Femme on Fire: Kelli Giddish

By Vanessa Butler

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Law & Order has been a staple television show for decades, and with so many spin-offs we're sure you've been a fan of at least one. We had the pleasure of sitting down with one of the many beloved stars of Law & Order: SVU, blonde bombshell Kelli Giddish, to dish about her costars, her friendship with Ice-T's wife Coco and what it's like to star on one of the biggest shows on TV.

Playboy.com: Law & Order. Why do you think everyone is always too busy to talk to you guys?

Giddish: [Laughs] I don’t know; I know that my character can Google anything. They always tease me that I should write a book on how to find anything. I feel like my character is always coming into a scene saying, “Well I was just Googling this in the last ten seconds and have all the information that we need for act three.” The thing is that I’m such a dork when it comes to computers. My wireless internet has been down for a week and I have no idea how to fix it, but here I am playing this character on TV that can just do anything she wants.

Playboy.com: Your character is going through some epic stuff right now. What was it like reading the script for the first time?

Giddish: I read the script like it was a huge secret. I held myself up in my dressing room and I read the whole thing, front to cover, and just sat there. I was really excited and also nervous to be able to portray my character as the primary storyline throughout the episode; it was a real treat.

Playboy.com: People are really worried for Amanda. How have Law & Order fans been with your character?

Giddish: It’s been nuts. The first time I really felt it is when we went to a TV festival in Monte Carlo. And if you’re not part of the franchise, you have no idea how far the reach is that Law & Order has until you go overseas. There are such die-hard fans that are really polite, and I think that the show does a lot for women and survivors of what we talk about every week.

I’ve gotten to play some great parts on TV, but this is one that I really get to come under Mariska Hargitay and learn from a family that’s been together for fourteen years. Fourteen years! It’s such a treat to come onto a show that’s so established and everybody is family and everybody has a shorthand. It’s really nice because I was on two first-year shows before this, Past Life and Chase; I was number one on the call sheet. But now I can sit back and learn and joke with the producers. I don’t have to worry that I’m on TV by the numbers every week at 11 o’clock like I was in the past with different shows. So it’s nice to relax and learn.

Playboy.com: We’re big Ice-T fans. What’s it like working with him?

Giddish: It’s amazing. He’s one of my favorite people I’ve met doing this job, him and Coco [Austin] both. We all have doggies; they have two bulldogs and I’ve got a mutt, and we all take them to work. I’ve got this picture of my dog and Coco and I just laid out on the couch as if we were the perfect family. But yeah, he’s one of the wisest people that I’ve ever come in contact with. My friends get really tired of hearing about him. I come home every day with a new quote from Ice-T. I mean, he nails it. He’s got life by the balls and he’s going to make it his way and I like that; he’s the ultimate example.

Playboy.com: What’s your favorite quality in your character?

Giddish: If you’re a woman on TV, you’re usually very empathetic and everything affects you, but I like playing her as a tough girl. She’s very vulnerable when it comes to loyalty and things that I personally would expect when it comes to a cop, but she’s also really tough. When you see Amanda in a morgue and prodding around intestines, she doesn’t care and she’s into it. I really like that.

Playboy.com: What’s been your favorite memory on set?

Giddish: I love being on set with Richard Belzer and everyone. When it’s the five of them on set, you really see the raunchy sense of humor they all share. I think the other day I said, “Man, we almost made it to lunch without making a dick joke.” Because the material is so heavy and we treat it with the utmost respect day in and day out, we have to make jokes about each other and [laughs] they’re just hilarious.

Playboy.com: Who has been your favorite guest star to work with?

Giddish: It was a treat getting to meet Marcia Gay Harden! And Raul Esparza, who’s not really a guest star as much as a recurring character, is so great to work with as well. It’s just hilarious because I always think he should be eating in every scene. He’s always the guy with all the props. He’s always taking off his coat or eating or drinking, and we just laugh our butts off when he’s on set.

Playboy.com: Lightning round! What is your favorite:

City: Big Sur, but it’s not really a city.

Drink: Grapefruit juice.

Food: Olives.

Embarrassing moment: My boyfriend in seventh grade borrowed my coat, and I had my panties in my coat pocket from a sleepover the night before, and he pulled them out in front of everyone in his own class. It was humiliating. At least I changed underwear, right?

Giddish: WHOA! What’s your most embarrassing moment? This is not fair!

Playboy.com: Oh man, I’m a big ball of embarrassment, I’m sure I’ve already done five things today that would constitute an embarrassing moment.

Giddish: C’mon, lightning round! What’s your most embarrassing moment!

Playboy.com: In grade six, for my birthday cake, my mom and my sister made a wedding cake with a topper on it that had a picture of me and Leonardo DiCaprio taped to the faces of the bride and groom. I was mortified when she brought it out during my party. It’s one of those moments where I think about it lying in bed, thinking “Fuck.”

Giddish: Yeah, it’s always bad when the first thing out of your mouth in the morning is, “Shit. Okay, well, I may as well get up and make a cup of coffee.”

Awkward pickup line: I had a guy come up to me when I was 22, when I first moved to New York, say “Hey, you wanna be with me?” Who does that? It must’ve worked once, right? It was like two in the morning when I was coming home from work…Really?

*First memory of Playboy: *I lived with my boyfriend in college, and they had stacks of them on the tank of the toilet. Ugh. They were so pretty looking, but the front page was so crinkled. So they’d been used, you know what I’m saying? That’s…that’s great.


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