Emily Procter is many things to different audiences. For millions, she is the face of the right wing on The West Wing. To those millions, and millions more, she is the woman at the heart of CBS’s monster hit, CSI: Miami.
SheKnows sat down with the star on the eve November sweeps and Procter promised a CSI: Miami month to remember.
Procter was born in North Carolina and her Southern Belle accent is hard to miss. She’s unassuming, glamorous and immensely talented. Her film resume includes Leaving Las Vegas with Nicolas Cage and Jerry Maguire alongside Tom Cruise. There is an unspoken charm to Procter that lingers long after the interview concluded.
Her work on television has made her a household name. Procter answers all our CSI: Miami and West Wing questions as well as letting us in on the secrets to staying stunning under the Miami heat.
Procter’s proud resume
SheKnows: Thanks for taking some time with SheKnows today.
Emily Procter: Oh, absolutely – although, I don’t know if I’m qualified (laughs).
SheKnows: (Laughing) Oh, I’d say you are! First of all for me personally, it’s such a pleasure to speak with you. Emily Procter: It is so nice of you to say that.
SheKnows: It’s been great to watch your career over the years. To see you finding such success in such varied characters. For you, has that been the key to your success and longevity?
Emily Procter: You know, the entertainment business is so odd. I’ve always say that more often than not, it’s not what people are capable of doing, but what people allow one to do. I feel like I have hit the lottery twice with West Wing and CSI: Miami because they are both such different women. But, they are both such strong women. That has been a tremendous joy. And sprinkled here and there I’ve been other fun, challenging things. I loved Breast Men.
SheKnows: Yes, with David Schwimmer. That’s a good movie!
Emily Procter: Yeah, that was great. Even in really small parts over the years that have me with people who have such an artistic way of looking at things – I feel that I have been really lucky. Who knows how that happens (laughs)?
CSI: Miami vs. West Wing: a tale of two tales
SheKnows: Was there any difference with the two shows you’ve most recently starred in? West Wing was already an established show when you joined the cast, whereas CSI: Miami was a new show.
Emily Procter: When I joined West Wing, my very first day, they broke before my first close up so they could congratulate everyone on the Emmys they had just won (laughs).
SheKnows: Oh, boy. What a way to start!
Emily Procter: I know! CSI: Miami was terrifying in a different way because we were a spin-off. I think we felt a lot of pressure trying to live up to a show (original CSI), that really is the way it is because of chemistry. You can’t recreate that. All of us were sort of frozen. It’s a different style of acting than any of us had done before. How do we put our own personality into it? The first year was really hard. Before the first show aired, we were all, ‘it’s nice working with you.’ (laughs) Then we got some ratings. The whole first year at any moment we expected to not be at work the next day. The second year we settled down. In hindsight, I like the way that it’s played out because I don’t think we really hit our stride until the end of season four (laughs).
SheKnows: Sometimes, shows get some serious legs around season four or five. Look at 24. And then they go on for 10 more seasons, like NYPD Blue, you never know.
Emily Procter: If we’re still going six, seven years from now, we’re all going to need knee replacements because we’re always bending down to pick things up and stuff (laughs).
SheKnows: I would think so at all those crime scenes, you’re always squatting or kneeling. It’s worse than football players.
Emily Procter: (laughs) That’s great!
SheKnows: Now, do you film much in Miami? Emily Procter: We spend about a quarter of the time there. It’s sort of become this thing where we all want to go and they don’t want us to go because I don’t think we’re professional enough when we’re in Miami (laughs).
SheKnows: It is a fun town.
Emily Procter: (laughs) Oh, my gosh yes.
SheKnows: I wondered because Miami is known for its heat. And you just look so gorgeous day in and day out, is there any secrets to that?
Emily Procter: Yes, it’s a SWAT Team of beauty – people with aerosol misters and hair brushes and lip liners. I always say to the hair people, ‘just one day I’d like to wake up and already have you people in my bathroom.’
SheKnows: I wanted to ask about you joining West Wing. It wasn’t simply this great actress, Emily Proctor, joining that show. You brought a new voice to it as well – the right wing. Did you get a lot of response from that side of the political aisle for taking on a Republican character on a left-leaning show?
Emily Procter: What I personally loved about that, that I wished was happening in our current politics, is that it showed respect for the rainbow of politics. I really loved it. I loved the show for doing that. I got a lot of people asking my opinion of politics which are very different than Ainsley’s. That was also what made it so fun to play. I was watching the debates this year and I thought America – I love America – now is the time where we really need to unite and stand together and grow. I wish people were more respectful of each other’s sides so we can figure out how these problems can be fixed.
SheKnows: Because you are someone who is so active in various causes including animal and environmental ones, there certainly seems to be an excitement about getting involved right now.
Emily Procter: It’s so fun, isn’t it? I love it!
SheKnows: Is that encouraging for you, someone who’s been active all along.
Emily Procter: I think it’s cyclical. As a society we check out from one another and now we’re checking back in because we’re being forced to look at all these issues. What I love is to have so much company, to have everyone be so interested. I voted yesterday and it was so nice. I had the day off. I voted by absentee ballot because you never know with entertainment if you’ll have enough time. I am loving voting this year. I went out to breakfast with a whole group and we discussed the propositions and we all voted. We checked each other’s dots to make sure things were filled in properly. It’s really fun to have everyone so vested in our country.
SheKnows: Many people taking the day off.
Emily Procter: What are you going to do? Does SheKnows have you working ?
SheKnows: Sure, but I will definitely have time to vote and wear the I Voted sticker with pride all day.
Emily Procter: Ah, it’s so fun. I just love it.
Nothing but sunshine
SheKnows: Did I read somewhere that you had a sting as a weather girl?
Emily Procter: I did! I started in journalism. When I was in college, I was nineteen. I had the weekend weather spot. Then I got into reporting. I just thought, I don’t have the constitution for it. I can’t cover murder all day long.
SheKnows: What do you have coming up acting-wise?
Emily Procter: I have a little independent movie coming up called Barry Munday. It’s in post-production right now. My character is very different than anything I’ve done for the last ten years. I did get to make out with everybody in the movie.
SheKnows: Not too shabby, depending on the co-stars.
Emily Procter: That’s what I thought. You know, Patrick Wilson’s wonderful. He was really great. Colin Hanks is in it too.
SheKnows: There are worse ways to spend your days. Emily, this has been a treat. Thank you so much for your time.
Emily Procter: You’re so nice and thank you for saying such kind things about my career. That’s really generous of you.
SheKnows: Hopefully we will reconnect again in the future.
Emily Procter: I hope so too. I’m excited for November 4.
SheKnows: Well happy Election Day to you. It’ll be a fourth to remember.
Emily Procter: I’m going to quote you on that. I really will!
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