On the set of Teen Wolf Alicia Coppola plays werewolf Talia Hale in the hit MTV series. When she’s not acting – the mom-of-three and wife to fellow actor Anthony Michael Jones is part of a new web series called ParenthoodToday TV. She also has written a book about her father’s long battle with cancer. Celebrity Baby Scoop recently interviewed Alicia on her current projects and family life.
CBS: Congratulations on your new web series on Parenthood Today TV! Can you give us the scoop? What’s the format? How did you get involved? What kind of information or advice will you be providing to parents?
AC: Thank you so much!!! ParenthoodToday TV is an online destination for parenting resources for all ages and stages (from pregnancy and toddlers to teens and family), delivered in a convenient and user-friendly video format. I am so lucky to be invited to be a part of this amazing concept for ParenthoodToday TV. I am very grateful to have the opportunity to talk about all aspects of Motherhood, from pregnancy, to miscarriages, to breastfeeding, from my InVitro cycles to my PostPartum Depression. I talk about my childhood with an ill parent and my father’s death.
I share my hopes and dreams for myself and my family. So often women don’t talk about these issues. We are so bogged down with life’s quotidian duties that we don’t speak about what is on our minds, what is in our hearts. It is imperative for us to talk, to share, for when we do, we learn, we grow and ultimately, we heal. While we may be on very different parts of this gorgeous ride of Womanhood, Wifedom, and Motherhood, we are nonetheless on it together. My channel is PTTV’s first series of originally produced content, featured exclusively on PTTV, and my hopefully insightful parenting tips and stories are a great addition to the site’s video catalog.
CBS: You also recently published your first book “Gracefully Gone”. Was it hard to write about your dad’s battle with cancer? Did it help you heal?
AC: I did just recently publish Gracefully Gone, available at the above link. t has been an exciting time for me and for my family. It was not hard for me to write about my father’s battle with and ultimate death from brain cancer. It was enlightening and fun and exhausting and trying and exciting…it was everything! It was a twenty-two year journey for me that started in 1980 with the first of my father’s words in his journal. It was his dream to have his words reach others so that he might help; so that other people going thru a similar experience would know they were not alone. In 1989, when I began my own journal as I cared for him as he was dying and after as I continued to write, his dream became mine. It has been a privilege and an honor to publish my father’s story, our story.
Writing Gracefully Gone has helped me heal. I have been able to get to know my father as a man. I have been given the gift of a glimpse into the husband and partner he was to my mother, the friend he was to all who met him and the fears and anxieties and dreams he had in his life. I know how much he loved my brother Matthew and me. I think I can say that I understand my father more now than I did when I was a child. In his death I have more of a relationship with him in a way. I was a child when he was so ill. His disease caused a separation if you will between us. Now the only things that separates us is geography. I feel him everyday.
CBS: Both projects are a bit of a departure from your role on Teen Wolf. How has playing ‘Talia’ help you grow as an actor?
AC: I have always been a writer. Gracefully Gone is just the first book I have published. There are hopefully more to come! Playing Talia was actually a very easy fit for me. Above all else, Talia is a fierce mother who will do anything to protect her children. I identify with that. I understand loving someone so much you will do whatever it takes to protect them. As a child, in my book, I talk about protecting my little brother and my father. As an adult, it is my job to protect and love my little girls. I am a bit fanatical about both! I loved Talia’s strength and the fact that she could shape shift into a wolf is pretty cool! I wouldn’t mind having that talent. The only things I shape shift into are laundress, chef, hiney-wiper, soccer-sherpa, waitress and chauffeur.
CBS: Tell us about your three daughters. How old are they and what are they into?
AC: Mila is 11 going on 45. She is strong, mindful and confident. She is a great student, loves soccer and is Forward and Keeper on her Club Team. She loves to knit and make rubber band bracelets and is a terrific big sister.
Esmé is 4 and is an angel. Truly. She has an understanding of the human condition that belies her age. She will give anything to anyone in need and is quick and liberal with hugs. She loves art, soccer and candy.
Greta is 3 going on to be a 55 year old Mafia Don. She is fierce, tenacious and will defend anyone against anything. She is beautiful and loyal and loves anything having to do with princesses, tiaras, fashion and glittery shoes. I truly believe she is the next Kate Middleton, she will marry a prince. I am blessed beyond deserving by my children. They have given me more and mean more to me than they can ever know.
CBS: We love their names, Mila, Esme and Greta! How did you choose them? Is there a story?
AC: I worked with Mila Kunis when she was a little girl and loved her and her name. So we named our first little girl, Mila. Her middle name Roslena, for Anthony’s mother Roselene, who passed away a month and half before Mila was born. Also, one of my favorite actresses is Rosalind Russell so Mila is Mila Roslena (Rosalind Russell) Jones.
Esmé is for JD Salinger’s For Esmé with Love and Squalor. Marlena is her middle name for Marlene Dietrich. Esmé is Esmé Marlena (Dietrich) Jones.
Greta named herself. I was laying down in my bed after taking all those prenatal tests the Dr.s make you take and I heard a little voice say “I am a little girl. My name is Greta Helena and I have green eyes and red hair.” Well she has green eyes but brown hair!!! For now. She can dye it later!! Greta is Greta Helena (Garbo) Jones. For Greta Garbo, who “just wants to be alone,” which is Greta’s favorite thing to say other than “NO! I DON’T LIKE THAT!”
CBS: Are you dealing with girl drama? What’s it like raising all girls?
AC: Don’t get me started on the girl drama. It’s only noon here in LA so not time for wine yet. Girls are scary. I believe when there are three or more pre-teen girls in a group, you have a sleeper cell. They are emotional terrorists. Starts at 3 and I have no idea when it ends. I am 45 and I still think girls can be mean. There are hormones raging and doors slamming and tears flowing and boobies budding and all sorts of stuff, which I have the good fortune of doing again with Esmé and Greta in a few years. I can only say that I am remembering my own childhood, saying sorry a lot to my own mother and trying to guide my girls thru the girl drama unharmed and with as little scarring as humanly possible.
CBS: Do you feel like you’re able to give them a “normal” family life even though you and your husband are both actors? How do you keep the family grounded?
AC: I love this question. I think there is a misconception among people that “actors” are a breed apart. That we all live in huge compounds with pools and tennis courts and helipads and have gazillions of dollars and people who wait on us hand and foot, while our children sit on tiny bejeweled thrones and are secluded from the world in bubble wrap and 13 nannies.
While this may be true for some people, this has never been my reality, nor the reality of many actors I know. Some have big houses with pools and that’s good because we go there to swim. But we are just like everyone else. The only difference is that when I go places with my children they are aware that people know who I am because they know my work. My daughters understand that I am an actress and are proud of that. We live in a small home on a lovely open street. My children go to school and have play dates and soccer and ballet and are just like any other kid. In fact in some way I feel badly for the children of actors, of artists in general. In an artists life, there is ebb and flow. Sometimes we work, sometimes we don’t. Sometimes there is a lot of money and sometimes there isn’t. It is hard to explain this concept, this artists reality to a child. We have had this conversation with our daughters and try to help them understand this but it’s hard. They have, thru watching their father and me, learned to dream, to have goals and desires for themselves and to persevere, to keep on moving on no matter what. This keeps us all grounded.
CBS: Any other projects you’d like to share with us?
AC: You know me, I am always doing something…