Kelli Williams: Practice Makes Perfect

While actress Kelli Williams was expecting in real life, so was Lindsay Dole, the character she plays on the award-winning TV show The Practice.


While actress Kelli Williams was expecting in real life, so was Lindsay Dole, the character she plays on the award-winning TV show The Practice. When we spoke with her, Williams, the wife of writer Ajay Sahgal, was seven months pregnant with the couple's second child. Their son, Kiran, is 2.

Fit Pregnancy: How does it feel to be pregnant in real life and on network TV?

Kelli Williams: Surprisingly peculiar. The first time I shot a scene with my belly out there on the set for everyone to see, I felt weirdly unprotected. And then [my co-star] Dylan McDermott and I have to pretend that this is our child. The unreality feels strange. FP: Your first pregnancy didn't find its way into the script.

KW: Right. I wore big clothing and got a lot of hide-the-belly lean-in shots. You lean in with your coat open like you're really, really interested in what the other character is saying.

FP: How else is this one different?

KW: In a first pregnancy, you don't have a child yet, so you can nap and see movies and exercise. The notion of "baby" is abstract. You look at the ultrasound and don't really understand that the creature you're seeing is soon going to be your roommate. This pregnancy, I'm more stressed because I'm working full time, and I have a kid and lots more morning sickness.

FP: How do you handle morning sickness in front of a camera?

KW: I pretend! Actually, seltzer and Tums help. And the crew has been great. They follow me around with a chair saying, "Sit! Sit!"

FP: How are you going to handle being on the set in the morning after a baby has kept you awake all night?

KW: All I ask is that they don't write my character huge summations to memorize — nothing longer than a paragraph. Normally, it's pages and pages. On the other hand, I think the whole working-mother issue will be a cool thing to explore on the show.

FP: Speaking of working mothers, do you bring Kiran to the set?

KW: Yes, but sometimes that means I'm there but not really there. For example, when I'm memorizing my lines, I whisper to myself, and if he's coloring right next to me, he goes, "Mommy, stop that." It's OK with him if I memorize my lines as long as I don't start whispering to myself.

FP: Smart boy. He doesn't want you talking to people he can't see. What are you doing to keep fit?

KW: I do prenatal yoga and walk a lot. I do the Hollywood Reservoir path [in Los Angeles], which is three miles. I did that the day I went into labor with Kiran.

FP: Are you one of those pregnant women who are prone to crying jags?

KW: I don't have big mood swings, but when I get overtired, I start crying. Anything can trigger it. Actually, nothing can trigger it. It's like Holly Hunter in Broadcast News ...

FP: ... where she schedules a good cry, once a day, whether she needs it or not?

KW: Exactly. It doesn't take much, even when I'm not pregnant. I'm convinced that I've been hired for jobs because I can cry on cue.

FP: Have you been nesting much?

KW: Not really. I'm a little strange. Whenever I get pregnant, I get the urge to go to college.

FP: Say what?

KW: I don't know what it is. Something about not wanting to be insulated by this business or wanting more brain power. I'm taking a psychology class right now. When I was pregnant with Kiran, I took Spanish. At this rate, if I want enough credits for a degree, I'll have to have a lot more children.

FP: What's your favorite trimester?

KW: The fourth. I believe the first few months after your child is born are still part of pregnancy. I love that time when all you want to do is cocoon with your baby in your own little world, when you carry them around all the time in a little pouch or sling. So, yeah, the fourth trimester: That's my favorite.

— Celeste Fremon