Q: What is it about “Cast of Diabetes” that really made you want to be a part of it and champion it?
A: I’m really excited about this campaign and I’m really excited to be a partnered with Sanofi US. It’s called “Diabetes Co-Stars Campaign” and it’s a campaign which raises awareness of diabetes and the co-stars or the people in our lives who help and support us on this journey. I’m going to be making a documentary film, partnering with Sanofi US, about the importance of support in our lives managing diabetes, living with diabetes and the people in our lives who support us. If you go to http://www.diabetescostars.com you can submit your entry and your nominations for the people, if you’re a diabetic or a person living with diabetes, if there’s somebody in your life who is supporting you through this or if you support someone living with diabetes. It’s a very important campaign to me and my husband who is my co-star and is kind of on this journey with me.
Q: Why is it important to be championing this cause right now? Obviously, diabetes is extremely important, but what is it now that makes you want to do the documentary at this point?
A: When I was diagnosed in 2005 with Type 1 diabetes, at the beginning this was not something that I really shared with my coworkers or my family. It was something that I was very isolated with. It wasn’t until I really started opening up to my husband and my family that I realized how vital he was in helping me to manage my diabetes. Together, we learned how to cook differently and how to eat differently. It became a family affair. We learned to exercise more regularly. We had less stress in our lives. I also use insulin; I’m insulin dependent. I use the Lantus SoloSTAR insulin pen, which is amazing. It’s very easy and fits into my schedule. But I had to learn about insulin and to be aware some of the serious possible side-effects like low blood sugar and if you have any allergies. I think it’s an important conversation to have with their doctor about their personal diabetes management. But without the support of my husband, my family and my coworkers on the television show, it’s not something that I was managing as successfully as I am now. That’s why this campaign of “Diabetes Co-Stars” is so important to me, because it’s my story and it was vital to me to have that kind of support. This campaign is to raise awareness about those people, those amazing people in our life who are our support and strength on one of the journeys. It’s a twenty-four hour a day, seven day a week journey that I’m on. So, I thought it would be great to, with Sanofi US, make a documentary involving a nationwide casting call to find other co-stars out there who are out there every day inspiring and cheering on people who are living with the condition of diabetes. We have a website and you can find all the information about submitting a video nomination or a written testimonial. It’s a great website. There’s my story, there’s other links to resources and it’s just a great place to check out. This particular campaign is important to me because a support system like this can provide the encouragement that you sometimes need to overcome the obstacles of living with diabetes and just improve your overall diabetes management.
Q: What have you been doing to reach out? Have you been using social networking? Have you been using any of those types of mediums to kind of capitalize and spread the word?
A: Absolutely. This is a campaign that we want to get out there to raise awareness and to, like I said, cheer on those people who are there for the people living with diabetes. So, it’s a sort of casting call to find those people and to hear inspiring stories. It is so important to have a great support network and this film that we’re going to be making is a way to honor all of those diabetes co-stars who are out there supporting other people that are living with diabetes and they deserve to be recognized, including my co-star, my husband, Julio.
Q: Have you been getting a lot of feedback from people wanting to participate, wanting to tell a friend?
A: Absolutely, we’ve been getting a lot of people coming on to the website. That was the whole point of this. We wanted to be able to reach as many people as we possibly can. When I was first diagnosed with Type 1, I only shared it with my closest, closest family and friends. It was something that I was doing alone. With the support of my family, I was finally able to open up about living with diabetes. It was a huge weight off of my shoulders. I know that a lot of other people feel the same. It’s a condition that needs to be managed, and managed well, to live with it successfully.
Q: I know that you are working on this new show called “How to Live with Your Parents for the Rest of Your Life.” How has balancing being a part of the show and taking care of yourself for your diabetes been for you with the schedule?
A: Well, I think the big difference for me has been the support of my family and friends. There’s not a day goes by that I don’t feel that they have my back. Sometimes, when I’m having a particularly long day, my husband says we will still go for a walk. He’s the person who supports me and helps me on this journey. He’s my inspiration. That’s why this campaign is so important to me. It’s all about collaboration and support and making the management of my diabetes a family affair. It’s changed my life.
Q: I’m really thrilled to be able to get to see you back on TV. Obviously, we got to see you in “Weeds” and have been missing your wonderful comedy presence. I wanted to find out with “How to Live…,” what is it about the project or the role that really drew you back to television?
A: For me, it was a chance to work with Brad Garrett and Sarah Chalke, who are both two amazingly funny people. And the creator wrote a great role for me. She’s completely the opposite of what I was doing on “Weeds,” and for an actor, you want to be able to expand yourself and always grow. Celia on “Weeds” was a very sort of dark presence. I wanted to play somebody lighter and happier. Elaine, my character, is incredibly positive and it’s kind of how I feel in my life right now. So, that just sort of fit in with what I wanted to be doing. I’m very excited about it. We’re going to be airing sometime in April on ABC.
Q: You mentioned a little bit about your co-stars with “How to Live…,” Brad Garrett and Sarah Chalke. Did the chemistry with them come naturally? Were you friends with Brad beforehand?
A: No, I hadn’t met either Brad or Sarah before we started working on the show, but it was one of those situations where the casting was right. There wasn’t sort of that off, odd choice where you go, “Oh, that person does not work.” Everything fell into place. Brad and I just get along like a house afire. He’s one of the kindest men I’ve ever worked with and the same with Sarah. That always makes going to work a lot better. It’s a lot easier to keep pulling fourteen hour days when you really like the people you’re working with and I’m not just saying that because I’m talking to you. I really love them and I’m really hoping we stay on the air. I think we will. I think we’re pretty funny. I look forward to it.
Q: Is there anything about the show that you really think will be drawing viewers in?
A: What’s interesting about our show is, I think, it’s very timely. We play parents whose daughter moves back into the family home, she has her own six-year-old daughter, because she really can’t afford to be out there on her own right now. I think that we all know someone whose children have moved back home because of how difficult the economy is right now. It’s what it’s like for the multi-generational family to function as a unit in today’s society. It’s very challenging and very funny and very poignant. It’s hard, but it’s family. So I think it’s a very timely show, particularly right now.
Q: Is there anything about the show or the diabetes campaign that we didn’t mention that we should make sure that we share, beyond the website and spreading the word? Is there anything else that we can make sure that we mention?
A: It’s not just about submitting for the documentary, it’s also to hear my story, to hear my husband’s story about his support of me living with diabetes and links to resources there. I think it’s a great place for people to know that they can check in and find that they’re not alone and that other people are living with this condition and going through the same obstacles and challenges that they are.
Q: For people like myself who have really been great fans and supporters of you and your work, is there something that you would like to say to them regarding their support or tune into the show in January?
A: Oh yes, please tune into the show! ABC, Wednesdays since April 3rd with Brad Garrett, Sarah Chalke and myself. Come and supporthttp://www.diabetescostars.com. If you are living with diabetes or are the costar and support of someone who is living with diabetes, nominate them and you could be in a documentary with me!
Source: Starry Constellation Magazine