, “How did you get
through being a single mom?” And I said, “With Chardonnay and a prayer.”
So she loves her wine. She’s a Texas woman. She’s what I would call an
iron butterfly, like Lady Bird Johnson. You could also refer to her as
kind of a steel-magnolia southern woman.
I’m from Tennessee, so I’ve done so much work set in Texas that I feel
like I’m from there too—is that we seem very feminine; we are very
feminine; but underneath that, we are strong, strong. We may have big
hair—you know, in Texas, the bigger the hair, the closer to God.
Moderator: Was there ever a role in the past that you declined to play
and wished you had said yes instead?
Cybill: So many you can’t imagine. Yes, I have turned down parts that I
wish I’d taken. Absolutely. I would say that Look Who’s Talking, with
Bruce Willis, I turned down, which was really foolish.
Suzanne Lanoue: Are you going to be doing any singing on the show because I
know you’ve done a lot of singing?
Cybill: Yeah, I was a singer first, started singing in the choir at nine
years old, started formally studying voice from an opera teacher at
sixteen, and I continued the opera studies. I don’t know. I mean, I
think Lynette would probably be able to wail out a pretty good country
tune if she had to.
Moderator: Like those karaoke scenes they did?
Cybill: Yes, which are so funny. I love them.
Suzanne Lanoue: Your daughter Clementine was was great on Young and the
Restless. How is she doing now?
Cybill: She’s doing fantastic. She was also on The L Word, where she gave
such a beautiful performance. She’s doing fantastically. She’s writing
and auditioning and just—she’s doing fantastic. She’s a great person.
She’s a lovely—beautiful on the outside and really beautiful on the
inside, and she’s involved in a lot of really good causes that are well
worth supporting. And I would say she’s doing great.
Suzanne Lanoue: Your character is very colorful. Is that all the script, or
are you putting a lot of yourself in there?
Cybill: Well, I always like to bring a lot of myself to whatever I’m
doing, but certainly one of the things I love about playing Lynette is I
get to do really both sides of the coin, so to speak—like be comic
relief, but then do the dramatic thing.
There’s a particular relationship between a mother and her only child,
that’s a very, very special relationship sometimes. My character may get
a little too involved, as mothers sometimes do—not me, of course; I’m
the perfect mother, right?—and I think that ups the ante and makes it
fun to play as well.
Moderator: I watched you on Oprah last year, and you were talking about
your life as a beautiful woman, and you admitted that your beauty had
certainly opened doors for you. Now it seems like Jennifer’s character
has had her beauty open different doors for her. If modeling and acting
had never come through for you, could you have seen yourself doing that
eventually, like Jennifer’s character, trying to provide for your
Cybill: Well, I just had to get out of Memphis, Tennessee because that’s
where I was born and raised. I figured if the modeling didn’t work
out—at that point I didn’t consider ever acting—that I would be a flight
Moderator: What about your daughters? How do you think you would feel if
they would choose a route like that, like Jennifer had? What do you
think if one of your daughters had chosen that route? Do you think you
would approve? What do you think you would say to them?
Cybill: Well, it’s a very difficult call, particularly—well, I know what
I would say, but Lynette is a very—she is a Christian. She’s very, very
involved in her church. I think that this—and I am a Christian as well,
but I think that we have to learn to forgive our children and support
them no matter what. And sometimes that becomes extremely difficult for
a mother, particularly in a situation like this. My character, as of the
first season, does not really know what her daughter is doing. When we
do get to that point, it’s going to be highly dramatic.
And as far as my own children go, I would say the same thing about
Lynette: you never stop loving your child. And sometimes they may do
things that you really would say, “No, you shouldn’t do that,” but you
still have to love them.
Moderator: What is your ultimate vision when it come to portraying
Cybill: I think that this character, Lynette, has been married a whole
lot of times. But she’s a very strong churchgoer and a Christian, and
she doesn’t believe—she’s not worried about being married a lot of
times. She says, you know, “A woman’s supposed to be with a man. I got
to keep trying until I get it right.” And I think that’s—yeah.
Moderator: What fun things do you do to maintain what’s sexy?
Cybill: Oh, well being post-menopausal, I’m more than happy to discuss
that. You know, it’s really true: women are like fine wine; the older we
get, the better we are. Just keep that in mind. Earlier I was talking to
someone about my appearances on the Oprah show and about how I was
really willing to talk about beauty and what really is true about
Now with me going to New York at 18 years old, all the doors opened for
me because of the way I looked. And then I went through that period
where I was still very insecure because I did so many covers over the
years of magazines, there was years in my life where I’d walk past and
I’d be on a couple of covers every month. And I was confused because I’d
go home and look in the mirror, and I’d go, “Wow, what happened to me? I
look terrible in the bathroom mirror.” And then I would realize, “Well,
they retouched it. Nobody really looks like that for real.”
Moderator: How do you find balance? What is the key to balance for you?
Cybill: I do meditate—it’s a non-religious meditation—but I’m also a
Christian. I was raised in the Episcopal Church, and that is very
important to me, the concept of forgiveness. So basically, it’s kind of
like meditation can center you. But for me, my Christian faith gives
me—you know, it just gives me a lot of inspiration. So it’s a
combination of that and also just keeping your feet on the ground. Like
my grandmother always said, you know, “Beauty is as beauty does.” That’s
always been impressed on me by my mother and my grandmother. And I’ve
always felt that really no matter how you look, it’s what you do and how
you dedicate yourself to others, and really that’s what it’s about.
And regardless of your age—I mean, one of the most difficult things for
women as we age is the fact of learning to love ourselves past a certain
age because most of the time we get really down on ourselves because
we’re changing. But we still have the opportunity to grow and to keep
your eye on the prize, to remember that beauty is what you do in life.
It’s not how you look. And learning to love our bodies as we age,
especially for women, is a challenge that we have to meet and make—in
other words, don’t fight getting older, because we’re all going to get
older. The alternative is not to be around.
Moderator: You’ve led such a fascinating life from your modeling to your
acting to being an activist for gay rights and abortion rights to the
famous men you’ve been linked to. Is there any talk of turning your
autobiography into a movie?
Cybill: There hasn’t been any talk yet, but it would sure make a good
movie wouldn’t it?
Moderator: Oh, I think so. Who would you like to play you?
Cybill: I don’t know. That’s a very interesting question. I wrote that
book in 2000. It was a really important thing for me to do. It’s been a
while since then. Writing is very hard, by the way, turns out to write
is very difficult. So I don’t know when I’ll be doing another book, but
I think it’d be fun to do a book called How Not to Direct.
Moderator: Does the setting in the south play a great part in the show
The Client List.
Cybill: Yes, it does. And Texas is a particular place. I’m born and
raised, as I said, in Memphis, Tennessee. But Texas is a particularly
hard—it’s a hard country, you know? It is like a country. Texas is like
its own country. But for women to survive there, you really have to be
tough. You have to be gritty, but you also have this wonderful
femininity that’s on top of it that helps you survive. And a lot of
times people can underestimate particularly a woman in the South,
whether they’re from Tennessee or Texas. But you always have to
remember, we seem like ladies, but if we have to fight you better watch
Moderator: How do these strong portrayals of Texan women play a part in
Cybill: Well the thing about women, I think, particularly in Texas, is
that this was a frontier. There was a time in history of our nation when
women going west were going into the wilderness. They had to do
everything. They had to make the clothes. They had to grow the crops.
They had to raise the children. There was no electricity, no water. So
we have a spirit of frontier women in this country, and I think
particularly in the South because in the South we tend to be more—we
feel like we have to act more feminine. But the bottom line is that
we’re all pioneer women to a certain extent, and even if you’re newly to
this country, it’s still—we still have a spirit of the pioneers in us.
Moderator: Can you tell us about Hot In Cleveland?
Cybill: But I can tell you that I did an episode of Hot in Cleveland
recently and another episode of Psych. I’ve been a guest star on Psych
in the seventh season. And I will also say working with Betty White and
Wendie Malick and everybody on the show Hot in Cleveland was just the
best time I ever had in my life.
Moderator: What do you find yourself gravitating more to personally: love
or passion? What defines you?
Cybill: Well, we all want passion; we all want love; and we all want a
way to give back, and I think right now is a time in this country where
we got some really strong issues that need to be addressed. One is
pro-choice and birth control, and I’ve led marches on Washington, hope
I’ll be leading another one—also, gay and lesbian rights, marriage
equality. This is kind of political, but I’ve kind of been this way my
whole career that I think it’s very important for us to speak up about
what we believe in and support that and support women.
Moderator: Okay, now since you’ve brought up the political side, do you
have ambitions of ever running for governor or something?
Cybill: That scares me. I mean, I don’t mind playing a governor. First of
all, we need more women in Congress and the Senate because then they’re
not going to pass so many of these terrible bills where they’re trying
to not supply people with birth control. Guess what? Men don’t really
need birth control, so it kind of narrows it down to it’s really about
women. It’s not about religion, and we’ve got to remember that. Don’t
let anybody try to switch the subject by saying it’s a religious issue.
Moderator: What intrigues you most about Clementine?
Cybill: Well, Clementine is a very beautiful woman, and she’s very, very
bright. I remember at an early age, at seven, I was taking her to school
one day and I was saying, “Well what about your friend, so-and-so?” And
she said, “Well, you know mom, I don’t really know if she likes me
because I’m your daughter or if she likes me because of me.” So she was
hip to it, you know—extremely difficult to be the child of a famous and
successful person. That goes for sports, politics, anything else. And I
would say that I think my kids are doing really well, adjusting really
well. We have warm relationships, and we get together a lot. And they’ve
been so wonderful to me.
I’m a woman who’s worked outside the home my whole life. I think that if
women can afford not to work outside the home, that’s a wonderful thing.
But the reality of today for women is that you can’t afford to stay home
with your kids a lot of times. And now, of course, I’m home, and they
live in Los Angeles. They’ll all be living in Los Angeles very soon this
But as far as Clementine goes, she’s always—she’s my first baby. She’s a
brilliant woman, very beautiful, and very beautiful inside as well, and
a wonderful actress. And she has the most beautiful hair in the world.
Can I brag a little bit as mom? When my daughter, Clementine, walks in
with that hair, I go, “Lord have mercy. L’Oreal, why haven’t they hired
Moderator: What do you do for play, Cybill?
Cybill: Well, I love to ride bikes. I love to swim and walk. I’m 62, so
one of things you learn as you grow older is you’re not—I’m not going to
be running a marathon. I’m not going to push myself too much. You know,
I just want to enjoy life, because you get to a certain age—like 62 as I
am—and you know that you don’t have forever, and I want to have that
time to be with the people I love.
And the other thing that’s really important for all of us to
remember—and I think especially women—is to indulge ourselves. It
doesn’t have to be a big thing, just a little something just for
yourself. Just remember that you need to reward yourself. Doesn’t have
to cost a lot of money, but your me time or whatever it is.
Moderator: Did you just say you were 62, or was that my ears?
Cybill: Oh, no. I am 62. I’ve lied—I mean, I’ve told the truth for the
longest—it’s too damn late to lie now.
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