In the new VH1 sitcom So NoTORIous, Tori Spelling plays a fictional version of (wait for it . . . ) Tori Spelling. Tori-watchers will recognize this character as the Beverly Hills, 90210 star who grew up in a mansion complete with at least one gift-wrapping room.
But there are some differences: The faux Tori is single, while the real Tori is engaged to actor Dean McDermott, her boyfriend of seven months. To separate more fact from fiction, Spelling, 32, sat down with PEOPLE’s Ulrica Wihlborg.
In the show, you tackle all the jokes about yourself. How does it feel to be the one to make the joke?
It s been really freeing. I ve been a target my entire life. At this point, there s nothing anyone can say that will faze me. Bring it on! It s more material for the show.
So you re beyond being offended?
VH1 and Out magazine are (throwing) a party for the show, and they re hiring Tori drag queens! They were like, “Does that offend you?” Of course it doesn t offend me! There s this famous drag queen called Suppositori Spelling. I m like, “You have to find her!”
In the show you have a close relationship with the woman who was your nanny growing up. Is that based on real life?
Yes. I had a nanny who was like a second mother to me (she has since passed away). She was the biggest influence on me growing up. When I think about how I want to raise a child, it s always things she taught me. I got my manners from her, for example. I wanted to pay homage to her; she would be so excited.
When the Tori character dates, it seems the guy always has an ulterior motive – either money or an acting job.
I ve had that experience – I d go on a couple of dates and think everything was great, and then I d get a call and he d say, Hey, can you ask your dad (TV producer Aaron Spelling) if I can audition for his show?
You re a producer of So NoTORIous – have you always wanted to emulate your dad in that respect?
I always wanted to learn about that world. On summer vacations since I was 5 years old, I would go to the office with him every day if I could and pretend I was his assistant. When my brother wanted to play with toys, I wanted to go to the (Dynasty) set and hang out with Joan Collins!
Your mother on the show is a pretty unlikeable character – is it true your real mom isn t speaking to you because of it?
It s not true. My family knows the mother is not based on my mother. I like the mother-daughter dynamic on the show, because I think it s a difficult relationship, and that s something my mother and I have always shared. But that should never be taken as we don t love each other.”
For more of PEOPLE’s interview with Tori Spelling, pick up this week’s issue, on newsstands now.