BESTS…WITH CHARLOTTE ROSS

Things are about to get hot this summer as Charlotte Ross steams up our screens as Olivia on VH1’s HIT THE FLOOR. Best known for roles on NYPD Blue and as Judy Fabray, mom to Quinn Fabray (Dianna Agron) on FOX hit GLEE. Vivacious and full of life, we sit down to find about more about what makes this blonde beauty tick.

BEST BEAUTY SECRET: Feeling an innate sense that you are deserving of love and success with humility; that you work your hardest and take nothing for granted. Some of the worst acting moments I have ever had, were when I was feeling depressed
about my life in some way and not feeling a strong sense of self-worth and that, in turn, takes away an inexplicable glow and fluidity to everything you say and how you look. When I’m feeling strong, present, grounded, worthy and beautiful inside, I think I glow more than if I had any primer, blush or sparkle on my face. My work feels effortless and I feel truly ageless.

BEST DESIGNER SPLURGE: Lately, I’ve been into Roberto Cavalli dresses. Too many to admit, actually [laughs]. I work out intensely and often want to wear form fitting dresses to enjoy my hard work and I am petite so, I easily get lost in a lot of fabric. I think I have worn enough Herve Leger to last me a lifetime! My other recent splurges have been a lot of Giuseppe Zanotti shoes. My fellow cast members on HIT THE FLOOR can attest to that [laughs]! Ever time I walk on set or they see red carpet photos, they are always asking me who designs my shoes and where I got them. I think Giuseppe shoes are not only beautifully made, but have a different flair than a lot of other designers. Most have amazing height and I love that the stores in each city only carry a handful of
each design so, the market isn’t saturated with a lot of the same look. Love, love Giuseppe!!

BEST EARLY MEMORY: It was when I was 15 years-old and I skipped out of school early (My parents weren’t too excited about me following my dream to become a professional actress) in Winnetka, Illinois, just north of Chicago. I took the Northwestern train
downtown by myself and auditioned on tape for a big feature film in Los Angeles with Michael Keaton called Touch & Go. I was ecstatic to land the role and my agent in Chicago at a time, at the time, went as my “guardian” to shoot the film in Los Angeles, where I had never been before! I had always dreamt of doing films and going to LA, and now I was doing both! A true dream come true…Obviously, I was young because one of my highlights was seeing (then couple) Rob Lowe and Melissa Gilbert getting candy
at a store in Westwood and I almost had a heart attack [laughs]. I knew from that trip that my life as a professional actress was finally starting. Moving to Los Angeles was something I would dream and plan on doing every day until it happened the day after I graduated from high school. It’s funny, thinking about it now. I think back and wonder where all my drive and determination came from…

RADIANT: HIT THE FLOOR STAR CHARLOTTE ROSS

BEST HIDDEN TALENT: I don’t know… Maybe extreme fitness intensity…? My brother George and I both, have become very serious about our fitness work outs and competitiveness. He is an Iron Man and I am amazed at how much of a commitment and everyday lifestyle that it entails. He is a hedge fund manager in Manhattan, so training for him is just like anyone else’s in that you have to make the time. He travels all over the country competing and swimming in some bodies of water that are so disgusting, I joke that there are probably bodies floating next to him [laughs]! I am not a triathlete at all but, I do train two to four hours a day. I am competitive with myself. I have a natural intensity and drive that lends itself to intense fitness training and I am amazed at how I think I have aged backwards in terms of my energy, look and, certainly, how hard and lean my body is. If I wasn’t an actress, I would probably be a fitness competitor in the bikini competitions which are a longer leaner look than the figure competitions. We can control so little in life; why not control what you eat and how hard you work out? The sense of accomplishment is beyond empowering and helps me immensely as life throws me curveballs, you know? I am challenging myself by attempting to climb
Mt. Kilimanjaro next month. I am so excited! I hiked Mount Whitney in a day which is 15,500ft. but Mt. Kilimanjaro is 19,500ft. and the last night of camping before you summit is zero degrees, at most…Hope I make it!

BEST THING ABOUT PLAYING JUDY FABRAY ON GLEE: One of my favorite things about playing Judy Fabray, was the opportunity to work for Ryan Murphy and be on a show with one of my favorite actresses of all time, Jane Lynch, who until now, was one of the most underrated actors around. Ryan is a true visionary and with everything that he had going on, still talked to wardrobe a lot about how he wanted me only in yellow [laughs]. Attention to detail is so important. The awesome actor, who played my husband, and I joked that our uptight and square characters were probably really nasty behind closed doors in the bedroom so, we did a scene where, when I exited, he sharply slapped my ass and said, “Oh, yeah- my little Lemon drop…”[laughs]. Only Ryan Murphy would have the hilarious warped sense of humor to use that take which was hilarious, I thought. Fun role – like Anne Coulter times 1,000!! And, Diana Agron (my “daughter”) is a true sweetheart…

BEST THING ABOUT HIT THE FLOOR: One of the best things about HIT THE FLOOR is the creator, James LaRosa. Again, I mention a show creator/writer as being one of my main reasons for wanting to be involved in a project. Obviously, it’s because it’s their vision that you are making come to life on the screen. And, if you admire their talent and think the two of you get each other’s strengths and weaknesses… what more could you ask for? That’s one of the reasons I like TV, in general. When I was on NYPD BLUE, Steven Bochco had no intention of linking Dennis Franz and I into a romantic relationship but, once he saw some
natural chemistry, he took a daring risk and put us together which the fans seemed to love, but not as much as I did. All I ever want is to work with actors that I admire and Dennis Franz was one of them. So, James LaRosa has written my role, Olivia, with such juicy, sexy, damaged and layered scenes, I jumped at the chance to work with him. He reminds me of a young Marc Cherry, in
that he really knows how to write female roles, of all ages, very, very well. Another reason I love HIT THE FLOOR, is because of the amazing dancing and true athleticism that these gals show on set. It’s inspiring to watch the dedication, determination and relentless training that goes into making what looks like 15 Beyoncé’s kicking ass on the basketball court!

BEST 3 THINGS: Honesty, strong work ethic and humility…

BEST THING ABOUT BEING AN ACTOR: The constant challenge of trying to understand the psyche and truth behind what different people show on the surface and why they say what they say and make the decisions they do. The challenge of taking on
roles where you want every moment as raw and as honest as you can make it and it’s a character that no one would ever think you could play or pull off, especially yourself. Fear of the unknown yields the most growth, doesn’t it? Lastly, I guess, the relentless pursuit of the truth. I feel like in real life we are always wondering if what someone is saying is really the truth and we are always guessing what everyone’s true motivation to be in our lives really is. I am fascinated with how we interact with each other and how similar we all are in wanting love and feeling pain and trying to bring that realism to the screen. It’s an extreme passion of mine.

BEST INFLUENCE IN YOUR LIFE: My father, Peter Ross. Sadly, he passed away three years ago but, his value system has remained in me more than I even realized. He was the most intelligent man I have ever met. He went to Princeton University for
his undergraduate Degree and Harvard University Graduate School and had a thirst and appreciation for knowledge like no one I’ve ever met since. A true curiosity about life and travel and history… Too many people seem so self- involved to me nowadays and it’s such a waste. There is so much more out there to see, to learn, and people and animals that need help, fundraising and support. My father was also extremely honest and amazingly humble. Again, I live in a town where I feel like I am always picking up names off the ground as people “name drop” so much! True successes don’t need to let everyone know how successful they are or who
they know. Class is a quiet knowing, humble calmness with true interest in others and my father exemplified that and it’s what I strive to be now in my life.

BEST THING ABOUT BEING A MOM: Everything! The challenge of patience, trying to teach self-love and respect for others, trying to be protective and then letting him grow his independence. As hard as I try to be the best mom I can be, the more I think that I need to try harder. It really challenges you to be your best self and take a hard look at your faults. Luckily, I have the best son in the world so, I am very lucky and blessed. I wish I could bottle him up forever right now. He is nine years-old and often just
walks right up to me, holds me, looks in my eyes and talks to me like a 30-year-old saying, “Mom, I really love you… Do you know that?” And, then he kisses me and holds me until I let go. Really? Is there anything sweeter and more beautiful than that?Abundantly grateful is what comes to mind when I think of my son.

BEST POSSESSION: My health…

BEST MOMENT YOU’D RELIVE IF YOU COULD: Hmm… When I went skydiving with my girlfriend who had just overcome cancer and watching her face her fears – and facing mine! We were in the Italian Alps and jumped from a helicopter and I had built it up in my head so much that I was convinced it would have to be a letdown, right? Nope! It was awesome!! You really do feel like you are flying. My eyes were open and taking everything in and I wasn’t scared. It felt incredible and so beautiful. A rush like nothing I have ever felt. Everyone should try it once!

BEST TRIUMPH: My involvement and help in bringing attention, awareness and money to animals in need. To try and be a voice for the voiceless. When you adopt from your local county or city shelter, you are saving healthy, beautiful and adoptable animals. Why can’t everyone do that? If I have saved just one life by talking about it, then I am thrilled. But, I want the millions that are put down each year to be saved. I wish we had more NO KILL shelters in America! I spoke on Capitol Hill and lobbied to help retire
chimpanzees being tested in labs to sanctuaries. We are the only industrialized nation that still tests on these extraordinary creatures and it’s an archaic model that is no longer relevant. The medical community has spoken and they are not the correct genetic model for HIV, Hepatitis C and B and with their human-like needs, deserve to be with other chimps, no longer in 7x7x7 cages. They deserve to feel sun on their faces and be able to live out their final days with love and respect. I hosted an event for the Chimp Sanctuary and… It’s these kind of things that really have deep meaning for me.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARTA ELENA VASSILAKIS

THE GIVING GIRL: CHARLOTTE ROSS FIGHTING TO SAVE CHIMPS

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