Shiri In Bliss
By Amanda Rudolph
In real life, Roswell costar Shiri Appleby is far from an alienated teen
Fans of the teen-alienated saga Roswell might be surprised to learn that Shiri Appleby almost didn’t land the role of Liz Parker, the soft-spoken heroine of the WB hit series. “I actually couldn’t get an audition for the part. The casting director didn’t want me,” reveals the 21-year-old, who’s made lots of female viewers jealous this season because she gets to cozy up to her hot male costar Jason Behr-even though his extraterrestrial nature makes their relationship a little, um, difficult at times. Fortunately, Appleby was hanging with the right crowd. “A friend of mine knew the executive producer and gave him my picture and resume. I was really embarrassed because I felt like I was cheating,” she says, shifting in her seat as a makeup artist carefully plucks her delicately arched brows. It’s Appleby’s first cover shoot and she has brought her mother along for moral support. Mom sits quietly as her daughter basks in the spotlight.
“I auditioned for three of the female roles, including that of Liz,” recalls Shiri (which means “my song” in Hebrew). At her seventh callback, the producers asked her to read for the part of Liz opposite the already-cast Behr. “I had never met him before,” Appleby says, “though I’d seen him on Dawson’s Creek.” Despite their offscreen unfamiliarity, the on-screen chemistry was there, and Appleby, then a sophomore at the University of Southern California, got the call of a lifetime while driving home from the final audition. “I just hung up and called my parents right away. Had to call the parents,” she says. Appleby describes her mom and dad (Dena, a schoolteacher; Jerry a telecommunications executive) and 19-year-old brother Evan, as being very supportive of her career, which began at the age of four with a Raisin Bran commercial. But don’t expect Rosie O’Donnell or any other talk show host to be pulling that tape from the archives. “It never actually aired,” Appleby says.
However, those two scoops of raisins were not in vain. Appleby went on to make numerous commercials, but she thought of acting more as a hobby than as an eventual career. “The audition process was kind of like a game to me. If I got a job, that was an extra bonus,” she recalls. “Growing up, I wasn’t at all athletic, so my brother had soccer and acting was my thing.” It wasn’t until Appleby was 11 that she realized actors got paid. Her first big acting payday came in junior high when she landed a guest spot on TV’s Doogie Howser, M.D. “I played this girl in the hospital who had a big crush on Doogie.” she says, blushing at the memory. Appleby never did get to smooch the pubescent doc. But that was fine by her because growing up, she was actually more of a Fred Savage fan. “I kind of looked like Winnie Cooper, because I had the long hair and the bangs. I just loved The Wonder Years.” she says.
During her own wonder years, Appleby decided to ditch Hollywood-temporarily. “I just wanted to experience high school. I knew it was the one time in my life I wouldn’t want to miss, so I didn’t work at all for those four years,” she says. Instead, the girl who was voted Most Spirited by her classmates at Calabasas High in Los Angeles’ West San Fernando Valley stayed busy with the yearbook committee, school leadership, and though she keeps it off her resume these days, cheerleading for a year.
Once high school ended, so did Appleby’s rah-rah enthusiasm for academia. “When I got to college, I thought, ‘I don’t want to do this. I know what I want to do,'” she says. And like that, she was back in the auditioning game. Of course, Appleby would never trade what she’s doing now for the life of a coed. But every so often she gets the urge to head back to school. So, she does. “I visit some of my friends who go to college about an hour and a half from Los Angeles. I like the idea that there’s this little community with other people my age,” she says. Looks like Appleby hasn’t lost that school spirit after all.
Toto, we’re not in Roswell anymore
Before beginning her grueling shooting schedule for Roswell, Shiri Appleby and her two pals, Kristina and Lara, who have been friends since first grade, decided to take an European vacation. Together, they backpacked for 12 days through Spain and France. “Paris was definitely my favorite lace,” says Appleby, who brought along a camera and took hundreds of snapshots. “I’d heard that the city was hard to get around and none of us spoke French. But we had guidebooks and people were really helpful. As long as we were polite, they were great”
(Shiri kissing a statue and a pic of her and her friend Kristina in Madrid’s Plaza Mayor)
Above Left: “Here I am kissing a statue in the city of love. I was raised in Los Angeles where it’s not politically correct to be affectionate in public. In Paris, I saw couples my parents’ age kissing in the street. To me, it was refreshing that people are so comfortable with each other.”
Above: “My friend Kristina and I look pretty tiny in Madrid’s Plaza Mayor where many bullfights take place.”
(Picture of Kristina, Shiri and Lara smiling)
Above: “Here I am in Paris with Kristina (left) and Lara. This was taken at the park in front of the Louvre. We went to the museum that morning, but after two hours we were so over looking at pictures. Later, we sat by a little fountain for four hours and reminisced. It was really special.”
- Article on families in WB shows – Roswell mentioned
- Prime Time TV is Filled with other Marys and Rhodas