How did growing up in Florissant shape your life?
I loved growing up in Florissant! I had the best teachers at Wedgewood, Cross Keys and McCluer North and was always doing fun activities with my family around the city. In the summers, we would (and still do) always pack up a cooler, grab a blanket and some lawn chairs and head over to the Civic Center to watch the fireworks on the 4th of July. In the winters, we would pack on the warm clothes, rent some ice skates and take a few laps on the rink, or grab a sled and race down the hill across the street. I truly loved everything about Florissant! And I am so proud of the city now and Mayor Lowery for all the improvements and additions in recent years.
When you were growing up, what were some of your favorite places in St. Louis?
In addition to the Civic Center and the ice rink, I love Doozles (who doesn't?) and Pakka B's (my shaved-ice flavor of choice being red apple). I also used to love the water park that was on the corner of New Halls Ferry and Lindbergh. Not sure if anyone remembers it, but they had the best slides.
Tell me about the special kids in your life.
I have two amazing nephews in my life, Matthew and Brandon. Matthew is 17 years old now (makes me feel old!) and Brandon is 16 years (where does the time go?). I love having them both in my life. Kids are a huge passion of mine, and I cannot wait to have a family of my own.
I know the inclusion of people with disabilities is very important to you. What are some of your favorite family-friendly places in St. Louis that make inclusion a priority?
The Civic Center is amazing for family-related activities, with its ice rink in the winter time, the shows and performances offered throughout the year, the fireworks display on the Fourth of July and all of the activities they provide year-round.
Your career has taken you all over the world, what do you miss the most about St. Louis?
Of course, I miss my family the very most when I am traveling, but I truly just miss the people from Missouri. They are real, honest, good people that are grounded, warm and friendly. Doesn't matter if I am dining out, paying for gas or checking out at a grocery store, I'm greeted with a smile that is genuine. I like that.
What current projects are you working on?
I've been keeping busy with modeling, photo shoots and auditions. I hope to be back to TV again soon! People can follow me on Twitter to see what's new in my life. Also, my website is a good way to keep up with the latest happenings.
What can you tell me about "Suzanna the Banana?"
"Suzanna the Banana" is my second children's book that I started to write a couple of years ago. I hope to have it completed and published in the new year.
Civic Center (Eagan Center), 1 James J. Eagan Drive, Florissant, Mo., 314-921-4466
Doozle's Frozen Custard, 717 S. New Florissant Road, Florissant, Mo., 314-921-3452
James J. Eagan Center Ice Rink, 1 James J. Eagan Drive, Florissant, Mo., 314-921-4470
Pakka B's Original New Orleans Sno'Ball , 1101 N. Highway 67, Florissant, Mo.
Celebrity Sprouting is an occasional column that features local personalities and their favorite family-friendly St. Louis destinations. Published: Nov. 12, 2010