Charmed's Alyssa Milano pulls her body off the superhighway and into our rest stop.
By Stuart Matranga
Photographs by Davis Factor
I was one Internet click away from seeing Alyssa Milano in the flesh. Then I thought, Whoa! I grew up with this girl. I studiously ogled her as she grew into and eventually burst out of her training bra on Who's the Boss?
One click away from a face full of Milano cookies, man, but I couldn't do it. And it wasn't because she now stars as a witch in the WB hit show Charmed, so she might hex me. No, poring over her unmentionables online would just be rude and pointless, since in most cases her head is stuck on the body of a Las Vegas lap dancer, anyway.
Besides, after her 12-year-old brother stumbled upon steamy Net shots of his sister in 1994, Alyssa and her mother, Lin, sued just about every smut peddler with a sticky keyboard, soaking up more than $230,000 in settlements. Mom even formed a company, CyberTrackers, that protects tush-shy celebs from cyber voyeurs like... this friend of mine.
"I've never had a problem with the nudity I've done," says Alyssa poolside at a Hollywood mansion and dressed in a getup barely held together by a string. "But I don't think I'll do it again. It's not as if there aren't enough nude photos of me around already."
Never enough. But, sadly, never again.
Alyssa sighs, as if glad that phase of her career is over. But wait! Didn't her recent Candie's fragrance ad campaign prove too hot for her own network to handle? A touch of Italian fire lights Alyssa's eyes. "That is just pure hype," she replies passionately. "It's probably the least racy ad Candie's has ever done." The commercial features a black-bra'd-and-pantied Alyssa writhing in anticipation of some serious sex while her beau rifles through the medicine chest for condoms. "The only reason it got so much attention was because of the condoms," she points out. "Well, I think condom use is a good thing."
Clearly, Alyssa doesn't embarrass easily. The 26-year-old actress has been seen in plenty of projects that brought her more bread than cred. First there was "From Alyssa with Love," an advice column in Teen Machine magazine. Then there was a best-selling 1988 exercise video, Teen Steam. "It was a really cheesy thing," she admits about her stint in leg warmers, "but it was a cheesy era." She even scored platinum pop records in the Far East and a concert in front of 40,000 at Budokan. But the pop tour stopped there. She may be ballsy, but she ain't stupid . "I know actors aren't taken seriously as musicians here," she says.
When Milano mania died down in the early '90s, she made a full-frontal assault on her girl-next-door image. "Producers thought it would be more interesting to cast me as Samantha Micelli on crack," she says. See Poison Ivy II for topless moments, or Deadly Sins for lesbian love scenes. Then shower. "If I wanted to work, these were the roles I had to play. It took me a while to get over that hump."
A major hump-buster was Hugo Pool, a quirky comedy starring Alyssa as a pool cleaner whose close encounter with a paraplegic puts some juice back into one of his paralyzed limbs. "I loved that movie and I'm really proud of it, but it is strange."
Aaron Spelling also loved it and offered her a gig as Melrose Place's manipulative Jenny Mancini. ("She was actually very sweet," says Alyssa. "Just a slut.") The one-season Melrose stopover led Spelling to switch her from bitch to witch for Charmed. But that meant costarring with legendary Beverly Hills ball-buster Shannen Doherty.
"I thought could be walking into a nightmare," she admits. "I had heard all the stories about Shannen. But I hate to disappoint everyone - she and are great friends." She quickly produces a photo of a smilin' Shannen at Alyssa's January wedding to alt-rocker Cinjun Tate. "If Shannen and I weren't getting along, everyone would know. I can't buy toilet paper without cameras in my face."
Alyssa's always worn her emotions on
her sleeve or on a tattoo (see Alyssa Abbreviated, below). One bad-in-retrospect choice: a crucifix on her right ankle that forever bears ex-fiancé Scott Wolf's initials. "I was 22," she says of the 1995 romance. "I wanted to get married; he backed out. And thank God he did. Now I tell people the tattoo stands for Some Rad Woman."
One guy who apparently bought that line is Tate, the lead singer of up-and-comer Remy Zero. "He's fine with it," says Alyssa. "He doesn't care about surface things like that, or what I wear to bed. If I wore barbed wire, he'd say, 'Oh, honey, let me touch you.'"
So how does he handle all her on-screen steam? "He's proud of my career," she says. "Besides, there's no way you can feel sexy doing sex scenes. All those people watching you, and you'ye just thinking, 'Oh, God, the fat in between my arm and my boob is hanging over my bra.' That's why I'm an actress. I can act sexy." Agreed.
Date of birth: December 19, 1972, in Brooklyn, New York
Describe yourself in five words: "Compassionate, royal, obsessive, professional, driven."
How many tattoos? "Five. I have a fairy on my hip, a Hindu peace symbol on my left wrist, rosary beads on my back, an angel holding a cross on one ankle and a chain of roses on the other. The cross came from my religious upbringing. It connects me to growing up in an Italian neighborhood where all our friends had the Virgin Many in the garden."
Favorite part of yourself? "My back. If I only could walk everywhere back first."
The most Italian thing about you? "The black hair that grows on my chin and I have to tweeze out once a month."
First experience with sex? "When my mom got pregnant with my brother, I was 10. I became superaware of sex. My mom got the Where Did I Come From? book. I couldn't put it down. It was, like, Wow! The body can do all this cool stuff!"
The creepiest thing about being a teen star? "To be dating somebody and then hear him say, 'I have a poster of you in my bedroom' or 'I always fantasized about you' is a weird thing. Flattering yes, scary sometimes, but always weird."
A joke, please: "What's this?" [Makes clip-clopping noise with tongue, then says, "Bang, bang."] "An Amish drive-by."