Emily on VIVA Magazine: Go with the Flow

Go with the flow

CSI starlet Emily Procter opens up about remembering the past, living in
the present and how sheís prepared to take on whatever comes next.

By Bonnie Siegler
When you first meet Emily Procter, it’s her unpretentious, thoughtful
and composed manner that greets you. The co-star of the widely popular
CBS drama CSI: Miami exudes an air of total calm, a quiet dignity that you
somehow know is deep and true, despite the success that has led to the bring lights of
California from modest Raleigh, North Carolina. “I think I’ve held on to my Southern
roots,” she says with a lingering hint of a Southern drawl, “because I’m proud of where
I come from. I feel there is a hospitality and level of kindness with one another that
I miss in a big city like Los Angeles. Is it necessary to hold on to these roots? I don’t
know. It might be silly that I have.”

Throughout her life, Procter remembers her grandmother and the influence she had
on her granddaughter’s decorating taste, forward-thinking nature and firm opinions.
“She was a very fearless woman and she prepared me for life in a really wonderful way.
My mother and I are incredibly close, but she’s my mother and will always parent me.
My grandmother told me that every night she’d say, ‘God, I’m so sorry I let you down
but I will do better tomorrow.’ She said that in regard to her own opinion because
my grandmother was very opinionated. Every morning, she would say, ‘please let me
remember that my opinion is just that and to keep it to myself.’ That was the moment
I fell totally in love with her because it was so honest. I have really, really tried to
remember that in my own life that my opinion is mine, but I fail at that a lot, too.”
Her extraordinary tight bond with her grandmother, who passed away at a
remarkable age 90 (“after giving a dinner party the night before, so maybe she was
worn out,” she says) has only added to Procter’s sense of maturity and responsibility.

But the actress - standing at a petite 5'2" - thinks her life’s destiny
has more to do with love. “I’m spiritual, but I don’t necessarily believe
in organized religion for values in life. I think that the universe is
such a wondrous place and there’s so much about it that we don’t
know, but I relate more to the power of love - or the power of the
lack of love. I always think that the higher being in life is love because
love does seem to be able to fix things. And I’m speaking about true
love - true, honest, giving, loving thoughts to a living creature.
That always seems to work.” But one question lingers: whom do you
love now? “I love a lot of people,” she says immediately. “I have the
same best friend that I had since kindergarten and love her. I love my
mom and my dad. I love my boyfriend, and I love my cat, Kevin.”

Unassuming in nature, the prestige of being a leading lady on a global
hit drama escapes the 40-year-old actress, and goes beyond money,
extravagances and award shows. Right now, Procter is reveling and
enjoying cleaning out the closets of her Spanish-style home while on
summer hiatus from filming. “Oh, this feels so good,” she gushes. “I
end up having to buy things to wear to events so I have to clean out
my closets regularly. Then my friends come over and look
at everything and take what they want. Sometimes
they bring stuff over too. So I’m recycling
goods.” It’s evident from
Procter’s ‘spring cleaning’ enthusiasm that she has a genuine passion
for the environment and living a sustainable lifestyle. “I never lived
excessively before CSI, so one thing I always tell people about living
a sustainable lifestyle is don’t buy disposable furniture,” proclaims
Procter, who became interested in decorating at age five when her mom
awarded her the task of choosing some upholstery. When not filming,
she continues to enjoy interior decorating and building houses with a
partner and friend, gathering from antique shops, flea markets, garage
sales and family. “Buy pieces that you really love and aren’t going to get
rid of in three years. Find ways to repurpose older furniture.”

Her environmental balance is also reflected in other sound choices.
Not only does Emily love degradable garbage bags, she also is a proud
patron of a local “green” dry cleaner. “What is really important are green
cleansing products - things that go down the drain should be better
for the ocean. We should have a higher standard.” Procter says she’s
fallen in love with eco-friendly dishwasher tablets “that are fantastic
and get your dishes really clean.” She also says organic personal care
products have also changed her life and outlook on green living.
“[I love the] bubble bath ones because I’m a big bath person. I don’t
fill the tub up all the way so it’s still less water consumption than
taking a shower.” She’s also fond organic shower gels and lotions, and
her favourite are those “that are so pure you could eat them. And the
scents are incredible.”

Such “green” wisdom from a gal who grew up with archeology
ambitions, completed her degree in journalism and dance at East
Carolina University, and became a weather anchor in Greenville, North
Carolina. “I used to tell people I wanted to be an archeologist, but I
don’t know that it was actually a possibility,” she says with laughter.
“I loved the idea of fossils and had a fairly substantial rock collection.
That was one of the things I always wanted for my birthday - rocks!”
She still has a fair amount of rocks in her Hollywood Hills home
along with collections of bug shadow boxes and over sixty cobalt
blue books. “Whenever I travel, I buy a blue book and put a note in
there of all the people I was with and where I was when I bought it.
They are getting harder and harder to fi nd because it’s a very specific
shade of royal blue, one of my favourite colours.” She pauses and
smiles. “And fl ying insects, beetles - things like that. I know, it’s an
acquired taste.” Although still likes to get her hands dirty, rocks have
been replaced by gardening. “I really enjoy being outside, so working
in the garden for me is a great mental focus. I have a blackberry bush
that’s wonderful.” Since developing a green thumb, her food offerings
have also become plentiful and more natural, fi nding a satisfying
feeling of growing her produce. “I grow tomatoes and it’s very easy to
grow basil. I always have cottage cheese in the refrigerator because
I’ll have that with the yellow teardrop cherry tomatoes I grow and
some basil.”

As beautiful as Procter is on the outside, it’s the internal care she
strives to give herself that reinforces her overall well-being. Along
with a daily multi-vitamin and folic acid supplement, the athletic
actress says a healthy diet only supports her exercise routine. “I
eat healthy, real foods but I’m not an over-dieter, which I think is
unhealthy.” A self-confessed “fairly decent cook,” Procter stocks her
kitchen with micro greens, milk, eggs, salad makings, nuts and rice
crackers. Fresh fruit is delivered monthly through a special farming
program thanks to a yearly gift from a friend. “I have candy jars in
my kitchen that are full of nuts - walnuts, almonds, pistachios,
soy nuts - and rice crackers. And I do have a jar filled with semisweet
chocolate chips that give me the same satisfaction as M&Ms,
but they’re a little bit better for you and I don’t need quite as many.”
When it comes to regular exercise, the actress thinks outside the
box. “I dance three days a week either hip hop or ballet and I started
taking trapeze classes, which is really fun.” She has also competed in
several marathons and triathlons. “I have a girls’ running group and
we get together once a week; we’ve been doing it for 10 years. I have
very strong legs.”

Those same “strong legs” are also Procter’s favourite body part. “They
say that one of the keys to having a long, healthy life is to have strong
legs. So it’s sort of a double edged sword for me because I have those
strong legs that are in good shape, so I feel happy and thankful
about that. But sometimes I wish I had those long, lean pencil legs.”
She definitely makes use of them considering she arranges a biking
group and makes time to ride together to see a movie when possible.
Despite all her exercise and healthy eating, though, one area of
concern “are my upper arms. I’m built solidly so I have very solid
arms,” she shares, “and sometimes in clothes, they look too solid.”
Despite a sexy Hollywood image synonymous with her smoldering,
no-nonsense on-screen character detective Calleigh Duquesne,
Procter says she has little in common with her alter-ego except “we
are both very strong women who are also very organized. Th e benefit
of being a strong woman is having confidence in yourself.”
Summing up her own image, Procter almost apologizes for the vast
contrasts in her personality. “I’m busy; my boyfriend calls me the
tiny tornado. Kindness - that’s a trait that I take great care to work
on. And lastly, what people wouldn’t know from my CSI character, is
that I’m silly. I’m a big practical joker.” Yet, Procter says her life is in
constant flux with balancing the physical, emotional and spiritual
sides of life. “I just think you do your best. Th at’s the question I ask
myself the most: Am I doing my best? Did I do my best? If the answer
is “yes” then I think I’ve done okay. I always say to myself “just do
your best” because I do think that people let the world get on top
of them and life will ride you if you let it. The trick is to ride it. Life
works if you do your best.”

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