Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Talking With Melissa Joan Hart from "Dancing With The Stars"

WE came to know and love her as "Sabrina the Teenage Witch". Today, Long Island's own Melissa Joan Hart is a beautiful woman who combines career with motherhood and being the wife of a well known musician. On Monday, September 21st on ABC TV at 8:00pm, Melissa begins her quest for a championship on the 9th edition of "Dancing With The Stars". I had a chance to speak with Melissa before she began one of her final rehearsals...

: Congratulations on being chosen to compete in the 2009 edition of "Dancing With the Stars" How did this all come about?
MELISSA: They had asked me the first season to appear and I was not able to do it because of scheduling conflicts. A lot of the following seasons I was pregnant so I couldn't do it in any event. So the timing just finally worked out. It took 9 seasons but now I'm able to do it!

MICK: How long are the rehearsals each day?
MELISSA: Depends on how I'm feeling. My dance partner was feeling well yesterday and I was kind of sick last week. We've been taking it easy now that we've got the routine down, trying to polish it up. We're trying not to exhaust ourselves because once the show begins next week, it's going to be hard core. We do between 2-6 hours each day. We'll probably get 2-4 hours in today.

MICK: Are you nervous?
MELISSA: I'm getting really nervous. I got to do some of my dance for some friends last night so that made me feel a little better!

MICK: Are you happy with your dance partner?
MELISSA: Oh yeah. I've got the best! I got the two time winner (Mark Ballas) whom I think is the best choreographer. As a teacher he is so patient, giving and concerned. A lot of the other dancers were taught by his mother so he's not only got it in his blood, he's got the best teacher in his life. Hopefully, he'll be able to pull me through it!

MICK: You and your mom recently opened a candy store in Sherman Oaks, Ca. called "SweetHarts". How is that going?
MELISSA: It's going great! It's extremely adorable. A wonderful little place. Instantly, when you walk in, it makes you happy!

: Do you plan to expand, open more stores?
MELISSA: We are opening another one in the next few months and hopefully more. Start branching out a bit.

MICK: Possibly a store on Long Island?
MELISSA: Yes, hopefully. I've got a lot of family on Long Island so I can put some of them in charge of it!

MICK: What are your plans for after "Dancing With the Stars"?
MELISSA: After this ends, I'm suppose to be doing a pilot. We'll see how that works out. Possibly to get started on a new TV show. That would be exciting and fun. That's what I really want to be doing. We just recently moved back here to the Northeast to Connecticut. Close enough to my family on Long Island, right over the Sound! I hope to get settled in my new town a little bit, spend some time with my two boys and my husband. This show has taken away of lot of my focus and time away from them. So as soon as I get back I can spend time being a mommy!!

MICK: Do you get back to Long Island a lot"
MELISSA: Yes, we do actually. We took the Bridgeport ferry over recently. Spent some time with my dad and went on his boat. He owns a marina in Sayville. We took his boat over to Fire Island a few weeks ago. I have a brother in Bayport and a sister in Lake Ronkonkoma and my little sister is in Brooklyn; cousins, aunts and uncles everywhere from Oyster Bay to Moriches, all over.

: I've read that you collect Shirley Temple memorabilia. Have you ever met her?
MELISSA: I have! She invited me to her home. I went to her house in Northern California to meet and talk to her about the possibility of doing her life story. She never gave anyone the rights to her story before but she liked me and my mother and trusted us. We did that movie a few years ago, probably 7 years ago, for ABC as a Mother's Day special.

MICK: Do you have any hobbies?
MELISSA: Yes snow boarding. I love snow boarding. I play some golf here and there with my husband. Actually, we came out in June for the U.S. Open. That was exciting and fun but very muddy. It was miserable for the fans and I'm sure the players. I'm really looking forward to going to Belmont. I love watching the ponies run. I've never been to Belmont before so that should be fun.

MICK: Tell me something about yourself that your fans would be surprised to know about you.
: A lot of people would assume that I am very goody two shoes but I tend to be more salty and sweet. I tend to have a pretty good sense of humor. I think it runs in my family that we have this sort of attitude where if something happens, we crack a joke even if it's inappropriate. So I do tend to be more inappropriate at times then people tend to think.

MICK: Are you superstitious at all?
: I'm a little superstitious. I'm really afraid of flying. I'm terrified of flying even though I do it at like twice a week.

MICK: Are you religious?
MELISSA: Yes I am. I grew up Catholic, going to St. Lawrence in Sayville. I had my Communion and Confirmation there. When I met my husband, we became Presbyterian together.

MICK: Pick one word that would best describe you.
MELISSA: Sassy!!!

MICK: Which actors and actresses do you most admire?
MELISSA: I'm thinking Sandra Bullach and Harrison Ford

MICK: I know you are married to a well known musician [Mark Wilkerson]. Do you have any plans to do anything musically?
MELISSA: No, I don't sing very well. I'd love to do "Chicago" on Broadway but I'd have to take a lot of lessons for that!

MICK: How are your two boys doing?
MELISSA: They're doing great! Really good! Mason just started preschool in our new little town in CT; Brady is one and a half, he still won't talk but we're working on it. He loves charades but he won't talk!

: What advise would you give to any up and coming actresses?
MELISSA: You've got to have a thick skin and you've got to take the good with the bad. It's a huge uphill struggle. It's not the kind of job where the better you get at it, you move up the ladder. You hit the top and then you hit the bottom all in the same year!

MICK: Ok Melissa, lots of luck on the show!
MELISSA: Thanks Mick. Tell all Long Islanders they have to vote for me!! And vote as many times as they can! I'm also on Twitter now. My name is: MELLYJHART. I've got to get my followers up! I have to beat Demi Moore!!

For more information on Melissa Joan Hart, please see:
And don't forget to watch Melissa on "Dancing With The Stars" beginning Monday, September 21st at 8:00pm on ABC!! And VOTE for her!!!!!

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