She brought her bubbly, funny personality to Dawson’s Creek and ER, but now the hilarious Busy Philipps is making an impression on the hit comedy Cougar Town. Janice Butler travels to Monte Carlo to meet her.
Born Elizabeth Jean Philipps, Busy was given her unusual nick-name from her parents as an infant because she never stopped moving around, it stuck, and after meeting her at the Monte Carlo Television Festival it’s very clear why! Another thing that took me by surprise as I pulled up a chair beside the bubbly, blonde actress was her slim, athletic frame, but I guess appearing alongside the pint-sized Courteney Cox in the hit comedy Cougar Town would give anyone the impression that they’re bigger than they are. Sporting a bright sherbet-orange strapless dress, the mother-of-one, who once worked the toy-fair circuit as a real-life Barbie is a picture of health and happiness.
"I’m into it", she beams, when I asked about her relationship with fashion.
"My credit card statement would rather if I wasn’t but I do love shopping, however having my baby has put the kibosh on it a little bit."
Two years ago, Busy, who is married to screen-writer Marc Silverstein gave birth to their first child, a little girl, called Birdie. When it came to loosing the baby-weight, she is refreshingly open, by Hollywood standards, when she admits that she found it a difficult task.
"I think it all depends on how much weight you gain when you’re pregnant. If you happen to be an actress who gains twenty pounds then I imagine you could be out in a slinky black dress in a month, but if you happen to be an actress like myself who gained eighty pounds it takes a little bit longer," she says with her attention-grabbing laugh.
"I went through a real period after my baby was born when I was over-weight that I thought I would just wear jeans and a t-shirt for the rest of my life – no more fashion for me. But I remember when I still had about twenty pounds to go but I had lost a huge amount of weight and I went to a party and one of my friends from L.A said 'She’s back!'"
Despite her humorous approach to the topic of weight, on a more serious note, the actress revealed that she was actually discounted for a role, prior to Cougar Town, because she hadn’t shed the pounds.
"I actually didn’t get another job because I hadn’t lost all the baby weight, which I guess is just part of the deal. They want you to look a certain way and if you don’t that’s it. I mean that was hard for me, but ultimately it worked out, and I don’t think I was ready to go back to work then anyway."
Now having the last laugh, Busy is riding high as Courteney Cox’s gal pal and assistant Laurie Keller in Cougar Town. Cox plays divorced mother and real estate agent Jules Cobb, who is trying to get back into the dating world. Philipps is the younger, party hearty friend helping her get her groove back. Ultimately the two get into all sorts of mischief along the way. This scenario is a major turn for Philipps, who is enjoying co-starring on a brand new series after years of playing solid supporting roles.
"Courteney Cox sets the bar really high for the rest of us," says Busy sincerely.
"She’s just so lovely, funny, sweet and incredibly generous. I remember when I got the show another actress friend of mine was being snotty about it and said 'well how are you ever going to be allowed be funny on that show because Courteney is the lead.' And that’s just not the case, she wants everyone to shine in their own way."
And shine they have, the show has recently been picked up for a second season and there’s now talk of changing its name as the producer don’t feel it reflects the direction the show’s taken and Busy agrees.
"I feel like people already have it in their minds as Cougar Town. So I think changing the title is tricky. But I also get it because I don’t think the show is indicative of the title. I believe something else would suit it better, but I don’t know how that would work. Thankfully, I don’t work for the network."
So with everything, it seems, shining as brightly for Busy as the Monte Carlo sunshine, could life get any better?
"I feel incredible blessed to be having the career that I have now and have my daughter in my life too", she smiles
"If you have to be a working mom, being an actress on a TV show is not a bad gig."