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Debi Mazar Talks 'Dancing With the Stars' and the Final Season of 'Entourage'

by Katy Kroll, posted May 20th 2011 1:00PM
It seems like Debi Mazar has been around forever, jump-starting her career in the mid-'80s as Madonna's sidekick in such music videos as 'Papa Don't Preach' and 'True Blue.' By the early '90s, she'd found her niche with roles in movies like 'Goodfellas' and 'Jungle Fever' playing the girl with the striking pin-up-style looks and thick Queens accent.

But Mazar is probably best known as Vincent Chase's sharp-tongued publicist Shauna on 'Entourage' -- and for her short-lived stint on Season 9 of 'Dancing With the Stars.' And her delightful cooking show, 'Extra Virgin,' was just picked up for a second season on the Cooking Channel.

Here, she dishes on the ups and downs of the three weeks she spent 'Dancing,' how her love of family and Tuscan food blossomed into a new career path and what we can expect from the series finale of 'Entourage.'

Do you think the scoring on 'DWTS' is fair, especially when someone like you can be up against a pro athlete or very young actress?
I didn't really feel it was unfair. Certain athletic skills can hinder a performance. If you're a big World Wrestling champion, you might be stiffer and not have grace. So there are advantages and disadvantages to certain skills you might have. A lot of it's about how "your package" comes out each week, when they put that damn camera on you backstage. That made me feel uncomfortable because I'd be like, "Why are you focusing on an argument that [partner] Maks [Chmerkovskiy] and I got into while we were really frustrated versus a beautiful moment that we had? Like, for instance, one day I brought in my husband, kids and 18-year-old poodle, and I wish they had showed those moments because I think the audience wants to see happy and fun, not me yelling or crying. But that's part of what makes the show exciting, I suppose.

Were you upset that you didn't last longer?
Well, the day that I got kicked off the show my grandmother had a stroke. It was the week I did a really kooky samba, and I really wanted to do good because I knew my husband would think it was so hot to see me do some butt-shakin' moves in this funny Fruit Loops-looking outfit. I did so well that, at one point, the crowd was screaming and I was so excited that I turned around to look at Maks and lost all my footing. It really, really sucked, and I was really sad because I had worked so hard and I was so excited to have the crowd screaming that I made a wrong turn, forgot my footwork and got low scores. So, I got kicked off.

That's when host Tom Bergeron asked if my last name was pronounced MA-zar or ma-ZAR, so I explained how to properly say it. I wanted to finally set the record straight about my name because my grandmother was watching, and at the end I got to say, "Hi grandma, I love you." Then, as I'm going to the airport, I got a phone call that she had a major stroke. Luckily, I was on my way to New York anyway, so I ended up staying with her until she died in my arms three weeks later. I would have had to pull out of 'Dancing' because of the situation, so I wouldn't have gone any further anyway.

Did the exposure directly help you get your cooking show, 'Extra Virgin'?
It definitely drew attention to my blog, UnderTheTuscanGun.com, but I can't really say that it was due to 'Dancing.' However, the Cooking Channel was newly forming when I got kicked off, and I had my first meeting around that time. Six months later, I was shooting. I think it was mainly due to the content of my website, which is fantastic and has a broad appeal. But 'Dancing' did drive traffic to the website.

How did you and your husband, Gabriele Corcos, come up with the idea?
Gabriele, who I met in Tuscany, was really my inspiration for re-working and Tuscanizing a lot of the dishes I knew how to make. He taught me how to make great food; food that his family has made for generations. We just had so much fun cooking together, it became this sexy kind of thing. Then we had kids, and it was all about eating and love and the kitchen. One day we just decided to film this recipe that we were making and post it on YouTube, and people started responding like crazy, so it kind of forced us to keep on going.

Why is your show different?
We live in Hollywood, but I'm not "Hollywood." I may be an actor, but I'm a working actor. I'm not, like, a big, huge star or anything. I'm originally blue collar, so people don't find me threatening or feel like I have a kitchen they could never have. We use basic stuff we get from the grocery store or the farmer's market. When we finally got the show, the producers said, "Do you want to shoot in a studio or rent a house?" We decided on using our own kitchen, because that's really what people related to. They relate to being in our little, humble home and having the experience of realness, with the kids and old dog passing through. Even someone living in a trailer or a New York City apartment the size of an airplane kitchen can make the same meals we're making.

As for 'Entourage,' are you in the final season?
Yes, I am. I think they're either doing eight or 13 episodes overall, and I know for sure that I'll be in two. I'm very excited about it -- I'm curious how it's all going to end. I follow a few guys on Twitter who are privy to what the whole series is going to be about and they've said it's going to be "mind-blowing." So ... it's bittersweet. It's been a nice opportunity for me. I love portraying Shauna, 'cause she's fun, smart, a hard worker and gets to deal with all these crazy situations. Yeah, I'm sad. But that's how it goes, you know?

Is there any truth to the rumor that there might be a feature film?
Yes, I'm hearing there's a film version coming out. No one has talked to me directly about it yet, as we were on hiatus for a long time, but there's been a lot of buzz about it. I hope they will have me back as Shauna. I'm pretty sure there's a definite audience. I cannot walk down the street in any place in the world without people who have seen 'Entourage' walking up to me. It's an incredible pop-culture thing.

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Eludium Q36

Her role on short-lived divorce-lawyer drama "Civil Wars" ('92-'93) is what put her on most people's radar, mine included.

May 21 2011 at 4:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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