CBB Favorite, Days of Our Lives and Biggest Loser star Alison Sweeney is working with Huggies to help them celebrate their 30th anniversary, so we had a great excuse/opportunity to chat with her again. This time, we asked for your questions. Unfortunately she wasn’t allowed to dish on Days of Our Lives plotlines, but she did tell us a little about what goes on behind the scenes (if you want to stay on her good side, do not spill her morning tea!).
Alison, 31, is getting ready for the arrival of her and husband Dave Sanov‘s baby girl, due to arrive January 20th. She will be joining their son, Benjamin Edward, 3 ½.
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CBB: Tell us about this partnership with Huggies.
Alison: To celebrate their 30th anniversary, they are honoring real moms.Being a mom [is really different in] today’s society, different thanthe moms of 30 years ago. In some ways the moms of today are workingharder and doing a lot more and juggling a lot more and getting theirkids taken care of, and there’s just so much going on in today’s world,and Huggies wanted to honor and celebrate that, so they are finding 30moms from actors the country who can go to the website,generationhuggies.com, fill out and application and submit a video, andthey’re going to pick 30 moms that they’re going to do a whole campaignaround.
Which moms in your life would you like to honor?
My own! I’m so lucky to have really great parents who have stood byme and helped me and nurtured me and my brothers. We just have a reallygreat family. I’m very lucky to be part of a very close-knit family. Alot of the things that I focus on and that I try to be as a mom myselfis the stuff that I’ve learned from my own mom, and my dad too, so I’mvery lucky in that way. And I’d definitely love to celebrate myparents.
Our reader D wants to know, What is the one most essential value,philosophy or tradition you want to pass on to Ben and his sister?
It’s a tough one, because there’s so much important stuff that’s outthere. But in a way it simplifies down to that I want my children to beloving, caring people. And to care about each other, care about us,care about the environment, care about the world and the people aroundthem. And I think it all spirals out from there. I feel myresponsibility as a parent is to help my children see how important itis to love themselves, and love each other and the world around them.
Stéph wants to know, Do you have names picked out for your baby?
We definitely have been talking about it a lot. Dave and I havebeen trying to figure out what the right name for our daughter wouldbe, and Ben has had some influence too.
Has he suggested any off-the-wall names?
Let me give you the back story on this: Ben’s fish is named "Fishythe fish." His toy shark is "Sharky the shark." His crab is "Crabby thecrab." So from his perspective, we should name the baby, "Baby thebaby." Now, he hasn’t even asked us, he’s just taken to calling her"Ariel," from The Little Mermaid.
So are you considering those suggestions? Or humoring him?
I’m not sure how to handle his disappointment, but there’s verylittle chance of "Baby the baby" or Ariel making it as our baby name!
Now we don’t want to pressure you but Stéph wants to know if youplan to have more kids. Do you want to have a big family? Bigger thantwo kids?
No actually, Dave and I have talked about it, and we want to stick to two.
Well in that case, this next question is relevant… Phoebe wants to know, When the cloning process is totally perfected, canI have some of Ben’s DNA? Because he’s so cute and I would like one ofmy own.
Thank you, that’s very sweet of her to say. I feel the same way – Ifeel like Ben is just so precious and I love him very much. He’s thecutest thing.
Amy would like know if you will have a nanny once yourdaughter is born? She’s curious how you plan on taking care of yourtoddler and newborn while working but also managing to take care ofyourself?
We do have people who help us. My husband and I both work full-timejobs – in fact I work two full-time jobs – so that seems like a prettyobvious answer. With our lifestyle we have to figure out what’s bestfor our family.
J Hark asked, How do your co-stars treat you when you’re pregnant? Are they more delicate around you?
I would say the world is more delicate around you when you’repregnant. Everyone is much more sensitive and nice and lets you sitdown. And sometimes it can be a little smothering, because everyone’slooking out for you and reminding you to sit down and reminding you todrink your water or reminding you to do this or that and you’re like "Igot it! I know I’m pregnant! I’m with ya." So you feel like you kind ofwant to remind them that you’ve got it covered, but at the same timeit’s so nice when people open doors for me or carry stuff – I’ve beentraveling a lot for The Biggest Loser – and guys just automaticallytake my luggage out of the overhead bin for me. It’s just nice to knowthat people really care about babies and pregnancies and really lookout for you.
Roger Karnbad/Celebrity Photo
Even with a nanny, you’re basically the hardest working mama inshowbiz! Janice V. wantes to know your secret: How do you find theenergy to do everything that you do? You never look tired or unhappy.
James Scott (who plays E.J. on Days of Our Lives)always teases me about that. Whenever he finds out, because I try notto talk a lot about it, but it’s tiring — I work really late at nightwith The Biggest Loser sometimes and I have to do Days of Our Lives thenext morning. Sometimes through conversation he’ll figure out I was uplate the night before, and he’ll be like, "Can you please complainabout your hours? It’s really upsetting to me that you don’t complainor whine and that you’re never tired." I don’t have that kind ofenergy! I’m too tired to complain about it, and no one wants to hear mewhine. It’s boring and uninteresting. I try to not talk about it – if Ithink about it too much it makes me tired.
It’s a trick I learned frommy parents actually. I’ve been on Days since I was a teenager, and Iremember the first time I had to do my finals for school while I wasshooting the show, my mom and dad sat me down and were talking to meabout how important my academics were, and they were worried about mebeing overwhelmed. They said, "Take it one day at a time. Don’t stressabout the test you have on Thursday, focus on what you’re doingtomorrow. Just one day at a time." So that’s what I’ve really focusedon throughout this crazy schedule – taking it one day at a time and notletting myself get stressed out.
Along those lines, Christine would like to know, What does your schedule look like? A day in the life?
Every day is different for me. To give you an example of a hard day,which usually happens two or three times a week — I wake up at about5:45 a.m. and go to the Coffee Bean to get tea every morning. BecauseI’m a Virgo, and I have to. Luckily I live close to the studio.
I’llwork at Days of Our Lives from about 6:30 a.m. to noon. There’s hairand makeup, then rehearsal, then we shoot the scenes. I usually leavearound noon, and sometimes my publicist fits in an appearance, like atalk show, in the afternoon — for example, I did Chelsea Lately theother day — then I go to The Biggest Loser after that. I’ll work atThe Biggest Loser from 4 p.m. to whenever we’re done, which issometimes midnight or 1 a.m. Then I come home, and obviously you can’tgo to sleep right away – you’re still jazzed – so I read a little bit,go to sleep, and wake up. Sometimes I have to be at work again at 6:30a.m. the next day.
And you only drink tea?!
Well I can’t have a lot of caffeine. So I try to really save it forthat first morning moment, when I need it the most. I’m a little lessreasonable when I’m pregnant. One time James knocked over my tea. Iliterally had
the moment, "I might freak out right now; this might bethe moment where I lose control." But he caught it and stopped it fromfalling. I was like, "You don’t realize! You just saved me!" The wholemoment flashed through my head – like I was really going to have aconniption fit – but he saved my life!
Kristen asked, The cameras usually only show you on The BiggestLoser at temptations, challenges and the weigh-ins. Are you on campus alot more and the cameras just don’t show it? About how many times aweek do you have to go and film?
I go film about four days a week on campus, and I go there and workout with the contestants and hang out with them. We’re together a lotmore than is shown on TV.
Vince Flores/Celebrity Photo
What kind of activities do you do with Ben: impromptu things, classes, organized activities?
When he was younger I did a lot of stuff with him, we did theGymboree type things, like the play gym and the mommy-and-me class. Nowthat he’s a little bit older he’s in preschool. It’s half-day,everyday. He has some after-school things he does – he goes to soccerclass, which I love – and he comes to work with me a lot.
For examplewhen I go to The Biggest Loser, Dave will bring him out to set and we’ll play. He’ll play on the big grassy area out front of The Biggest Losercampus, he’ll play with me out there which is so cute. We’ll kick aball around, or he brings his little baseball and bat. Sometimes thecontestants play with him, he races him, so he has a lot of fun. It’sfun for us, and good for the contestants.
Does that ever make it on air?
No, that’s not what it’s about.
Patricia would like to know, When you’re moderating The BiggestLoser, what do you do to keep from tearing up when someone is votedoff? It gets pretty emotional, and by the look on your face, you’vecome pretty close to crying.
It’s definitely very emotional. It’s tough to be in that situationwhere you have to say goodbye to people every week in the eliminationroom. It’s definitely a hard one for me because I care about them allso much. I’m sort of a cheerleader and an objective person on campus. Idon’t have any alliances and I’m not a party of the game myself – I’mjust rooting for all of them to succeed and lose weight, so it isreally hard for me to say goodbye to everyone. But I think it’s reallytheir experience, their journey, so I think it’s my job to try andinspire and encourage them.
As difficult as this part is, to saygoodbye to their friends, it’s the next step. Now they’re on to thenext part of their journey and the next chapter, and I feel that it’smy role to be as encouraging as I can on that level.
Kristen would like to know, Did you have any say in how the writers were going to write your pregnancy on to Days of Our Lives?
No, I didn’t participate in that at all. The actors are the actorsand the writers are the writers so we stay separate. We just act it out!
Emily Jones wants to know, What are your maternity leave plans?How long will you be taking off? When? What do you plan to doafterwards?
24 hours! I really have no idea. We’re in the middle of shooting The Biggest Loser 7,which stars in January, so I’ll be in the middle of production on thatshow when I have my daughter. So I really have no idea how much timeI’ll have. Hopefully it’ll be minimal. If everything goes according toplan it won’t be difficult, and if everyone’s healthy I can get back towork pretty quickly, which will be great. But if not, we’ll deal withthat when it comes.
Days of Our Lives is sort of the same thing. I honestly don’tknow what their plan is, so I told them that my ideal situation for mewould be to pre- and post-tape stuff, which is how they sometimeshandle it. With my first pregnancy, they wrote in Stan to play mycharacter when I was gone, then brought me back when I was ready.
Withthis pregnancy I think they’re leaning toward keeping the story going,and pre- and post-taping scenes, which is how they handled it when Krista Allenhad her baby. So you shoot scenes in advance to cover for you whileyou’re gone. I told them I’d be open to that – we’d shoot as manyscenes as we could leading up to my absence. And hopefully that’d coverit so on the air you’d never really see it. And now [my character] Sami Brady is pregnant. So now I’m not sure what’s better: Shoot thescenes where Sami’s giving birth while I’m pregnant, or after I getback?
What’s Sami’s due date?
Ironically, our due dates would be pretty close. I think that makes the timing pretty similar, but that never matters to them.