Actress Emily Procter shares her biggest indulgences and how she stays fit during pregnant
Emily Procter is probably best known as Associate White House Counsel Ainsley Hayes on NBC’s The West Wing, which ran from 2000 to 2002. Now she’s a regular on CBS’ CSI Miami as Calleigh Duquesne, and she’s expecting her first child in December with musician boyfriend Paul Brian. Procter also sings regularly with a 1980s cover band called Motion. Born and raised in Raleigh, N.C., she’s all Southern smarts and charm, and loves to laugh, seemingly unlike either of her best-known characters. When we caught up with her for a chat at a Hollywood hotel, she was about 8 months along.
Q: So first tell us, how are you feeling?
A: I feel great, really—the only thing I have now is insomnia. But in a way it’s not a huge problem. I just get up and do all the stuff I put off during the day.
Q: Do you like being pregnant? What do you like most? And least?
A: I love it! And I love that now I’m far enough along that I feel the baby kicking. I’m looking very pregnant, so that’s nice. I’m also aware that toward the end of the pregnancy, I’ll be enjoying my last moments of getting all the attention.
The only thing I miss is being agile and being able to hop up into my high bed. I’m contemplating getting a stepstool to help me get in and out.
Q: Any weird cravings or aversions?
A: I don’t have any aversions to anything. As far as cravings, I can’t get enough fruit or, for some reason, coffee! I’m not a coffee drinker, usually, but now I drink it with a ton of cream and sugar.
Q: It sounds like you are extremely fit and active. I read that you are a triathlete and a runner. What are you doing now to stay fit? Or not?
A: I was riding my road bike on the street until late July, when I couldn’t clip in and someone tried to help me. I almost fell on my face. Luckily I caught myself. That was the last time.
Now, I swim and walk. Oh, and I still hip-hop dance, which is a real treat. My favorite song is Janet Jackson’s “Nasty.” But I only go once a week now; it used to be three times a week. I live in a two-story house, so just going up and down the stairs all day is exercise, too.
Q: And what are you eating these days?
A: My mom tells me, “You’ve always been a healthy eater,” and she raised us to eat as naturally as possible. It’s a pretty well-rounded diet: I eat three meals a day and occasionally I’ll indulge in a cheeseburger. But my biggest indulgence is the organic Oreos at Whole Foods, with a glass of milk.
Q: Have you always wanted kids?
A: I have always wanted to have kids. And for so many years, I waited because of my job. I’m very thankful.
Q: What kind of mother do you think you’ll be, or hope to be?
A: I think I’ll be an excellent mom. I can’t wait to meet this baby, and I’ll be just fascinated to see a personality and interests develop. The challenge will be not to worry so much.
Q: What do you worry about?
A: The main thing is I just want the baby to be happy. I keep hearing my friends who are moms say, “You’re only as happy as your happiest child.” So that’s my biggest anxiety.
And I keep having this nightmare that I forget to feed the baby! Really, I just worry about everything, and at every stage. I mean I clear one hurdle then it’s on to the next. This week it’s my gestational diabetes test.
Someday I’ll write a book and call it Pregnancy, the Beginning of Worry. But I also think it is some sort of evolutionary survival mechanism to create the worst-case scenario so you are prepared when something does happen.
Q: Have you decided if you’ll breastfeed?
A: I’m hoping to and I’m learning all I can. I loved the movie Babies; the mothers make breastfeeding look so easy, and the babies seem so loved when they are nursing. I’ve also been watching lactation videos on YouTube. I know it’s not the same as actually doing it, but it’s preparing me for what it’s like.
I plan to keep the baby in one of those co-sleeping bassinets right next to the bed, so it’s easier.
Q: I know they didn’t write the pregnancy into the script – how hard was it to work around?
A: You know, at first I was bummed that the pregnancy wasn’t written into the script, but it has been a blessing in disguise. Since it’s not part of the story line and we have to sort of hide it, I end up sitting more and working less!
Q: Will you come back to work?
A: My plan is to not miss any work. Which means, of course, interviewing nannies. This one woman came over, a very highly recommended chef and nurse, and I swear it was like being on a date with the captain of the football team, I was so nervous.
But I am used to having someone around to help; we always had Amy, who was in her 70s when we were kids. She helped raise my dad, too.
Q: We loved you as Ainsley on The West Wing. How hard was it to play a Republican?
A: It was interesting, because I’m a total communist/socialist. But if you have a dream to be an actor, you just get joy from reading what’s written. It was fun to be the person whose politics are different from everyone else’s. I saw Ainsley as a bridge, as someone who taught the other side what made her side tick. Both sides were represented. That’s what made that show so good.
Q: So now you are a Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula spokeswoman and a fan, as we all are. Are you worried about stretch marks?
A: I’m concerned with keeping my skin as supple and healthy as I can of course, so I use the Tummy Butter all the time. And the Cocoa Butter Formula for Dry Itchy Skin Soothing Oil—it’s a spray that really gets to those hard-to-reach places. I love Palmer’s; it’s a family-owned company and they use the best ingredients.