smart spending

Catching up with Maria Bello

Bankrate: Do you sometimes think of leaving Los Angeles and settling into a smaller community with an idyllic lifestyle?

Bello: What I know about myself is that I'm a gypsy and I take myself with me wherever I go. If it's Venice, California, where I live, or Indiana, it would be the same thing. And I like a city; I like to be around people. I like the community feeling. I like going camping or going to the country every once in awhile, but I always have to come back to the city. It's got a certain beat and rhythm.

Bankrate: I know you were looking at a law career, but went into acting during your junior year in college. How did that come about?

Bello: Someone said to me that I could take an acting class as an elective and that had never occurred to me before because my family is very blue collar. The first time I did a monologue, my acting teacher called my parents and said that I had a real gift for acting. And I knew it as soon as I finished that monologue. So with three bags filled with clothes and $300, I went to New York City as soon as I graduated college.

Bankrate: What was your first big splurge?

Bello: I was doing a TV show called "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" that didn't last very long, but I bought a Jeep from my first big paycheck.

Bankrate: When was the first time you did a movie for love and not money?

Bello: Every movie I've done is for love, not money. Maybe I should consider that next time. My first movie was "Permanent Midnight."

I'm a single mom with a 7-year-old son who I've put in private school. His dad is great, but I'm really the sole person paying the bills. I feel the roles I'm doing are just getting better and better. I mean who would have thought that at age 40, I would be playing my first action adventure role? Your career is your choice and I'm getting fantastic roles. I'm very, very lucky.

Photo courtesy Retna Ltd.

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