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Fame & Fortune
Alyssa Milano
Veteran TV actress puts her money where the heart is
Celebrity interview

Fame & Fortune: Alyssa Milano
 

Bankrate: You have been quite generous with your time and your own money in humanitarian efforts. Why is this important to you?

Alyssa Milano: I think with all my trips I take with UNICEF, I learn something about myself. My first trip with them was to Angola and then India. I realized that the problems in developing nations are not unique from one another. They are the problems of humankind.

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I wanted to be an ambassador to UNICEF at a young age because for me, it was about (getting) my generation to hopefully propel the newer generation of humanitarianism. If I can inspire people my age and younger to want to make a difference -- either financially or supportively -- the children will eventually be our leaders.

Bankrate: Transitioning from child star to one of a grown nature, how did you come out OK when there are so many who have not?

Alyssa Milano: This business has been really good to me. The money I have made has allowed me to give to those in need and to also help take care of my family. My parents have since moved from New York to Los Angeles and I still have Sunday dinners at their house. But I think I was so blessed with the family I have that acting never really completely embodied me as a human being.

So the fact that I have that balance, it's all about balance ... my parents really instilled in me the broader picture of what a life is all about. I was never narrowed and focused on acting to the extent that I felt if I wasn't accepted for a role, then my life would be over. It's just part of a business. Acting is definitely a business.

Bankrate: You had a unique childhood growing up in an environment so different from other children your age. What would you say are the pros and cons of being a child actor?

Alyssa Milano: Once I was in my early 20s, I realized that my childhood was quite different and that I didn't get to go to high school and that maybe I did miss out on something. But while I was actually in it, that thought never crossed my mind because that was all I ever knew. It was very normal to me. And I feel that being in this business at such a young age really helped me.

I was a very introverted child and also dyslexic, so I don't know how well I would have done in a classroom setting. The fact that I was able to express myself artistically through acting and that I had the luxury of being tutored on set really helped me come out of my shell. I was also allowed to academically excel at my own pace. And my parents were putting away a great deal of my income into the bank for me.

Bankrate: Did playing Phoebe on "Charmed" for so many seasons give you a sense of financial stability?

Alyssa Milano: Definitely. Obviously, doing the show has given me a lot of stability and happiness. But I also think I brought my sense of humor to Phoebe. No matter how dire the situation was or how scary the demon she had to battle, she never lost her sense of humor. That's me.

Bankrate.com's corrections policy -- Posted: July 25, 2008
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