September 25, 2006 12:00 PM

In Fashion Houseairing five nights a week on MyNetworkTV], you and Bo Derek play rival fashionistas who constantly get into catfights. Say two best friends are in love with the same guy. Is he worth fighting over?

No man is worth a catfight. If he would let you fight another woman for him, he’s too self-centered for you anyway. I’ve always felt that if he really wants to be with somebody else, let him.

If you’re someone who always falls for guys who break your heart, how do you learn from past mistakes?

Well, if you don’t, you’re pretty stupid! [Laughs] I think you have to sit down and do a self-analysis. I did that at one point. I would always say, “Oh, there’s something wrong with me that I like this kind of guy.” My mother would say, “No, no, you’re perfect, they just chase you.” And I’d say, “Yeah, but, Mom, a lot of guys chase me. These are the ones I respond to.” I just started making very conscious choices not to go there anymore. So I met a man who is terrific for me and we’ve been together for 20 years. His name is Mark Seiler and he’s not an actor—God forbid! He’s on the business end of [show] business because he’s been the president of three film companies. My boyfriend doesn’t even come to the set and watch a shoot, because he’s been there, done that. He’s got a business to run. [Laughs]

If your closet is jammed with clothes you never wear anymore but can’t seem to part with, what should you do?

I very rarely throw anything away! I’ve got storage closets full of Halston from the ’70s, Valentino, Ungaro. I have a Givenchy that he gave me years ago. I wear a lot of my own things on the show. The funny thing is, if you just hang onto them, they come back in style. Maybe not the giant shoulder pads…. Last year I had a belt with little bells on it and all the hip young girls would come up to me and say, “That’s neat! Where’d you get that?” I’d say, “1967.”

Does it ever frustrate you being stereotyped as a vixen?

I was cast 25 years ago as a glamour vixen [on Flamingo Road, and after similar roles on Paper Dolls and Falcon Crest] that’s how they tend to see me now. They don’t want me as a glamour vixen doctor. Still, I’ve always worked, and in my business that’s a blessing. One of the guys I was auditioning for on my first TV movie, The Initiation of Sarah [1978], wanted to cast me as the bitch. I said, “Let me read for one of these other roles.” And he said, “I can find a good ingenue anywhere, but a good bitch is hard to find.” And as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that’s really true.

Isn’t it also true that it’s hard to find an older working actress in Hollywood?

Yes. I see a lot of friends who are wonderful actresses not working as much as I am, and it’s not fair. Usually if they want somebody my age, 56, she has to look like a grandmother, and if they want somebody who looks like me, they go for an actress 20 years younger. There are so many women in their 40s and 50s who are still sexy and innovative and learning new things, whether it’s taking classes or starting new careers. But in Hollywood, we’re kind of thrown aside a lot, which is pretty pathetic. I wish women in this country would rise up and say, “No! We want to see women like us on TV again.”

Is that really you in those catfights or a stunt double?

There are some stunt people, but if you play back your TiVo, there are things that you can see it’s me doing it. In one episode, Bo smashes me into a cake. It’s me and I’m telling you I had cake so far up my sinuses I’m going to have to go to the ear, nose and throat specialist to get it taken care of! But it was just really, really good cake, and if you’re going to have to go face-first into a cake, it’s nice to have one that tastes good!

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