On Thursday, April 14th, The Women’s Guild Cedars-Sinai is honoring actress Jaclyn Smith at their annual Luncheon. For more than three decades Jaclyn Smith has held the public’s interest as an award-winning actress, designer, inspirational cancer survivor, and role model – Jaclyn is set to receive the Woman of the 21stCentury Award. For over 40 years Jaclyn Smith has reigned as one of the Hollywood’s most famous names, since starring as one of the original and legendary members of Charlie’s Angels. We got up close and personal with this silver screen beauty to learn more about her journey through it all. (Image by Charles Busch)
Beverly Hills Magazine: Where are you originally from?
Jaclyn Smith: I grew up in Houston Texas and had a truly idyllic upbringing. I went to Trinity College but decided to move to New York. NY opened up a whole new world to me. I became more emotionally independent even though I was very home sick, but I loved just the chance to use that city as a resource.
Beverly Hills Magazine: Tell us how you got started in your industry and what inspired you to do so?
Jaclyn Smith: I was always a ballet dancer, and in fact, I thought I would move back home and become a ballet teacher, but life had other plans for me. When you’re in New York there’s the allure of entertainment, and I started using Backstage for open auditions, and I started getting commercial jobs. Then an agent saw me and signed me to do many commercials, and eventually I got the lead role in McCloud. That role exposed me to other producers who saw me, and cast me in Charlie’s Angel’s and the rest as they say is history. Everything happened very spontaneously. In a big city like that, people can just walk up to you and offer you an opportunity that could change your life.
Beverly Hills Magazine: What is your opinion of “Hollywood”?
Jaclyn Smith: I love Hollywood. It’s given me a very interesting life and career. It’s really changed so much. We used me looked down upon for being pretty girls and we were judged on our performances and the substance of our characters. Today it’s all about fashion and what everybody is wearing, even stylist become stars. The glitter and glamour of Hollywood is huge today! It didn’t used to be like that. We used to turn down endorsement deals, whereas today it’s all about star brands.
Beverly Hills Magazine: What is the best part of the business?
Jaclyn Smith: The best part always has been and always will be the art, the result, it’s the movies. Hollywood really stands together. When you see fellow actors, even if you don’t know each other, you know of each other, and there’s an instant camaraderie. We walk the same walk.
Beverly Hills Magazine: What’s the worst part?
Jaclyn Smith: The superficiality, the gossip, the abuse, and the entitlements. People take advantage of things. It can also be too much about the money and not about the art. When the show became popular, there were so many things said about me that were untrue. But that’s Hollywood.
Beverly Hills Magazine: What are some of the trends taking place in the “Hollywood”?
Jaclyn Smith: Certainly the fact that actors and actresses are shifting to and fro from TV and movies. It used to be frowned upon. You either did one or the other. I think it’s great to do both. You shouldn’t put anyone in a box.
Beverly Hills Magazine: What advice would you give to actresses looking for success in the entertainment business?
Jaclyn Smith: Be a well trained actor. Do improvisational work and enrich your life as much as possible, it will make you a better actor. Surround yourself with smart people, and have an agent who really believes in you. Always have a backup plan, and remember it’s all about the work.
Beverly Hills Magazine: As one of the original Charlie’s Angels, what was it like being one of the most famous women in America?
Jaclyn Smith: I always led a quiet life, and it was all of a sudden you’re a rockstar! Your time is not your own and there’s lots of false gossip about you. It really was a joyful time for all of us though. At the time, we didn’t realize the impact of the show. It was great! I loved it…It really was the right path for me, and it opened a lot of doors for me, and we’re still talking about it 40 years later!
Beverly Hills Magazine: You’ve created a clothing line, a wig line, perfume line, and a skincare line, what inspired those ventures?
Jaclyn Smith: These opportunities were new challenges for me, especially going into an area of branding that in those days didn’t exist. Today everybody wants to have a brand. It allowed me to become educated about mass market products and of course to give back, certainly with K-MART, which is a very morally conscious company. They give back to St. Jude, and they give substantially to my breast cancer charity. My husband created the skincare line. It’s all creative work and still very much a labor of love.
Beverly Hills Magazine: You fought cancer, what was it that made you able to do so?
Jaclyn Smith: My family was right by my side every day going to radiation treatments. My girlfriends, who have already been through it, really empowered me. I think it’s about not being afraid but rather educating yourself. It certainly stops you in your tracks, and it affects your family in a funny way. They can’t quite cope, but it made be grateful and I learned to not take a minute for granted, and to thank God for everything.
Beverly Hills Magazine: Do you have a personal philosophy or life motto you live by?
Jaclyn Smith: The golden rule for sure. Be true to yourself and be honest. You know the word, KIND? I love that word. I want to surround myself with good, kind people. I’m so lucky to have had great parents, a great husband and wonderful children. I’ve always been a family girl. I believe the simple things in life are the best things.
Beverly Hills Magazine: Have you discovered a personal purpose in what you do?
Jaclyn Smith: I’m the granddaughter of a minister so I certainly believe that faith in a higher power is very important in our lives and it will always see you through. Without faith, you’re just out there all by yourself. I’ve always had a strong work ethic and I believe that has been a great gift and an honor in my life. All this has led me to believe that my purpose is to live life to the fullest and to be a good person.
Beverly Hills Magazine: What can fans hope to look forward to from you?
Jaclyn Smith: I’m always reading new scripts, and I’ve been doing many Hallmark films which always have positive endings which I love, and more of my branded products as well. But most importantly, I am expecting a granddaughter in September! So I’m really looking forward to that!
One of the most beautiful women in the world, famed for her beauty and her talent, yet after all is said and done she believes the simple things are what matter most, and that gratefulness to God is one of the most important lessons life experiences can teach you. Visit www.JaclynSmith.com for more.