In college, when a girlfriend asks you to watch a film in black and white, you do it. That's when I discovered a lot of films. I was really obsessed with Bergman, the whole world he creates. One that I always quote a lot is 'Autumn Sonata.' When you see women go through issues with their mom, you realize how right and poignant Bergman was.
I realized that if you try to be the perfect mom, perfect wife, perfect actress, you start to feel overwhelmed. You shut down. I got that really fast... I was running back and forth from breast-feeding to filming a scene, overextending myself on every level. I realized I have to make priorities, and my family is number one no matter what.
I like to tell kids that I started thinking about stories when I first started reading stuff like Dr. Seuss and 'Go, Dog. Go!,' thinking, 'Oh yeah, that's funny. I'd like to do that.' And then writing throughout school, but at the same time I was studying pre-med stuff, because my mom told me I should be a doctor.
After church on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, my family would go chop down our Christmas tree. Once it was home and placed in its stand, Mom and I would painstakingly decorate our tree. It took hours to place the tinsel, string the lights, find the perfect spot for my favorite macaroni and felt ornaments from kindergarten.
I would say that my role model, as far as just somebody leading by example, which to me is what a great youth counselor does - they are there to talk to and lead by example - would be my mom, but she wasn't a youth counselor. She was a teacher, and she is a good person and definitely one of the biggest influences in my life.