Lisa Edelstein has appeared on almost every popular TV show since the ’90s, from Ally McBeal to The West Wing. Before she returns to our screens as the sexy dean of medicine Dr. Lisa Cuddy in the seventh season of House, she takes time out from her busy schedule to talk to us about her passions.
Work I just want to be able to keep acting for the rest of my life. I love everything about it: good writing, smart people. I’m sort of living the dream. I’m not much of a wisher; I’m more of a doer.
Art I’d like to be doing more artwork, and be creative in other ways. Right now I have a friend using my yard as an art studio while I do construction back there. It’s been really nice to have that sort of creative energy around. I want to get back to drawing and painting; that would be really fulfilling.
Home It’s mid-century modern, gorgeous, understated and private, with a beautiful view. It’s just so me. When I was house hunting, I had a list of the things that I was looking for and this one had everything. I’ve only been there for a year, so I’m still in the process of renovating and decorating. I like to do it slowly. What’s nice about having a job like mine is that I can do that.
Design I’m not a super-fancy person, but I really love design — including beautifully made clothes! I treat myself, but I don’t do it all the time. These shows don’t last forever. It can be stressful, though, when you’re trying to work and you have to maintain a really polished image for the red carpet. Sometimes things come up last minute and you aren’t in the mood to be observed, but you have to get it together. All of that is a part of the job.
Seasons I love the change. You can get tired of your wardrobe, so it’s nice in the fall when you get to start to wear layers again. And boots! I love boots. But the good thing about being bicoastal — I live in New York and L.A.— is that I get to skip the brutal parts of winter.
Travel I want to see the whole world. I travel every year, every time I’m not working. In the past five years, I’ve been to India, Italy, France, England, Colombia, South America, Ecuador, the Yucatán, Japan, Thailand, Turks and Caicos Islands.
Giving Back I just went down to Washington to meet with U.S. lawmakers as part of my work with Save the Children. They do amazing things around the world: Their program includes going to the female elders of a community and asking them to recommend the right woman to be trained as a midwife and healthcare worker. They learn to recognize signs of a dangerous pregnancy, how to treat malaria, diarrhea and pneumonia, the highest causes of death. These women travel around as medical workers. In Bangladesh, for example, women working on the front lines of health care have helped reduce the infant and birth mother mortality rates by more than 60 percent in just five years. It’s an amazing program to represent. I like that I can get behind it; I don’t feel like some shiny, random celebrity person just showing up.